The 6 (Altı) Eylül Ekspresi (September 6th Express) between Bandırma and İzmir, used to be coordinated with the İDO fast ferry between Bandırma and Istanbul, allowing you to travel between Istanbul and İzmir via fast ferry and train in less than eight hours—about the same travel time as the bus—but in greater comfort at a fare similar to that of the bus trip.
However, these schedules are no longer coordinated, making this a longer journey (9 to 13 hours—the bus takes 8 to 9 hours, the plane less than an hour), which is not so convenient.
The ferry voyage across the Sea of Marmara takes 2 hours. When you reach Bandırma, on the south shore of the Sea of Marmara, you walk a few steps from the ferry dock to the train station from which you will begin the pleasant 342-km (212-mile, 6-hour) train journey through scenic countryside to İzmir’s Alsancak station—but only after a wait of several hours.
An alternative: ride the ferry for the voyage between Istanbul and Bandırma (2 hours), and a Kamil Koç bus between Bandırma and İzmir, a road journey of about 4 hours.
The ferry and train schedules change frequently. As of July 2014, here are the schedules for travel between Istanbul and İzmir in one day:
From Istanbul (17. Eylül Ekspresi)
|Istanbul (Yenikapı)||07:00am||Bandırma||09:00am||Every day|
|08:30am||10:30am||Daily except Tuesday|
|Bandırma||15.55pm||İzmir (Alsancak)||21:52 (9:52pm)||Every day|
From İzmir (6. Eylül Ekspresi)
|Bandırma||15:30 (3:30pm)||Istanbul (Yenikapı)||17:30 (5:30pm)||Every day|
The schedules above include only the ferry departures useful for continuing your journey by train. There are other train and ferry departures (depending on time of year), but they do not allow you to make the complete journey between Istanbul and İzmir on the same day. (For full ferry schedules, see my Bandırma Ferries page.)
Ferry schedules as posted on the İDO website are not always consistent. Confirm times locally before you arrive at the station or ferry terminal.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Turkish State Railways Map|