Everyday more than 7 million passengers (out of a total population of 15 million people) use Istanbul’s buses, metrobuses, railways and ferryboats, according to the city’s authorities. The public transport sector in Istanbul, especially urban rail transport, is set to become more and more developed and attractive among citizens who need to rapidly go from one point to another in a city almost suffocated by road traffic.
Istanbul is a dense city with its 15 million people living in an area of 5,200 square kilometers divided by the Bosphorus Strait into two continents. Undoubtedly, in a city of this dimension the traffic is one of the biggest problems. The public transport system has difficulties to keep pace with the rapid growth and changing urban structure.
There are huge rail system projects ongoing currently in Istanbul. Marmaray project is the biggest and the most expensive project in the city’s public transport system. The underwater tunnel passing underneath the Bosphorus Strait connecting both Europe and Asia was opened in October 2013. This rail tunnel connects to a new Yenikapi – Halkali rail line on the European side and to a new Üsküdar – Gebze rail line on the Asian side. The second tunnel, called as Eurasia Tunnel, was inaugurated in 2016. The 3rd tunnel project is called Great Istanbul Tunnel and will be a 3-level undersea tunnel for road vehicles and for a rail line; according to the authorities’ projections, it should be ready by 2023.
The tunnel will integrate local metro lines of Istanbul including Başakşehir-Bağcılar-Bakırköy metro, Yenikapı-Aksaray-Airport metro, Topkapı-Sultançifliği Light metro, Mahmutbey-Mecidiyeköy metro, Yenikapı-Hacıosman metro, Üsküdar-Ümraniye-Çekmeköy-Sancaktepe metro, Kadıköy-Kartal metro, Marmaray, Kabataş-Bağcılar tram and suburban rail lines.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality announced that for 2017 TRY 10 billion (EUR 2.54 billion) will be allocated for metro and suburban rail projects. This budget, includes 9 metro projects developed by the Istanbul Municipality, 4 metro projects undertaken by the Transport Ministry and Marmaray metro project, and, overall is 50% more than the railway investment budget of Turkey including high speed train projects (which, for 2017 is TRY 586 million-EUR 150 million).
The largest amounts within this year’s budget are for Gayrettepe – 3rd Airport metro line (TRY 2.1 billion – EUR 534 million) with a completion date for 2022, Göztepe-Ataşehir-Ümraniye metro (TRY 1.1 billion – EUR 282 million), with a completion date for 2020 and Kabataş-Meciyeköy-Mahmutbey metro (TRY 1.02 billion – EUR 261 million), a project which is estimated to be completed in 2021.
Also, in 2017, for Marmaray metro project there will be TRY 1.4 billion (EUR 359 million) and the Istanbul Municipality estimates that the extension of this project will be completed by 2019.
Furthermore, the Kaynarca/Pendik-Tuzla metro line will receive TRY 858 million (EUR 218 million) and the line is expected to be completed in 2020.
Metro line 5, Üsküdar – Ümraniye – Çekmeköy metro will receive a total of TRY 619 million (EUR 157 million) and the completion date is estimated for 2017.
Çekmeköy-Sultanbeyli metro line will have a total TRY 735 million (EUR 187 million) and could be completed in 2020.
Metro line 9 in Istanbul, Ataköy-İkitelli, will have a total of TRY 403 million (EUR 102 million) and a completion date set for 2019.
Pendik-Sabiha Gökçen metro line will receive TRY 334 million (EUR 85 million) and has a completion date estimated for 2018.
Yenikapı-Sefaköy metro connection will receive a total of TRY 279 million (EUR 71 million) and will be completed also in 2018.
Mahmutbey-Bahçeşehir -Esenyurt metro line, in Istanbul, will receive TRY 270 million (EUR 68 million) and should be completed in 2020.
Bakırköy-Bahçelievler-Kirazlı metro connection is to receive TRY 223 million (EUR 57 million) and according to the estimations could be completed also in 2020.
Kirazlı-Halkalı metro line will receive a budget of TRY 128 million (EUR 33 million) and works should be completed in 2022.
And last but not least, Başakşehir-Kayaşehir metro connection is to receive TRY 108 million (EUR 27.5 million) and the completion date for this metro line is set for 2020.
The new State rail transport operator in Turkey, TCDD Taşımacılık, announced for 2017 an investment of TRY 586 million (EUR 150 million) for the purchase of new diesel locomotives and new passenger and freight railcars.
In the last four years, the financing allocated from the State budget was almost the same, with a few differences, as in 2014 for the purchase of rolling stock the amount assigned was of TRY 453 million (EUR 115 million), in 2015 the amount was TRY 676 million (EUR 171.5 million), this being the highest amount allocated in the last four years, and in 2016 the state budget financing for new rolling stock was TRY 615 million (EUR 156 million).
High speed train sets will obtain the biggest share within the rolling stock investments budget in 2017 as TRY 245 million (EUR 62.3 million) will be spent for high speed trains. Deliveries of the order for 6 Velaro Siemens trainsets was completed in 2016. TCDD Taşımacılık is now getting prepared for the purchase of 10 high speed trains, as a first step within the project to purchase 106 high speed trains, project which is worth TRY 10 billion (EUR 2.54 billion).
Furthermore, TCDD Taşımacılık has an investment budget of TRY 130 million (EUR 33 million) for the purchase of new freight cars and modernisation of its freight cars fleet. Thus, in 2017, 1200 freight cars will either be purchased or modernised, TCDD Taşımacılık says.
The company is planning to buy 52 DMU sets until 2018. This year’s budget, for the investment, is TRY 120 million (EUR 30.5 million). Currently, there are 80 DMU sets in the fleet, 48 of which are in service and operating.
The company did not purchase any locomotive in 2016 but this year, for this purpose, TRY 20 million (EUR 5 million) are earmarked. TCDD allocated a budget of TRY 55 million (EUR 14 million) for the purchase of a train for testing high-speed lines.
by Elena IlieShare on: