The dream of filling Turkey with railways was one of the ambitions of the Republic of Turkey when it was first founded. Although these railways and train lines were highly popular in the beginning, Turks lost their interest in railway transportation and began to prefer much faster ways. However, with the renewed popularity of the Eastern Express, which departs from Ankara heading to Kars, train lines are again in the spotlight for those who want to get to know the Anatolian hinterlands.
The Kurlatan Express
The latest trend is to take a trip to the East through southern of Turkey on the Kurtalan Express, which began 74 years ago. Continuing nonstop since its opening, the express is now one of the first choices of adventure seekers that want to take a cultural tour through Anatolia.
The Kurtalan Express makes more than 70 stops in Kırıkkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Malatya, Elazığ, Diyarbakır and Batman, along the 1,212-kilometer route from the first station in Ankara to the last in Siirt’s Kurlatan district, a journey of 23 hours.
The journey offers passengers a visual feast of changing scenery from the city, through villages and over rivers, to snow capped mountains.
Kurlatan Station Master, Selahattin Yıldırım told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Kurtalan Express made its first journey on October 29, 1944.
Yıldırım said the express carries 10,000-15,000 passengers per year. “The Kurtalan Express has great significance for transport in our region. Our Kurtalan district is renowned for the Kurtalan Express. In the past, films featuring the Kurtalan Express were shot.
Mehmet Şimşek, a 73-year-old retiree who started his career on the Kurtalan Express in 1972 and served for more than 40 years, said when he started, rail transport throughout the country was more attractive than the highway.
“At that time, there were many passengers not because they preferred it, but because there was no other means of transportation. Nowadays, passengers prefer trains with restaurant and sleeping cars for a comfortable journey”
Source: Daily Sabah