Rail transport in Turkey
|National railway||Turkish State Railways|
|Ridership||86 million (2011)|
|Passenger km||5,88 billion (2011)|
|Freight||11,3 billion tkm (2011)|
|Double track||946 km|
|Main||1,435 mm/4 ft 8 1⁄2 in standard gauge|
|High-speed||1,435 mm/4 ft 8 1⁄2 in standard gauge|
|Main||25 kV, 50 Hz AC|
|Tunnel length||200.407 km|
Turkey has a well-developed, state-owned railway system built to standard gauge (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)) which falls under the remit of the Ministry of Transport and Communication. The primary rail carrier is the Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları (TCDD) (Turkish State Railways) which is responsible for all long-distance and cross-border freight and passenger trains. A number of other companies operate suburban passenger trains in urban conurbations.
Native railway industry extends to the production of locomotives, passenger vehicles and freight wagons; some vehicles are also produced through licensing agreements and cooperation with foreign countries.
In the early 21st century, major infrastructural projects were realized; such as the construction of a high-speed railway network as well as a tunnel under the Bosphorus strait which connects Europe and Anatolia by rail for the first time.
- 1 History
- 2 Network
- 3 Urban rail
- 4 Companies
- 5 Statistical information
- 6 See also
- 7 References and notes
- 8 External links
Construction of the first railway line in Turkey began in 1856, being constructed by a British company that had gained permission from the Ottoman Empire. Later, French and German companies also constructed lines - the motivation was not only economic, the region had a strategically important position as a trade route between Europe and Asia.
As with other countries, rapid expansion followed; by 1922 over 8000 km of lines had been constructed in the Ottoman Empire.[note 1] At the birth of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, there were 3,660 km of standard gauge lines, of which 1,378 km were state-owned; while the lines owned by foreign investors were eventually nationalized starting from 1927. The railways were considered an essential part of the state by the government of the Republic, and continued to expand with new railway projects - over 3000 km of new tracks were built in Turkey between 1923 and 1940. Railways were constructed serving mines, agriculture, people and ports; at the same time more lines serving eastern Anatolia were built, in their part helping to tie Turkey together as a functioning state.
In the years following World War II, the emphasis in transportation shifted to asphalt road and highway construction; it was not until the end of the 20th century that railways returned to favour with major passenger infrastructure projects being initiated, and five thousand kilometres of new lines planned for construction.
Future restructuring and plans
The Turkish State Railways (TCDD) may be split with the passenger and freight operations being part of a new company named DETAŞ (Demiryolu Taşımacılığı Anonim Şirketi, meaning Railway Transport Company) with TCDD left as a track and infrastructure operator. This restructuring will also allow other rail operators to run trains on TCDD tracks by means of track access charges, and will end the monopoly of TCDD.
The new law about liberalization of Turkish railway transportation is accepted by Turkish Parliament and approved by the President of Turkey in April 2013. According to the law, TCDD will stay as the owner of infrastructure and the new company TCDD Taşımacılık AŞ will be operating the trains. Private companies will soon be allowed to run on TCDD infrastructure as well as the new infrastructure owned by private companies if constructed. Turkish Ministry of Transportation has a plan of constructing 4000 km conventional and 10000 km high speed lines till 2023. There are also some commuter rail projects like Marmaray and Başkentray.
In 2008, Turkey had 10,991 km of railway lines, of which 95% were single-tracked,[note 2] 21% of the network was electrified and 28% signalled. Due to the mountainous geography of the country, the network has many steep gradients and sharp curves.
As of June 2016, there is 8334 km of conventional railway line and 593 km of high-speed railway line. 2288 km of the network is electrified (%31), and 3036 km of it is signaled (%37). Turkish Ministry of Transportation has a plan of constructing 2000 km conventional and 5000 km high speed lines till 2023.
Electrified lines run from Kapıkule on the Bulgarian border via Istanbul to Ankara, and from Divriği via Malatya to İskenderun on the Mediterranean coast. Additionally, Sivas and İzmir have electrified networks. Here are some technical informations (standards) about the Turkish railway system:
- Rail Gauge - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge
- Electrification - 25 kV, 50 Hz AC Overhead lines
- Loading Gauge - UIC GC
- Traffic - Right-Hand traffic
- Pantograph - 1950 mm (Old) and 1600 mm (New, Rebuilt and High-speed lines)
- Rail - S49 (Old) and UIC 60 (New, Rebuilt and High-speed lines)
- Sleepers - Wooden & Steel (Old) and Concrete (New, Rebuilt and High-speed lines)
- Fastening - Baseplate based with Screw spikes (Old) and Tension Clamp (New, Rebuilt and High-speed lines)
- Platform height - 380 mm (Low platforms), 550 mm (High-speed trains' platforms) and 1050 mm (Commuter rail platforms)
- Coupling - Buffers and Chains (Locomotives and Passenger cars) and Scharfenberg (MUs)
- Brake - Air
- Curve minimum - 200 m (656 ft) and 3,500 m (11,483 ft) (High-speed lines)
High-speed rail lines
As of May 2016, there are four high-speed routes (Istanbul-Ankara, Istanbul-Konya, Ankara-Eskisehir, Ankara-Konya) running on two different high-speed railway lines. Bursa, Sivas and Izmir are among some of other cities to be connected to the high-speed network with works being underway. Bursa will be connected to the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway, a new line is currently being constructed from Ankara to Sivas and another new line from Polatlı to İzmir via Afyon is also under construction.
In addition to high speed lines, there are several regular trains for passenger transportation. Almost all the network is covered by these passenger trains, which are mostly departing every day. In addition to high speed trains, there are several types of wagons being used for railway transport like pulman, sleeping cars, couchette, dmu and emu sets. In 2011 more than 26 million passengers used trains for domestic transportation (suburban lines are not included in this number). Due to cancellation of many trains because of renewals of rail network, ridership decrease to less than 20 million in 2012. As of 2013, the ridership reached to 20.9 million (16.7 million by conventional trains, 4.2 million by high speed trains).
As of May 2016, there are several construction points (mainly for signalization or electrification) in Turkish rail network which is causing complete or partial closures.
West neighboring countries
- Bulgaria - open - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) and 25 kV, 50 Hz AC - (But no train runs from Sirkeci to Bulgarian border due to rehabilitation of Kazlıçeşme-Halkalı segment of Sirkeci-Halkalı line due to Marmaray project from 1 March 2013.)
- Greece - open - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) and 25 kV, 50 Hz AC - (But no train runs since February 2011 due to economic crisis in Greece.)
East neighboring countries
- Georgia - under reconstruction - break-of-gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)/1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) at Akhalkalaki(Georgia)
- Armenia - closed since 1993 - break-of-gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)/1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) (see the Kars-Gyumri-Tbilisi railway line)
- Azerbaijan - no direct link - break-of-gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)/1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) via Georgia under reconstruction
- Iran - via Lake Van train ferry - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
- Iraq - no direct link, traffic routed via Syria - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
- Syria - closed because of the Syrian Civil War - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
Trains to Iraq must be routed via Syria; the section of the tracks within Syria, between the Turkish and Iraqi borders is 81 km long. From 5 March 2012, due to the civil war in Syria, all rail services from Turkey to Syria were stopped; as a consequence freight going from Turkey to Iraq was routed to Nusaybin in southeast Turkey, from where it was transported to Iraq by truck.
The Iranian rail network is connected to the Turkish rail network via the Lake Van train ferry close to the border - which creates a serious bottleneck.[note 3] In 2007 an agreement was made to create a rail link between the two countries.
A new connection to the Caucasus region and Central Asia via Georgia and Azerbaijan is planned (see the Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway); the line will involve a break of gauge from 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) to 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in). The construction of the line is planned to be completed by 2014 and has a target of transporting 17 million tons of cargo per year. This railway by-passes the Kars–Gyumri–Tbilisi railway line that connected Turkey to Armenia which was closed in 1993 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War; in 2009 the possibility of re-opening the line was stated by the Armenian transport minister.
The biggest three cities of Turkey have suburban rail system, listed as follows:
|City||System||Operator||Electrification||Conductor system||Gauge||Bidirectional traffic|
|İstanbul||Marmaray||TCDD||25 kV, 50 Hz AC||Overhead line||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic|
|Ankara||Başkentray||TCDD||25 kV, 50 Hz AC||Overhead line||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic|
|İzmir||Egeray||İZBAN A.Ş.||25 kV, 50 Hz AC||Overhead line||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic|
The biggest five cities of Turkey have Metro/LRT system, listed as follows:
|City||System||Electrification||Conductor system||Gauge||Bidirectional traffic||Opened|
|İstanbul||İstanbul Metro||750 V DC & 1,500 V DC||Third rail & Overhead line||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic||3 September 1989|
|Ankara||Ankara Metro||750 V DC||Third rail||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic||20 August 1996|
|İzmir||İzmir Metro||750 V DC||Third rail||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic||22 April 2000|
|Bursa||Bursaray||1,500 V DC||Overhead line||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic||24 April 2002|
|Adana||Adana Metro||750 V DC||Overhead line||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||Right-hand traffic||14 May 2010|
There are also several tram systems in many cities, listed as follows:
|City||System||Electrification||Conductor system||Gauge||Bidirectional traffic|
|İstanbul||İstanbul Tram||600 V DC||Overhead line||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge||Partially|
|Bursa||Burtram||?||Overhead line||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge||No|
|Antalya||?||?||Overhead line||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge||No?|
Turkish State Railways
In combination with its affiliates, the State Railways of the Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları, TCDD) have a monopoly on passenger[note 4] and freight rail transportation, as well as the manufacturing of rolling stock and tracks. The organization was created in 1927 to operate the former railway lines of the Ottoman Empire that were left within the borders of the Republic of Turkey whose boundaries were defined with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. Additionally, major ports are also operated by the company.
Three affiliated companies of the TCDD produce rolling stock for the Turkish railway system:
- TÜLOMSAŞ (Türkiye Lokomotif ve Motor Sanayi A.Ş.) produces diesel and electric locomotives and related components; the company has produced locomotives under license from numerous companies over the years, including Krauss-Maffei, GM-EMD, Toshiba and Alstom.
- TÜVASAŞ (Türkiye Vagon Sanayi A.Ş.) manufactures coaching stock as well as diesel hydraulic railcars, and has a technology transfer agreement with Rotem of Korea to manufacture DMUs as well as a joint venture with Rotem, EUROTEM, to outfit and test high-speed train sets and suburban trains.
- TÜDEMSAŞ (Türkiye Demiryolu Makinaları Sanayii A.Ş.) produces and repairs freight wagons.
As of 2008, there were 8,699 km of main railway lines in Turkey, of which 5% are double tracked, 28% are electrified and 25% are signalled; there are also 2,306 km of sidings.
The most common rail weight is ~49 kg/m with 69% of track, the remainder being of lighter weight rail, except for 150 km of 60 kg/m rail. Similarly, 69% of sleepers are of the concrete type, with the remainder being wood (~19%) and steel (~12%). Over 700 tunnels exist, with a total length of 181 km; the majority (~76%) are under 1 km long and only one of them has a length of over 4 km. 1,316 steel bridges (average length 22 m) and over 10,000 concrete bridges (average length 2.9 m) exist, the majority (99%) are suitable for axle loads over 20 t, with 40% allowing axle loads of 22.5 tonnes.
In 2008, there were 64 electric locomotives and 549 diesel locomotives in Turkey, with availabilities of 81 and 84 percent, respectively. Additionally, 50 steam locomotives exist, of which 2 are kept in active order. In addition to the 83 EMUs and 44 DMUs for passenger transport, there were 995 coaches in Turkey (830 of which were in working order.) Over 17,000 wagons of various types make up the rest of the fleet.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rail transport in Turkey.|
- Çamlık Railway Museum
- TCDD Open Air Steam Locomotive Museum
- Istanbul Railway Museum
- Rahmi M. Koç Museum
References and notes
- In the Ottoman Empire: some parts of lines extending into the middle east would not be incorporated into the Turkish State on its creation
- 8697km of lines
- Not only do trains need to be split for ferry transport, but the 91km water journey takes 5 hours. (See Economic and social commissioner for Asia and the Pacific: Development of the Trans-Asian Railway in the southern corridor of asia-europe routes United Nations, page 42, Peter Hodgkinson www.unescap.org
- Excluding urban mass transit systems, and tram networks.
- TCDD statistical report 2009-2013 page 119, www.tcdd.gov.tr
- Turkish State Railways : Railway policies throughout the 80 years of our history www.tcdd.gov.tr
- Ministry of Transport and Communications : Ankara-Istanbul high speed train project www.ubak.gov.tr
- Ministry of Transport and Communications : Marmaray project www.ubak.gov.tr
- Ministry of Transport and Communications : Strategic Aims and Targets (section "strategy") www.ubak.gov.tr
- On the fast track to reform 09/03/2009, railwaygazette.com
- Government mulls comprehensive railway reform 30/07/2008
- "Law of Liberalization of Railway Transportation (in Turkish)" Turkish Parliament
- Uysal, Onur. "Turkish Republic Liberalized Railways", Rail Turkey, 24 March 2013
- Uysal, Onur. "2023 Targets in Rail Freight - Network", Rail Turkey, 11 July 2013
- Presentation of the Rail Transport:Turkey Tevfik Muhammed, Engineer, Turkish State Railways (TCDD), 21/11/2008 www.euromedtransport.org
- Turkish State Railways Annual Statistics 2010-2014
- Turkey high speed launch 13/03/2009 railwaygazette.com
- In the Ottoman Empire: some parts of lines extending into the middle east would not be incorporated into the Turkish State on its creation
- Uysal, Onur. "Traveling by Train in Turkey", Rail Turkey, 5 Mar 2014
- Uysal, Onur. "Turkish Railway Industry Report 2013 – Passenger", Rail Turkey, 24 July 2014
- Uysal, Onur. "Where is Closed in Turkish Railways?", Rail Turkey, 16 May 2014
- Railway Gazette International - January 2008 p51
- Kayalar, Ali (27 September 2012), "No Turkish Trains Arrive in Syria, Iraq for Months", www.hurriyetdailynews.com, Hurriyet Daily News
- Country report of Republic of Turkey in the field of transport and telecommunication page 3, United Nations Economic and Social commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) www.unescap.org
- Turkey, Iran agree on joint railway 27/7/2007 yenisafak.com.tr
- Uysal, Onur. "Baku Tbilisi Kars Railway to be Opened in 2014", Rail Turkey, 15 June 2013
- The closed Armenia-Turkey border:Economic and social effects, including those on the people; and implications for the overall situation in the region Study produced for the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee on Development, Author :Nathalie Tocci, Co-authors: Burcu Gültekin-Punsmann, Licínia Simão, Nicolas Tavitian, August 2007, (specifics p14) www.europarl.europa.eu
- Armenia-Turkey railway network may be launched in couple of days 11/11/2009 www.armtown.com
- Project information document (PID) : Railways restructuring project (Turkey) World Bank, 2009, www-wds.worldbank.org
- TÜLOMSAŞ Company brochure www.tulomsas.com.tr
- TUVASAS Company website www.tuvasas.com
- Tuvasas, Manufacturers and services - Locomotives and passenger vehicles (Turkey) www.janes.com
- Hyundai Rotem newsletter No.15 page 2, 2008, www.hyundai-rotem.co.kr
- Hyundai Rotem newsletter No.16 page 3, 2009, www.hyundai-rotem.co.kr
- İlk hızlı tren fabrikası üretime başlıyor Plant begins production of the first high speed train, October 2008, www.tumgazeteler.com
- TÜDEMSAŞ Company website www.tudemsas.gov.tr
- TCDD annual report 2008 www.tcdd.gov.tr