SilkWorm Tram

From Zero to Leadership in 6 Years

The subsidiary of Durmazlar producing trams and LRVs, Durmaray have created a tram brand in a very short time and made a big splash with great performance in recent tenders in Turkey. We visited company’s site at Bursa Nilufer and talked about today and tomorrow of the company with Sales Manager of Durmaray, Mr Sunay Şentürk.

At the beginning of 2000s, metro and tram investments in Turkey were limited, and completely supplied from other countries. Many second hand trams were sold/given to Turkish cities after ending their services in European cities. Know-how was very limited. There were almost no supplier.

When Durmazlar decided to enter to raiil cars industry, conditions were as hard as above. Target was ambitious: Producing urban rail cars (metros, trams, LRVs) in Bursa.

Everything Started with 5 Employees

Durmazlar, which had started taking first steps in railway industry with only 5 employees, is now one of the leading players with 300 employees, 170 of which are engineers. With a production capacity of 100 rail cars per year, railway section has become an important part of Durmazlar, Turkey’s biggest machine producer.

How could they manage to come to this point where education in universities and high schools, qualified staff, technology and know-how in this area is almost zero? Mr Şentürk underlines that it was very hard. They spent a lot of effort to secure the quality while increasing the local contribution.

100 Engineers in R&D Department

100 engineers are working now in R&D department of Durmazlar who are developing the company’s own technology and design. This team was in the 9th rank in Turkey in 2013 with 17 inventions. Durmazlar was awarded “the premium prize” in Technology Awards and Congress 2014 with its tram car.

Durmazlar’s firs rail car is “Silkworm”, the tram produced for Bursa. Silkworm is the first locally produced tram of Turkey, and has been giving service in Bursa since 2013. Silkworm is running on one of the toughest routes of world with 8.4% gradient. “Any serious accident would be the end of project” says Mr Şentürk. Thus, they were very careful about each part used in trams and never let lower quality.

Is Silkworm Locally Produced?

Mr Şentürk is careful about the “local production” discussions. “If you’d like to produce a tram in world-wide quality, you need to work with partners which focus only on a specific area and supplies to all over world”, he says. They had to work with a proven-brake-technology in Silkworm working in such a steep line, he added.

Durmazlar Bursa Nilüfer Raylı Sistem Fabrikası
Durmazlar Bursa Nilufer Rail Car Plant. Photo: Durmazlar

Despite this, Durmazlar had not given up its ambitious targets about local production. They managed to achieve “50% local production in 5 years” in their rail cars. Mr Şentürk also added that the designs of LRVs and trams, bogie sets, car bodies and all assembly works are 100% local.

First target of the company was designing the rail cars completely in-house. Bursa’s strong suppliers of the automotive industry was also a big advantage. Design is now completely done by their own staff. They have a very strong software team, and prepares all softwares running in the rail cars by this team. The traction system of Durmazlar rail cars are supplied by Siemens.

They had to work with foreign suppliers for analyze and tests, but many analysis are now beign done by their own staff, says Mr Şentürk. With the completion of 1.4-km-long test-line, more tests can be done by their own staff.

Durmazlar Leaded 2015

6 rail urban tenders were completed in 2015. Durmazlar was awarded in 3 of these tenders, Bursa, Kocaeli and Samsun. Durmazlar added a new rail car, LRV to its products portfolio, and inked a contract of 60 LRVs with Bursa Municipality.

First Silkworm tram was specially designed for narrow streets of Bursa. The new model which is now being produced for Kocaeli and Samsun, will be wider. Durmazlar has also started working on a new metro car design, with plans for taking share from huge tenders of Istanbul.

Plans for International Market

Turkey is an important market for metro and trams. However, taking share from global market is, of course, a good sign for quality. Although the rail cars of Durmazlar, for the time being, is only used in Turkey, they already started to produce spare parts from global companies. The bogies of Alstom’s high speed trains produced for PKP (Poland Railways) were supplied by Durmazlar.

Durmazlar’s bogies are also used in EMU sets of Trenitaila (Italy).

İpek Böceği, Durmazlar
Silkworm Tram, Innotrans 2014. Photo: Onur Uysal

Their willing for global markets can easily be understood. Durmazlar had presented two rail cars at World’s biggest railway fair, Innotrans in 2014. This year, they will attend fair with their new-generation tram. Their attendance at Middle East Rail Fair at Dubai shows that their interest is not limited with Europe.

Cover Photo: Durmazlar ©

Related Articles:
Local Railcar Production Gets Ahead
TL 277 mn for Rail Transport in Bursa
Durmazlar Awarded Samsun Tram Tender
Ink for Kocaeli Tram Cars
Turkish Tram Industry – Silkworm
Highlights from Innotrans 2014

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