160th anniversary of Turkish railways – Ottoman period

Turkish State Railways (TCDD), celebrated its 160th anniversary with a cocktail at Innotrans.

TCDD was founded as a state railways in 1927. However, Anatolia was first introduced with railway with giving English company (Ottoman Railway Company – ORC) privilege to construct and operate Izmir-Aydin railway. This date is taken as anniversary date by TCDD.

Here’s the milestones in Ottoman period of this 160-years-long history:

1851 – First railway constuction within Ottoman borders started between Alexandria and Cairo (211 km) by an English company.

1856 – The privilege of first railway in Anatolia, Izmir-Aydin railway, was given to English company (Ottoman Railway Company – ORC) on 23rd of September 1856. Company also got the right to use coal, stone and forest resources within 30 miles of each side of railway.

İzmir Aydın demiryolu
Izmir Aydin railway. Photo: TCDD

1857 – The new company “Ottoman Railway from Izmir to Aydin” took over the privilege and started construction.

1858 – Alsancak station opened.

First railway at Anatolia

1860 – First section of Izmir-Aydın railway opened and first train departed.

1866 – Another railway, Izmir-Turgutlu was opened after less than two years of work by English company (Smyrna-Cassaba Railway Company). Izmir-Aydin railway also opened this year. THe camel rates dramatically dropped after railway opening from 300 cent to 100 cent.

First suburban train

1870 – First suburban train of Anatolia started on Sirinyer-Buca railway at Izmir.

1871 – Passenger transportation started on first section (Yedikule-Kucukcekmece) of Rumelia Railways which will connect Istanbul to Europe when completed. Privilege owned by Baron Hirsch.

1872 – First section (Haydarpasa-Tuzla) of Istanbul-Izmit railway which was planned to extend to Bagdad was completed. Ottoman government constructed the railway itself.

Istanbul connected to Izmit and Edirne

1873 – Haydarpasa-Izmit and Istanbul-Edirne railways commissioned.

1874 – The narrow gauge Mudanya-Bursa railway was commissioned by Ottoman government. The line afterwards taken over by Chemin de Fer Moudania Brousse.

1883 – Mersin-Tarsus-Adana railway construction started. Privilege by Turkish-English-French company (Mersin-Tarsus-Adana Railway – MTA).

1886 – Mersin-Tarsus-Adana railway commissioned.

Orient Express arrived Istanbul

1888 – Istanbul-Europe railway connection commissioned. Orient Express arrived Istanbul.

1890 – Sirkeci station opened.

1893 – Extension of Haydarpasa-Izmit railway to Ankara via Adapazari-Eskisehir-Polatli started. Privilege given to Anatolia Ottoman Railway Company owned by Deutsche Bank.

1894 – Eskisehir-Kutahya section of Eskisehir-Konya railway opened by Anatolia Ottoman Railway Company.

1896 – Eskisehir-Konya railway completed. Travel time by rail from Istanbul to Konya fallen to 2 days.

1900 – Construction started on Hedjaz Railways (Damascus-Medina and Basra-Jaruselam railways) by Ottoman government.

Anatolia connected to Bagdad

1902 – Agreement inked with Anatolia Ottoman Railway Company to connect Konya to Basra via Adana-Mosul-Bagdad (2467 km). The privilege then taken over by Chemins de Fer Imperial Ottomans de Bagdad.

1908 – Damascus-Medina section of Hedjaz Railways commissioned.

1912 – Construction of Varda bridge completed.

Soda Treni, Varda Köprüsü. Foto: KLN Lojistik ©
Soda Treni, Varda Köprüsü. Foto: KLN Lojistik ©

1918 – The 356-km-long railway at Eastern Anatolia constructed by Russians was left to Turkey. By Armistice of Mudros, the power on railways was taken by Allies of World War I.

Cover Photo: TCDD ©

railway library


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