739 - Electrified line - Dusko Djuric

TCDD’s electrification is worth a huge forest


The electrification transformation of TCDD started to give its results.

TCDD started to get benefits from electrification of Turkish rail network. The electrified conventional lines increased by 18%, reaching to 3137 km long.

The results are significant. Freight carried on rail by electric locos are doubled in last 4 years. Electric locos carried 2.7 bn ton-km in 2012 where this amount reached to 5.2 bn ton-km in 2016. High speed trains also doubled the figures in passenger side.

This, of course, started to change the composition of rolling stock. TCDD did not invest in any diesel locos last year. The only new investment for rolling stock was 18 new electric locos (E68000).

This transformation is promising. Between 2012 and 2016, all transports TCDD did increased by 11% (from 23 bn to-km to 25.5 bn to-km), the energy expenses decreased by 17%.

TCDD enerji harcamaları
TCDD energy expenses 2012 – 2016

TCDD’s annual fuel consumption, within last 4 years, decraesed from 130 mn liter to 95 mn liter. This means prevention of emission of 80 mn kg of CO2 into the air. This much CO2 can be absorbed by 3 million trees in a year, which is bigger than the Belgrade forest in European side of Istanbul.

Cover Photo: Dusko Djuric ©

Written by Onur Uysal

Railway consultant. Owner of RT Media & Consultancy. Founder and editor of Rail Turkey.

5 comments

  1. Thank you as always for your helpful and informative site. I appreciate your work very much.
    However, please can I suggest caution when interpreting data about energy use. Just because TCDD spends less on energy, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s helping the environment, only that electricity is cheaper than diesel. Also, while TCDD’s fuel consumption has gone down, presumably its electricity consumption has gone up. Electricity isn’t necessarily better for the environment than diesel – it depends on how the electricity was produced. If it was all produced by sun and wind then fantastic, but if it came from gas and coal then this isn’t so good. Finally (and there are many other things to consider!), don’t forget the huge amount of energy needed to convert trains and train lines to be able to run on electricity.
    I’ve no doubt you’re correct, there have been some long-term energy savings made, but it’s unlikely to be as clear as the company’s own figures suggest.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Patrick,
      Thanks a lot for your kind words.
      Yes, you have right. It’s important what’s the source of electricity for calculating the final benefit.
      But as in electric cars, the responsibility of clean energy is in this case overtaken by energy companies and government. I guess it’s easier to make transformation with a few production facilities then dealing with millions of cars and locos.
      On the other hand, I tried to stick to real facts in the article. If you check sentence by sentence, could you find anything wrong? Of course except the title, since forests mean much more than CO2 absorbtion.. 🙂

  2. Hi Onur,
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
    I would actually argue that even in electric cars, some of the responsibility for energy use lies with the car manufacturer and user. For example, the British government likes to say that it’s reducing carbon emissions, but sometimes the reason is because production has moved to China! In this case, clearly the emissions are still happening and the British government is still partly responsible, but in its reporting it’s able to make itself look more green. Some of TCDD’s energy impact MAY (I say may because I don’t know for certain!) be like this.
    I think your report is largely very fair, I just wanted to suggest caution in interpreting the data. For example, because of the possible problems I listed in my last post, I don’t know if we can say for certain that TCDD’s electrification is worth a forest. In the short-term, all their hard work to prepare the railway may have cost a forest. I would also argue that we can’t say the decrease in fuel consumption means 80 million kg of CO2 have been prevented – some, most or all of this CO2 will still have been released, but just not from diesel.
    However, I accept that in the long-term this is definitely a good news story that Turkey should be proud of and very important to share so thank you for reporting it.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Onur
    My congratulations on your nice presentation.
    For diesel locomotives pollution is a definite result. But for electric locomotive, it is dependant on the contributions for various sources feeding into the grid. Out of various sources for electric power the only polluting sources are coal and diesel/ Gas. so if a country is getting say 80% of its power from polluting sources. even then there is a reduction of 20% in pollution levels.
    Indian Railways has taken a recent decision to go in for 100% electrification. That means that it will be going to be to be slow in induction of new diesel locomotives. The main reason behind this decision is to help clean up the air. On power generation side there is a simultaneous push for non-polluting technologies. So I see my country going in the right direction.
    Khuller

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