Railway Events

What happened in 2020?


A hard year is about to end. Here are milestones of the year in railways:

Passenger trains stopped

Due to Covid-19, Iran border was closed in February, thus Transasia and Van-Tehran trains stopped. Then all other passenger trains were suspended in March. In May, high speed trains were restarted with fewer departures.

Freight trains shone

As passenger trains were taken to depots, freight trains became popular due to Covid-19. As Iran border was closed and trucks faced problems in crossing borders, trains took most of the load between Turkey and Iran. In first 6 months, the amount carried on train had reached the total amount of previous year.

Photo: Metrans

The freight traffic to/from Europe had also faced similar problems, especially on trucks. Trains, on the other hand, had even run faster since there’s not much passenger traffic. Intermodal traffic hit records highest. Number of trains crossing the border had reached over 150 in a month.

BTK doubled the volume

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was commissioned in late 2017. 375k tons were carried in its 3rd year, doubling the previous year. Opening of new terminal at Turkish site of border, at Cambaz station, helped this development. This new terminal enabled transhipment of conventional loads.

Marmaray opened for freight

After test runs in 2019, Marmaray was opened for freight officially in early 2020. All trains except ones carrying dangerous and oversize cargo will use Marmaray tunnel between Asia and Europe. As tunnel opened for freight, Tekirdag Derince ferry which was carrying wagons between two continents since 2013 had stopped service.

3 accidents in a row

While Corlu and Ankara train accidents were still in mints, 3 accidents happened in 4 days. All trains crashed were freight trains. 2 train drivers were dead, 4 were injured.

Test runs started in Sivas

Biggest fund was allocated for Sivas YHT line in 2020 and construction works speeded up. Yerkoy-Sivas section was completed and test runs started. Construction works continue in Ankara-Yerkoy section. Sivas station is also being reconstructed for YHT trains.

One metro project commissioned

Mecidiyekoy-Mahmutbey metro was the only metro project commissioned this year. It’s expected to become one of the main mass transport corridor and busiest metro line of Istanbul. Engineering works continue in extenting the metro line to Kabatas.

Mecidiyekoy-Mahmutbey metro route

Golden Horn tram soon to open

A part of Eminonu-Alibeykoy tram line along Golden Horn had been reconstructed due to ground problems. After electrification completed, test runs also started. It’ll start service in first days of new year.

Metro projects restarted in Istanbul

Several metro projects were started, but almost all stopped due to financial problems. Funding was in top of to-do list of new management. New funds enabled restart of 1 tram and 5 metro projects.

New rail projects on the table

New fast metro project connecting Halkali in European side to Sabiha Gokcen in Asian side in Istanbul, Natayolu extension of Ankaray in Ankara, Cigli tram, Buca and Karabaglar metro lines in Izmir, extension of Bursaray and Kayseri tram to city hospitals, metro lines at Konya and Mersin, suburban lines at Konya and Afyonkarahisar are all on the table. 5 of them has reached to construction phase: Cigli tram, Bursaray, Kayseri tram, Konya metro and Mersin metro.

Liberalization not gone so far

Nothing much happened in liberalization in 2020. One of the two private operators, Korfez Ulastirma had ordered new hybrid locos from Stadler. TCDD Tasimacilik had used its free capacity from passenger trains to strengthen its share in freight. Though the subsidies for passenger transport was announced to be opened for private operators in 2021, no new operators applied. A commission was founded to speed up the liberalization both in passenger and freight side.

China trains traced via social media

China trains to Turkey, which started last year, had reached to 10. The first one in eastbound direction had caused long discussions when it returned back due to a problem. TCDD Tasimacilik twitted its position everyday which completed the whole strecth in 13 days. As first arrived, second eastbound train departed.

Photo: Rail Turkey

Critical steps in railway industry

Polish city Olsztyn has become the fourth city using Durmazlar tram. First tram set was delivered early this year.

TCDD’s three affiliate manufacture companies, Tulomsas, Tuvasas and Tudemsas was merged under a new company: Turasas.

Kardemir, which introduced rails to railway industry, had started producing rail wheels. TCDD Tasimacilik had become the first client with an order of 1600 wheels.

Samsun railway opened

Samsun-Kalin railway was opened after being kept closed for 5 years for renewal. As passenger trains stopped, yet only freihgt trains are running. Travel time is now half and capacity is more than doubled.

Categories: Railway Events

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