Information published on 29 October 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 371.

Marmaray Project, the Bosphorus Rail Link connecting Europe and Asia, inaugurated to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Republic of Turkey

A historic new link for developing intercontinental rail transport

  • Middle East

The Marmaray Project – the Bosphorus rail link connecting the European and the Asian sides of Istanbul and creating the first physical rail link between the two continents – was officially inaugurated on 29 October 2013 in Istanbul with a celebration in Uskudar Station followed by the inaugural train. The inauguration ceremony was honoured by the presence of HE Abdullah Gul, President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Mr Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania, Mr Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications of the Republic of Turkey, Mr Suleyman Karaman, Director General of TCDD, as well as a large number of guests from foreign governments, foreign railways and organisations and companies involved in the Maramary Project. UIC was represented by Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux and the UIC Coordinator for the Middle-East.
This inauguration was one of the most important civil engineering projects ever realised, marking the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

The Marmaray Project is a dream from 153 years ago. The project was then developed based on the projections of the period and became reality. Endeavouring not to leave any project unfinished the Turkish government put the Marmaray project into effect, juxtaposing the past and future and protecting the heritage of Turkey’s history and people.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General said:

I am particularly pleased, honoured and moved to be here in Istanbul on behalf of the worldwide railway community represented by UIC, at a historic event, the first physical rail link connecting the two continents.

For the last 175 years the railway has been used by societies across the world to develop the mobility of goods and people, as well as national and international economies, and as such is a factor for growth and peace.

This new link between Asia and Europe will facilitate the daily life of millions of people on both sides of the Bosphorus and will allow the passage of freight convoys along inter-continental corridors.

This 153-year-old dream has come true today and symbolises the extent to which governments have confidence in the railway system to improve the present and build the future.
This symbol is even greater today in Istanbul as it coincides with the 90th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

I congratulate the government authorities and Turkish Railways (TCDD) for this vision and warmly thank them for involving UIC, also 90 years young, in this world-historic event.

The modern Silk Railway

The inauguration of Marmaray marks a huge step for the development of rail transport as a global transport mode; it provides a seamless railway link not only between the two sides of Istanbul and Turkey as well as two continents but also from the Far East Asia to Western Europe, from Beijing to London. Turkey is growing in importance in its position at the crossroads between Europe, Asia, the Middle-East, and the beginning of the modern Silk Road or Silk Railway.

A worldwide engineering masterpiece

The Marmara Project is a worldwide engineering masterpiece. Two continents have been connected with the world’s deepest undersea immersed tube tunnel installed at a depth of 60m under the sea. The tunnel was built with the most-earthquake resistant materials and technology. The tunnel’s resistance to any adverse conditions ensures its safety.

The two continents were connected by a tunnel built with skilled workmanship. Rail transport infrastructure as well as a network were produced and both immersion and tunnel boring technology were combined at Marmaray. The worldwide engineering and scientific institutions regarded Marmaray as a centre for internship during the construction period.

Constructed by the General Directorate of Infrastructure Investments (AYGM) of Turkey and transferred to Turkish State Railways (TCDD) for operation, Marmaray will provide services for the residents of Istanbul. TCDD, with an experience of 157 years, offers services with the motto “Innovative Railway Journeys for the Future”.

Two continents in four minutes, one million passengers per day

The projected passenger figures for this project are 75,000 passengers per hour in each direction, with one train every two minutes. From now on, rail transport will represent 28% of all urban transport in Istanbul, up from 8%.

  • 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: 1.36 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: 75,000/hour