The Gebze-Halkalı railway line will open on March 12, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan announced Sunday.
The Infrastructure Investments General Directorate of the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry has completed works to open the 63-kilometer railway line that remained of the 76.6-kilometer Gebze-Halkalı railway line after the introduction of the 13.6-kilometer Marmaray, an intercontinental undersea subway that connects the Asian and European sides of the city, according to Minister Turhan.
The line will serve the western suburb of Halkalı and the district of Gebze in Kocaeli province bordering Istanbul to its east. The Marmaray line has been connecting two stations on the Asian side with three others on the European side since 2013.
According to Turhan, a total of 63-kilometer double lines and existing stations - consisting of the 43.8-kilometer link from Ayrılık Çeşmesi to Gebze on the Asian side and 19.2-kilometer line from Kazlıçeşme to Halkalı on the European side - have been removed. All the infrastructure and stations have been rebuilt as part of the project that will reduce the travel time between the two lines to 115 minutes from 185 minutes.
"All the infrastructure and stations have been rebuilt to allow three lines on the same route. The Marmaray trains will use two lines in the north from among the three new lines to be built. Suburban operation could be actualized in the subway standard at two-minute intervals. The third line in the south will be used by intercity passenger and freight trains and high-speed trains. A total of 10 units of siding have been constructed to ensure the two-way high-speed train operation on this line."
Recalling that a total of 38 new stations, 27 on the Asian side and 11 on the European side, have been built, Turhan noted that seven of them (Gebze, Pendik, Maltepe, Bostancı, Söğütlüçeşme, Bakırköy and Halkalı) will be intercity train-suburban train transfer stations.
The other 31 stations will only serve Marmaray trains as suburban stations. He further stated that two viaducts, 27 highway underpasses, 29 pedestrian underpasses, 21 highway overpasses, 12 pedestrian overpasses, 19 river-crossing bridges and 60 culverts have been rebuilt.
According to Turhan, as part of the project which will start passenger transportation this year, the Gebze-Halkalı high-speed train line will be ready and put into operation along with the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed train line. Thus, a high-speed train departing from Ankara will reach Istanbul and will be able to stop in Gebze, Pendik, Maltepe, Bostancı, Söğütlüçeşme, Bakırköy and Halkalı.