Musa Kesler – ISTANBUL
The historic seven-kilometer train track linking Sirkeci and Yedikule areas in Istanbul’s Fatih district is planned to be opened to pedestrian use for the first time in its history since 1872, sharing the route with trains, each on separate tracks.
Being the trademark of Istanbul for many years, the suburban train running between Sirkeci and Halkalı localities has been out of service since 2013 after the Marmaray project started.
On the famous route passing between the city walls and historic structures, the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry earlier started a new project that will address both public and tourist demands.
Construction crews re-laid the tracks, restored the old station buildings, and began framing pedestrian routes as part of the project.
On the seven-kilometer-long historic line, one of the two tracks are being prepared for trains and the other for pedestrians.
Pedestrians will also be able to use this path with bicycles and scooters.
With the project, a pedestrian entering the route from Sirkeci will be able to take a nostalgic walk, taking in the historical scenery until they reach Yedikule.
Meanwhile, instead of regular passenger trains, “sightseeing trains,” which are designed for watching the outside scenery during a train ride and commonly operate around historic or scenic locations, are planned to be used on this line.
It was also learned that there will be an exhibition of famous scenes from Yeşilçam movies on a section of the line, and train passengers will be able to catch the sight of the exhibited scenes on the road.
The Sirkeci – Yedikule railway was built starting in 1869 and put into service in 1872. The route, which also departed from Istanbul and travelled through Edirne, Thessaloniki, Plovdiv, Sofia, Nis, and Belgrade, was eventually linked to Vienna.
The historic train route had long been the main connection between the Ottoman Empire and Europe, serving as the starting point of a travel to the Balkans.
The renowned Orient Express, a Belgian passenger train service created in 1883 which operated throughout Europe, also reached Istanbul via this train route.
Most recently, the line was a symbolic departure point of expatriates going to Germany and people dispatching for military services, witnessing countless parting moments.