Marmaray: A tunnel connects Europe with Asia

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  3 minutes

Marmaray Project © R1410/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marmaray Project © R1410/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marmaray is a rail transport project in the Turkish city of Istanbul. It comprises an undersea rail tunnel under the Bosphorus strait, and the modernization of existing suburban railway lines along the Sea of Marmara from Halkalı on the European side to Gebze on the Asian side. The procurement of new rolling stock for suburban passenger traffic is also part of the project. Construction started in 2004, with an initial target opening date of April 2009. After multiple delays due to historical finds, the first phase of the project opened on October 29, 2013.

The name Marmaray comes from combining the name of the Sea of Marmara, which lies just south of the project site, with ray, the Turkish word for rail. The project opened four years behind schedule, largely due to the discovery of a Byzantine-era and other 8,000 year-old archaeological finds on the proposed site of the European tunnel terminal in 2005. The excavations produced evidence of the city’s largest harbour, the 4th-century Harbour of Eleutherios. There, archaeologists uncovered traces of the city wall of Constantine the Great, and the remains of several ships, including what appears to be the only ancient or early medieval galley ever discovered, preventing the project from proceeding at full speed. In addition, the excavation has uncovered the oldest evidence of settlement in Istanbul, with artifacts, including amphorae, pottery fragments, shells, pieces of bone, horse skulls, and nine human skulls found in a bag, dating back to 6,000 BCE. Glass from several periods have also been found.

Marmaray tunnel © Muhammed Enes Okullu Marmaray project © Michael Röschter Marmaray Project © R1410/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Marmaray tunnel © Muhammed Enes Okullu
The suburban rail upgrade section of the project, known originally as CR1, was first awarded to the AMD Rail Consortium of Japan’s Marubeni, Turkey’s Dogus Insaat and France’s Alstom. However this faltered and the work was re-tendered as contract CR3 in early 2011. The replacement contract worth €932·8m was awarded to a joint venture of OHL and Invensys Rail.

Steen Lykke, project manager for Avrasyaconsult, the international consortium that’s overseeing the construction, sums it up saying, “I can’t think of any challenge this project lacks”.

Read more on Wikipedia Marmaray (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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