Turkey's rail network
Here are the different types
of Turkish trains:
train lines (Yüksek
Hızlı Trenler (YHT) are in operation on the route Istanbul - Eskişehir
- Ankara, and between Ankara and Konya, and Eskişehir and Konya. Other lines, from Eskişehir to İzmir and from Ankara to Sivas, are
under construction. More...)
Only one daily train from Istanbul to Europe, the Istanbul - Sofia Express.
Inter-regional Blue Trains (Mavi
Trenler) make fewer
stops than traditional expresses. Some haul couchette cars and sleeping
An overnight train between Eskişehir and İzmir (Basmane), hauling Pullman cars, sleeping
cars, and a dining car. More...
An overnight train between Konya and İzmir (Basmane), hauling Pullman cars, couchette cars and sleeping
cars, and a dining car. More...
Traditional (not high-speed) long-distance trains connecting larger cities and towns at slow speeds. The overnight trains have either couchette cars or sleeping
cars, or both:
6 Eylül Ekspresi
The daily morning September 6th Express connects Balıkesir and İzmir (Basmane). The southbound morning train originates in Bandırma, departing before the arrival of the first morning ferry from Istanbul. The train then stops in Balıkesir, and continues via Soma and Manisa to İzmir (Basmane), arriving in early afternoon. (Train-and-ferry used to be scheduled to connect İzmir and Istanbul, but this is no longer the case.)
17 Eylül Ekspresi
This daily September 17th Express evening train connects Balıkesir and İzmir (Basmane). The northbound afternoon train from İzmir (Basmane) continues past Balıkesir to Bandırma, arriving at 21:01 (9:01), after the last ferry to Istanbul has departed. (Train-and-ferry used to be scheduled to connect İzmir and Istanbul, but this is no longer the case.)
The daily Eastern Express is an overnight train taking nearly 24 hours to travel from Ankara via Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan, Elazığ and Erzurum to Kars, hauling compartment cars, Pullman cars, couchette cars and sleeping
cars, and a dining car.
The daily Aegean Express connects İzmir (Basmane) and Balıkesir in about 5 hours, hauling Pullman cars.
The daily Aergeus Express connects Kayseri, near Cappadocia, with Adana, taking about 5-3/4 hours to make the run, hauling Pullman coaches.
The daily Euphrates Express connects Adana with Elazığ on daytime runs taking under 10 hours, hauling Pullman cars. More...
Güney Kurtalan Ekspresi
The Southern Kurtalan Express travels between Ankara, Kayseri, Sivas, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Batman and Kurtalan 5 days per week, taking about 22 hours to make the run, hauling compartment cars, Pullman cars, couchette cars and sleeping
The Karesi Express joinsİzmir (Basmane) with Balıkesir daily in a little under 5 hours, hauling Pullman cars. More...
Connecting Denizli (near Pamukkale) with Eskişehir, the Pamukkale Express allows you to go via high-speed train from Istanbul, Ankara or Konya to Eskişehir, then by Pamukkale Express to Denizli—or vice-versa. More...
The Taurus Express rumbles through the Taurus mountain range joining Adana and Konya, hauling compartment and Pullman cars. More...
The Lake Van Express connects Ankara with Kayseri, Sivas, Malatya, Elazığ and Tatvan on the western shore of Lake Van taking about 24 hours, hauling compartment, Pullman, couchette, dining and sleeping
Here are the shorter-distance regional trains (Bölgesel
Tren) that you may find useful:
Once traveled by the fabled Orient
Express connecting Paris and
Constantinople, this European route
is now better served
Tthere is one daily express train, the Istanbul - Sofia Express,
between Istanbul and Europe (via Sofia and Bucharest) which you can use to travel between Istanbul (Halkalı) and Edirne; and one slow (4 hours) local train between Istanbul (Halkalı), Edirne and Kapıkule (the Turkish-Bulgarian border post). In any case, bus
service between Istanbul and Edirne and beyond
is much faster and more convenient. More...
These regional trains from İzmir's Basmane Gar make it easy and inexpensive to travel between İzmir, Adnan Menderes Airport, Selçuk (for Ephesus, Şirince and Kuşadası), Aydın (for Tralles), Nazilli (for Aphrodisias) and Denizli (for Pamukkale, Hierapolis and Laodicea). More...
Thwo trains run daily from İzmir's Basmane Gar to Manisa (Magnesia), Sart (Sardis), Alaşehir (ancient Philadelphia) and the carpet-making center of Uşak, but—as usual—they take much longer than the bus.
Frequent trains—about 24 per day—run along the eastern Mediterranean coast between these important important historic, commercial cities, taking about an hour for the run between Mersin and Adana; a little over two hours between Adana and İskenderun.
—by Tom Brosnahan