Turkey - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services

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TCDD has not published a timetable for many years and this list is based on the public timetables contained in the TCDD website as at December 2022. Standard abbreviations are explained in General Information. In the absence of timetable table numbers, each line's TCDD Bölge (administrative/operational region) is given, namely: 1 Istanbul (Haydarpaşa), both European and Asian Turkey; 2 Ankara; 3 Izmir (Alsancak); 4 Sivas; 5 Malatya; 6 Adana and 7 Afyonkarahisar.

The TCDD website is sometimes not updated to represent the actual situation. Trains may remain on the site when they have been cancelled, curtailed or amended. Prospective passengers should check carefully any notes (which are in Turkish only) relating to trains.

Map references for each route entry are given in parentheses ( ). References prefixed "ERA-E" refer to the European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball. The European Railway Atlas (Regional Series) by M.G. Ball does not cover Turkey.

Obscure services

Polatli avoiding line: Km.456+029 HZ – Km 5+691 HZ

[Bölge 2] (ERA–E 112C4) TR23/1

This west <==> south curve south west of Polatli connects the Eskişehir (- İstanbul) and Konya (- Karaman) high speed lines. It is used by high speed services (Yüksek Hizli Tren) between İstanbul and Konya/Karaman.

(Ankara –) Sincan – Polatli – Eskişehir – Esentepe (– İstanbul)

[Bölge 2] (ERA–E 112C4) TR23/2

There are two largely parallel lines between Sincan and Esentepe, which is about 30 km south of Arifiye: the original 'classic' single track Ankara – İstanbul main line and the Ankara - Eskişehir - Arifiye high speed line. Note that the high speed line will be extended beyond Esentepe at some point. The only trains using the 'classic' line are local services between Ankara and Polatli, plus the following long distance trains.

22006 İzmir Mavi 20:00 Ankara - İzmir Basmane
22001 Ankara Ekspresi 22:00 Ankara - İstanbul (Halkali)
32005 İzmir Mavi İzmir Basmane - 04:48 Eskişehir - Ankara
12002 Ankara Ekspresi 22:05 İstanbul (Halkali) - Ankara

Note that the İzmir services use the 'classic' line only between Ankara and Eskişehir, so only the İstanbul services run to Esentepe.

Eskişehir avoiding line (Km 2.2 – Km 310.2)

[Bölge 7] (ERA 112B4) TR23/3

This west <==> south curve connects the İstanbul and Afyon lines, avoiding Eskişehir station.

It is thought that it is used by single ended diesel locomotive hauled trains from Kütahya to Eskişehir, which reverse at the west junction and propel into the station to avoid the locomotive having to run round. This was observed on a video of train 72601 06.00 Tavşanlı to Eskişehir. The compilers would appreciate details of any other train observed taking this route.

Alayunt triangle

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B4) TR23/4

All trains between Eskişehir and Afyon run via Kütahya, using the north <=> west and west <=> south curves of the triangle and calling at Alayunt Müselles when traversing the latter curve. The north <=> south curve thus has no service. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Kütahya loop

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B4, not shown) TR23/5

In order to avoid reversing, locomotive hauled trains between Eskişehir and Kütahya which either continue to Afyon or terminate at Kütahya run via this loop line which diverges to the north, east of Kütahya, enabling them to approach the station from the west. It is always used prior to arrival at Kütahya.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 12:16 Alayunt - Denizli
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi Denizli - 16:35 Alayunt Müselles - Eskişehir

Note that the local trains 72601 - 72608 are at present worked by units or railbuses, so reverse at Kütahya and do not use the loop.

Karakuyu loop

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B3, not shown) TR23/6

The line from Afyon divides into a balloon loop north of Karakuyu, giving two connections into Karakuyu station. One loop runs into the east end and can be used by trains between Afyon and Izmir via Goncali in order to avoid reversal. The other runs into the west end and can be used by trains between Afyon and Isparta to avoid reversal; however there are no longer such passenger services.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Based on their timings, the following trains must use the east end loop:

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 16:25 Ekinova - Denizli
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi Denizli - 12:28 Karakuyu - Eskişehir

Afyonkarahisar loop

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B3, not shown) TR23/7

Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya station (abbreviated hereafter to Afyon) is equipped with a loop line which leaves the station in a south-easterly direction and turns to the north-east, joining the Eskişehir line. This enables trains between Eskişehir and either of the routes to Izmir (via Uşak or via Karakuyu) to avoid reversal.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

The loop appears to be used on departure from Afyon.

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 14:38 Afyon A.Çetinkaya - Denizli
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi Denizli - 14:49 Afyon A.Çetinkaya - Eskişehir

Goncali triangle

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B3) TR23/8

There is a triangle south of Goncali station whose usage is as follows:

north - west curve (Goncali – Goncali Müselles)

Trains between Izmir/Söke and Denizli, and also

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 19:21 Goncali - Denizli. The train reverses at Goncalı

north - east curve (Goncali – Kaklık (– Çardak))

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 18:45 Kaklık - Denizli

east – west curve ((Çardak –) Kaklık – Goncali Müselles)

32015 Göller Ekspresi İzmir Basmane - 04:08 Denizli – Isparta
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi 09:45 Denizli - Eskişehir
72016 Göller Ekspresi Isparta - 01:04 Kaklık – İzmir Basmane

Note: Goncali Müselles is a basic request halt on the avoiding line at the west junction. There is no platform or station infrastructure here.

Malatya avoiding line: Sitmapinar – Km 247.8

[Bölge 5] (ERA–E 113A3) TR23/9

This north <=> west curve links the lines from Sivas and Adana.

When there is engineering work between Elazığ and Tatvan, the Vangölü Ekspresi from Ankara to Tatvan is terminated at Elazığ. The stock needs to be turned but there is no facility at or near Elazig to facilitate this. The train therefore runs via the Malatya avoiding line and propels into the station. The locomotive has a cab at only one end, so it runs back light engine round all three sides of the triangle and then attaches to what is now the front of the train, before continuing to Elaziğ. Note that this applies only on the outward run from Ankara to Malatya.

Other sparse services

The following lines have few trains (relative to service levels generally in this country) - fewer than three trains each way on at least three days a week - or do not run each weekday.

(İstanbul, Halkali -) Çerkezköy - Edirne - Kapikule - Svilengrad (Bulgaria) / Uzunköprü (Greek border) Bölge 1 (ERA 111A2 - 111C1) One regional train each way per day between Halkali and Uzunköprü and one each way between Halkali and Kapikule. There is now a more frequent service between Halkali and Çerkezköy, although these trains do not appear in the Bölgesel Trenler (Regional Trains) page.

The Istanbul-Sofia Express runs nightly between Halkali and Sofia.

The Optima Express car carrying train runs via this route. The train runs once or twice per week in each direction between Villach (Austria) and Edirne (Turkey), between May and November. Foot passenger bookings may also be made.

Irmak - Çankiri - Karabük - Filyos - Zonguldak Bölge 2 (ERA 112C4) Trains are running only between Karabük and Zonguldak owing to engineering work.
(Kayseri -) Boğazköprü - Niğde - Ulukışla (- Adana) Bölge 2 (ERA 112C3) The Erciyes Ekspresi, running overnight between Kayseri and Adana, is the only train over this line.
Balıkesir - Bandirma Şehir Bölge 3 (ERA 112B4) One train each way, the 6 Eylül Ekspresi. The 17 Eylül Ekspresi appears in the list of trains, but does not appear to be running as at the end of December 2022. There is a connection at Bandirma for high speed ferries to İstanbul Yenikapı.

Note that services to/from Bandirma are subject to suspension during engineering works.

Ortaklar - Söke Bölge 3 (ERA 112B3) Two trains a day each way.
Karakuyu - Isparta Bölge 3 (ERA 112B3) The Göller Ekspresi, running overnight between İzmir and Isparta, is the only train over this line.
Uşak - Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya Bölge 7 (ERA 112B3) The Konya Mavi, running overnight between Izmir and Konya, is the only train over this line
Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya - Karakuyu Bölge 7 (ERA 112B3) The Pamukkale Ekspresi between Eskişehir and Denizli is the only train over this line.
Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya – Konya Bölge 7 (ERA 112B3 - 112C3) The Konya Mavi, running overnight between Izmir and Konya, is the only train over this line.
(Konya -) Karaman - Ulukışla (- Adana) Bölge 6 (ERA 112C3) The Toros Ekspresi, between Konya and Adana, is the only train between Karaman and Ulukışla.
(Sivas -) Kalin - Amasya Samsun Bölge 4 (ERA 113A4) One train each way MThSO from Sivas and TFSuO from Samsun plus some locals on intermediate sections.
Erzincan - Erzurum - Kars Bölge 4 (ERA 113A4 - 113C4) The Dogu Ekspresi runs daily between Ankara and Kars, conveying couchette cars. The Turistik Doğu Ekspresi, conveying sleeping cars, runs twice a week between Ankara and Kars.
Kars - Akyaka Bölge 4 (ERA 113C4) Two local trains daily between Kars and Akyaka, on the border with Armenia.
Çetinkaya - Malatya Bölge 5 (ERA 113A3 - ERA 113A4) Two trains a day. The Eylül Mavi runs daily between Ankara and Malatya. A daily train between Ankara and Malatya continues 5 days a week as the Güney Kurtalan Ekspresi to/from Kurtalan and 2 days a week as the Vangölü Ekspresi to/from Tatvan.
(Malatya -) Yolcati - Elaziğ - Genç - Tatvan Gar Bölge 5 (ERA 113B3) The Vangölü Ekspresi runs 2 days a week between Ankara and Tatvan Gar. It departs Ankara on Tuesdays and Sundays (Elaziğ a day later) and Tatvan Gar on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On other days a local train runs between Elaziğ and Tatvan Gar in the same timings.
(Malatya -) Yolcati - Diyarbakır - Batman - Kurtalan Bölge 5 (ERA 113B3) The Güney-Ekspresi runs 5 days a week between Ankara and Kurtalan. There are two local trains a day between Diyarbakır and Batman.
Malatya - Fevzipasa Bölge 5 (ERA 113A3) One train each way, the Firat Ekspresi, runs daily between Elaziğ and Adana. THIS TRAIN IS AT PRESENT SUSPENDED OWING TO EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE
Fevzipaşa – İslahiye Bölge 6 (ERA 113A3) One local train a day each way: early morning from İslahiye and late evening back.

Deletions since previous edition

TR22/7A Toprakkale avoiding line: Km 2.2 – Km 450.6 All trains now use this line
TR22/9 Elazığ – Tatvan Gar – Tatvan İskele [Tatvan Pier] Since the withdrawal of the Trans-Asya Ekspresi between Ankara and Tehran in February 2020, there are no longer any services to Tatvan İskele and they seem unlikely to resume in the foreseeable future
TR22/10 Hanli – Bostankaya This avoiding line was used by the Turistik Doğu Ekspresi only while Sivas station was being rebuilt
TR22/11 Van İskele [Van Pier] – Van Gar – Kapiköy (– Razi (Iran) – Tabriz) Since the withdrawal of the Trans-Asya Ekspresi between Ankara and Tehran in February 2020, there are no longer any services from Van and they seem unlikely to resume in the foreseeable future
Bölge 7 Kütahya - Tavşanlı - Balikesir Three trains each way a day.

See also