Earthquake in Turkey and Syria, railway services suspended

Image: Twitter. NEXTA (https://twitter.com/nexta_tv)

FRailway traffic in Turkey and Syria has been affected in some parts due to the earthquakes that struck the border region on Monday. In Syria all railway traffic is suspended. In Turkey, it is mostly passenger services that were cancelled to and from the east of the country.

On Monday morning, a 7.8-magnitude tremor hit central Turkey and north-west Syria. On Monday afternoon, a second earthquake with a 7.7 magnitude hit the region. According to the Associated Press, the death toll has increased to at least 5,000 in Turkey and Syria as of Tuesday morning.

1,275 kilometers of rail affected

UPDATE 7 February – A total of 1,275 kilometers of railway lines have been affected by the As a the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş (Turkey), reports the Turkish media source AA.com. This information was provided by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. This includes effects on 446 bridges, 6161 culverts and 175 tunnels on these lines.

After a first round of inspections by the railway maintenance teams, the conclusion was that many of the railway lines have been deformed. This is especially true on the sections Toprakkale-Narlı, Narlı-Malatya and Narlı-Gaziantep, all in the central-south of the country. In addition, ten stations that provide electrical energy for railway lines are currently non-operational in the region. According to the same source, teams have been mobilised to carry out works on the deformed railway lines.

A massive fire has broken out in the port of Iskenderun, which was severely impacted by the earthquake. The fire started on Monday evening in a single container. On Tuesday morning, the fire spread to other containers. According to Logiport.com, the fire was still spreading at the time of writing (09.45).

Railway services Turkey and Syria

MONDAY 6 FEBRUARY – All railway traffic in Syria is suspended on Monday, the Syrian Transport Ministry announced the same day. This is to check the condition of the railway tracks. Syria does not play a large role on the international rail freight map. However, passengers count on daily train services across the main cities of the country, including the affected cities of Aleppo and Latakia.

In Turkey, there is less clarity on the continuation of rail freight traffic. The suspended services that have been announced so far are passenger services that connect the west and the east of the country. According to Press TV, the railway infrastructure in Gaziantep has collapsed. According to rail freight professionals, Turkish Railways has not announced the suspension of rail freight services so far. Some report damages to the infrastructure.

Turkey an important transit country

Turkey does play an important role on the international rail freight map. It is a transit country for traffic coming in from the east at Kars, headed for Europe. This is the southern branch of the Middle Corridor. Kars is located in the north, outside the earthquake zone.

But there are also a lot of intermodal services that run via Turkish ports to Europe, and where the overland part is carried out by rail. The port of Iskenderun was hit hard by the earthquake. In a picture shared by a logistics professional, containers are seen scattered on the ground.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.