Turkey by Train

Find out about travelling on Turkey's rail transport network including domestic and international trains, and local trams and metro services...

Turkey has an extensive rail network which is well developed following many infrastructure improvements in the early 21st century. Due to the mountainous nature of the country, many tracks are of steep gradient or tight curve. Depending on the route trains can have traditional seats, couchettes, sleeping cars and a restaurant car.

The national railway network is owned and run by Turkish State Railways (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları - TCDD).

  • For information, timetables and ticket information: Click here

There is a rail tunnel currently under construction to traverse the Bosphorus Strait near Istanbul. The project, entitled Marmaray is due for completion in 2013 and for the first time will connect Turkey’s Europe and Asian areas by rail.

It is commonly accepted that the trains are slower, less comfortable but cheaper than their bus counterparts. Tickets should be purchased in advance and for popular routes during the high season, these may need to be booked many weeks in advance.

High speed rail

Turkey began a programme of high-speed rail connections in 2009. There are proposed connections from Istanbul to Ankara via Eskişehir and Polatlı and a proposed line from Ankara to Sivas. Another line from Polatlı to Konya is also under construction.

After completion, it is estimated that travel time between Istanbul and Ankara will be reduced from six and a half hours to three hours and ten minutes.

Urban transport

Istanbul has a comprehensive transport infrastructure largely run by IETT (Istanbul Electric Tram and Funicular Company) including:

  • Funiculars: Istanbul has two funicular lines. The Tunel (T), which connects Karaköy and Tunel Square and the Kabataş-Taksim Funicular (F1) which connects the sea bus station and tram stop in Kabataş to the metro station in Taksim
  • Light Rail: The LRT consists of two lines. One between Bağcılar Merkez and Kabataş (T1) and a second between Habibler and Topkapı (T4)
  • Metro: Istanbul has an underground system, which runs primarily from Aksaray and Atatürk Airport (M1) and another line between Şishane and Hacıosman (M2). Further underground lines are under construction
  • Suburban trains: Turkish Railways run two suburban lines. The first from Sirkeci to Halkalı (B1) and the second from Haydarpaşa to Gebze (B2)
  • Trams: There are two historical tramlines in Istanbul. The first was opened in 1990 and links Tunel to Taksim (NT/T5) and the 2003 Moda tramway loop in Anatolia (T3)
  • For further information on transport in Istanbul: Click here

Public transport can be paid for in Istanbul by using a Smart Ticket (Akbil). The system is an electronic ticket that is valid for all public transport in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The Akbil comes in the form of a key fob and is obtained for a small deposit from major transport centres. Travel credits are then loaded on the ticket up to the value of 150 Lira. Top up credits are available at most public transport locations including bus stops and ferry ports.

Touch the fob to the reader at the fare gate to enter.

As well as a large transport infrastructure of buses, trains funiculars and ferries in Istanbul, there are metro and rapid transit networks in the following cities: