Istanbul metro line opening by Erdogan

Speedy 120-km/h metro line inaugurated in Istanbul

Transport minister Adil Karaismailoğlu and president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the opening ceremony. 2023,

The Turkish ministry of Transport and Infrastructure this week inaugurated a metro line to Istanbul Airport. The line stands out for its speed, as in some sections passengers will be travelling at 120 kilometres per hour. The line has a capacity of 800,000 travellers on a daily basis, the ministry says.

Istanbul Airport is a new airport that opened in April 2019, and until this week passengers had to rely on coach services and taxi’s to get to the city, which is located some 40 kilometres away. The new M11 metro line currently measures 34 kilometres in length and terminates at the Kagithane district, from where passenger have to transfer to the municipal metro lines. Later this year, the line will be extended to the Gayrettepe business district for easier connections.

The line currently in operation is the eastern branch of the M11 metro. In the near future, a western branch will also be opened. This line will call at Istanbul’s Olympic Stadium and Halkali, where it will link up with Turkey’s high-speed rail system. Once fully operational, the metro line will be close to 70 kilometres in length, making it one of the longest continuous lines in the world.

The metro uses rolling stock manufactured by Chinese manufacturer CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive, which already has a fleet of more than 400 vehicles in Turkey. As mentioned, the metro vehicles will hit speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour on some sections on the M11 line. Such speeds are quite rare for metro vehicles, only the Airport Express line and the Tung Chung line in Hong Kong are reportedly faster at 130 kilometres per hour.

There are a host of metro developments afoot in Turkey’s largest city. Earlier this month, the municipality opened two new metro lines. The first being the extension of the M7 line in the well-known district of Besiktas, the other being the M8 line on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Istanbul metro map
Istanbul’s rail system, with the M11 in the top left of the map. Image: Istanbul Municipality.

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Author: Nick Augusteijn

Former Chief Editor of

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