Turkey’s commercial capital Istanbul is unfortunately has very poor train connections.Though Istanbul has a population more than many countries in the world, is the main hub of Turkey for buses and planes, has direct commercial connections with all cities and many towns in Turkey, when it comes to trains, Istanbul falls behind.
Currently, from Istanbul, there are HST services to Konya and Ankara, regional trains to Adapazari, Cerkezkoy and Kapikule, international trains to Sofia. Everyday, 17 trains depart from Istanbul in 5 different routes.
In fact, Istanbul is used to be the capital of trains once. Here below are the trains departing from Istanbul 20 years ago:
|Kiev/Moscow||Kiev Express||2 departures/week|
|Tehran||Transasya Express||1 departure/week|
|Izmir||Marmara Express (ferry connection)||3 departures/week|
|Adapazarı||Regional train||12 departures/day|
|Ankara||Başkent, Cumhuriyet, Fatih ve Anadolu, Ankara (sleeper) expresses||5 departures/day|
|Gaziantep||Toros Express||3 departures/week|
|Diyarbakır/Kurtalan||Güney Express||4 departures/week|
|Tatvan||Van Gölü Express||2 departures/week|
20 years ago, 34 trains were departing from Istanbul in 19 routes and 6 6f them were international routes. Today, plane is the first choice of passengers of Istanbul.
New trains to Belgrade and Bucharest during summer didn’t take much attraction. Sofia Express is running almost empty.
Nevertheless, trains have not lost the battle yet.
Konya and Ankara HSTs are running full though they’re calling at Pendik, very far away from city center. Same situation for Halkali-Kapikule regional train. By the end of 2018, trains will call at Haydarpasa and Sirkeci which will make trains more accessible. Marmaray, when completed at the end of this year, will provide easy acess to train stations from anywhere in Istanbul.
By next year, there’ll be no obstacles for Istanbul trains. Rest will be in the hands of TCDD Tasimacilik and other private passenger train operators if any.
Cover Photo: Onur Uysal ©