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Template:Use mdy dates Template:Infobox tunnel Template:Marmaray route diagram

Marmaray (Template:IPA-tr) is a rail transport project in the Turkish city of Istanbul. It comprises an undersea rail tunnel under the Bosphorus strait, and the modernization of existing suburban railway lines along the Sea of Marmara from Halkal? on the European side to Gebze on the Asian side. The procurement of new rolling stock for suburban passenger traffic is also part of the project.<ref name="">Rails under the Bosporus, Railway Gazette International 2009-02-23</ref> Construction started in 2004, with an initial target opening date of April 2009.<ref name=""/> After multiple delays caused by the discovery of historical and archaeological finds, the first phase of the project opened on October 29, 2013.<ref name=rgiopening /> It is the first standard gauge rail connection between Europe and Asia.

The name Marmaray comes from combining the name of the Sea of Marmara, which lies just south of the project site, with ray, the Turkish word for rail. The Turkish press has compared it to the Silk Road.


The construction contract for the project was awarded to a Japanese-Turkish consortium led by Taisei Corporation in July 2004.<ref name=rgiopening /> The consortium included Kumagai Gumi, Gama Endustri Tesisleri Imalat ve Montaj, Nurol Construction, and Trade of Turkey.

The project includes a Template:Convert Bosphorus crossing, the upgrade of Template:Convert of suburban train lines to create a Template:Convert high-capacity line between Gebze and Halkal?, and the provision of 440 electric multiple unit cars.

The Bosphorus (Istanbul Strait) is crossed by a Template:Convert earthquake-proofed immersed tube, assembled from 11 sections; eight are Template:Convert, two are Template:Convert, and one element is Template:Convert long. The elements weigh up to 18,000 tons.<ref name="Smith, Julian">Smith, Julian. "The Big Dig" Wired Sept. 2007: pages 154–61.</ref> The sections have been placed down to Template:Convert below sea level: Template:Convert of water and Template:Convert of earth.<ref name="Smith, Julian" /> This underwater tube is accessed by bored tunnels from Kazl?çe?me on the European side and Ayr?l?kçe?me on the Asian side of Istanbul. It represents the world's deepest undersea immersed tube tunnel. Fire-resistant concrete developed in Norway was crucial for the safety of the project.

New underground stations have been built at Yenikap?, Sirkeci, and Üsküdar.<ref name="ff"/> Thirty-seven other above-ground stations along the line will be rebuilt or refurbished.<ref name="ff">Facts and figures, web page at the Marmaray web site. Accessed on-line September 24, 2007.</ref><ref name="tt">Travel time and alignment, web page at the Marmaray web site. Accessed on line, September 24, 2007.</ref> The station at Yenikapi connects with Istanbul Metro and Istanbul LRT. The above-ground suburban lines have been upgraded to three tracks, two for commuter and one for long-distance/high-speed passenger trains (bi-directional). The tunnel section allows for two, bi-directional tracks to be used by commuter and long-distance trains. During off-peak hours, freight trains will also cross the tunnel. The capacity for the suburban lines is planned for 75,000 passengers per hour in each direction.<ref name="" /> Signaling is also modernized to allow trains to be as close as two minutes apart. The predicted travel time from Gebze to Halkal? is 104 minutes.<ref name="ff" />

Construction of the Marmaray project started in May 2004. The Marmaray tunnel was completed on September 23, 2008, with a formal ceremony to mark completion of the tunnel on October 13.<ref name="">Marmaray tunnel completed, Railway Gazette International 2008-10-20</ref> Completion of the entire project had been repeatedly delayed, and as of December 2009, was expected to occur in October 2013.<ref name="">Marmaray completion delayed to 2013, cost increases by $500 mln, Today's Zaman 2009-12-19</ref> On October 29, 2013 the first stage of Marmaray project, covering the underground connection between Europe and Asia, was inaugurated. Since then, passengers can travel between Yenikap? and ?brahima?a. In the early days after opening, trains had to stop several times which caused hard discussions in Turkey. These stoppages were explained to be caused by curious passengers using emergency brakes.

The second stage is the renewal of current railway on ground, between Gebze and ?brahima?a on the Asian side and between Yenikap? and Halkal? on the European side. It is scheduled to be completed in 2015. A third line will be added which will provide the metro cars and other rail cars the ability to move separately. Only after completion of this stage, it'll be possible for trains to cross from Europe to Asia or vice versa.

After completion, the usage of rail transportation in Istanbul is predicted to rise from 3.6% to 27.7%.<ref name="tt" />


In February 2010, Railway Gazette International reported that the tunnel's administrators were hiring consultants to analyse options for carrying freight traffic.

Although not officially announced by TCDD, the Prime Minister and officers stated several times that Marmaray will help to bring back the use of the term "Silk Road" with a new name of "Iron Silk Road" by allowing freight trains to move between Europe and China. Freight trains free of dangerous goods will be able to move through the tunnel during the time metro cars are not working.

Rolling stock

Template:Infobox EMU Hyundai Rotem announced on November 11, 2008, that it had signed a €580 million contract to supply the rolling stock for the Marmaray cross-Bosphorus tunnel project in Istanbul. The Korean firm had competition from shortlisted bidders Alstom, CAF, and a consortium of Bombardier, Siemens, and Nurol for the 440-vehicle contract which was placed by the Ministry of Transport's General Directorate of Railways, Harbours, and Airports.

The Template:Convert stainless steel cars will be formed into ten-car and five-car EMUs. Some production will be carried out locally by Eurotem, Hyundai Rotem's joint venture with Turkish rolling stock manufacturer TÜVASA?. The cars will arrive in three batches: the first 160 cars by 2011 and the last by June 2014.


The project was delayed four years, largely due to the discovery of a Byzantine-era and other 8,000-year-old archaeological finds on the proposed site of the European tunnel terminal in 2005. The excavations produced evidence of the city's largest harbour, the 4th-century Harbour of Eleutherios (later known as the Harbour of Theodosius).<ref name="Smith, Julian" /> There, archaeologists uncovered traces of the city wall of Constantine the Great, and the remains of several ships, including what appears to be the only ancient or early medieval galley ever discovered, preventing the project from proceeding at full speed. In addition, the excavation has uncovered the oldest evidence of settlement in Istanbul, with artifacts, including amphorae, pottery fragments, shells, pieces of bone, horse skulls, and nine human skulls found in a bag, dating back to 6,000 BCE.<ref name="Smith, Julian" /> Glass artefacts and fragments dating from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods have been found during excavations at Sirkeci.

The suburban rail upgrade section of the project, known originally as CR1, was first awarded to the AMD Rail Consortium of Japan's Marubeni, Turkey's Dogus Insaat and France's Alstom.<ref name=cr3 /> However, it faltered and the work was re-tendered as contract CR3 in early 2011. The replacement contract worth €932·8 million was awarded to a joint venture of OHL and Invensys Rail.<ref name=cr3>Template:Cite news</ref>

Tunnel construction is only about Template:Convert from the active North Anatolian Fault, worrying engineers and seismologists. "Since AD 342, it has seen large earthquakes that each claimed more than 10,000 lives."<ref name="Smith, Julian" /> Scientific calculations to estimate the probability that at some time in the next 30 years the area will suffer an earthquake of strength 7.0 or more produced an outcome of 77 percent. The waterlogged, silty soil on which the tunnel is constructed has been known to liquefy during an earthquake; to solve this problem, engineers injected industrial grout down to Template:Convert below the seabed to keep it stable.<ref name="Smith, Julian" /> The walls of the tunnel are made of waterproof concrete coated with a steel shell, each independently watertight. The tunnel is made to flex and bend, similar to the way tall buildings are constructed to react if an earthquake hits. Floodgates at the joints of the tunnel are able to close and isolate water in the event of the walls' failure.<ref name="Smith, Julian" />

Steen Lykke, project manager for Avrasyaconsult, the international consortium that is overseeing the construction, sums it up, saying, "I can't think of any challenge this project lacks".<ref name="Smith, Julian" />


The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the European Investment Bank have provided major financing for the project. As of April 2006, JICA had lent 111 billion yen and EIB 1.05 billion euro. The total cost of the project is expected to be approximately 2.5 billion US dollars. As of late 2009, costs were expected to increase by approximately 500 million US dollars due to the archaeological delays.<ref name="">Marmaray completion delayed to 2013, cost increases by $500 mln, Today's Zaman 2009-12-19</ref>

Test ride

On August 4, 2013, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an was the driver for the first test ride on Marmaray. The ride started from Ayr?l?kçe?mesi station (older name ?brahima?a station) at the Asian side and ended at a distance of about Template:Convert on the European side crossing Bosphorus underwater, and then back.<ref name="h">Template:Cite news</ref>

It was announced that the first phase of the Marmaray project consisting of four stations would go into service on October 29, 2013, the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. The travel time on the first section, connecting both sides of the Bosphorus, being 19 minutes. The completion of the entire project is expected in 2015.<ref name="h"/>


The tunnel was officially opened on October 29, 2013 on the Turkish Republic's 90th anniversary Republic Day.<ref name=rgiopening>Template:Cite news</ref> The maiden journey took place following the grand opening ceremony attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and a number of foreign civil servants.<ref name=rgiopening />

Following the opening ceremony, commuter trains now go from Ayr?l?kçe?me station (Asian side) to Kazl?çe?me station (European side), stopping at 3 underground stations along the way.

Suicide threat scandal

After the opening ceremony it was discovered that Turkish authorities threatened their Japanese counterparts working on Marmaray that they would commit suicide if the project did not finish before the October 2013 deadline.

Ministry Infrastructure Investment Director General Metin Tahan, saying that he and other Turks working on the project would commit suicide if the project were not finished by the scheduled deadline.

Marmaray in numbers

Some figures of the project are as follows:<ref name="h"/>


See also

  • Eurasia Tunnel
  • Public transport in Istanbul
  • Rail transport in Turkey
  • Turkish Straits



External links

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Template:Public Transport in ?stanbul Template:Hyundai Rotem ICR