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Blue Mosque, IstanbulAugust 11, 2009

Blue Mosque, Istanbul
August 11, 2009

Turkey has been an important hub for the world’s transportation network on account of being located where Europe and Asia meet.  The country has a well developed, state-owned railway network stretching over 5,000 miles.  In recent years, services operating under the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul and high speed services connecting Istanbul and Ankara have been inaugurated, marking the first time that rail services on the two continents are truly linked by rail.

Turkey’s largest cities also feature extensive public transport networks.  Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir all have commuter rails.  Metro systems have been built in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, and Adana.  After several decades of no trams operating anywhere in the country, nine cities have opened tram systems 1992, including Istanbul, Izmir, and Antalya.  Istanbul, Bursa, and Antalya also have vintage trams that remain in operation and are part of the public transit network.

Istanbul Modern Trams

The modern Istanbul tram network currently consists of two lines, T1 and T4. T1 first opened in 1992 and has been extended several times since then. The most recent extension opened in 2011, when lines T1 and T2 were merged to form a single line (T1) stretching 11.5 miles with 31 stations. Since 2003, the line has been operated using 55 Bombardier Flexity Swift low floor trams. In 2011, 37 Alstom Citadis trams joined the T1 fleet. Following the merger of lines T1 and T2, the high floor fleet manufactured by AAB was transferred to the new T4 line.

Istanbul Light Metro

The light metro line first opened on September 3, 1989. As of 2015, it has two branches. Line M1A operates from Yenikapı to Havalimanı (Atatürk International Airport) making 19 stops over a distance of 12.6 miles. Line M1B operates from Yenikapı to Kirazlı making 13 stops over a distance of 8.7 miles. The rolling stock on this line was built by AAB and uses overhead catenary.

Istanbul Historic Tram

Istanbul currently operates two historic tram lines, one on the European side of the city and the other on the Asian side of the city. The European line runs between Taksim and Tünel using restored Istanbul trams. The Asian line runs between Kadıköy and Moda using trams imported from Germany.

Istanbul Full Metro

Although construction on Istanbul's first Metro line started in 1992, the first line did not open until September 16, 2000 due to delays caused by the discovery of archaeological findings during construction. As of 2015, there are two "full metro" lines in operation, one in Europe and the other in Asia. There is a plan to build a train tunnel under the Bosporus to connect the two, otherwise separate networks, but it has been delayed many years and there is no target completion date. All sections of the line are designed to withstand an earthquake measuring up to 9.0 on the Richter Scale.

Istanbul Tünel

The Tünel is a funicular operating a over distance of 573 meters and an elevation change of 60 meters from Karaköy to Beyoğlu (Tünel Meydanı). The line opened on January 17, 1875 and was the third underground railway to open in the world (after London and Athens). A trip on the Tünel takes 1.5 minutes.

Istanbul Buses

The Istanbul bus network is served by a fleet of about 4,000 buses, manufactured by MAN, Ikarus, Mercedes-Benz, BMC, Phileas, Otokar, Temsa, and Güleryüz. About 3.6 million people used the buses each day in 2012.

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları (Turkish State Railways)

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları (TCDD) owns and operates all public railways in Turkey, which includes a total of 6,829 miles of track. CDD was formed on June 1, 1927 in order to take over the operations of the railways following the dissolving of the Ottoman Empire. TCDD inaugurated high speed services between Istanbul and Ankara in 2014. It also operates mainline services throughout the country and commuter services in the Istanbul and Ankara areas.