Urban Transport

İstanbul Airport metro opens


İstanbul’s new airport’s first metro connection opens this weekend.

The metro line connecting İstanbul Airport to city center will be commissioned on 22nd of January. It’ll be a fast and comfortable alternative for airport transport. Here are soma facts about the project:

Longest metro line

37-km-long Gayrettepe-İstanbul Airport metro line will be the longest metro line of Turkey. Airport is quite far away from residential areas and current rail network, thus such a long line is needed.

Gayrettepe-Airport metro map

Tunnels digged in record time

Transport to new airport was harder compared to Atatürk Airport. Furthermore opening was before planned date. These caused high public pressure for metro connection. The budget was huge, 10 TBMs used, tunnels digged with a record speed of 1200 meters/month.

Full automatic for now, driverless soon

M11 Airport metro is İstanbul’s fourth, European side’s second driverless metro. However, trains will run full automatic in the beginning, where driver will accompany the train and intervene when needed. After a while, metro cars will run driverless.

First metro using Aselsan’s signalization

Signalization system of this full automatic/driverless metro was developed by a Turkish company, Aselsan. Cobalt signalization system includes hardware, software and integration units. This system will allow M11 run every 3 minutes. It’ll provide management of traffic according to given KPIs, dispatch, mark and wash cars automaticly, regulate delays, provide preventive maintanance.

This system is also expected to be used in M1 line after modernization and extension to Halkali.

Fastest metro

M11 airport metro will run with speed upto 120 km/h. High speed and few stops will provide metro line to complete 33 km in 24 minutes. Kadıköy-Sabiha Gökçen metro completes same distance in 52 minutes. Driverless Üsküdar-Çekmeköy metro completes 20 km in 32 minutes.

First highly localized metro car

Metro cars are manufactured by Chinese company CRRC. Contract was for 22 sets (176 cars), where 10 sets to be delivered fast. The metro service will start this weekend with these 10 sets. CRRC has a assembly site at Ankara, which also used for Ankara metro cars.

As Ministry of Transport stated, engine, electric system and bateries of metro cars are produced in Turkey, where localization rate reaches to 60%.

Airport connection is not well designed

Airport metro station is at the front side of car park, 300 meters away from enterance of the terminal. Though 300 meters is not that much long, airport management plans to run shutle service between metro station and terminal. Still it’s sad not to be able to design a well integration between two recently build projects.

Deepest station Gayrettepe to open in spring

The first station of line in city center will be Gayrettepe. This station is not ready yet, thus rest of the line, Kağıthane-Airport will be opened this weekend.

Gayrettepe Station is next to Zincirlikuyu metrobus station and connected to M2 metro station. The station is 72 meters deep making it the deepest metro station of İstanbul.

Metro will be operated by Ministry of Transport

M11 metro was constructed by Ministry of Transport, similar to a couple of rail projects in some cities. However, different than all others, it’ll be operated by ministry. Thus U sign will be seen instead of M in entrances. Furthermore, M11 numbering was done before this decision was taken, thus may not be used anymore.

This will harden the planning and integration of all transport solutions of city from one hand. Two separate teams will be needed for similar responsibilities. On the other hand, ministry had started to speed up repayment of such projects by cities. In this case, this very expensive project will not be paid back by Istanbul Mayorship.

Pay per station

In M11 metro, “pay per station” system will be used, similar to Marmaray and metrobus. Upto 3 station, travellers pay same fee as in other metros, where for longer travels, additional fees will be charged. As in Marmaray and metrobus, travellers with İstanbul Card pay full charge in the beginning and will be paid back in arrival station.

Halkalı extension

Construction works continue fast in second phase of airport metro, İstanbul Airport-Halkalı section. This part is planned to open until next year. When completed, airport metro will be connected with 5 rail lines: Marmaray, M3 metro, M9 metro, high speed trains, regional trains in European side of Turkey.

Cover photo: Ministry of Transport ©

Categories: Urban Transport

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3 replies »

  1. Huge rail infrastructure development in Turkey. Amazing how fast this development have happened. Why designers of the station didn’t consider integration? Is there a reason? Strange. I’ve come across a lot of people complaining about the Istanbul airport long walks. This 21st century and you have to design everything from customers perspective, particularly when it comes to airports where people are tired after long hours in the plane.

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