The first section of the T5 "Eminönü-Alibeyköy" tram line, long-awaited by Istanbulites, entered service between the Cibali quarter and its northern terminus "Alibeyköy" Bus Station on Friday.
The currently operating part consists of 12 stations on an 8.8 kilometer-long (5.5 miles) track that follows the southern shore of the Golden Horn and right bank of the "Alibeyköy Creek" in the Fatih and Eyüpsultan districts.
Due to the ongoing 4-day lockdown across Turkey as part of coronavirus measures, its official launch date for passenger services was set as Monday, Dec. 4. The line will be free for the first 10 days of service.
Construction first began on the T5 line in 2016 and was delayed over weak ground issues. It is the first tram line in Turkey that uses a ground power supply rather than an overhead catenary line.
With a one-way capacity of up to 12,000 passengers per hour, the T5 allows transfers to the TF2 "Eyüpsultan-Piyer Loti" cable car at "Eyüp Teleferik" and the M7 "Mecidiyeköy-Mahmutbey" metro line at "Alibeyköy" station.
The remaining section of the line, which will be served by IETT buses until the work is completed, will provide transfers to the M2 "Yenikapı-Hacıosman" metro line at "Küçükpazar" and T1 "Kabataş-Bağcılar" tram line and various ferries at "Eminönü" stations.
The tram line connects "Eminönü" quarter, the main gateway to Istanbul's historic peninsula and its iconic landmarks, to Balat and Fener quarters, which house the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and many other landmarks of the Greek Orthodox and Jewish communities, and the tomb and the mosque of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, one of Prophet Muhammad's companions.