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Go to: Urban >>

Istanbul

History

Its is little known outside of Istanbul that this city used to have a brilliant tramway network. The first line started in 1871 as part of a 4 lines concession to "Société des Tramways de Constantinople". The network was quickly expanded to cover most of Constantinople (now the European side of Istanbul). The carriages were horses drawn as done at that time and running on meter gauge track. The tramway network was electrified by overhead contact wire in 1911. All the lines were crossing the Golden Horn on the famous Galata Bridge, which was acting as the central connection point.

The Asian side of Istanbul had to wait until 1928 and the creation of the "Üsküdar Kadıdöy Halk Tramwayları (ÜKHT) by the Republic to have a tramway line.

The tramway companies diversified into electric distribution and bus operation. This was often the case as the companies could easily use their electric engineering competencies to build power networks. Istanbul public transportation was nationalized in 1939, and the new company Istanbul Electrik, Tramway ve Tünel İşletmeIeri (İETT) took over both European and Asian networks.

The tramway had very little upgrade and basically the 1911 electric cars were still running in the 1960's. These vehicles looked outdated compared to the new cars and buses that were now on the streets. The tramway had little comfort and was slow because it was caught in the traffic jam caused by the cars. The tracks were also outdated, noisy and in the middle of the street. Cars had to pass the tramway on the right, causing danger for the pedestrians boarding and alighting the tramway.

For all these reasons (and others), the tramway felt out of fashion and was closed in Istanbul. Line closure started in 1958 and the last car ran on 12 August 1961 on the European side, on the 14 November 1966 on the Asian side.

A postcard showing heavy tram traffic on Galata Bridge in 1919

A postcard showing heavy tram traffic on Galata Bridge in 1919.

Tophane

Horse drawn tram in Tophane. Col. JP Charrey

Istanbul tram map 1920

Istanbul tram map (197 Ko)
"Plan du réseau, Société des Tramways de Constantinople", 1920

Istanbul tram map 1920

Istanbul tram map (492 Ko)
"Guide du Voyageur en Orient", Ed Henri Zellich & Cie, 1925

Beyazıt place

No less than 6 trams on this picture of Beyazıt place. Line 12 cars will go on to Fatih, whereas line 17 will turn around the place. Very difficult to date this picture due to the total absence of cars. Only a horsedrawn car and a bycicle can be seen. An educated guess would be the early 1940s based on the lanscaping of the garden. Coll. JP Charrey

Aksaray

View of Aksaray and of Lale Camii. This avenue is now called Ordu Cadesi and modern trams have been rebuilt there. Col. JP Charrey

Today

In 1990, Istanbul City rebuilt a small stretch of meter track tramway from Tünel upper station to Taksim. It is a single line, about 1 km long with a passing loop in the middle. Original rolling stock, which had been preserved, has been refurbished and is used on this line. It is funny to notice that local people are ridding this line although it is intended for the tourist. And children are still ridding on the buffers, as they already did at the beginning of the century.

On the Asian side, a short strektch of the "Moda" line has been rebuilt also, near Kapiköy ferry terminal. The line is circular going around a few blocks and is using also original stock.

Since 1989, Istanbul built several lines of urban tranportation, each of a different type:

  • 2 tramways, at street level mostly segregated from cars, except at some junction.
  • a light metro, fully segregated but whose rolling stock is similar to the tramway.
  • a heavy metro
  • a funicular

The Istanbul concept of light metro can be confusing. Light metro rolling stock could be seen on T1 tramway line. Line T4 is part tramway, part light metro. Light metro is more an like an enhanced tramway fully segregated from road traffic, with lineside signalling and high platforms.

The new tramway is of a modern design: segregated from traffic, on most of the way, standard gauge track and platform at stations. Power supply is done by regulated overhead lines and pantograph pickup. The cars are centraly regulated and have priority over cars. The modern tramway lines are built along the same alignment of some of the old tramway lines: nearly 40 years after, it is nice to see trams crossing the Galata bridge again.

Tram fleet roster

NumberSetsManufacturerModelYearComments
203 to 29731Düwag 1992second hand tramways purchased from the city of Köln in Germany
301 to 33417Hyundai-RotemMetropolis20082 vehicules per sets
502 to 568 ABB 1992 
701 to 75555BombardierFlexity swift2003 
800 to 83737AlstomCitadis2011 
RTE20001Ulaşım A.Ş.RTE2000  

Metro

In Januray 2009, a new section of metro was openned between Taksim and Şişhane. This new section has subsequently lengthened to Hacıosman and has 13 stops.

the first batch of 8 trains sets were delivered by GEC Alsthom on a design similar to Caracas subway. Each set has 4 cars

A second batch of 34 sets was delivered by Eurotem, the Turkish subsidiary of Hyunday-Rotem. Again the sets have 4 cars and they are based on the Metropolis type.

Hafif metro M1 (LRT)

Istanbul Hafif metro, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An outbound train is shown entering the busy Zeytinburnu station, where the Hafif Metro meets Tramvay line T1. Interestingly, until 2003 the tramway was equipped with the same cars, although the skirts were removed for street-level operation. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Istanbul Hafif metro, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A view of the Hafif Metro from a pedestrian overpass just outside the Bayrampaşa Maltepe station. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Istanbul Hafif metro, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A train of the ABB-built rolling stock that equipped the Hafif Metro since its inception in 1989, has just left the Bayrampasa Maltepe station of the M1 line. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Tram T1

The first line was opened with a set of Düwag second hand tramways purchased from the city of Köln in Germany. This equipment was supplemented with 22 sets ordered to Bombardier in 1992. this equipement was then displaced to like T4 when more modern equipement arrived.

IETT has received in 2003, 55 "Flexity swift" trams from Bombardier, Wien factory. These units are numbered 701 to 755. Similar units have been delivered to Stockholm.

Then IETT received in February 2011 from Alstom 37 Citadis trams, numbered 800 to 837.

Bombardier Flexity n°730 approching Çemberliktaş. August 2011. Photo JP Charrey

Bombardier Flexity n°730 approching Çemberliktaş. August 2011. Photo JP Charrey

Bombardier Flexity n°709 near Sirkeci. February 2007. Photo JP Charrey

Bombardier Flexity n°709 near Sirkeci. February 2007. Photo JP Charrey

two Alstom Citadis crossing near Çemberliktaş. August 2011. Photo JP Charrey

two Alstom Citadis crossing each other at Çemberliktaş. August 2011. Photo JP Charrey

Alstom Citadis n°829 climbing to Çemberliktaş. August 2011. Photo JP Charrey

Alstom Citadis n°829 climbing to Çemberliktaş. August 2011. Photo JP Charrey

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A view contrasting the ends of the Alstom Citadis cars from 2010 with the Bombardier Flexity Swift cars from 2003. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

The two types of low-floor cars pass each other on Ragıp Gümüşpala Cad between the Eminönü and Sirkeci stops. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A view between Eminönü and Sirkeci stations of a Citadis car along the landscaped median of Ragıp Gümüşpala Cd. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An ex-Köln Duewag car heading for Zeytinburnu is shown on Alemandar Cd between the Gülhane and Sültanahmet stops. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An inbound Alstom Citadis car has just left the Fındıkzade station along Turgut Özal Cd. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An inbound Duewag car is shown in the center median of Turgut Özal Cd approaching the Fındıkzade stop. These cars were built in the 1970s and came to Istanbul in 2007. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An inbound Bombardier Flexity car leaves the long viaduct and enters the Zeytinburnu station. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An inbound Bombardier car approaches the Mehmet Akif station in the center median on a short viaduct that has burst out into color. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T1, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A Bombardier unit is shown en route to the city center near the outer end of the T1 line. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Tram T4

Istanbul Light Rail line T4 has high-level platforms and a mixture of cars, including new Hyundai-Rotem units, ABB cars from the Hafif Metro and Duewag cars bought from Koln that also ran on Tramway route T1.

Trawmay T4, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A train of 1976-built Duewag cars purchased from Köln changes ends on the tail track just beyond the temporary terminal at Mesoid-I Salam, on the center reservation portion of the T4 line. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T4, April 2011. Photo Jack May

ABB car 564 leads a train of ABB cars into the elevated Vatan station of the T4 line. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T4, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A train of 1989 ABB cars approaches the Fethikapı station of line T4. The following station is the Topkapı terminal. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T4, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An inbound train of 2007 Hyundai-Rotem cars approaches the Fethikapı station of line T4. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T4, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Hyundai-Rotem car 325 at the rear of an outbound T4 train at Vatan station. At this station passengers can change to the M1 line, which is underground at this point. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T4, April 2011. Photo Jack May

An outbound train of Hyundai-Rotem cars pauses at the Metris station, in the center of a busy arterial road. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Trawmay T4, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Experimental car, built in 2010, RTE2000 is shown leaving the Fethikapı station of the T4 line. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Taksim-Tünel Nostalgic Tram

Istanbul Nostalgic Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

A 4-wheeled tram loading passengers at the Taksim Square station of the T5 heritage tramway.April 2011. Photo Jack May

Istanbul Nostalgic Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Car 233 approaches the Galatasaray stop, about halfway along the Taksim-Tunel tramway, which operates on a street closed to motor traffic.April 2011. Photo Jack May

Istanbul Nostalgic Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Single-truck car. 410 is shown just short of the end of the line at Tunel station. April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda tramway

Moda tramway in Kadiköy is a circular loop of heritage tram on the Asian side of Istanbul. The rolling stock for the Moda line consists of East German single-truck Gotha-Reko trams from the cities of Jena and Schoeneishe.

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Moda Trawmay, April 2011. Photo Jack May

Tünel

Istanbul is running also an underground funicular dubbed "Tünel". Tünel was opened in 1875 and climbs an altitude of 60m for a 573m line. The funicular cars were renovated in the 1960's, on a design based on Paris subways (including car colors and warning bells).

The Taksim funicular

This new funicular was completed in 2005. It goes up from Kabataş, a Vapur terminal on the northern shore of the Golden Horn to Taksim, a major intersection. The line is 550m long, the gradient is 22%. The line has two cars (capacity 375) travelling at a max speed of 10m/s.

Reference

  1. Istanbul mass transportation in Wikipedia. This page is a gateway to a line by line description of Istanbul public transportation on Wikipedia
  2. Istanbul in UrbanRail.Net

 


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Page last modified on 12/06/2012 22:30