Turkey’s 13km, USD 4.6billion Marmaray Project opened for revenue earning service today after a huge construction programme which links both sides of the Straits of Bosphorus for the first time by rail.
With an extensive high-speed rail network well under way, journey times between Turkey’s capital, Ankara, and Istanbul are set to be cut by up to three hours. Initially however, it will be commuters who derive most benefit from the Marmaray Project, with journey times from the European to the Asian half of Istanbul slashed while long-distance passengers will have to wait until 2015 before through trains begin operation.
The signalling is a genuine world first – Communications Based Train Control with automatic operation for commuter services, with long distance passenger and freight trains set to run under ETCS Level 1. The technology – installed by Invensys Rail (now Siemens) is also in operation on Istanbul’s metro.
Commuter trains will run at around two-minute intervals at peak times, with capacity expected to be 75,000 passengers per hour.
With the first train having passed through Turkey’s Marmaray Tunnel earlier this month, attention is now focussing on the commissioning, and particularly that of the signalling, which uses Communications Based Train Control for commuter trains and European Train Control System for longer distance trains, particularly freight.
The first train through the Marmaray Tunnel in Istanbul ran in August 2013.
Whether the commissioning goes well or badly major lessons will be learned, and they will be of relevance all over the world. Successful commissioning and operations will show that mixed mode operations can offer a much greater benefit to cost ratio than single schemes for either metro or main line trains; problematic commissioning will ensure that future projects don’t suffer the same issues.
It is going to be a hugely demanding process in signalling terms but the plans have always appeared well considered, the technology is proven and reliable, and the benefits vast. For the signalling sector at least, Turkey is perhaps the most important country in the world at the moment.
Mr Suleyman Karaman Director General of the TCDD operates the ERTMS
simulator on the Invensys Rail stand at Innotrans in Berlin.
Turkish State Railways (TCDD) Director General Mr Suleyman Karaman was yet another high-profile visitor to Invensys Rail’s stand at InnoTrans on September 18, meeting key members of the company’s technical and commercial teams responsible for delivering a series of major projects in Turkey.
With progress continuing on the ambitious Marmaray Project – the world’s first dual installation of ERTMS and CBTC – Mr Suleyman Karaman tried his hand on Invensys Rail’s high-tech ERTMS Level 2 simulator, which offers a virtually experience to that which train drivers will have when the Marmaray Project goes live.
Turkish State Railway (TCDD’s) ambitious enhancement programme continues with the announcement of Invensys Rail as the signalling supplier for the Hasanbey Logistics Centre in North West Turkey.
The fit-out looks comprehensive, with Invensys Rail providing Westrace electronic interlockings, train detection systems, LED lineside signals, point machines and heaters, plus anciliary equipment and buildings and training.