905 - Marmaray railcars at Sirkeci - İhsan DolgunerRailway Infrastructure

Is Istanbul ready for trains?

By opening of Marmaray project in 2019 1Q, rail freight and passengers will meet Istanbul after long years. Is Istanbul ready for this?

In 2009, Istanbul with one fifth of population and one third of commerce, will meet with train again.

Next year, while you are on the queue for Fenerbahce stadium, walking at Bostanci coast or Bakirkoy center, shopping at Yesilkoy open bazaar, you’ll hear the voice of high speed trains, passenger trains or even freight trains if you are there after midnight.

Well, is rail network of Istanbul ready for this great meeting? Here are the bottlenecks: 

Sogutlucesme station

World’s one of the most magnificent stations, Haydarpasa, will be again the departure point of trains in Asian side. HSTs to Ankara and Konya, regional trains to Adapazari will depart again from here. However station may not catch the opening. If so, Sogutlucesme may temporarily be the departure point. It would not be easy to handle such traffic on this viaduct station with 4 lines. 

Sogutlucesme-Gebze 3rd track

Marmaray project has 3 tracks, two for suburban trains and 1 for others. During day, 30 passenger trains arrive/leave Istanbul. And all of them have to share one track. Furthermore, the number of trains to Adapazari will be increased. This line will need a very good planning.

Halkali-Cerkezkoy line

There’s one track line between Halkali and Cerkezkoy connecting Istanbul to Europe. Signalization works has just started on the line, where container trains to Europe, Sofia, Kapikule and Uzunkopru passenger trains run.

However, as Marmaray opens, new freight and passenger trains are expected to start. There’s no sufficient parking line on whole strech. It’ll be not easy to manage this traffic on this line.

Halkali station

Halkali station was almost deserted after truck customs move to Catalca. Currently 2 freight trains and 3 passenger trains depart and arrive everyday. In 2019, more freight trains are expected to arrive. 440 Marmaray rail cars will start running between Halkali and Gebze. Some of the HSTs will arrive as well. The trains which will pass to Asian side will also wait at Halkali. Halkali will be full of trains next year.

Marmaray tunnel

Marmaray suburban trains will pass through Marmaray tunnel, every 2 minutes in rush hour. Also HSTs which will depart from Halkali will go through there.

After midnight, another traffic will start. As suburban trains stop for 4-5 hours, the freight trains will have to pass during that time while the inspection and maintanance of rails are being done.

Kosekoy terminal

Kosekoy terminal, or Kosekoy logistics center, is the only rail terminal around for the heavy industry at Izmir and Gebze. There is a freight terminal project at Gebze, but just on paper. Currently car trains to Adana, freight trains to Central Asia through Kars-Tblisi-Baku and to Iran via Van Lake use this terminal. In 20119 new container trains may use this terminal. Furthermore, Kosekoy is the most suitable station for the trains waiting to pass through Marmaray tunnel.

Cover photo: Ihsan Dolguner ©

2 replies »

  1. Great news about Haydarpasa, which is indeed one of the world’s greatest stations!


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