TCDD train to east

TCDD’s long distance services

TCDD – or to be more exact TCDD Tasimacilik AS – operates just sixteen classic long-distance train services (as opposed to the YHT network of high speed trains).

Unfortunately in recent months the service provision has been seriously eroded because of electrification and modernization works.

This is a train-by-train analysis of the situation from 11/07/16, with the start of Baskentray works in Ankara. All trains run daily, unless otherwise specified.

Train completely cancelled because of engineering works

Four of the sixteen services (i.e. one quarter of the entire service) are completely suspended at present. These four trains are:

EGE EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran İzmir (Alsancak) Balıkesir and return, but is currently suspended because of the engineering work taking place between Soma and Balıkesir (see Izmir-Balikesir train).

İÇANADOLU MAVİ TRENİ

This formerly ran Adana – Konya – Afyon – Istanbul (Haydarpasa) and return, conveying sleeping car, restaurant car, and seating coaches. In recent years it was cut back to run Adana – Konya and return conveying seating coaches only. It is currently suspended because of the engineering work taking place between Karaman and Konya (see Adana-Karaman-Konya train).

ERCİYES EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran Adana – Kayseri and return conveying seating coaches only. It is currently suspended because of engineering work taking place between Kayseri and Ulukışla.

4 EYLÜL MAVİ TRENİ

This formerly ran Ankara – Kayseri – Sivas – Malatya and return, conveying couchettes, restaurant car, and seating coaches. It is currently suspended because of the Baskentray works at Ankara (see Ankara-Kayseri-Malatya train).

Trains currently unaffected by engineering works

Only three of the sixteen trains are currently unaffected by engineering works – although the FIRAT EKSPRESİ is subject to regular retiming for periods of about 3 months at a time, according to the progress of electrification and modernization work on the route. The three trains are:

KONYA MAVİ TRENİ

İzmir (Alsancak)Konya and return, conveying sleeping car, restaurant car, and seating coaches  (see Izmir-Konya train).

PAMUKKALE EKSPRESİ

Eskişehir Denizli and return, conveying seating coaches only. In past decades this was a through service from Istanbul (Haydarpasa), and was reintroduced on its current limited itinerary once the rebuilding of the line from Afyon to Denizli was completed (see Eskisehir-Denizli train).

FIRAT EKSPRESİ

Adana MalatyaElazığ and return, conveying seating coaches only. Subject to periodic retimings because of engineering works (see Adana-Malatya-Elazig train).

Trains curtailed or diverted because of engineering works

Over half of the services (nine of sixteen train pairs) are either only running for part of their journey, or are diverted onto another route because of engineering works. These nine trains are:

İZMİR MAVİ TRENİ

This formerly ran İzmir (Alsancak) –  Manisa – Afyon – Eskişehir  – Ankara and return, conveying sleeping car, restaurant car, and seating coaches. Because of the Baskentray works at Ankara, it now runs between İzmir and Eskişehir only, in a revised path. Connections to / from Ankara are available by YHT (see Ankara-Eskisehir-Izmir train).

KARESİ EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran İzmir (Alsancak) –  Manisa – Balıkesir – Kütahya – Eskişehir – Ankara and return, conveying couchettes, restaurant car, and seating coaches. When the Balıkesir – Kütahya section was closed for modernization, it became a İzmir (Alsancak) –  Manisa – Balıkesir and return service, conveying seating coaches only. Since 19 March 2016 it has been further cut back to operate İzmir (Alsancak) –  Manisa – Soma and return, because of engineering works between Soma and Balıkesir.

6 EYLÜL EKSPRESİ and 17 EYLÜL EKSPRESİ

These two services formerly ran İzmir (Alsancak) –  Manisa – Balıkesir – Bandırma and return. Originally they were timed to connect into and out of the IDO ferry services to / from Yenikapı, but in recent years they have not always connected. Since 19 March 2016 it has been further cut back to operate İzmir (Alsancak) –  Manisa – Soma and return, because of engineering works between Soma and Balıkesir (see Izmir-Balikesir-Bandirma train).

TOROS EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran Adana – Konya and return, conveying seating coaches only. Because of the engineering work taking place between Karaman and Konya, it currently runs between Adana and Karaman only, and is formed of a DMU set (there being no stock turning facilities at Karaman) (see Adana-Karaman-Konya train).

ÇUKUROVA EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran Adana Ulukışla – Ankara, conveying sleeping car, restaurant car, and seating coaches. Because of the Baskentray works at Ankara, it is now diverted to run between Adana and Kayseri, with seating coaches only. It runs in an afternoon / evening path in both directions  (see Ankara-Kayseri-Adana train).

Dogu Express at Askale
Dogu Express at Askale. Photo: Onur Uysal

DOĞU EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran Ankara – Kayseri – Sivas – Erzincan – Erzurum – Kars and return, conveying sleeping car, restaurant car, and seating coaches. Because of the Baskentray works at Ankara, it is amended to start from Irmak, with bus connection from Ankara (and vice versa), and is retimed (see Ankara-Kayseri-Kars train).

VANGÖLÜ EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran Ankara – Kayseri – Sivas – Malatya – Elazığ – Tatvan and return, conveying sleeping car, couchettes, and seating coaches, but no restaurant car. This train runs twice per week.
Because of the Baskentray works at Ankara, it is amended and retimed to start from Irmak, with bus connection from Ankara (and vice versa) (see Ankara-Kayseri-Malatya-Elazig-Tatvan train).

GÜNEY KURTALAN EKSPRESİ

This formerly ran Ankara – Kayseri – Sivas – Malatya – Diyarbakır – Kurtalan and return, conveying sleeping car, couchettes, and seating coaches, but no restaurant car. This train runs five days per week, partly sharing a path with the VANGÖLÜ EKSPRESİ (see above). Because of the Baskentray works at Ankara, it is amended and retimed to start from Irmak, with bus connection from Ankara (and vice versa) (see Ankara-Kayseri-Malatya-Kurtalan train).

Cover Photo: Jeff Hawken ©
Related Articles:
Competition for passengers to warm up in 2009
Wish List for Passenger Trains – II
TCDD Timetables: Fact or Fiction?

One thought on “TCDD’s long distance services

  1. That’s a really useful list – especially the links through to the services showing a map of the running route.

    During happier days in Syria in 2005, I took the Toros express between Haydarpaşa and Halep (Aleppo) with just a single old Syrian sleeping car attached to the end of the otherwise modern Turkish train.

    Hopefully the Turkish rail network can host reliable services again once this current period of frenetic infrastructure renewal is over.

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