Marmaray Project, the connection between Asia and Europe


Marmaray is the project that will link Asia with Europe through a rail network. The project, in addition to the completion of this excavation under the Bosphorus Sea, includes the acquisition of new rolling stock for suburban passenger traffic. The construction of the line began in 2004 and is expected to be completed in 2016 after several delays due to archaeological findings. The first phase of the project opened on October 29, 2013.
The total budget is of 2.5 billion euros. The Bosphorus tunnel, major work, has a final length of 13.6 kilometres, from which 1.400 metres will run under the sea.
“The Marmaray Project is a historical work that will mean for Istanbul, in the first place, a relief to all the traffic since they are almost 13 million people who move (9 from the European side and 5 from the Asian) through the corridor and, in second place, it will be another connection to Europe, as the plan is to continue a connection to Bulgaria, “adds Victor Audera, Economic and Commercial Counsellor for the Economic and Commercial Office of the Embassy of Spain in Ankara.
The new trains have a maximum speed of 105 km/h and are intended to reach an average speed between stations of 45 km/h.

Features of the tunnel
The Bosphorus tunnel was opened in late 2013 and has managed to unite Asia with Europe. This project is set to expedite daily intercontinental traffic realized by millions of people from Istanbul.
The tunnel will not only aid trains but it will also have a pathway for long distance trains passing from Europe to Asia. With financial support from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the European Investment Bank (EIB), the tunnel construction could begin in 2004, thanks to a partnership between Japan and Turkey.
It is a double tube plunged more than 50 metres below the Bosphorus, it is completed and designed to withstand earthquakes up to 9 degrees in this region with a strong seismic activity.
The authorities hope that this work, which will be connected to 75 kilometres of new rail routes, will end the difficulties encountered over 13 million Istambul habitants that cross the Bosphorus each day through two bridges that are always congested.
The project is based in order to provide a long-term solution to the current problems of urban transport in Istanbul; alleviate the existing problems in operating long-distance rail services; provide a direct connection to the rail network between Asia and Europe; increase capacity, reliability, accessibility, punctuality and safety in rail services; reduce travel time and increase the comfort of a large number of passenger trains; provide an uninterrupted transportation of passengers and freight through the Strait of Istanbul; improve air quality in Istanbul; reduce the noise of air traffic in the centre of Istanbul; and reduce adverse effects on historic buildings and heritage sites, providing an opportunity to reduce the number of cars in the old town of Istanbul.
In the future, after completing the two projects, the Yenikapı station will become therefore one of the major transfer stations of Istanbul on the European side, while Üsküdar will be equally important and will perform the same exchanger function on the Asian side.

Spanish participation in Marmaray

The commissioning of the rail signaling and control technologies by Siemens Rail Automation is the first step for the commuter line to move through the metropolitan area of the two sides of Istanbul. The Spanish company Cablescom has also commissioned the supply of beacons and signaling cables.

The first phase of the iconic Marmaray project, the section under the Bosphorus Strait, equipped with Siemens Rail Automation railway signaling and control technologies, was commissioned in October 2013, responsibility of the Spanish division of Siemens Rail Automation.
DLH, DG Construction of Railways, Ports and Airports of the Ministry of Transport of Turkey awarded in 2011 the supply and implementation of railway signaling and control technologies for the line Gezbe-Halkali, known as Marmaray project, to Invensys Rail Dimetronic (now Siemens Rail Automation) in joint venture with the Spanish company of civil works OHL.

A unique project
The Marmaray project includes the design and replacement of the signaling of the 63 kilometres that make up the current railway system in the metropolitan area of the Strait of Istanbul and the construction of a rail tunnel 13 kilometers under the Bosphorus.
From the technological point of view, Marmaray project is unique in the world and it will be equipped with ERTMS (European Railway Traffic Management System) and CBTC (Communication Based Train Control System). Siemens is responsible for the design, supply, testing and commissioning of systems via Trainguard FUTUR 1300 ERTMS Level 1 and Trainguard SIRIUS CBTC, TrackGuard Westrace electronic interlockings, train detection equipment (jointless track circuits and axle counters) , LED signs, Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) Controlguide Rail 9000 and telecommunications and SCADA systems for the entire project. The contract also includes maintenance for two years and an option to extend to five years.
The company Cablescom, moreover, has supplied beacons and signaling cables.
The project included the reconstruction of existing lines to be used on the Bosporus and provided signaling and automatic train protection on the entire route.