29 October 2013

Siemens signaling technology links Europe and Asia

The Turkish State Railways opened the roughly 13-kilometer-long Marmaray tunnel in Istanbul for revenue service on October 29, 2013. Siemens supplied the entire signaling and control technology. The tunnel is the centerpiece of one of the biggest transport infrastructure projects in the world. Running under the Bosporus, it now links the rapid transit lines on the European side of Istanbul with those on the Asian. Trains operating at two-minute intervals will transport up to 75,000 passengers per hour through this new tunnel between Asia and Europe.

With its nearly 15 million inhabitants, Istanbul is one the world’s largest cities. The only previous connections between both parts of the city were provided by ferries and two bridges for road traffic. In an effort to reduce chronic traffic congestion and the associated environmental impact, the government is massively expanding the urban transport infrastructure. Siemens automated the rapid transit services for the new tunnel with a radio-based automatic train control system (Trainguard Sirius), electronic interlockings (Trackguard Westrace) and the operations control system (Controlguide Rail 900), which monitors the traffic and controls the interlockings and the infrastructure.

Furthermore, the tunnel will be expanded in a second phase to accommodate not only rapid transit services, but also long-distance passenger trains. As of 2015, the Marmaray tunnel should be the first standard-gauge rail link between Europe and Asia. The line will have an overall length of 76 kilometers. Travel time between the cities of Gebze and Halkali will then be cut in half to around one and a half hours. Siemens has already automated the tunnel for mainline service and thus installed the European train control system (European Railway Traffic Management System) Level 1.

Siemens has also equipped Line 1 of the Istanbul Metro with rail signaling and communications technology. The company also supplied the control and signaling systems for the 21-kilometer-long extension of that line, which was commissioned in 2012. In the mainline sector, the ETCS signaling system was installed by Siemens on sections of the Bandirma – Menemen line and on the route linking the industrial center Konya and the capital Ankara, one of the most important railway lines in Turkey.