Questions raised over the fate of historic Istanbul train station

Questions raised over the fate of historic Istanbul train station

Questions raised over the fate of historic Istanbul train station Turkey's Tranport Ministry has denied reports May 26 suggesting that a historic train station on Istanbul’s Asian side will be razed as part of infrastructural modernization for the Marmaray, the landmark railway project which also includes the world’s first intercontinental underwater tunnel.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official from the Transport Ministry has told daily Hürriyet that the Göztepe station will not be demolished. The official said a new station would be built 400 meters from the old one, which will be restored and used a cultural center.

The 91-km-long Haydarpaşa-Pendik suburban railway line, which was constructed on the Asian side of Istanbul in 1871, halted operations in June 2013 to be linked to the Marmaray and upgraded so that it can handle high-speed trains between Istanbul and Ankara.

Spanish firm OHL will build a modern building to replace the Göztepe train station in a project totalled 932.8 million euros. There are 16 stations on the Haydarpaşa-Pendik line, most of which will be demolished. On the European side of Istanbul, 18 train stations will be razed.

It is not clear which stations will be razed and which stations will be restored. “The historical texture will be damaged after the demolition of these stations,” Professor Yonca Erkan of Kadir Has University said, while stressing that the Göztepe station was built in the early 20th century. 

The Tranport Ministry had previously declined a request from the Kadıköy Municipality to convert the old train station of Göztepe into a museum. Thousands of signatures were collected at in separate campaigns by individuals and NGOs to save the station, which is unique in its architecture.

“These historical buildings could have been [repurposed] in a better way with the Marmaray,” Erkan said.