Eastern Express

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Eastern Express
Dogu Ekspresi at Ankara in 2004.jpg
An Istanbul-bound train at Ankara station in 2004.
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Operating
Locale North-Central, Central, North-Eastern Anatolia
First service 1936
Current operator(s) TCDD Taşımacılık
Former operator(s) Turkish State Railways
Ridership sleepers full
Start Ankara Central Station
Stops 47
End Kars Railway Station, Kars
Distance travelled 1,944 km (1,208 mi)
Average journey time 32 hours, 27 minutes (Eastbound)
Service frequency Daily
Train number(s) 11410 (Eastbound)
41409 (Westbound)
On-board services
Disabled access Limited
Seating arrangements Coach
Sleeping arrangements 2 Couchettes
4 Sleeping Cars
Private sleeping cars
Catering facilities Dining Car
Baggage facilities Overhead baggage storage
Rolling stock TVS2000
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification Ankara-Sivas (25kV AC)
Operating speed 120 km/h (75 mph) max
80 km/h (50 mph) average
Track owner(s) Turkish State Railways

The Eastern Express (Turkish: Doğu Ekspresi) is an overnight passenger train operated by the Turkish State Railways. The train runs 1,310 km (814 mi) from Ankara Railway Station to Kars Railway Station in Kars.[1] The train was the first overnight service east of Ankara. The Eastern Express stops in 7 provincial capitals: Ankara, Kırıkkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan, Erzurum and Kars. The train also stops in the Turkish capital: Ankara.[2] The first train ran in 1936 from İstanbul's Haydarpaşa Terminal to Çetinkaya.[3]

Before Ankara-Istanbul high-speed train project, the train ran between Istanbul and Kars.


The Eastern Express crossing the Euphrates in 1976.

During the 1930s, railway construction in Turkey reached its peak, where 2,846.2 km (1,769 mi) of lines were completed.[3] Ever since the Turkish State Railways were formed in 1927, railways extended to eastern Turkey. A main line was to be constructed from Ankara to Erzurum, where it would connect with the broad gauge line to the Turkey/Soviet Union border built by the Russian Empire in 1916.[4] Construction of the line started in 1924 (by the CFAB, TCDD took over in 1927) and reached Kayseri in 1927, Sivas in 1930 and Çetinkaya in 1936. The Eastern Express made its first run with the opening of the line to Çetinkaya. The railway finally reached Erzurum in 1939. In the same year the Eastern Express started operating from Haydarpaşa to Erzurum. By transferring to a broad gauge train in Erzurum, passengers could travel to Kars, the last Turkish city before the Soviet Union.[2] In 1962, the broad gauge line from Erzurum-Kars-Akkaya was made standard gauge by the State Railways. The Eastern Express was extended to Kars in 1962.[3]


The Eastern Express had many consists over the years. The Turkish steam locomotives were the source of power from 1936 to the 1970s when the diesel locomotive took over. The consist today is:

  • DE 22 000[note 1], Head End Power Car, Coach, Coach, Diner, couchette, sleeper, sleeper, sleeper, sleeper, couchette, private cars at the end, helper engine if used


An Istanbul-bound train at Eskişehir in 2009.

The train departs Haydarpaşa Terminal next to the Bosphorus and travels along the south-eastern shores of İstanbul. The journey takes an average 45 minutes to travel out of the extensive suburbs of the metropolis. After Gebze, the tracks follow a route right along the Bay of İzmit, with great views of the surrounding area. The train passes through many towns along the way including major industrial facilities until reaching İzmit. After İzmit the Eastern Express travels through the Sakarya plain. At Arifye, the line heads south through the mountainous route towards Eskişehir. After crossing many gorges and after Bilecik, the train starts to ascend the Anatolian plateau. The train arrives in Ankara in the morning. From there it changes its electric locomotive to diesel locomotive.

After the break the Eastern Express continues east through Ankara's eastern suburbs. After Kırıkkale, the train heads south-east towards Kayseri. At Kayseri the train refuels itself and has a crew change. The Eastern Express then continues east into the dusk. The route then heads north-east until Sivas, where the train has its third break. After Sivas the tracks travel through very mountainous terrain so the speed is limited. A small portion between Çetinkaya and Divriği is electrified for freight train carrying iron ore down south to the Mediterranean Sea. After Divriği the Eastern Express steadily climbs towards the Armenian Highlands. After a break in Erzurum, the train arrives at Kars towards the evening.


  1. ^ TCDD Official Site Archived 2010-08-09 at the Wayback Machine. - Doğu Express August 19, 2010
  2. ^ a b The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Steam & Rail - By Colin Garratt and Max Wade-Mathews, page 400
  3. ^ a b c TCDD History - Trains and Railways of Turkey
  4. ^ Transcaucasus Railways - Trains and Railways of Turkey


  1. ^ Sometimes DE 33 000 may be used instead