Turkey - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services Temp

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TCDD has not published a timetable for many years and this list is based on the public timetables contained in the TCDD website as at July 2021. Standard abbreviations are explained in General Information. In the absence of timetable table numbers, each line's TCDD Bölge (administrative/operational region) is given, namely: 1 Istanbul (Haydarpaşa), both European and Asian Turkey; 2 Ankara; 3 Izmir (Alsancak); 4 Sivas; 5 Malatya; 6 Adana and 7 Afyonkarahisar.

The TCDD website is sometimes not updated to represent the actual situation. Trains may remain on the site when they have been cancelled, curtailed or amended. Prospective passengers should check carefully any notes (which are in Turkish only) relating to trains. In rural areas and on branch lines TCDD may still operate mixed trains (karma). These trains are subject to alteration without prior notice, frequently on an ad-hoc basis, and arrival times may vary substantially from booked times. No reliance should be placed on the timings or days of operation of these trains, unless checked locally.

Map references for each route entry are given in parentheses ( ). References prefixed "ERA-E" refer to the European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball. The European Railway Atlas (Regional Series) by M.G. Ball does not cover Turkey.

Obscure services

Polatli avoiding line: Km.456+029 HZ – Km 5+691 HZ

[Bölge 2] (ERA–E 112C4) TR21/1

This west <==> south curve south west of Polatli connects the Eskişehir (- İstanbul) and Konya high speed lines. It is used by high speed services (Yüksek Hizli Tren) between İstanbul and Konya.

(Ankara –) Sincan – Polatli – Eskişehir – Esentepe (– İstanbul)

[Bölge 2] (ERA–E 112C4) TR21/2

There are two largely parallel lines between Sincan and Esentepe, about 30 km south of Arifiye: the original 'classic' single track Ankara – İstanbul main line and the Ankara - Eskişehir - Arifiye high speed line. The only trains using the 'classic' line are local services between Ankara and Polatli, plus the following long distance trains.

22006 İzmir Mavi 20:30 Ankara - İzmir Basmane
22001 Ankara Ekspresi 22:00 Ankara - İstanbul (Halkali)
32005 İzmir Mavi İzmir Basmane - 04:55 Eskişehir - Ankara
12002 Ankara Ekspresi 22:00 İstanbul (Halkali) - Ankara

Note that the İzmir services use the 'classic' line only between Eskişehir and Ankara.

Alayunt triangle

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B4) TR21/3

All trains between Eskişehir and Afyon run via Kütahya, using the north <=> west and west <=> south curves of the triangle and calling at Alayunt Müselles when traversing the latter curve. The north <=> south curve thus has no service. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Kutahya and Alayunt area 3.jpg

Kütahya loop

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B4, not shown) TR21/4

In order to avoid reversing, locomotive hauled trains between Eskişehir and Kütahya which either continue to Afyon or terminate at Kütahya run via this loop line which diverges to the north, east of Kütahya, enabling them to approach the station from the west. It is always used prior to arrival at Kütahya.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Kutahya and Alayunt area 3.jpg

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 11:49 Alayunt - Denizli
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi Denizli - 16:38 Alayunt Müselles - Eskişehir

Note that the local trains 72601 - 72608 are at present worked by units or railbuses, so reverse at Kütahya and do not use the loop. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Karakuyu loop

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B3, not shown) TR21/5

The line from Afyon divides into a balloon loop north of Karakuyu, giving two connections into Karakuyu station. One loop runs into the east end and can be used by trains between Afyon and Izmir via Goncali in order to avoid reversal. The other runs into the west end and can be used by trains between Afyon and Isparta to avoid reversal; however there are no longer such passenger services.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.


Based on their timings, the following trains must use the east end loop:

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 15:33 Ekinova - Denizli
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi Denizli - 12:50 Karakuyu -Eskişehir

Afyonkarahisar loop

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B3, not shown) TR21/6

Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya station (abbreviated hereafter to Afyon) is equipped with a loop line which leaves the station in a south-easterly direction and turns to the north-west, joining the Eskişehir line. This enables trains between Eskişehir and either of the routes to Izmir (via Uşak or via Karakuyu) to avoid reversal.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.


The loop appears to be used on departure from Afyon.

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 13:54 Afyon A.Çetinkaya - Denizli
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi Denizli - 14:57 Afyon A.Çetinkaya - Eskişehir

Goncali triangle

[Bölge 7] (ERA–E 112B3) TR21/7

There is a triangle south of Goncali station whose usage is as follows:

north - west curve (Goncali – Goncali Müselles)

Trains between Izmir/Söke and Denizli, plus

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 18:22 Goncali - Denizli. The train reverses at Goncalı

north - south curve (Goncali – Bozkurt (– Çardak))

72014 Pamukkale Ekspresi Eskişehir - 17:46 Kaklık - Denizli

south – west curve ((Çardak –) Bozkurt – Goncali Müselles)

32015 Göller Ekspresi İzmir Basmane - 04:09 Denizli – Isparta
72013 Pamukkale Ekspresi 10:15 Denizli - Eskişehir
72016 Göller Ekspresi Isparta - 00:57 Bozkurt – İzmir Basmane

Note: Goncali Müselles is a basic request halt on the avoiding line. There is no platform or station infrastructure here.

Malatya avoiding line: Sitmapinar – Km 247.8

[Bölge 5] (ERA–E 113A3) TR21/8

This north <=> west curve links the lines from Sivas and Adana.

When there is engineering work between Elazığ and Tatvan, the Vangölü Ekspresi from Ankara to Tatvan is terminated at Elazığ. The stock needs to be turned but there is no facility at or near Elazig to facilitate this. The train therefore runs via the Malatya avoiding line and propels into the station. The locomotive has a cab at only one end, so it runs back light engine round all three sides of the triangle and then attaches to what is now the front of the train, before continuing to Elaziğ. Note that this applies only on the outward run from Ankara to Malatya.

Elazığ – Tatvan Gar – Tatvan İskele [Tatvan Pier]

[Bölge 5] (ERA–E 113B3-B4) TR21/9

Tatvan Gar is a terminus. Passenger trains continuing to Tatvan İskele for the train ferry across Lake Van are propelled from Tatvan Gar to Tatvan Iskele, where passengers alight and join the ferry on foot. Once this is completed, the train propels the mail van onto the train ferry. In the westbound direction, once passengers have boarded at Tatvan Iskele station, the train sets back onto the ferry to attach the mail van, enabling passengers in the rear carriage to traverse the link span on to the ferry. The mail van is the only part of the train that crosses Lake Van on the train ferry. The line between Tatvan Gar and Tatvan İskele describes three 180 degree curves. A connection links the two sides of the middle curve, forming a balloon loop. The westbound train uses this balloon loop and then propels into Tatvan Gar station, so that the train is then correctly formed (loco leading, baggage van on rear) for departure towards Ankara. Passenger therefore need to do the line in both directions to cover all available track.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.


MWO 22012 Vangölü Ekspresi 11:20 TSuO Ankara - 06:30 MWO Elazığ - Tatvan Gar
Note 1 TFSuO 52602 06:30 Elazığ - Tatvan Gar (this is a mixed train carrying freight wagons)
SUSPENDED ThO Trans-Asya Ekspresi 14:25 WO Ankara - 07:21 ThO Elazığ - Tatvan İskele
TThO 52011 Vangölü Ekspresi 09:00 Tatvan Gar - Ankara
Note 1 MWSO 52601 09:00 Tatvan Gar - Elazığ (this is a mixed train carrying freight wagons)
SUSPENDED FO Trans-Asya Ekspresi 05:50 FO Tatvan İskele - Ankara

The Trans-Asya Ekspresi (Ankara - Tehran) operates once a week and is the only train serving Tatvan İskele. Only the through baggage car is carried on the Tatvan - Van train ferry; through passengers join the ferry on foot. As at July 2021 this train remains suspended owing to the coronavirus outbreak

Note 1: These local mixed Bölgesel Treni (regional trains) operate three times a week between Elazığ and Tatvan Gar [Tatvan station], not Tatvan Pier.

Hanli – Bostankaya

[Bölge 4] (ERA–E 113A4) TR20/11

This 32 km freight-only cut-off avoiding Sivas is being used by through passenger services between Ankara and Kars, Van and Kurtalan (the Dogu, Turistik Doğu, Vangolu and Guney Kurtalan expresses) whilst Sivas station is closed from 1 April 2019 owing to engineering work for the Ankara - Sivas high speed line. Sivas passengers are conveyed by bus between Sivas and Bostankaya. The work was supposed to finish on 15 December 2019 but use of this route is now likely to continue until although no end date is known.

This line is used by the Turistik Doğu Ekspresi

See note Turistik Doğu Ekspresi 15:55 Ankara - 23:28 Kayseri - Kars
See note Turistik Doğu Ekspresi 22:35 Kars - 02:19 Erzerum - Ankara

Note: MWFO in summer; daily in winter

Van İskele [Van Pier] – Van Gar – Kapiköy – Razi (Iran) – Tabriz

[Bölge 5] (ERA–E 113C4) TR20/12

As at January 2021 all trains are suspended owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

MO 717 21:00 Van Gar - Tehran
ThO 719 21:25 Van İskele - Tehran
WO 718 22:05 Tehran - 18:30 ThO Kapiköy – Van İskele
SuO 716 13:00 Tehran - 09:15 MO Kapiköy – Van Gar

The times should be checked on official websites as the provision of information cannot be relied upon.

Other sparse services

The following lines have few trains (relative to service levels generally in this country) - fewer than three trains each way on at least three days a week - or do not run each weekday.

Halkali - Çerkezköy - Kapikule - Svilengrad (Bulgaria) Bölge 1 (ERA 111A2 - 111C1) One train each way per day between Halkali and Kapikule and one between Halkali and Çerkezköy.

The Istanbul-Sofia Express runs nightly between Halkali and Sofia. However, as at July 2021, this train is suspended owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Optima Express car carrying train runs approximately twice a week between Villach (Austria) and Edirne (Turkey).

Pehlivanköy - Uzunköprü Bölge 1 ERA 112A4 One train each way per day
Irmak - Çankiri - Karabük - Filyos - Zonguldak Bölge 2 (ERA 112C4) Trains are running only between Karabük and Zonguldak owing to engineering work.
Boğazköprü - Niğde - Ulukışla (- Adana) Bölge 2 (ERA 112C3) One train each way: the Erciyes Ekspresi between Kayseri and Adana.
Balıkesir - Bandirma Şehir Bölge 3 (ERA 112B4) Two trains each way, the 6 Eylul Ekspresi and 17 Eylül Ekspresi. Connection at Bandirma for high speed ferries to İstanbul Yenikapı.
Karakuyu - Isparta Bölge 3 (ERA 112B3) The Göller Ekspresi, running overnight between İzmir Basmane and Isparta, is the only train over this line.
Uşak - Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya Bölge 7 (ERA 112B3) The Konya Mavi, running overnight between Izmir and Konya, is the only train over this line
Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya - Karakuyu Bölge 7 (ERA 112B3) The Pamukkale Ekspresi between Eskişehir and Denizli is the only train over this line.
Afyonkarahisar Ali Çetinkaya – Konya Bölge 7 (ERA 112B3 - 112C3) The Konya Mavi, running overnight between Izmir and Konya, is the only train over this line.
Karaman - Ulukışla (- Adana) Bölge 6 (ERA 112C3) The Toros Ekspresi between Adana and Konya is the only train over this line. As at July 2021, this train is suspended owing to engineering work.
Kütahya - Tavşanlı - Balikesir Bölge 7 (ERA 112B4) Two trains each way, the Izmir Mavi and the Ege Ekspresi.
Kalın - Amasya - Samsun Bölge 4 (ERA 113A4) All services suspended since September 2015 for engineering work
Divriği - Erzincan - Erzurum - Kars Bölge 4 (ERA 113A4 - 113C4) The Dogu Ekspresi runs daily between Ankara and Kars but no longer carries sleeping cars. The Turistik Doğu Ekspresi, conveying sleeping cars, is suspended as at July 2021. A local train runs daily between Divriği and Erzincan.
Kars - Akyaka Bölge 4 (ERA 113C4) Two local trains daily between Kars and Akyaka, on the border with Armenia.
Çetinkaya - Malatya Bölge 5 (ERA 113A3 - ERA 113A4) A daily train between Ankara and Malatya continues 5 days a week as the Güney Kurtalan Ekspresi to/from Kurtalan and 2 days a week as the Vangölü Ekspresi to/from Tatvan.
Yolcati - Diyarbakır - Batman - Kurtalan Bölge 5 (ERA 113B3) The Güney-Ekspresi runs 5 days a week between Ankara and Kurtalan. In addition there are two trains a day between Diyarbakır and Batman.
Malatya - Fevzipasa Bölge 5 (ERA 113A3) One train each way, the Firat Ekspresi, runs daily between Elaziğ and Adana.
Fevzipaşa – İslahiye Bölge 6 (ERA 113A3) One local train a day each way: early morning from İslahiye and late evening back.

Deletions since previous edition

TR20/9 (Sivas –) Tecer (Km 649+750 Start of New Line) – Kangal – Temürün Köyü (Km 700+670 End of New Line) (– Çetinkaya) This line lost its passenger service from 8 December 2019.

See also