Turkey - Older General Information
This document acts as an archive for Recent and Future Changes prior to December 2019.
Changes in 2019
The once daily local passenger service over the (Sivas –) Tecer – Kangal – Temürün Köyü (– Çetinkaya) line, the former main line bypassed by the new 5367 m Deliktaş tunnel, was withdrawn from 8 December.
The overnight Göller Express between İzmir and Isparta started running on 25 October, thus reopening the 62km Karakuyu - Isparta branch to passengers.
A ceremony was held at Edirne on 25 September 2019 to mark the start of work on the Çerkezköy - Kapıkule section of the İstanbul Halkalı - Kapıkule high speed line.
The overnight Ankara Express between Ankara and İstanbul (Halkalı) restarted on 5 July 2019 having been discontinued on 1 February 2012. This caused the reopening to passengers of the 182 km 'classic' line between Eskişehir and Arifiye.
The Van - Tabriz (Iran) service was extended to and from Tehran with effect from 24 June, although this may have been merely a one-off experiment. Details are unclear as at late June.
Sivas station closed from 1 April owing to engineering work for the Ankara - Sivas high speed line. Through passenger services were diverted via the Hanli - Bostankaya freight-only line; see the Obscure Services page.
The Marmaray line between Halkali on the European side and Gebze in Anatolia opened on 13 March. This provides the first through rail communication between Europe and Asiatic Turkey. İstanbul Haydarpaşa terminus did not reopen at the same time.
Changes in 2018
The Van - Tabriz (Iran) service resumed on 18 June, having been suspended since July 2015.
Following reopening of the 'classic' line through Ankara, services to Kars, Kurtalan and Tatvan started running from Ankara on 4 June. The service to Izmir resumed on 15 November. However, the Çukurova express to Adana did not resume; the Erciyes express between Kayseri and Adana, which had replaced it, continued running.
A diesel hauled test train ran between Halkalı and Kazlıçeşme, the present terminus of the Marmaray (Istanbul suburban) line on the European side, on 23 May.
The Başkentray (Ankara suburban) service started on 13 April, reopening the 'classic' line through Ankara closed in 2016. Ankara station was completely rebuilt and the former double track line widened as follows: Kayas - Ankara 4 tracks; Ankara - Behicbey 6 tracks; Behicbey - Sincan 5 tracks.
Changes in 2017
The Usküdar - Yamanevler section of Istanbul Metro line M5 (its first driverless metro line) opened on 16 December. Yamanevler - Cekmekoy is expected to open in mid-2018.
The new 105 km (Kars -) Mezra - Akhalkalaki (- Marabda - Tbilisi (Georgia)) line was ceremonially opened on 30 October 2017. Freight services started the following day and passenger services will follow.
Surface works on the Asian and European sides of Istanbul’s Marmaray suburban corridor reportedly resumed at the end of January following an agreement between lead contractor OHL and the government. Upgrading of the approach routes to create a 77 km high-capacity corridor between Halkali on the European side and Gebze in Anatolia has been subject to considerable delay. The revised completion date for the work is now 31 December 2018.
Changes in 2016
The Kütahya - Balikesir line was reopened on 1 September after a lengthy closure for engineering work.
All services on the 'classic' line through Ankara, between Irmak (60 km east of Ankara) and Eskişehir, ceased from 11 July for engineering works on the Başkentray project, the Ankara suburban service. High speed services to/from the west were not affected.
On 15 February the recently reinstated services between Çerkezköy and Kapikule / Uzunköprü were suspended. However, they were reinstated between Kapikule and Halkali on 25 July, thus reopening Çerkezköy - Halkali.
Changes in 2015
On 20 October the main line west of Istanbul was reopened between Çerkezköy and Kapikule (Bulgarian border) and between Pehlivanköy and Uzunköprü (Greek border). The line between Çerkezköy and Kazlıçeşme (end of the Marmaray line) remained without a passenger service.
All services to and from Iran (the Trans-Asya Ekspresi (Ankara - Tehran) and the Van - Tabriz train) were suspended in July 2015.
Sivas to Samsun closed for a period of 2 years from April for rebuilding.
The Afyon A. Çetinkaya - Karakuyu - Goncali (- Izmir) line reopened to traffic on 19 January after being closed for approximately five years for engineering work. This included the introduction of services over the Goncali avoiding curve, constructed between 2007 and 2010.
On the Elazig - Muş (- Tatvan) line, a 27 km new alignment between Beyhan (km 113) and Hodan (km 140) opened in the second week of January; the old line was closed on 15 December 2014. A further alignment, at least 30 km long, is under construction further east, from east of Dik (km 173) to approximately km 208 (near Yenibasak). This is all part of the new 114 km Palu - Genc - Muş line, on which construction started in December 2011.
Changes in 2014
All traffic east of Karkamis (to Nusaybin) was withdrawn at the end of September as it was too dangerous to run trains on the line. The line is not expected to open until the Syrian conflict has ended.
The much delayed high speed service between Eskişehir and Pendik, east of İstanbul, was ceremonially opened on 25 July, with public services commencing the following day. This utilises 154 km of new line between Eskişehir and Esentepe, south of Alifuatpaşa, where it rejoins the classic main line, plus the 15km section avoiding İzmit city centre (operational since August 1999). On 17 November TCDD announced that local services between Pendik and Arifiye would resume "before the end of 2014."
The very tortuous old alignment between Tecer and Kangal was expected to fall out of use but continued in use by one local mixed train each way until new trains were introduced via the new main line from 23 February. However, the local mixed train was reinstated from 18 March, reopening the old line to passenger traffic.
Changes in 2013
The Bosphorus crossing (Marmaray project), connecting the European and Asian networks, was ceremonially opened on 29 October. It comprises a 13.6 km double track tunnel from Yenikapı to Haydarpaşa, including a 1.4 km immersed-tube tunnel (the world's deepest), and also modernisation of the Sirkeci - Halkali and Haydarpaşa - Gebze suburban lines. The tunnel was completed on the 23 September 2008. Completion of the entire project had been repeatedly delayed, largely due to the discovery of a Byzantine-era archaeological find on the proposed site of the European tunnel terminal in 2005. On 19 June the last trains from İstanbul Haydarpaşa, suburban services to Pendik, were withdrawn.
Passenger services between Gaziantep and Nusaybin had been withdrawn by May 2013, supposedly because of engineering work.
On 1 March Halkali - Yedikule was closed for construction work, putting an end to international services to İstanbul Sirkeci. Suburban services between Sirkeci and Yedikule continued to run until they were indefinitely suspended from 19 March.
Changes in 2012
A cut-off between Tecer and Kangal, south east of Sivas, opened probably in September - 39 years after the project started. It incorporates the 5367 m Deliktaş tunnel, the longest in Turkey.
On 19 March, the İstanbul - Kapikule line between Çerkezköy and Pehlivanköy was closed for engineering work from 07:00 - 19:00 each day Monday - Thursday. The line was open to traffic all day Friday - Sunday but the Bosphorus Express was replaced by buses between İstanbul Serkeci and Kapikule every day of the week.
The line between Pendik (25 km from Haydarpaşa) and Gebze closed on 29 April.
The main line from İstanbul Haydarpaşa closed completely on 1 February between Gebze (45 km from Haydarpaşa) and İzmit. All long-distance services were either cancelled or curtailed. The overnight services between Haydarpaşa and Ankara/Konya were withdrawn. Services to/from Adana and Eskişehir ran to and from Arifiye in lieu of Haydarpaşa. All long distance services to and from the East were withdrawn between Haydarpaşa and Anakara. There were no road replacement services between Arifiye and Haydarpaşa, although suburban services continued between Haydarpaşa and Gebze, a line isolated from the rest of the system.
Changes in 2011
Services on the 32 km line between Muratli (about half way between Erdine and Istanbul) and Tekirdag on the Sea of Marmara, opened as recently as 1 September 2010, were withdrawn from 22 December owing to lack of patronage.
The 112 km high speed line from Polatlı, on the Ankara - İstanbul line, to Konya opened to public traffic on 24 August.
Ankara suburban services (Sincan - Ankara - Kayas) were withdrawn on 1 August owing to construction of the new high speed line into Ankara from the west. All long-distance trains therefore used the suburban tracks between Ankara and Sincan.
Changes in 2009
The first stage of the 533 km İstanbul - Ankara high speed line, signalled to ETCS level 1 and with a design speed of 250 km/h, was opened to public traffic on 14 March between Sincan and Inönü, west of Eskişehir.