Travel Time and Alignment
The alignment of the new Marmaray Railway Project will, outside the Istanbul Strait Crossing, be similar to the existing commuter rail line. This means that most of the existing stations between Halkalı and Yedikule and between Haydarpaşa and Gebze will remain where they are today, but they will be either re-furbished or completely new buildings.
In addition, new underground stations will be constructed in Yenikapı, Sirkeci and Üsküdar, and the railway technology will be upgraded using modern systems and rolling stock.
A trip today from Halkalı to Gebze will typically last a bit more than three hours, including the ferry trip from Sirkeci to Haydarpaşa. When the upgraded commuter rail system is in place, the trip will take one hour and forty-five minutes. In other words, passengers will save approximately one hour and fifteen minutes on the trip.
Other examples, including the above case, of travel duration are listed as follows:
- Between Gebze and Halkalı 105 minutes
- Between Bostancı and Bakırköy 37 minutes
- Between Sögütlüçesme and Yenikapı 12 minutes
- Between Üsküdar and Sirkeci 4 minutes
In general, this saving may not seem impressive, but if the daily savings per passenger is multiplied by the number of total trips, it will add up to tremendous amounts of time. It goes without saying that such calculations cannot be accurate, but they can give an idea of the efficiency of the new railway system.
In the opening year, it has been calculated that the total time savings will be of the order of 13 million hours, by the year 2015 the savings will be of the order of 25 million hours, and by the year 2025, when the capacity of the systems is fully utilised, the savings will be of the order of 36 million hours per year or approximately 100.000 hours (11.4 years) saved by people every single day all year round!
Such an improvement in efficiency will have other repercussions on the general transportation pattern of Istanbul. The efficiency of railway systems in major cities around the world is often monitored via the percentage of all trips made via railway and subway systems against the total number of trips made.
Some years ago, this percentage was 60% in Tokyo, 31% in New York, 22% in London, 25% in Paris, but only 3.6% in Istanbul. These figures clearly indicate that Istanbul has a serious backlog when it comes to the possibility of allowing people to use efficient train systems for the daily transportation needs of the city. It is estimated that when the Marmaray Project has been completed and people become familiar with using the new systems, this percentage may rise to the order of 28%. If this happens, Istanbul's transport efficiency and environmental solutions will be comparable with those of other major cities around the world.