Istanbul M7 metro extension map

TURKEY: Excavation work is underway on a long-planned 18 km underground extension of Istanbul’s M7 metro line, with the €220m cost to be financed from a Eurobond issued by Istanbul municipality late last year.

The extension is to be built in two stages.

The first will connect the existing Mahmutbey station on M7 and M3 to Hastane, running via Mehemt Akif on the future Line M9, Toplu Konut and Tema Park on the future Airport – Halkalı extension of M11. This is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The second stage will extend the route from Hastane to Esenyurt with five intermediate stations. The municipality has given no timescale for completion of the second stage, and has not set out how the line would cross the route of the proposed ship canal between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

President Tayyip Erdogan is a strong supporter of the Kanal Istanbul project, but it is opposed by the municipality which is controlled by the main opposition party.

The rapid development of Istanbul’s public transport network has been the subject of several disagreements between the municipality and the central government in Ankara, with the transport ministry seizing control of several projects.

Originally tendered in 2017 by Istanbul’s previous government-controlled city administration, work on the M7 extension never started. This was ostensibly due to financial and siting problems, but also likely to be due to questions over how the line would cross the ship canal.

Once complete, and following the completion of work to extend the other end of the line from Mecidiyeköy to the Bosporus ferry terminal at Kabataş, M7 would cover 42·6 km and serve 28 stations. It is expected to carry up to 1·4 million passengers a day, with journey times of 67 min between Kabataş and Esenyurt, and 28 min between Mahmutbey and Esenyurt.

The completed line would interconnect with the F1 funicular, the T1 tramway at Kabataş, the M2 line at Mecidiyeköy, the T5 tramway at Alibeyköy, the T4 light rail line at Karadeniz Mahallesi and the M3 metro line at Mahmutbey.

A further extension has been mooted which would see M7 run to a new station at Esenyurt Belediye, where it would connect with the as yet un-numbered Sefaköy – İncirli line. Plans for both projects are still under development.