Thursday, 16 July 2015

Tunel and the Tram. Transport in Istanbul

Although part of Istanbul's transport system the Tunel and the historic tram offer an enjoyable journey from Karakoy to Taksim.

Tunel is the second oldest underground railway in the World having opened in 1875. It is perhaps also the shortest being just 550 metres in length. This is a funicular railway climbing 62 metres up the steep Galata hillside. Modernised in 1971 it is now electric powered and the cars run on pneumatic tyres, guided by traditional rails.

Emerging from the upper station in Tunel Meydani, one can board the heritage tram waiting at the terminus for the trip along Istiklal Cadessi, the city's bustling main shopping street. Istanbul's extensive tram network closed in 1966 but a number of cars were kept in storage. Route T5 was restored in 1990 and runs along a single track 1.6 kilometres to the transport interchange at Taksim. There is a passing place at Galatasaray and several stops en route although passengers jump on and off at will. Children are often seen taking a free ride by hanging on to the back of the cars.

Ferries constantly ply the Bogazici linking European Istanbul with the Asian suburbs. Take the boat to Kadikoy for another tram ride. Route T3 is a restored line which follows a 2.6 kilometre circuit serving Moda and the terminus of a new Metro line. The trams on this line originated in Germany. This is a residential district which sees few tourists so the trams are really for the benefit of the local population.
Trams pass at Galata
Cars wait outside the upper station of the Tunel
The Kadikoy to Moda tram
Kadikoy Ferry

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