The railway that links Istanbul’s suburb Halkalı with Gebze district of Kocaeli province, was closed in 2013 in order to be renovated. Initially, the project was expected to be completed in 2 years. However, in 2014, the construction company decided to give up the construction works due to high costs. A year later, the project was resumed and was recently completed.
The line consists of 43 stations and it is expected to carry more than 1.5 million passengers daily. It takes 1 hour and 55 minutes to complete a route, while the previous route took about 3 hours.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who participated in the opening ceremony, stated: “This line which has Istanbul’s most busy and therefore most heavily-trafficked route, will carry 75,000 passengers in an hour in one way, and almost 1.7 million passengers a day. In other terms, this line will by itself carry a number of passengers who can be normally transported with 100,000 vehicles. Istanbul’s 10 districts will have the opportunity to use this line directly. It will relieve the Istanbul traffic in an important way.”
The line also includes a 13.5km long undersea tunnel, called the Marmaray. The tunnel lies beneath the Bosporus strait, connecting Europe and Asia. “Of course, the Marmaray is the most strategic section of this project that establishes its connection between the two continents. We, by constructing the Marmaray, have connected the two train lines,” President Erdoğan said.
The new railway has increased the length of Istanbul’s railway system from 170 km to 233 km. According to President Erdoğan, the future plan is to reach a 500km and a 1100km length of railway system in 2 phases.
Turkey will invest about $11.8 billion in infrastructure projects in 2020-2021. In particular, $5.7 billion will be granted for construction projects in 2020, about 12% more compared to the 2019 budget.