Turkey's Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan has said that effective in December 2018, Istanbul will begin offering transportation services between Gebze and Halkalı via Marmaray vehicles in the scope of a project that is considered the last leg of the uninterrupted railway connection from Beijing to London.
Addressing members of the press after an inspection conducted at the construction site, Minister Arslan said the Improvement of Halkalı-Gebze Suburban Lines project will be in service by the end of 2018, informing that as a result of efforts to modernize suburban transportation systems from Gebze to Söğütlüçeşme on the Anatolian side and Kazlıçeşme to Halkalı on the European side in accordance with current metro standards, the uninterrupted integration of these systems with the Marmaray will allow Istanbulites to travel this 43-station route from Gebze to Halkalı in 114 minutes via the Marmaray vehicles.
The line will be a total of 63 kilometers in length with roughly 20 kilometers spanning the European continent and 43 kilometers in Anatolia. "We will complete construction, infrastructure, electro-mechanical systems and the laying down of rail tracks along this line by August 2018, and signaling work will be completed by the end of September. We will also complete the test drives by December and put it into service from Gebze to Halkalı by the end of December 2018," Minister Arslan said.
Integrated with 15 different rail systems at 11 points, the project will form an important pillar of the Istanbul Transportation network. These lines will not be affected by intercity or international trains in any way. With a capacity to carry 75,000 people in one direction, 1.2 million people will be able to reach both sides of Istanbul in one day, reducing traffic on the existing bridges. The subway passenger and freight trains will operate on the same line.
Of the 440 railway vehicles to be used in the Marmaray project, 300 units were produced in Turkey. Through fiber optic cables, direct links have been established to the Kandilli Observatory, the national police and the fire department for earthquake warnings, security and fire prevention, respectively. State-of-the-art-ventilation, signal and control systems have also been used within the scope of the project.
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