Marmaray eases goods transfers between Istanbul’s two sides
A net 370,000 tons of goods have been transported via the Marmaray tunnel that connects Istanbul’s Asian and European sides in a year, according to numbers of the TCDD Taşımacılık A.Ş. of the Transportation Ministry.
Marmaray, an undersea railway tunnel connecting Europe and Asia via the Bosphorus Strait, is providing uninterrupted transportation of freight trains between both continents in addition to inner city and intercity travel of passengers.
The official data shows that 845 freight trains and 15,255 wagons have transported net 370,000 tons, and gross 700,000 tons, of freight in the last year via the Marmaray tunnel.
Of those trains, 451 moved to Europe and 394 to Asia, and most of them carried export cargo.
The tunnel is used by passenger trains during the day and by freight trains between midnight and 5 a.m.
The Marmaray tunnel opened on the 90th anniversary of the Turkish Republic’s foundation on Oct. 29, 2013. More than 200,000 commuters were using the increasingly popular tunnel every day before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in March 2020.
The 13.6-kilometer-long tunnel is 60 meters below the sea and allows travelers to cross from Istanbul’s European side to the Asian side in four minutes.
It is also a section of the railway that connects Asya Port in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, which is bordering Bulgaria, to the Anatolian provinces.
A freight train can transport goods from China to Bulgaria or Greece through the Marmaray tunnel and can finish the journey in less than three weeks. That route, which is an alternative to the China-Russia Northern Railway Corridor, is called the Middle Corridor, or the Iron Silk Road. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey is also a section of the Middle Corridor.