One of Istanbul’s most iconic image and a symbolic gateway
Haydarpaşa station is a railway station in Istanbul. Until 2012 the station was a major intercity, regional and commuter rail hub as well as the busiest railway station in Turkey. Haydarpaşa, along with Sirkeci station (on the other side of the Bosphorus), are Istanbul's two intercity and commuter railway terminals. As of 19 June 2013 all train service to the station has been indefinitely suspended due to the rehabilitation of the existing line for the new Marmaray commuter rail line. The station building however still houses the headquarters for District 1 of the State Railways. The station building, built in 1909 by the Anatolian Railway (CFOA) as the western terminus of the Baghdad and Hedjaz railways, has become a symbol of Istanbul and Turkey and is famous throughout the Middle East. Haydarpaşa is situated on an embankment over the Bosphorus just south of the Port of Haydarpaşa and is slightly north from central Kadıköy. Until the suspension of rail service, ferry service was available to Eminönü, Karaköy and Kadıköy from the station's ferry dock.
The closure of the station has been subject to a lot of controversy. As it was unclear if Haydarpaşa would be re-opened to rail service once the Marmaray project was completed. Claims that the Turkish government was planning to sell the historic railway station along with the port and turn it into a residence/luxury resort surfaced. Following the closure, a publicly formed group known as The Haydarpaşa Solidarity (Turkish: Haydarpaşa Dayanışması) staged sit-ins every week in front of the station, protesting the closure. In December 2015, the integration of Haydarpaşa station into the Marmaray network was approved along with the restoration and rehabilitation of the station building and platforms. Ever since, Haydarpaşa was placed back on official railway maps for Istanbul.
The Turkish Independence War ended on 29 October 1923. The Republic of Turkey was formed and the British Empire withdrew from İstanbul. Haydarpaşa terminal was still under CFOA control but in 1927 the newly formed Turkish State Railways took over the CFOA and the terminal, in an attempt to nationalise all Turkish railways. In 1927 the CIWL started a premier train service from Haydarpaşa to Ankara: the Anatolian Express. This all-sleeper train travelled daily between the two cities. In 1938 the Eastern Express entered service from Haydarpaşa to the eastern Turkish city of Kars, a distance of 1,994 km (1,239 mi). With the completion of the Baghdad Railway to Baghdad, the famous Taurus Express entered service in 1940 from Haydarpaşa to Baghdad, a distance of 2,566 km (1,594 mi). In 1965 the Trans-Asia Express entered service from Haydarpaşa to Tehran, a distance of 3,059 km (1,901 mi). In 1969 the tracks from Haydarpaşa to Gebze were electrified with 25 kV AC catenary for the Haydarpaşa-Gebze Commuter Line.
In 2011 the World Monuments Fund, the New York-based heritage preservation organization, placed the railway terminal on its 2012 Watch, drawing attention to the uncertain future of the historical site. There are plans to transform the terminal building into a luxury hotel. In November 2012 the station was the site of a three-day art exhibit entitled "Haydarpasa: Past, Present and Uncertain Future", which was organised in collaboration with the WMF, and featured Canadian and Turkish artists and photographers, seeking to raise international interest in preserving the station as a vibrant public transportation hub. In October 2013 the same art event is to be held in Vienna in Austria also on the theme of heritage preservation.
Haydarpaşa railway station (Wikipedia)