The Marmaray tunnel in Istanbul will be officially opened on 28 October 2013, by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish Prime Minister. This historical tunnel project under the Bosporus will directly connect the railway networks of Asia and Europe for the first time. The infrastructure project consists of the 13.6km tunnel and also the development and modernization of 63km of existing railway lines, three new railway stations underground and the modernization of 37 further railway stations.

Initially two tracks will connect the light rail and one track will connect the main line traffic between the cities of Gebze on the Asian side and Halkalı on the European side of the strait. Due to the high risk of earthquakes, the tunnel project is subject to strict safety regulations. The Marmaray tunnel has to withstand earthquakes which measure up to 9 on the Richter scale.

In the course of the project the Goldschmidt Thermit Group with headquarters in Leipzig ensured a smooth connection of the tracks at depths up to 56 meters below the Marmara sea. The Turkish company Yapiray Demiryolu Sistemerli Sanayi ve Ticaret A. Ş. commissioned with the execution of welding work on the tracks relied on many years of positive experience with Thermit consumables and equipment from Elektro-Thermit GmbH & CO. KG located in Halle an der Saale, a company of the Goldschmidt Thermit Group. The Turkish welding specialists were trained and supported by the technical service department of Elektro-Thermit. The Thermit used comes from the company’s own production in Halle an der Saale.

"The Marmaray tunnel brings Europe and Asia closer together. This improves the traffic infrastructure between two continents and also at the historical location of the Bosporus helps to build a bridge between different cultures", explains Dr. Hans-Jürgen Mundinger. "We are proud that this important project has also been realized with our products and expertise", emphasizes Dr. Jörg Keichel, Managing Director of Elektro-Thermit.

"The Thermit process is unique in its precision and flexibility. The local traffic between the two parts of Istanbul and the long-distance traffic between Europe and Asia will roll on our welds. The high quality of our Thermit welding materials guarantees the highest safety and enables the highest level of comfort for travelers."

The final welding in the Marmaray tunnel was made June 27, 2013. The first train already ran through the tunnel approximately one month later, on August 4, 2013. Since then the project company comprising the Spanish construction company Obrascón Huarte Lain (OHL) and the British company Invensys Rail have been making preparations for the official opening October 28, 2013, on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Final completion of the project is planned to be in June 2015.