Istanbul is poised to get a new 14-stop tramline between the city's Eminönü and Alibeyköy districts, with the French contractor Alstom set to introduce a new power system installed between the rails.
Arban Çitak, Turkey general manager of Alstom, a French multinational company operating worldwide in rail transport, spoke about the 10.1-kilometer tramline constructed between Eminönü and Alibeyköy.
"The tram will get its energy from the track between the two rails. So, no poles will be erected. The energy will be just below the tram route; thus, the flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic will continue," she told Turkish daily Hürriyet in an interview published yesterday.
Alstom, which operates worldwide in the rail transport market, including vehicles, signal systems, services, maintenance and turn-key projects, conducted initial tests on the 10.1-kilometer Eminönü-Alibeyköy line with 14 stops, which will be inaugurated in the first half of this year. As a special feature, Çitak pointed out that the said line is operating with a grounded energy system.
Explaining that the Eminönü-Alibeyköy line is being constructed with a system to be implemented for the first time in Turkey with no electrical poles to power the tramline, Çitak said the tram will be powered by a feeder rail located in the middle of the train rails; thus making sure there will only be electricity under the tram when the tram passes, stressing that vehicles or pedestrians passing through other sections will not be exposed to an electrical current. "Another nice side is that there will be no cables for electricity, and electricity poles will not be installed," she continued. "The expropriation rate will be reduced as the system takes up less space. In addition, the historical texture will be not be disrupted. With this system, the rails will be on the same level of roads." Çitak said currently this system is used in countries such as France, Dubai, Ecuador, Qatar and Australia. "The Eminönü-Alibeyköy line was put out to tender for 153 million euros ($171.3 million), which covers the whole service. But in this system, the vehicles will be provided by a domestic supplier for the first time instead of Alstom," she added.
In regard to Alstom's activities in Turkey, Çitak said Turkey, which serves as the base of operations for the Middle East, Africa and countries in the north, is a very important country for Alstom, recalling that they have so far served in many places in Turkey. "In some, our work is in progress. There are 80 vehicles operating on the Olimpiyatköy metro line, 37 trams on the Sultanahmet tramline and 32 vehicles on the Levent line," Çitak further informed. "We also handle the maintenance of high-speed trains between Ankara and Istanbul, as well as the signaling works of the main line between Eskişehir and Balıkesir. We conducted a similar study in Kayseri as well."
Arban Çitak underlined that they have focused on the transportation sector for the last three years. "We export manpower from Turkey to the world. We are currently collaborating with Istanbul Technical University (ITU). Twenty five of our employees trained in Istanbul are working in various positions around the world. We also make information investments in Turkey," she said, highlighting that there are 15,000 kilometers of line in Turkey, 2,000 kilometers of which are used for the high-speed train line.
Noting that they aim to reach 25,000 kilometers in total, Çitak emphasized the serious potential in Istanbul. "The total line length including the tram in Istanbul is 160 kilometers. Istanbul needs 1,000 kilometers. The length expected to be reached in 2020 is 400 kilometers," Çitak continued.