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High-Speed Train Ankara—Istanbul

Last Updated on June 23, 2023

Turkey's high-speed trains also known as Yüksek Hızlı Tren (YHT), is a modern marvel of Turkish engineering. It links the bustling city of Istanbul with the capital, Ankara. This 533-km (331-mile) journey is made in about 4 to 5 hours.

Istanbul YHT Station at Söğütlüçeşme 

The high-speed train journey from Ankara to Istanbul makes several stops along the way. Starting from Ankara, the train halts at various stations including Eryaman, Polatlı, Eskişehir, Bozüyük, Bilecik, Arifiye, İzmit, Gebze, Pendik, Bostancı, Söğütlüçeşme, Bakırköy, and finally Halkalı. However, it's important to note that not all trains stop at every station. Some express services make fewer stops to shorten the journey time.

Söğütlüçeşme station is the initial stop for trains heading to Ankara, Eskişehir, and Konya from Istanbul. Reaching Söğütlüçeşme railway station is quite straightforward. You can take the Metrobus, which terminates at Söğütlüçeşme, or use the Marmaray service. Both Ataköy-Pendik and Halkalı-Gebze Marmaray lines pass through Söğütlüçeşme. Alternatively, buses numbered 14B, 34AS, 34G, and 4 also serve the station. Another option is the M4 metro line, which provides direct access to Söğütlüçeşme station.

In Istanbul, the train terminus is on the Asian shore of the Sea of Marmara at Pendik, a 10-minute walk inland from the İDO ferry dock, between Abdülhak Renda Caddesi and Hatboyu Caddesi, 12 km (7.5 miles) southwest of Airport and 30 km (19 miles) southeast of Kadıköy.

Reaching the Ankara Train Station is quite straightforward and can be done in several ways:

  1. From Ankara Metro Ulus Station: If you're at the Ankara Metro Ulus station, you can simply walk to the Ankara Train Station. It's a convenient option if you're already in the metro system.
  2. From Ankaray Tandoğan Station: Another option is to walk from the Ankaray Tandoğan station. There's an underpass that you can use to safely cross the road and reach the train station.
  3. By Bus or Minibus from Various Locations: You can also take a bus or minibus to the Ankara Train Station. Buses from Siteler, Doğantepe, Hüseyin Gazi, Karapürçek, and other areas head towards Ulus, passing over the Sıhhiye Bridge. Look for buses with the following numbers: 227, 309, 361, 381, 437, 438, 487-3, 72, 761. These buses will take you to the vicinity of the train station.
  4. By EGO Buses or Minibuses from Keçiören and İncirli: If you're coming from the direction of Keçiören and İncirli, you can take EGO buses or minibuses. These services will drop you off near the Ankara Train Station.

Remember to check the local transit maps and schedules for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Train or Plane?

YHT trains challenge the traditional monopoly held by airlines on rapid transport routes between Turkey's two largest cities. Flying between Istanbul and Ankara is an estimated travel time of 4 or 5 hours or more when transport to and from the airports, traffic jams, security checks, waiting, boarding, de-planing, and baggage claim times are taken into account.

Taking the train would be a lot cheaper and would probably involve the same journey time as using the plane.  Trains reach a high speed of 250 km/h.

High-speed trains also travel between Ankara and Konya and Eskişehir and Konya.

The train journey from Istanbul to Ankara is particularly scenic, offering passengers a visual feast of lush green landscapes and expansive blue waters. Between these two cities you'll also catch glimpses of shipyards and the impressive Orhan Gazi Bridge. To make the most of these picturesque views, consider purchasing a ticket for a seat on the right side of the train and next to the window. This way, you can fully enjoy the beautiful scenery that accompanies this journey.

How To Buy Tickets

Purchasing your train ticket online is not only the most convenient method but also the safest. The Turkish State Railways website allows you to select your desired departure location, destination, and travel date, making it easy to plan your journey.

However, it's important to note that tickets can sell out quickly, especially during peak travel seasons and holidays. Therefore, it's advisable to book your ticket well in advance to avoid disappointment. If online booking isn't an option for you, tickets can also be purchased directly from the railway station's ticket sales office, provided there are seats available.

The cost of your ticket will vary depending on your journey's route, start and end points, essentially, the distance you'll be traveling. To get the most accurate pricing information, it's best to check the Turkish State Railways website or download the TCDD Taşımacılık mobile application.

Travel Class

The high-speed train offers two classes of service: Economy and Business. Business class provides a more luxurious experience, with more comfortable seating options. Economy class, on the other hand, offers a standard seating arrangement. Additionally, Business class passengers are treated to special amenities.

Standard economy train tickets come with flexible options, allowing changes, refunds, and the creation of an open ticket. You're allowed to make up to three changes to your ticket. While discounts are available on standard rail tickets, please note that these do not apply to business class tickets.

The train's seating is designed for comfort, with some seats featuring tables that can be opened for added convenience. Onboard facilities include a cafeteria and bathroom. Occasionally, staff members circulate with a service cart offering tea, coffee, and snacks for sale.

Luggage 

When traveling on the high-speed train, there are certain limitations regarding the size and quantity of luggage you can bring onboard. These restrictions are as follows:

  1. You may bring one piece of luggage that does not exceed the dimensions of 65x50x35 cm.
  2. Alternatively, you can bring two pieces of luggage, each not exceeding the dimensions of 55x40x23 cm.
  3. If you have sports bags, you're allowed to bring two per person, provided they are of a size that can fit into the overhead storage compartments on the train.

 

These items are considered hand luggage or cabin luggage and can be brought onto the train at no additional cost. It's important to adhere to these guidelines to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free journey for all passengers.

Should you require any assistance during your train travel or at the station, you can reach out to the call center at 123 or 444 82 33 for help.

Conclusion

The Yüksek Hızlı Tren (YHT) high-speed train service is a convenient and efficient way to travel between Istanbul and Ankara. It offers a comfortable journey with beautiful views, making it a great alternative to air travel. Whether you're commuting or exploring Turkey, the YHT provides a memorable and enjoyable travel experience

—Tom Brosnahan, updated by Melike Kocaer

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