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Bursaray is open for business

01 Nov 2002

The Y-shaped first phase of Bursa's light rail network is now carrying around 150000 passengers a day. Planning is underway on the next 4 km of a network that is projected to reach 55 km by 2015

Turgut Men is Project Manager for Bursaray at Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, and Steve Walmsley is Project Manager at Yapi-ICF Kaiser

AUGUST 19 was a landmark day in the Turkish city of Bursa. Opening of the final underground station at Sehreküstü marked the completion of the 17 km first phase of the city's light rail network. It was the culmination of almost 20 years of planning, but only the first stage in a process that should see the network expanding steadily over the next 15 to 20 years.

Situated to the south of the Sea of Marmara, in the northwest of the country, Bursa has long been of strategic importance. A former Ottoman capital, it was the western gateway to the Silk Road, and a centre for the textile trade. Today, it is the home of three motor vehicle assembly plants, and attracts many workers from eastern Turkey and Europe. With a population of 2 million, it is Turkey's fourth-largest city and one of the fastest growing.

Hemmed in by mountains to the south and agricultural land to the north, the urban area sprawls both east and west for over 40 km. As a result people must travel further, with motorists forced to drive through the steep and narrow roads in the city centre. The spread of modern development is creating an opportunity to establish secondary regional centres, which will reduce the need for long-distance commuting, but this is a long-term policy.

So Bursa's urban transport planning strategy covers not just the central business district, but also connections to the seaports of Mudanya and Gemlik, which are becoming part of the conurbation. Joint feasibility reports by Austrian, German and Canadian firms in 1984 were developed by Middle East Technical University (ODTü) in Ankara, and led to the decision to build a light metro as the spine of the city's public transport network. A 55 km system was envisaged, to be implemented in four stages over 15 years.

In 1991 the Metropolitan Municipality of Bursa employed consultant Optim-Obermeyer to refine proposals for the first stage, concentrating on an east-west spine, with a northwest branch to Mudanya and a northern branch towards Yalova.

A study by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau completed in February 1997 showed that the project was financially viable. The German government approved a loan under a joint development agreement with Turkey, and with assistance from KfW additional commercial loans were arranged with three Turkish banks.

Phase A consists of a Y-shaped segregated double-track route linking northern and western industrial areas to the city centre. A turnkey construction contract was awarded to a consortium of Siemens AG, its Turkish arm Simko (now known as Siemens AS), local rolling stock builder Tüvasas, and Guris on January 31 1997, at a price of DM517m.

Guris undertook the main construction work. Siemens AG supplied the vehicles, communications, power supply and signalling equipment, workshop machinery and tools. Siemens AS was responsible for installation of electrical and mechanical works. A contract for consulting and supervisory services was awarded to a joint venture of Yapi Merkezi and ICF Kaiser Engineers (now part of Earth Tech, a TYCO International Ltd company).

Phase A in detail

The line runs mostly at grade in the median of existing dual-carriageway roads, with a 4 km underground section in the city centre. Two bridges totalling 600m and four short tunnels were needed to segregate the line at major road junctions.

There are 13 surface and four underground stations. Surface stations have a 120m long island platform with a ticket hall beneath, accessed by pedestrian tunnels under the road. Escalators are provided between the ticket hall and platforms, and lifts for the disabled are planned.

To reduce costs, the tunnels were built using cut-and-cover wherever possible, with cutting sides stabilised and protected by shotcrete. Excavation of a 900m section under one of the main city centre streets required closure of the road and re-routing of traffic for 18 months.

Tunnels in areas with high ground water, including three of the underground stations, were excavated using concrete bored pile retaining walls. At Merinos station a river had to be diverted and supported above the platforms. It proved difficult to sink bored piles through large boulders in the substrata at Sehreküstü station and along 300m of adjacent tunnel, so diaphragm walls were constructed in a series of hand-dug 3m x 2m shafts. Up to 35 teams of five miners were used in this labour-intensive but highly effective method. To save time, the over-run tunnel section east of Sehreküstü was constructed using a top-down method, which enabled track to be laid three months earlier than originally planned.

Ballasted track with continuously welded S49 rails on concrete sleepers is used throughout, including the tunnel sections. The 1·5 kV DC overhead line is slung from steel masts, and fed by five substations on a dedicated 35 kV ring main.

The ceremonial foundation stone was laid on July 8 1998. Revenue operation began on June 16 this year, with 13 vehicles operating over 16 km of the route. This followed the launch of a free trial service on April 23. Trains currently operate at 6min headways off-peak, and every 3min at peak times. However, the signalling design includes an allowance for shorter headways in the event of future expansion.

The line is run by an operations and maintenance company known as Burulas, which employs 220 staff. The operations control centre and administrative offices are located next to the main workshop on a 10ha site, designed to allow expansion to cater for a 120-vehicle fleet. There is an extensive range of workshop and maintenance facilities, including a vehicle washing plant.

Two-aspect signalling is used. ZUB 222 automatic train protection using axle counters for train detection prevents the vehicles from over-speeding by comparing the actual speed with the speed profile of the line. Maximum speed on the running lines is 70 km/h, but in the depot the maximum is 15 km/h.

A Sicas interlocking is used for setting, interlocking and protecting the routes. The man-machine interface in the central control room displays information about track occupation status, and allows manual control of signals and points as well as automatic route setting via positive train identification loops. Within the depot the routes are set directly by the operators in the control room.

The management information system (LIO) provides a clear overview of train running, and allows communication between the train driver and the controller. LIO shows the controller the position of each train and train running data, sets up and answers radio calls with the drivers, and provides operational reports, forms and data archiving.

An integrated on-board information system is the basis for radio communications, identification of trains, and destination information. The stored timetable provides the driver with real-time information on train running. A Scada system provides control and monitoring of the entire traction, power supply, lighting and other electrical sub-systems.

Expandable modular designs were adopted for both hardware and software, which are arranged as central and local levels. The central level consists of two redundant servers on a local area network with redundant communication links. The local level is based on Siemens SICAM RTU, an established control and monitoring product.

Proven vehicles

The Siemens B80D high-floor steel bodied bi-directional vehicles are based on those supplied to Bochum. The B80D was chosen for its proven design and reliability, which was considered particularly important in a brand new market where there was no previous experience of light rail. Features include regenerative braking, inverted-spring pneumatic disc brakes and electromagnetic rail brakes. A Siemens Simis processor provides the control backbone.

Bodyshells were assembled at the Siemens works in Uerdingen, and shipped to Turkey for fitting out by Tüvasas. The factory in Adapazari was largely destroyed by an earthquake in August 1999, but the Bursaray contract was instrumental in stimulating the regeneration of local employment and revitalising the spirit of the area. Bogies were supplied from Siemens' Graz plant.

Stored value contactless smart card ticketing has been supplied by EAS Elektronik, using Ascom technology, as part of an eight-year supply-and-operate contract. The cards are valid on all public transport in the city.

Integrating the buses

Turkish towns traditionally have a large number of private-enterprise minibuses, known as dolmus, which ply licensed routes along which passengers can alight where they choose, frequently causing traffic problems. Timetables are dictated by the passengers, and the dolmus starts its journey when it reaches its nominal capacity of 14 passengers.

Bus and dolmus routes in the west of the city have already been integrated with the light rail. Competing services have been re-routed to feed the stations and as a result 600 minibuses no longer travel into the city centre. The eastern bus routes still terminate at Santral Garaj, adjacent to Ozmangazi light rail station, feeding over 2000 passengers/h into the system. The outer termini of both the northern and northwestern branches provide interchange with bus and dolmus routes from nearby towns.

The next priority is a 4 km extension to the east, which is expected to increase light rail ridership by 30%. Phase B is backed by the Turkish government, and funding is being sought from various European sources. Planning is well advanced, and construction is expected to commence in December this year for opening in January 2005.

Priorities after Phase B are extensions west to the university, northwest to Bademli, north to the inter-city bus terminal on the Yalova road and further east to Kestel, completing the planned 55 km network by 2015.

A recently-completed planning study by Yapi-ICF Kaiser has helped to refine the priorities for the future, based on a forecast population growth from 1·2million in 2000 to 2·3million in 2015 and 2·7million by 2025. As the economy prospers, employment is also increasing. In 1990 17% of the city's total population was employed. This is forecast to increase to 28% in 2015 and 36% in 2025.

Economic prosperity is also driving an increase in motor vehicle ownership. Today about 65% of households in Bursa are dependent on public transport. But even though car ownership is continuing to rise, people will increasingly need public transport. Total light rail ridership is forecast to reach 267000 passengers a day following the completion of Phase B, increasing to 350000 in 2015 and 418000 in 2025 as the other extensions come on stream. n

Bursaray in brief

Contracts awarded January 31 1997

Public opening August 19 2002

Phase A cost k279m

Main contractors Siemens AG, Siemens AS, Tüvasas and Guris

Route in operation km surface 13

underground 4

Stations surface 13

underground 4

Extensions projected km 51

Stations on projected extensions 30

B80D cars in detail

TABLE: Wheel arrangement Bo' (2) Bo'

Gauge mm 1435

Length over couplings mm 27770

Maximum width mm 2650

Roof height above rail mm 3680

Floor height above rail mm 1000

Empty weight tonnes 38·5

Electrification 1·5 kV DC

Traction motors kW 4 x 140

Wheel diameter mm new 746

worn 660

Acceleration (to 35 km/h, 67% loading) m/s2 1·2

Deceleration with emergency brakes (67% loading) m/s2 2·73

Maximum speed km/h 80

Capacity seated 60

standing, at 8 passengers/m2 227

  • CAPTION: Two LRVs pass at Konutlar station, where the island platform is reached by a central subway entrance
  • CAPTION: The maintenance workshop and control centre are located near the junction of the West and North lines between Acemler and Nilüfer
  • CAPTION: The junction station at Acemler lies in a short section of cut-and-cover tunnel beneath a major road intersection
  • CAPTION: Work is expected to start on Phase B in December. Further extensions to follow over the next 10 to 15 years are shown in order of priority

Bursaray entre en service

La premiére tranche de 17 km du réseau de métro léger de Bursa s'est achevée le 19 août et la ligne en Y de la quatrième ville de Turquie transporte dès à présent 150000 voyageurs par jour. La programmation est en pleine progression pour une seconde phase de 4 km et d'autres lignes sont envisagées; elles porteraient la longueur du réseau à 55 km et à plus de 400000 voyageurs par jour à l'horizon 2025

Bursaray geöffnet

Die 17 km lange erste Phase des Stadtbahnnetzes von Bursa wurde am 19 August eröfnet worden, und die Y-förmige Strecke in der viertgrössten Stadt der Türkei transportiert nun rund 150000 Reisende pro Tag. Die Planung für ein 4 km lange zweite Phase ist gut fortgeschritten, und weitere Strecken sind geplant, und werden bis 2025 das Netz auf 55 km Länge erweitern und über 400000 Reisende pro Tag transportieren

Se pone en marcha el Bursaray

La primera fase de 17 km de la red de tranvías de Bursa se inauguró el 19 de agosto pasado, y la ruta con forma de Y en la cuarta ciudad m? s grande de Turquía transporta en la actualidad alrededor de 150000 pasajeros al día. Ya se finaliza el proyecto de la segunda fase de 4 km, y se prevé que m? s líneas dar? n una red de 55 km para transportar 400000 pasajeros al día en 2025