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High-speed rail in Turkey

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High-speed rail in Turkey

High-speed rail in Turkey
A westbound train waiting to depart Ankara station
A westbound train waiting to depart Ankara station
Turkish high-speed rail network in service, under construction, and planned
Turkish high-speed rail network in service, under construction, and planned
Line length: 888 km. (Mainlines:439*2 + Service lines:5*2)
Track gauge: 1435
Voltage: 25 kv / 50 Hz AC
Maximum incline: 1.6  %
Minimum radius: 3500
Maximum speed: 250
Yüksek Hızlı Tren

The Turkish State Railways started building high-speed rail lines in 2003. The first section of the line, between Ankara and Eskişehir, was inaugurated on 13 March 2009. It is a part of the 533 km Istanbul to Ankara high-speed rail line. A subsidiary of Turkish State Railways, Yüksek Hızlı Tren is the sole commercial operator of high speed trains in Turkey.

The construction of three separate high-speed lines from Ankara to Istanbul, Konya and Sivas, as well as taking an Ankara–Izmir line to the launch stage, form part of the Turkish Ministry of Transport's strategic aims and targets.[1] Turkey plans to construct a network of high-speed lines in the early part of the 21st century, targeting a 1500 km network of high-speed lines by 2013 and a 10000 km network by the year 2023.[2]

The Marmaray project, which consists of a rail transport network around Istanbul and the world's deepest immersed tube railway tunnel under the Bosphorus strait, is also under construction. The Marmaray tunnel will connect the railway lines on the European and Asian parts of Istanbul and Turkey. In 2013 the Marmaray tunnel was opened and passenger transportation is started partially in 13.5 km of total 76.5 km.[3] The rest was expected to be completed by 2015, but it now looks like this will not happen until some time in 2016.

Lines in operation

Ankara – İstanbul high-speed line

Prior to the introduction of the high-speed line, the population centres of İstanbul (12 million) and Ankara (5 million) were connected by a 576 km long railway line, of which only 110 km was double tracked.[4] The whole line was electrified, but low radius turns and poor track quality made high-speed rail transport impossible. Prior to the upgrading of this line in 2006, the railway's market share of Istanbul to Ankara passenger transit was 10%, with a travel time of ~6.5 hours.[4]

In 1994, an initial plan to upgrade the existing line was launched, named the "Ankara–İstanbul Railway Line Rehabilitation Project." Smoothing of curves to allow running at around 100 km/h, and some track doubling were planned.[5] The design specifications were not expected to meet future needs and no progress was made until 1999, when funding was obtained for a line between Esenkent and Eskişehir, to be operated at 200 km/h. Subsequently, this developed into the high speed line project with the expected line speed raised to 250 km/h. Contracts for this line were signed in 2000.[5]

The development of the 1994 "railway rehabilitation project" forms the first section of the Ankara–İstanbul high-speed line, and is expected to reduce in half the travelling time between the two cities, with hopes to capture a far greater share (78%) of the passenger transportation market between the two cities.[6]

The China Railway Construction Corporation and the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation won the bid in 2005 to build the railway line in partnership with two Turkish companies, Cengiz Construction and İbrahim Cecen Ictas Construction.[7]

The Ankara - Istanbul HST line opened on 25.07.2014, although with all trains terminating at Pendik, which is 1 hour by bus from Kadikoy in the eastern suburbs of Istanbul. There are 12 trips per day and the journey takes 3.5 hours. All trains stop at Eskişehir and İzmit. High-speed trains were originally expected to start running through the Bosporus tunnel to the European side of Istanbul in 2015 via Marmaray, but the work has been delayed and this is now likely to take at least until 2016.

Design and construction

The first high-speed railroad to be built in Turkey will connect the county's largest conurbations of Ankara and İstanbul via Eskişehir, with a junction at Polatlı to the Ankara-Konya high-speed line.[8]

The line is 533 km long, double tracked, electrified, and signalled,[8] to ETCS level 1 standard[6][9] and is independent of the original Ankara to Istanbul line. The design speed is 250 km/h.[8]

The first part of the line to be constructed (Phase 1) was the Ankara to Eskişehir section, specifically between Sincan and İnönü, scheduled to open in 2006.

The second phase was scheduled to open in 2008 and included more difficult terrain which covers the path between İnönü and Köseköy, extending to Gebze close to Istanbul.[6] The service in this line is expected to start on the 25th of July, 2014.[10] A part of the route has not been completed yet by the time of opening, so conventional line will be used until the completion of the project.

Ankara – İstanbul high-speed line construction
Line section Length (km) Start / opening date[note 1] Notes
Ankara – Sincan 24 As of 2009, the existing track between Ankara and Esenkent is used until the completion of a dedicated high-speed line[11]

As of 2013, one track of high-speed line has been completed between Ankara and Sincan and it is being used with reduced signalling features

Sincan – Esenkent 15 2008–2010[8] This section has been opened in 2010 with full signalling features
Esenkent – Eskişehir 206 2004–2009[11] Infrastructure includes: 2 road bridges and 30 road underpasses, 7 railway bridges, and 13 river crossings. 4 viaducts (total length over 4 km), and 1 tunnel (471 m).
First test runs in April 2007.[8]
Eskişehir station 3.4 km 2008–[8] To avoid congestion problems in the city of Eskişehir, a tunnel and cutting project is being undertaken. 2240 m of covered tunnel consisting of 2 high-speed lines, 2 conventional lines, and 1 freight line, plus 1151 m of excavated track (U shape) with 2 high-speed tracks and 1 freight track.[8]

Eskisehir station infrastructure works have already started

Eskişehir – Inönü 30 Officially opened on 25 July 2014.[12]
Inönü – Vezirhan 54 Officially opened on 25 July 2014.[12]
Vezirhan – Köseköy 104 Officially opened on 25 July 2014.[12]
Köseköy – Pendik 56 Officially opened on 25 July 2014.[12]
Pendik – Haydarpaşa (İstanbul) 44 The final section of the track from Pendik to İstanbul falls within the scope of the Marmaray project, projected to open in 2015.

Operation and rolling stock

The Ankara to Eskişehir section officially opened on 13 March 2009.[11]

The line is operated by the Turkish State Railways, using the TCDD HT65000 6-car train sets constructed by the Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) of Spain.

On 13 November 2009, a high-speed train derailed near Eskişehir.[13]

On 25th of Jul 2014, Istanbul-Ankara high speed train service started.[14] The stretch has not completed yet, thus service is partially using conventional line, which causes a little longer trip than the target. 6 trains depart every day in both directions.[15] Final station in İstanbul is temporarily Pendik, a district in east of İstanbul. Several public transport connections are organized to access the HST trains.[16]

In addition to 11 sets of CAF used in Ankara-Eskişehir and Ankara-Konya routes, TCDD had bought 7 Siemens Velaro sets to be used in Ankara-İstanbul line which is planned to be open by the end of 2013.[17]

TCDD is also planning to open a new tender for 106 new sets to be supplied in 5 years and used in new-added lines.[18]

Ankara – Konya high-speed line

The second high-speed line construction project in Turkey was a line from Polatlı on the Ankara to İstanbul line to Konya.[19]

Prior to the construction of the line, journeys between Ankara and Konya took over 10 hours, travelling from Ankara via Eskişehir and Afyon, with a total length of nearly 1000 km.[5][note 2] The new high-speed line is 306 km in length, with a journey time of 1 hour and 15 minutes.[5] 212 km of new track is constructed via Polatlı and Konya, with a design permitting up to 350 km/h of high-speed rail transport.[19] ETCS Level 2 will be used.[20]

Construction was split into two phases: Phase 1 was the 100 km section and Phase 2 was the 112 km section between Polatlı and Konya.

Ankara – Konya high-speed line construction
Line section Length (km) Start / opening date[note 1] Notes
Ankara – Polatlı junction 98 km 2004–2009 Constructed as part of the Ankara to Istanbul high-speed line, on the Sincan – Eskişehir section
Phase 1
Polatlı via Kocahacılı to the 100 km mark
100 km 2007–2011 An estimated cost increase of 20% due to weak ground[19]
Phase 2
from 100 km mark to Konya
112 km 2006–2011

The line includes a tunnel of 2030m.[19] The first test train ran in December 2010;[21] Revenue services began on 24 August 2011.[22] Currently, same CAF trains which are used on Ankara-Eskisehir line are running on this line with 250 km/h maximum speed. In the future, TCDD will procure 6 more sets with up to 350 km/h. The journey time between the two cities (Ankara-Konya) is 1 and a half hours, dropping to 1 hour and 15 minutes in the future. Previously the journey time was 10 hours and 30 minutes. There will be 10 trains a day, though this will rise to one per hour in the future.

Lines under construction and planning phase

Ankara – Sivas High Speed Line : More than half of the budgeted investment has been done by 2014, and is planned to be completed by 2023.

Ankara – İzmir High Speed Line : The project has recently started, and is planned to be completed by 2025.

Ankara – Bursa High Speed Line : One third of the budgeted investment has been done, and is planned to be completed by 2023.

Konya – Gaziantep Speed Line : The project has recently started, and is planned to be completed by 2023.

Gaziantep – Habur Speed Line : The project has recently started, and is planned to be completed by 2030.

For high speed trains, TCDD has a budget of more than 1 billion TL for 2014.[23]

According to official (budgeted) and unofficial (announced) plans, 45 of 81 cities will be connected by high speed in long term.[24]

Ankara – Sivas high-speed lines

Ankara – Sivas line

Prior to the construction of the high-speed line, the railway line length between Ankara and Sivas was 602 km, primarily single-tracked, with a travel time of 12 hours. New travel time will be 2 hours and 51 minutes[19] The new high-speed line will be double-tracked and have a length of 466 km eastwards from Ankara to Sivas[19] via Kırıkkale, Yerköy and Yozgat[25] and constructed for the most part to the same 250 km/h operational design as the previous lines. The infrastructure includes 6 viaducts (with a total length over 3 km), 11 tunnels (including one of ~3 km in length), and 67 bridges.[26]

The route study was completed by the end of 2006, and put up for tender in two parts; separated at the 174 km mark from Ankara at Yerköy.[26]

Ankara – Sivas high-speed line construction
Line section Length (km) Start / opening date[note 1] Notes
Ankara – Kırıkkale 88 2013 – April 2016[27] Plans are revised due to that previous plans includes short sections of less than high-speed running due to small radius curve sections of track in the Ankara to Kırıkkkale section.[26]
Kırıkkale – Yerköy 86 2013 – April 2016[27] Tender is completed in 2012.
Yerköy – Sivas 291 2009[28]-2015 (estimated) 7 tunnels over 10 km in total length and 4 viaducts over 2.7 km in total length.
Tender for construction of groundwork awarded in 2008. 7 stations to be built: 3 between Yerköy and Doğakent, and 4 between Doğakent and Sivas, to be separately tendered.[26]

Sivas – Kars line

An extension eastwards to Kars from the Ankara – Sivas line is planned (a feasibility study having been started in 2006[29]), passing through Erzincan and Erzurum.[25] The line is expected to be built in three phases. It will be electrified and double-tracked based on the 250 km/h standard.[30]

Sivas-Erzincan line construction will start in 2018.

Ankara – İzmir high-speed line

Plans for a high-speed line from İzmir to Ankara have been approved. The line will pass through Afyon to meet the high-speed line from Ankara to Istanbul near Polatlı. It will have a length of 624 km, with a projected running speed of 250 km/h[30] The travel will take 3 hours and 30 minutes.

The line is scheduled to be finished and operational by 2025.

The construction of line is planned in three phases:

Ankara – İzmir high-speed line construction
Line section Length (km) Start / opening date[note 1] Notes
Ankara – Polatlı junction 98 2004–2009 Constructed as part of the Ankara to Istanbul high-speed line, on the Sincan – Eskişehir section.
Polatlı – Konya
the 120 km mark
27 2007–2011 Constructed as part of the Ankara to Konya high-speed line, on the Phase1 section.
Phase 1
Polatlı – Afyon
167 2012–2015 (estimated) The line uses first 120 km. of Ankara – Konya high-speed line. The junction is located approximately 20 km south of Polatlı.

Number of tunnels: 11 --- Total tunnel length: 8.000 Meters
Number of viaducts: 16 --- Total viaduct length: 6.300 Meters
Number of bridges: 24

Phase 2
Afyon – Uşak
will be tendered in 2014.
Phase 3
Uşak – Manisa – İzmir
Plans are being revised.

Bursa – Bozüyük high-speed line

A 75 km line between Bursa and Bozüyük is planned to connect with the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed line; contracts were awarded in 2011 and construction is expected to start in 2012. The line is expected to open in 2023, and would be capable of 250 km/h operation.[31]

Bursa – Bilecik high-speed line construction
Line section Length (km) Start / opening date[note 1] Notes
Bursa – Yenişehir 2012–2015 (estimated)
Yenisehir – Bozüyük

Konya – Gaziantep speed lines

Konya – Gaziantep line

Gaziantep – Habur line

Lines in the planning phase

Antalya - Konya - Kayseri High Speed Line

This line is planned as a section of the Ankara-Antalya high-speed line. Ankara-Konya high-speed line will utilized for Ankara-Antalya high-speed line.

İstanbul – Edirne - Kapıkule - Svilengrad (Bulgaria)Speed line

The Ankara to Istanbul high-speed line is to be extended 230 km from Halkalı (a western suburb of Istanbul) all the way to Turkey's borders with Bulgaria and Greece at the vicinity of Kapıkule in the Edirne Province. Travel times will be reduced from 5 hours to 1 hour.

Black Sea – Mediterranean Sea Speed line

Speed line from Samsun to Mediterranean Sea has been proposed. Samsun-Amasya-Çorum-Yerköy-Kırşehir-Aksaray-Konya-Antalya line [32] Samsun-Çorum section of Schwarzes Meer-Mittelmeer speed line will utilized for Smasun-Ankara speed line. Antalya-Konya-Aksaray section of Antalya-Kayseri High Speed Line will utilized for Schwarzes Meer - Mittelmeer speed line.

Konya - Kütahya - Çanakkale Speed line

Konya to Çanakkale via Afyon.[33] This line is planned as a section of the İzmir-Konya high-speed line. Afyon-Kütahya section of Konya-Çanakkale speed line will utilized for Istanbul-Antalya speed line. Çanakkale-Balıkseri-Kütahya section of Konya-Çanakkale speed line will utilized for Çanakkale-Balıkseri-Kütahya-Ankara speed line via Eskişehir.

Ankara – Kayseri Speed line

Kayseri to Yerköy line – branching from the Ankara – Sivas high-speed line.

Konya - Denizli Speed line

Konya to Denizli via Akşehir. This line is planned as a section of the Konya-Muğla/Fethiye line. Konya-Akşehir section of Konya-Çanakkale speed line will utilized for Konya-Denizli speed line. Denizli-Dinar section of Konya-Denizli line will utilized for Denizli-Ankara speed line via Afyon.

Future extension plans

Other projected high-speed rail lines include: Extension from Konya to Mersin via Silifke/Taşucu.[34]

High-speed train sets and production facilities

TREVI ETR 500 test trains

The first high-speed trains to run on Turkish rails were two ETR 500 train sets rented from Trenitalia of Italy and were used for testing the completed part of the high-speed railway network, between Eskişehir and Ankara, on 23 April 2007.[35] During the tests, ETR 500 Y2 achieved the current rail speed record in Turkey, reaching 303 km/h.[36]


The first ten TCDD HT65000 high-speed train sets were purchased from CAF of Spain, and can reach a maximum speed of 260 km/h.

Siemens Velaro TR

The Velaro TR is a Velaro D derived 8-car standard gauge high-speed train for the Turkish State Railways (TCDD). The eight cars, totalling a length of 200 m, can accommodate 516 passengers and have a 300 km/h top speed. 25 kV 50 Hz AC power the train with a total of 8 MW.

Turkish State Railways (TCDD) placed an order for seven Velaro high-speed trainsets in July 2013.[37] The contract is worth €285m, including seven years of maintenance.[37] The Velaros are to be deployed on the Turkish high-speed railway network. The first Siemens Velaro TR entered service in 2014.[38]

On 18 February 2015 TCDD ordered another 10 Velaro TR for delivery in 2017.[37] The €400m contract include the first three years of maintenance and spareparts.

Unlike the traditional white - red - dark blue color scheme used on the TCDD HT65000 high-speed trainsets, a white - turquoise - grey color scheme has been selected for the livery of TCDD's Velaro TR trainsets.[38]


EUROTEM, alternatively Hyundai EURotem, is a joint enterprise between Hyundai Rotem of South Korea and TÜVASAŞ of Turkey which was established in 2006[39] and started production in December 2007.[39] The Hyundai EURotem factory in Adapazarı, Turkey, was built as the Hızlı Tren Fabrikası (High-Speed Train Factory) with the purpose of manufacturing the next generation of Turkey's high-speed train sets.[40]

Related infrastructure projects

The Marmaray project, which connects the European and Asian suburban railway lines, will also connect the Thracian and Anatolian high-speed railway lines in Turkey via the world's deepest immersed-tube railway tunnel across the Bosphorus strait.[41]

A new high-speed rail terminus station is to be built in Ankara (2009–2010), which is to be funded as a public private partnership, using the Build-Operate-Transfer model. Additionally, new stations are to be constructed in İstanbul, Izmir, Edirne, Trabzon, Erzurum, Erzincan, Sivas, Kayseri, Antalya, Afyon and Polatlı.[42]

See also

References and notes


  1. ^ a b c d e Start of construction / Official opening
  2. ^ There was no direct connection between Ankara and Konya by rail


  2. ^ TCDD annual report 2008
  3. ^ Uysal, Onur. "Marmaray Opened", Rail Turkey, 29 October 2013
  4. ^ a b Evaluation of Ankara – Istanbul high speed train project Authors: Ali Payidar Akgungor, Abdulmuttalip Demirel, 2006, ISSN 1648-4142 print / ISSN 1648-3480 online, periodical: "TRANSPORT" 2007, Vol XXII, No 1,
  5. ^ a b c d Railway projects in Turkey Author: Mustafa Karaşahin, Publication: "Mechanics Transport Communications", ISSN 1312-3823, issue 3, 2007
  6. ^ a b c Ankara-İstanbul High-Speed Train Project, Turkey
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d e f g The current situation in the Ankara-İstanbul high speed line project "ANKARA-İSTANBUL HIGH SPEED LINE PROJECT"
  9. ^ Alcatel-Lucent partners with Thales to expand Turkish Railways’ high-speed signalling network 16 March 2009
  10. ^ Uysal, Onur. "Istanbul – Ankara High Speed Train to Start on 25th of July", Rail Turkey, 21 July 2014
  11. ^ a b c UIC celebrates the introduction of high speed in Turkey 19 March 2009
  12. ^ a b c d Ozen, Levent. "Sections of Ankara Istanbul HST Line", RaillyNews, 25 July 2014
  13. ^ Turkey high-speed train derails 13 November 2009
  14. ^ Uysal, Onur. "First High Speed Train Set on Ankara Istanbul Line Arrived İstanbul", Rail Turkey, 26 July 2014
  15. ^ Uysal, Onur. "New Schedule for Istanbul-Ankara High Speed Train", Rail Turkey, 9 August 2014
  16. ^ Uysal, Onur. "How to Get to High Speed Train in İstanbul?", Rail Turkey, 22 October 2014
  17. ^ Uysal, Onur. "TCDD Prefers Velaro as HST Sets", Rail Turkey, 9 July 2013
  18. ^ Uysal, Onur. "Turkey to Buy 106 New High Speed Trains", Rail Turkey, 28 July 2013
  19. ^ a b c d e f The current situation on the Ankara – Konya high speed line
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Opening of Ankara – Konya fast line completes strategic link – Railway Gazette
  23. ^ Uysal, Onur. "Railway Investments of Turkey in 2014", Rail Turkey, 21 Jan 2014
  24. ^ Uysal, Onur. "Cities To Be Connected by High Speed Trains in Turkey", Rail Turkey, 7 May 2014
  25. ^ a b Turkey’s Railway Stations: A railway station that connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean: Sivas Railway Station
  26. ^ a b c d ANKARA-SİVAS HIZLI TREN PROJESİ YERKÖY-YOZGAT-SİVAS KESİMİ Ankara – Sivas railway project
  27. ^ a b [1] Kirikkale hizli tren insaati icin kamulastirmalar basliyor. 1 April 2013
  28. ^ SİVAS ANKARA ARASI 2 SAAT 50 DAKİKAYA İNECEK "2hr 50mins between Ankara and Sivas" 16 March 2009
  30. ^ a b Development of Euro-Asian transport links Author: Selim Bolat, Research, Planning & Coordination Department, Turkish State Railways –TCDD, September 2007, Page 4, via
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Hürriyet: Hızlı tren artık raylarda
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b c
  38. ^ a b TCDD's first Siemens Velaro trainset
  39. ^ a b Presentation of the Rail Transport – Turkey Tevfik Muhammed YEŞİLÇAM (TCDD) 21 November 2008 Page 29,
  40. ^ TCDD: Hızlı Tren Fabrikası (High-Speed Train Factory)
  41. ^ Project of the Century: Marmaray
  42. ^ Privatizations & Upcoming PPP-Projects in Turkey Page 28

External links

  • TCDD: Turkish State Railways
  • RayHaber: Turkish railway news webpage and magazine
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