In the Rail Turkey News post published on 22 January 2016 the Governor of Mersin is quoted as stating that the journey time from Mersin to Adana will be reduced to just 30 minutes once all the rebuilding and electrification works are completed.
How seriously can we take this statement? I am always very cautious when politicians – rather than railway officials – quote future journey times. Politicians naturally exaggerate the attractiveness of the service for their own electoral benefit. Unfortunately this is especially prevalent in Turkey, where nearly all major announcements on railways are made by local or national politicians. The result is often the announcement of journey times which owe more to political optimism than the laws of physics and railway operations.
So how does this particular announcement fare?
The distance from Mersin to Adana is 67.2 km so to do this distance in 30 minutes means an average speed of nearly 135 kph for a non-stop train.
With a relatively low speed departure from Mersin and arrival at Adana, and a maximum speed of 160 kph, this should be possible, but only with a non-stop train, with few or no intermediate speed reductions.
But why would you want to do that? A more realistic express service would include at least a call at Tarsus, with an end-to-end journey time of about 35 – 38 minutes.
That would enable a regular interval service with a 90-minute cycle time. So with only 3 Electric Multiple Units you could operate an express service every 30 minutes throughout the day, calling only at Tarsus, with a journey time of around 38 minutes, and a turnround time of 7 – 10 minutes at each end:
|No||Set #||Mersin Dep.||Adana Arr.||Adana Dep.||Mersin Arr.|
In order to serve the other intermediate stations, and to cater for the significant flows of freight traffic, as stated in the earlier article, 4-tracking the route would be necessary, so that the express services could overtake the freights and stopping passenger trains.
If the Electric Multiple Units are to be used as intensively as this, it is important that the design of both the trains and the stations make it easy for passengers to board and alight easily. Ideally each carriage should have wide openings at the 1/3 and 2/3 distance, and the platforms should be high so as to offer level access to the trains.
Cover Photo: Onur Uysal
Which section is under electrification and upgrading to 160 kph? Only Mersin-Adana or sth more?
There is a lot of electrification taking place in this area. As well as Adana – Mersin there is (Adana) – Yenice – Ulukisla – Konya / Kayseri (the line through the Toros Mountains) and Adana – Toprakkale (to join the existing electrified route to Iskenderun). As far as I am aware, only the Mersin route is getting upgraded for speeds as high as 160 kph.
Does any of tracks mentioned by you is going to be upgraded to double-track? Do you know dates when those works are planned to be finished?
A second track is planned from Adana to Toprakkale, as announced here:
It has always struck me as strange that there is a frequent passenger service west of Adana, but only 3 trains per day east of Adana. Hopefully this will rectify that anomaly.
I am not aware of any plans to double the track through the Toros Mountains, which would be technically very difficult. Various plans for a high speed link from Konya to Mersin / Adana have been put forward in the past. Let’s see what happens with those.