Marmaray project becomes reality on 90th Anniversary of Republic


Turkey celebrates its 90th Anniversary as a Republic today and does so in some style. The government has chosen this auspicious day to open the “Marmaray” project, a ‘dream for 153 years’ which was revived by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2004. The original idea had been floated by Ottoman sultan Abdoul Medjid in 1860 but the engineering equipment wasn’t available at the time.

The project is one of the “major transportation infrastructure projects in the world as the railway system will measure approximately 76 kms (47 miles) in total. The main structures and systems include the immersed tube tunnel, bored tunnels, cut-and-cover tunnels, at-grade structures, three new underground stations, 37 surface stations (renovation and upgrading), operations control centre, yards, workshops, maintenance facilities, upgrades of existing tracks including a new third track, new electrical and mechanical systems and modern railway vehicles” according to the Anadolu Agency.

The project also includes a 13.6 kilometre (8.5 mile) tunnel which will link the Asian and European sides of Istanbul which is expected to transport around 1 million people a day and take about four minutes to travel. The project includes an immersed tube tunnel which is the world’s deepest at 60 metres (around 200 feet) below the seabed.

According to the Anadolu Agency the “Marmaray Project consists of 3 sections namely Halkali section, Gebze section and the undersea section crossing the strait.

When it comes to the travel durations, the distance between Gebze and Halkali will take 105 minutes instead of 185 minutes with the rehabilitated suburb rail lines. Besides the travel duration between Bostanci and Bakirkoy will drop to 37 minutes, Sogutlucesme and Yenikapi to 12 minutes and Uskudar and Sirkeci 4 minutes. Thus it will take 4 minutes crossing two continents Asia and Europe.

The double line Marmaray will run underground at Yedikule and move to Sirkeci and pass under the Istanbul strait and reach the underground station of Uskudar on the Asian side of Istanbul. The Marmaray will get on-ground at Ayrilikcesme and move on to Sogutlucesme. This section which is around 13.5 km is put into service on Tuesday. Upon the completion of the suburb rail line of Gebze-Halkali, the Marmaray will take departures every 2 to 10 minutes. Marmaray will transport around 75 thousand people in single route per hour and is expected to transport 1.2 million people per day”.

The Anadolu Agency reports that “The opening will start from Uskudar station by President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the participation of guest ministers and invitees. After the ceremony, President Gül and PM Erdoğan will pass to European part of Turkey under the sea by reaching Yenikapi station. Then the ceremony will finish with another ceremony”. The Agency says that nine foreign Ministers will be present at the opening including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

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