Turkish Transport Minister, Ahmet Arslan, announced that the second phase of the Marmaray metro project will be completed in 2018. According to the project, the current 13.6 kilometer-long line will be extended, adding 63 kilometers.
The works involve the rebuilding of a railway line connecting the two parts of Istanbul, European and Asian. The existing line runs from the eastern point of the Ayrilik Cesmesi (terminus of the Bosphorus) via Pendik to Gebze and the western end of Kazlicesme to Halkalı. It has not been used for several years. The new project will add 32 new rail stations, besides the five currently operating stations on the central section.
The existing double-track line is extended in order to add a third railway line which allows high-speed trains to run. They are currently running only to Pendik terminal. The trains will then arrive at Haydarpasa, the former main train station on the Asian side of Istanbul, and then arrive in Halkalı.
Minister Arslan also said that this third line will be used, at night, by freight trains, which facilitates for the first time a railway connection along the Bosphorus.
In addition, the planning phase for a new high-speed line from Halkalı (railway station in the western city of Istanbul) to Edirne and Kapikule, on the border with Bulgaria, was completed. Minister Arslan also underlined the fact that the tender documentation was prepared. Thus, a contract for this new project should be awarded later this year. “We want to complete Halkalı – Kapikule rail line until 2022-2023”, the Turkish Minister of Transport points out.
“Of all the modes of transport for the Ankara-Istanbul route, citizens prefer high speed rail transport at a rate of 15%. Once the high-speed line continues to Haydarpasa and then to Halkalı, we estimate that this share will increase to 40%, “added Minister Arslan.
Photo: Haydarpasa railway station, on the Asian part of Istanbul