Information published on 7 May 2019 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 645.

Turkey: Inauguration of the Gebze-Halkalı commuter line held on 12 March 2019

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The inauguration ceremony of Gebze-Halkalı Commuter Lines was held at İstanbul Kartal Square with the presence of President H.E Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday, 12 March 2019.

During his speech, H.E. Erdoğan expressed his best wishes for the commuter line, stretching from one end of İstanbul to the other end by crossing under the Bosporus, to Turkey and İstanbul.

With the Gebze-Halkalı commuter line, H.E. Erdoğan declared that the journey travelled in 185 minutes would be reduced to 115 minutes and that the line would carry one million seven hundred thousand passengers per day.

H.E. Erdoğan stated that the line would ensure a significant relief in the traffic of İstanbul with a possibility of direct usage by 10 districts of İstanbul and with the integration to Marmaray with 43 stations on this line and to the metro, tram and sea lines.

Saying that he is also proud of the domestic manufacture of 300 out of 440 train sets to run on the line in Turkey, the President Erdoğan said: “In the past, the lines went as far as Haydarpaşa Station on the Anatolian side. And, Sirkeci Station was the last station on European side. We have connected these two lines by constructing Marmaray. We are now establishing another rail system connection through Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and we will take this into operation upon the completion of metro lines on both sides.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, congratulating the people who contributed to the Gebze-Halkalı commuter line on which approximately 8.5 billion Turkish Liras have been spent so far, said that the length of the rail system in İstanbul, which is 170 kilometres, was increased to 233 kilometres with the completion of that line.

Stating that they have felt great appreciation for the realisation of the project in his speech, Mr Cahit Turhan, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, said: “I would like to thank you very much and present my respects to you for participating with us, sharing the same joy with us and witnessing this historic moments of the opening ceremony of Gebze-Halkalı Commuter Line completing Marmaray, the Project of the Century, and providing us with an uninterrupted commuter line in İstanbul.”

Mr Turhan, mentioning that since its foundation İstanbul had been one of the greatest and the most honoured cities of the world, said: "In all periods of the history, grand projects have been considered for İstanbul that is still one of the greatest cities of the world. Here, we have been working day-and-night in order to develop the city of İstanbul with a more advanced and smoother infrastructure since the day we took the duty with the instructions of our Esteemed President.”

Stating that they had developed transport networks that provide comfortable travel, Turhan reflected that the rail system infrastructure was of great importance in a developed city and they connected all lines together under the Bosporus.

“Gebze-Halkalı Commuter Line is not just a commuter line for İstanbul but a backbone integrating all rail systems of İstanbul as well. Including the Marmaray, we are integrating this line both with metro lines, high speed lines and freight lines. Now, the residents of İstanbul can travel uninterruptedly by rail,” said Mr Turhan.
Also, Minister Turhan stated that 43 stations along with Marmaray were built and that via Gebze-Halkalı rail line project, two lines would be used as urban commuter lines integrated with Marmaray and the third line would be used for intercity passenger and freight trains and high-speed trains.

“With the commuter line, the section of Üsküdar-Sirkeci will be covered in in minutes and the Gebze-Halkalı section between two sides of İstanbul will be covered in 115 minutes. The travel time on the section between Bostancı and Bakırköy will be reduced to 37 minutes. The high-speed trains can stop at Gebze, Pendik, Maltepe, Bostancı, Söğütlüçeşme, Haydarpaşa, Bakırköy and Halkalı stations. An uninterrupted railway connection from Beijing to London will be ensured for freight trains. Freight trains can travel between Asia and Europe by using the tube tunnel crossing at nights.” Mr Turhan mentioned and added an integration would be ensured with 16 metro and tram lines via 13 stations.

Stating that they had brought many achievements to İstanbul and Anatolia, Mr Turhan expressed "With the high vision and guidance of our Esteemed President, the achievements obtained in İstanbul and Anatolia are apparent. Our policies, our visions and our goals are here on these roads, these bridges, these high speed lines, the airports opened and the tunnels which we have constructed by boring the mountains.”

Thanking everyone who contributed to the Project, Mr Turhan said that “I would like to thank everyone, our workers and engineers who contributed to the project in each phase from the planning to the project, from the construction to the consultancy. Also, I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow Ministers and to public authorities, governors, mayors providing support from the beginning to the end of this project. Above all, I would like to thank you, the esteemed residents of İstanbul, for your patience, tolerance and maturity of this project.”

Following the opening ceremony, President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan participated in the first run on the Gebze-Halkalı commuter line by taking the seat of driver.

(Source: TCDD)