Millions of dollars wasted in Istanbul railway project, opposition lawmaker says

A deputy from Turkey’s nationalist opposition Good Party has submitted a parliamentary enquiry asking the government to declare the cost to the public incurred by millions of dollars worth of trains bought for a railway project in Istanbul that have remained idle since purchased.

Good Party lawmaker Lütfi Türkkan said 38 trains of 10 coaches each had been bought from South Korea for the Marmaray project, an intercontinental subway that connects the Asian and European sides of Istanbul through a submerged tunnel under the Bosporus.

The trains have been kept in railway depots in Istanbul and in the northwestern province of Edirne due to the lack of an appropriate switch system.

The 38 trains, which arrived in 2013, are incompatible with the existing rail-scissor systems, said Türkkan.

Responding to Türkkan’s inquiry, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Mehmet Cahit Turhan said the government had paid 478 million Euro ($537 million) for 440 coaches bought for the improvement of two railway lines in Istanbul.

Some 140 coaches were bought from South Korea, while the remaining 300 coaches were produced domestically, Turhan said.

Some 335 coaches are currently in use in Gebze-Halkalı railway in Istanbul, the minister said.

“Meanwhile, the other trains, which will be put into use in accordance with increases in passengers, have been stored in railway depots by undergoing routine cleaning and maintenance,” Turhan said.