At the end of a Marmaray journey be sure to tap your card on a machine like this to avoid being over-charged

In 2013 the long awaited tunnel beneath the Bosphorus known as the Marmaray finally opened and immediately transformed the İstanbul transport scenario. Now, while it may still be fun to use the ferries to cross from the European to the Asian side of the city, you can, if time is important, opt to use the speedy train that runs through the tunnel from Sirkeci to Üsküdar instead.

The Marmaray runs all the way from Halkalı in the east to Gebze in the west, uniting the outer edges of the city. Halkalı is now the main railway station for trains to Bulgaria and Romania while the station at Söğütlüçeşme on the Asian side is currently the main link for the high-speed trains (YHT) to Ankara and other Anatolian towns.

The Marmaray connects with many other transport services around the station. For example, you can use the Marmaray station at Ayrılıkçeşmesı to transfer to the Kadıköy-Kartal Metro while at Söğütlüçeşme you can transfer to the Metrobus.

You pay to use the Marmaray in the same way as you do for any other transport in İstanbul – with a transport card. However, at your destination you need to look for another machine to tap your card against to ensure you are charged only for the section you have used and not the entire route.

Marmaray3Smart new Marmaray trains replaced the battered old suburban-line ones


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