987 - Yük treni - OnurRailway Infrastructure

7 solutions to boost rail freight


Though rail freight increased in last two years after liberalization, it’s still far from meeting expectations.

However, with completion of some projects, volumes can increase very rapidly.

Here are 7 projects that will boost rail freight:

Ankara pass

The shortest path connecting Turkey’s east to west by rail, Ankara pass, is currently kept closed for freight trains. Thus, a train departing from Izmit to Kayseri should go via Konya. The trains using Baku-Tbilisi-Kars to Istanbul have to use that longer way as well. The Derince-Kirikkale trains of Korfez Ulastirma is also going via Konya.

Though Ankara pass is open for suburban trains and passenger trains, freight trains are still not allowed.

Marmaray pass

Crossing Bosphorus via tunnel on rail is possible for passengers, but not for freight. Freight trains are currently using Tekirdag-Derince ferry. However, ferry means unpredictability for especially container trains. Thus Halkali has become the end terminal until now.

The preparations for passage of freight trains through tunnel continues. Freight trains will use the 3rd line which is also used by HSTs.

Samsun line

The railway connecting Samsun to Sivas is kept closed for renewal since September 2015. Since then, Samsun Port, Samsun-Kavkaz ferry and Gelemen Logistics Center are not connected to national rail network.

The contract deadline was end of 2017. Then opening was announced as January 2019. The line has not opened yet.

Cerkezkoy-Halkali signalization

Cerkezkoy-Halkali line which is being used by trains to Europe is currently not signalized. Any train to run on this route, waits previous train to complete the route first. Due to lack of signalization, the capacity almost dropped to one train per two hours. Currently, 6 passenger trains and 4 freight trains are running everyday. This means line capacity is almost full.

Tender for signalization was done in late 2018. Deadline is 450 days, thus it’s expected to be commissioned in 2020 Q1.

Aktau-Baku-Kars-Istanbul container line

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was opened in October 2017 and around 200k tons have been carried on rail since then. The line is being used for transports between Turkey and China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. However, container trains with fixed departure days, transit times and tariffs have not started yet.

Bandirma ferry

The Bandirma ferry which will connect Western Anatolia to Europe is waiting for ferry ramp at Bandirma to start. If started, the rail distance from Izmir to border will be half. Thus trains will run between Izmir/Manisa and Europe faster and cheaper.

Derince-Tekirdag ferry’s opening was very painful. Based on that experience, Bandirma was expected to open faster. It didn’t happen.

Iraq connection

The railway connecting Turkey to Syria and Iraq via Nusaybin is kept closed since 2014, due security problems caused by war in Syria. The line following the border between Turkey and Syria is damaged now. Opening shall wait not only end of war in Syria, but repair as well.

Cover photo: Onur Uysal ©

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