THE FIRST 8 km stage of Istanbul’s north-south heavy metro line was officially inaugurated on September 16. Linking Taksim and 4. Levent, the line has four intermediate stations, and a design capacity of 70000 passengers/h in each direction.

Construction of the line started began in 1992, and installation of electrical and mechanical equipment began with the award of a US$230m turnkey systems contract to Alstom in November 1997. Local partners Albayrak and Cengiz were responsible for fitting out the stations, whilst Alstom installed track, power supplies and ventilation systems, together with the signalling equipment. This combines Sacem-derived Mastria 200 ATP and ATO with electronic interlockings and ATS.

Alstom also supplied the eight 4-car trainsets under a separate US$45m contract. These have aluminium bodyshells and capacity for 1120 passengers per train. Top speed is 80 km/h, giving an end-to-end journey time of just 10min including stops. The stations have 180m platforms to allow the eventual operation of 8-car trains.

Istanbul Municipality has already called tenders for a 6 km extension of Line 1 south from Taksim under the Golden Horn to an interchange with the light metro at Yenikapi. A 2 km northern extension to the Technical University would give a 16 km route with 12 stations, which would require a fleet of around 150 cars. Another 4 km extension from Yenikapi to Topkapi is also under discussion.