Earthquake zone Turkey

Railway services suspended following earthquake in Turkey and Syria

At least 1.200 kilometres of railway lines are affected in Turkey. 2023, Google Maps

Railway traffic in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria has been affected due to the earthquakes that struck the border region on Monday. In Syria, all railway traffic is suspended while in Turkey it is mostly passenger services that were cancelled to and from the stricken area.

A total of 1,275 kilometers of railway lines have been affected by the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş, Turkish press agency AA reports. This information was provided by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and includes effects on 446 bridges, 6161 culverts and 175 tunnels on rail lines in the area.

After a first round of inspections by the railway maintenance teams, the conclusion was that many of the railway lines have been deformed. This is especially true on the sections Toprakkale-Narlı, Narlı-Malatya and Narlı-Gaziantep, all in the central-south of the country. In addition, ten stations that provide electrical energy for railway lines are currently non-operational in the region. According to the same source, teams have been mobilised to carry out works on the deformed railway lines.

A massive fire has broken out in the port of Iskenderun, which was severely impacted by the earthquake. The fire started on Monday evening in a single container. On Tuesday morning, the fire spread to other containers. According to Logiport.com, the fire was still spreading at the time of writing (09.45).

Turkey important piece of the rail freight puzzle

Turkey plays an important role on the international rail freight map. It is a transit country for traffic coming in from the east at Kars, headed for Europe. This is the southern branch of the Middle Corridor. Kars is located in the northeast, outside the earthquake zone.

But there are also a lot of intermodal services that run via Turkish ports to Europe, and where the overland part is carried out by rail. The port of Iskenderun was hit hard by the earthquake. In a picture shared by a logistics professional, containers are seen scattered on the ground.

In Syria, all railway traffic was suspended on Monday, the Syrian Transport Ministry announced. This is to check the condition of the railway tracks. Passengers normally count on daily train services across the main cities of the country, including the affected cities of Aleppo and Latakia. Syria does not play a large role on the international rail freight map, however.

This piece was first published by RailFreight.com.

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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