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Light rail and subways in Turkey

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This web site could not be complete without a few words about urban transit. Indeed, the past ten years had been very rich in light rails and metro projects. These projects are the proof that rail is still alive and that major projects can still be completed in reasonable time in Turkey.

Urban Transit is very dynamic and the pictures is changing very quickly. New infrastructure and rolling stock are appearing in almos every large Turkish cities. The purpose of this page is to keep track of these changes aas well as to give some basic historical facts.

Turkish urban transit is documented on the Internet. For advanced information, I recommend a visit to Urbanrail or to Subway.net. These excellent sites keep detailed track of facts regarding Turkish cities and provide a whole load of links.


In the old days, the 19th century that is, only Istanbul and Izmir citizens could enjoy ridding an electric tramway. But just like most west Europeans counterparts, these networks fell out of fashion and were scrapped in the 1950's.

Until about 1990, Turkey had absolutely no rail urban transit system. This was an anachronism when Istanbul was already in the vicinity of 10 million inhabitants, and several other cities had passed the 1 million souls threshold. At this time, lots of cities started addressing their transportation problems and prepared master plan based on rail backbone and bus feeders. Very pragmatic projects were started quickly and finished successfully. A decade later, in 2000, several cities had lines up and running. Many more projects are in the pipe and the next decade should see yet more cities with rail systems.

It is interresting to see also that the whole array of systems is used: heavy metro, light metro, tramway and even a new funicular in Istanbul.

Existing systems

CityType of systemOpenning yearStatus
AdanaHeavy rail2002In operation
AntalyaTramway1999In operation
Ankara1 line heavy rail metro
1 line light rail
30 August 1996In operation, work in progress on extensions.
BursaLight rail2001In operation
IstanbulHeavy rail
light rail
1989In operation
Eskisehir2 lines light rail2004In operation
Gaziantep  In Operation
Izmirheavy rail
25 August 2000
9 April 2017
In operation
Izmit?Tramway16 June 2017In operation
KonyaLight rail (tramway)September 1992In operation
KayseriLight rail (tramway)2009In operation
Samsun Light rail2010In operation