World’s second oldest railway : Tunnel

World’s second oldest railway : Tunnel .Tunnel of Istanbul is the world’s second oldest railway after London Underground.In the end of Istanbul’s most popular street, there lay a historical funicular railway line – Tunnel – that many Turks feel proud of although it is brainchild of a French engineer who convinced Ottoman sultan to construct a railway between business center, Galata, to entertainment place, Pera. Tunnel is the world’s second oldest railway after London Underground (1863).

“Tunnel is not only a historical figure for Istanbul. It is one of the oldest and most important transportation line between business and entertainment place,” the general director of the Istanbul Electric Tramway and Tunnel Establishments (IETT), Hayri Baracli, has told AA correspondent.

In the 19th century, Galata and Pera were the most important areas of Istanbul. On the hill Pera hosted hotels, embassies and dwellings while at the bottom, Galata hosted trading, the stock exchange, and the customs. Realizing that ride was difficult between these spots, a French engineer conceived in 1867 railway line to mitigate difficulties. He applied to Ottoman Sultan Abdul Aziz for permission to his project for building funicular railway to connect two centers. Gavand obtained the privilege on 10 June, 1869.

Tunnel construction works started on June 30, 1871 and were completed on December 5, 1874. Fearing of possible crash, Tunnel carried animals and goods during trial session for two weeks. Realizing that the line is in good shape, it started carrying people on January 17, 1875 after an opening ceremony.

The company passed to the Ottoman nationality in 1911 and nationalized on 1 March 1939. During the Second World War, Tunnel had to close its doors for three and a half month due to some material shortage. Project of electrification started in 1968 and Tunnel reopened on November 2, 1971.

As it nears to 140th anniversary, IETT considers various plans to renovate the railway. Noting that the company carries out maintenance constantly, Baracli said they were considering plans to renovate it but keeping its historical flavor. Technicians also share idea of renovating the line since its equipment is out of date and need revisions. “Wagons have rubber wheel although no one uses it anymore. The railway cars needs steel wheels,” one of technicians that have worked at Tunnel more than 30 years told AA.

World’s second oldest railway Tunnel

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