by Tom Brosnahan
Travel Info Exchange
the new Orient Express!
trains (Yüksek Hızlı Tren, or YHT) currently run daily on these routes:
The trains feature two
classes of service, Normal and Business, as well as
a Cafeteria car. Fares are usually lower than the airlines, and comfort is higher on the train.
The YHT high-speed
service between Ankara and Eskişehir cuts the travel time between Istanbul and Ankara to
about 5-1/2 hours:
you travel from the Ankara
Gar to Eskişehir at
high speed, then transfer to a bus
at Eskişehir for the ride to
Istanbul—Ankara High-Speed Trains
News reports in mid-January 2014 suggest that the Eskişehir - Istanbul portion of the line may be ready for service as early as March 2014—at which time high-speed trains may operate all the way on the 533-km (331-mile) Istanbul-Ankara
route, making the journey in about 3 hours,
challenging the current monopoly held
by airlines on
such rapid transport between Turkey's
two largest cities. Fares are forecast to be about TL70 to 80 one-way/single for the trip between Istanbul and Ankara.
the high-speed train
In Istanbul, it's foreseen that
high-speed trains to Eskişehir
and Ankara will originate not at historic Haydarpaşa
Gar, but at Söğütlüçeşme,
a station about 1 km east of Haydarpaşa (map). Travelers can reach Söğütlüçeşme via regional Marmaray trains, the Metro and Metrobuses. (And when you get there, you'll still have trouble pronouncing Söğütlüçeşme—sew-EWT-lew-chesh-meh).
Station, given to the citizens of Istanbul by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1908, will probably no longer
be used by passenger trains, but will
become a museum, or put to another
In Ankara, a new station for the high-speed train
service will be built adjoining Ankara's
historic station (Ankara
Turkey's New Trains
During the past dozen years, Turkish State Railways has invested TL30 billion (about US$16 billion) to build over 1000 km (621 miles) of new railroad. The goal is to invest a total of US$45 billion to create 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of high-speed rail and 4,000 km (2,486 miles) of new conventional rail by the year 2023.
With the opening of the high-speed line between Istanbul and Ankara, Turkish State Railways forecasts predict 20 million passengers in 2014.
Turkey's ambitious high-speed train project
foresees additional fast train lines
between Istanbul, Bursa, İzmir and Antalya, and from
Ankara east to Sivas and Erzurum, connecting 15 major cities that are home to half of the country's population; but
these lines will take several more years to develop.
—by Tom Brosnahan
Hızlı Tren (High
Speed Train), Turkey.