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Thu June 24 2021

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Turkey completes €4bn Asia-Europe railway

30 Oct 13 Turkey’s president Abdullah Gül has has hailed the $4bn (£3.4bn) Marmaray rail project as an engineering wonder and said that there are more huge projects to come.

He took part in yesterday’s opening ceremony of the scheme, which connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul through a rail link beneath the Bosphorus Straits. “With this project, it was made possible to travel from China to London,” he said. “Therefore, it concerns the whole world.”

The atmosphere of stability and security in recent years has helped create huge projects, said the president. As long as this continues, Turkey will continue to implement similar schemes, he said.

The project establishes a railway link crossing the Bosphorus, as well providing a major mass transport connection for the metropolitan area of Istanbul. The scheme’s overall length is 76.3km, including a 13.6km tunnel section. The sub-sea section is an immersed tube, 1.39km long and reaching 60.46m under sea level at its deepest point. The scheme includes 40 stations.

The project's overall length is 76.3km, including a 13.6km tunnel section. The sub-sea section is an immersed tube, 1.39km long and reaching 60.46m under sea level at its deepest point. The scheme includes 40 stations.

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The tunnel was built by a Japanese-Turkish consortium led by Taisei. Construction began in 2004 and the Marmaray tunnel was completed in 2008, though completion of the overall project was delayed.

The scheme had been partly funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which provided €1.05bn. “The tunnel is of crucial importance for the integration of Turkey into the European Union and the development of its transport network,” said EIB president Werner Hoyer. EIB also announced yesterday that it is also lending €200m to Turkey as support to earthquake risk mitigation efforts in Istanbul.

The railway will be free to use for 15 days.

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