Information published on 20 August 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 361.

Test runs begin for MARMARAY Project

  • Middle East

Test runs for the MARMARAY Project, which will form an undersea railway link between Asia and Europe, were officially launched on August 4, 2013 by the Turkish Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. During the test runs he was accompanied by Mr. Binali Yildirim, the Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, Mr. Habip Soluk, Undersecretary of the Ministery of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications and Mr. Süleyman Karaman, the Director General of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) and Chairman of UIC Middle-East Region.

After inspection of the facilities in Ayrılıkçeşme, the transfer station of MARMARAY and the Kartal-Kadıköy metro line on the Anatolian side of the city, Mr. Erdoğan himself took the driver’s seat and drove the train from the Asian to the European side of İstanbul (Turkey) crossing the strait under the Bosphorus sea.

Mr Erdogan first emphasized that the MARMARAY Project was not only in the interest of Istanbul or Turkey, he stressed that the benefits of this large scale Project would be much more widespread because it connected the two continents under the sea and would be linked to Turkey’s national rail network via another of the country’s other major railway projects, namely the Kars-Tiblisi-Baku Line thereby creating a seamless fabric of railway transport. Mr Erdogan then drove the train between Ayrılıkçeşme and Yenikapı Stations. The expected date for operations to begin is October 29, 2013.

“75 thousand passengers will be carried in an hour in one direction”

The Turkish Prime Minister also declared that the projected passenger figures in this project were of 75 thousand passengers per hour and per direction, with one train in every two minutes. He added after completion of this project, rail transport as a part of all urban transport in Istanbul would increase from 8% to 28%. He added that work is pressing on hard to have the High Speed Line from Eskişehir to Istanbul completed by October 29, 2013.


  • Total Length of the Line: 76.3 km
  • Section on the ground: 63 km
  • Number of Stations on the ground: 37
  • Distance between banks of the Istanbul Strait: 136 km
  • Length of immersed tunnels: 1.4 km
  • Length of Cut & cover tunnels: 2.4 km
  • Number of Passengers to be transported in one direction: 75 thousand / hour

(Source: TCDD)

VIDEO explaining the tunnel’s construction