by Tom Brosnahan
Travel Info Exchange
Inaugurated on January 17, 1875 after having been designed and built by French engineers, Istanbul's Tünel is the second-oldest underground train in the world (after London's, 1863).
The Tünel allowed European diplomats
and businessmen to ride between their
waterside offices in Karaköy (Galata)
on the Golden Horn and their hilltop residences in Beyoğlu (Pera)(map)
on steam-powered, gas-lit, cable-drawn cars—in
For over a century it was Istanbul's
only underground train.
city has now completed several lines
of its far-flung Metro system
here for a map of
the system), and the Tünel's
wonderful old 19th-century lacquered-wood
replaced by boring modern metal cars
in the 1970s, and again by even newer cars in 2009, the
is still a convenient way to climb (or descend) the steep slope between Karaköy Square and Tünel Square.
Here is fare
As there are only two stations, you
won't get lost.
The Tünel operates
from about 06:00 am until 22:00 (10
pm). I don't know for sure. I went to the English-language version of the IETT
website's Tünel section in March 2014 to look up the
times. The website has all sorts of
moving, flashing, sliding graphics on
it, and it gives you lots of interesting
historical facts about
transport in Istanbul, but it doesn't
tell you the times that services operate, or the fares.
Here's the Timetables page: eye-catching graphics, buttons to enlarge or reduce the text, Facebook 'Like" buttons, etc.—but no timetable information. I particularly like the "Back to Top" button.
—by Tom Brosnahan