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Electrification of Turkish railways: the state of the network

Electrification of rail routes is no modern phenomenon, but it has taken some time to root into the fabric of Turkish railways. This trend is slowly changing, however, as Turkish lines are in the midst of a far reaching construction and expansion programme.

Roughly $45 billion is being invested in the nation’s rail network – and electrification of both old and new track is an important part of Turkey’s upgrade regime.

Electrification set to shock Turkey’s railways into action

In 2023 the Republic of Turkey celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark the occasion, and to provide a big boost to the Turkish economy, a series of huge infrastructure projects are taking place nationwide.
Rail is firmly at the heart of this, hence why Turkey has got its cheque book out and is hurling cash into the sector.

Full electrification of Turkey’s extensive railway network is one of the country’s biggest infrastructure development goals. As of August 2017, the programme is on track – but activity will have to speed up to meet that 2023 deadline.

Nearly a quarter of conventional track is electric in Turkey

23% of Turkey’s extant conventional rail network is electrified. Out of the 8,947km of conventional track (i.e. not high-speed or fast rail line), 2,007km can be considered electric. 

Additionally, 888km of high-speed line is electric as well.

Full electrification is a daunting enough task as is it is but Turkey is nothing but ambitious when it comes to construction of new track. By 2023, it plans to double its existing 12,000km total network length (figure includes conventional, fast, and high-speed stretches) to 26,000km, including between 10-11,000km of high-speed lines. 

Share of electric trains increases

The share of electric locomotives pulling cargo trains has expanded over the decade. Back at the start, in 2010, just 5% of Turkish freight trains were powered by electric units. Flash forward to 2015 and electric cargo locomotive’s share had jumped to 21%.

Passenger traffic tells a slightly different story. Back in 2012, Istanbul’s rail connections were closed for engineering works. All passenger and suburban trains were suspended, which led to a drop in traffic share to 42%. In 2011, the figure was 52%.
Importantly, electric’s share is more than likely to reach 100% if Turkey rises to its own monumental construction challenge.

Discover the potential of Turkey’s electrification efforts at Istanbul Rail Tech

For suppliers of necessary technologies and electrical systems, Turkey is a massive market that’s only getting bigger.
To meet the right industry related figures from Turkey, you need a place where they are actively searching for new partners, solutions, and technologies.

Istanbul Rail Tech is that place.

Here, you can showcase your products directly to Turkish rail industry’s biggest figures and key buyers. Forge new international partnerships at the show to get a slice of Turkey’s billion dollar rail sector.

Contact our team today for more information on Istanbul Rail Tech – and to find out your participation opportunities.


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