In the last period of the Ottoman Empire, the first urban-scale power plant of the country was established in the Kağıthane district on the shore of the Golden Horn of Istanbul. Silahtarağa power plant, Istanbul, and in particular it has been established in order to clarify the Dolmabahce Palace, Turkey's first thermal power plant. Established in 1911, the plant continued its operations until 1982.
Electricity production at Silahtarağa Power Plant is made by coal. In addition, the Company-i Hayriye steamers, military and private factories, warships and railways operating in Istanbul at that time always work with coal. Some of the coal needs are imported from Zonguldak and most of them are imported from the UK. Even in the 1913, a large part of the total amount of coal exported by the UK was imported by the Ottoman State.
With the outbreak of the First World War, the need for coal has become impossible from Zonguldak and abroad. The purchase of coal from the UK, which entered the war on our opposite side, stopped, and many ships carrying coal from Zonguldak to Istanbul were sunk by the Russians in the Black Sea.
These troubles in coal issue bring new discoveries to the agenda. At this point, the assessment of coal basins in the Black Sea coast of Istanbul, known from the Byzantine period, but not used at all, is on the agenda. With a preliminary study, it is determined that the coal in the woodlands and Çiftalan basins will be obtained by mixing Zonguldak coal with a ratio of one third. And it is decided to establish a railway line for transporting coal from the coal basins on the Black Sea coast to the power plant.
The locomotives, wagons and rails are brought from Germany (with ships on the Danube) and reach the warehouses of Yeşilköy Şimendöfer Regiment, where the Company-i Hayriye steamers and the materials reach Silahtarağa.
The starting point of the railway is Silahtarağa at the last end of the Golden Horn. From here, the railway line follows the Kağıthane creek and reaches Kemerburgaz and is divided into two branches. The arm in the west continues to follow the Kağıthane creek and passes through Uzunkemer and reaches the Black Sea coast in Ağaçlı. The total length of this line is 43 km. The other arm in the east follows the Middle East through the Belgrad Forest and reaches the Black Sea in Çiftalan. The length of this arm is 14 km. The ends of both lines are connected by a line of 5 km along the Black Sea coast, and the total length of the railway, which forms a circle after Kemerburgaz, has found 62 km.
There are four main stations of Kağıthane-Kemerburgaz-Ağaçlı-Çiftalan Railway. The first one is the Kağıthane station. The second main station is Kemerburgaz Station where the railway is divided into branches. The third main station is in Ağaçlı. The fourth main station is Çiftalan Station. Ağaçlı and Çiftalan stations are the stations where the coal is stored and loaded into the wagons. As well as the main stations, the railway stations are single-line.
A number of bridges, embankments and splits were built on the tree-shaped and Çiftalan branches depending on the structure of the land here. All of the bridges are timber. On the railway route, milestones with a triangular cross-section and a number on both sides and small and one-hundred-hundred-square meters were placed on the railway route.
The first line established between Kacka and Ağaçlı ends in 1915 and opens up. Thus, the needs of the city's electric, factory and battleships begin to be met. The second line, the Çiftalan line, is completed in the 1915-1916 period in a period of one month and starts working.
The Kağıthane Railway also plays an important role during the War of Independence in Anatolia. The guns and ammunition at Kağıthane Baruthane warehouses sealed by the British occupation forces on the edge of the creek from Silahtarağa to Kağıthane are kidnapped on the Kağıthane railway. The train used by the master of Sergeant İbrahim is moving, passing through Kağıthane and Ayazağa outposts and reaching Karaburun via Ağaçlı. There are soldiers up to 40 on the train. İbrahim Çavuş, according to the instructions, Ayazağa British Garrison to pass through the train stop in the case of the troops from the train will be put into conflict, the train will continue on its way incessantly. For a year, these instructions shall be acted upon and ammunition shall be placed in Karaburun and sent to İnebolu.
On the instructions coming from Ankara, since the War of Independence and the need for the operation of the railroads in Anatolia during the Turkish War of Independence, the Inspection and the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Finance was made by the order of 10 April 1337 (1921) and the order of 241. A Officer Fire Class Course was opened in its buildings in Kağıthane and its teachers were appointed. The officers who were raised here were sent to Anatolia and during the War of Independence, they provided great services in the operation of the railways in Anatolia.
One of the maps showing the Kağıthane-Kemerburgaz-Ağaçlı-Çiftalan Railway (also known as the Black Sea Sahara Line) is in the Yıldız IRCICA Archive and the other is in the Atatürk Library.
In the 1920 years, when the World War I ended and the coal shortage was gone, the line was idle. Lines and mines transferred to Etibank in the Republican period are tendered to be operated but the demanders do not appear. The line used for the transport of soldiers and peasants in the forest until the Second World War is removed by a decision taken in 1952s. This material is taken to another mining site in the military zone in Çanakkale. Then the fate of the locomotive, railcar and rails is uncertain.
During the demolition, some parts of the tracks were taken by the villagers or used as bridges directly to their gardens or as a bridge to cross the nearby streams.
People who write their own views from time to time, the most important and valuable resources in terms of history constitute the transport. These sources are witnesses of first-hand events and are much more valuable than those created after the events. Especially if the people who witnessed this history have documented the events with photographs and pictures, the resulting work will shed light on the real history. As a result of the research carried out by the Municipality of Kağıthane about the Golden Horn - Black Sea Sahara Line, two different photo albums were reached. One of the photos taken by Hasan Mukadder Bey during the establishment of the line album (his grandson, Prof. Dr. Emre Dölen'e), and the other collections found in the researcher Mert Sandalcı. These two albums were brought together and were published by Kağıthane Municipality under the name Bel Kağıthane-Kemerburgaz-Ağaçlı-Çiftalan 1914-1916 Bu. Following this book, the Ministry of Culture made a documentary film called bir Dream Stations bel about this line.
Since 2000, cultural tours are organized under this name as un On the Trail of a Lost Railway X. This cultural tour and participated in all the other in the forest as participants in a dream of pursuing walking authors Akdoğan Özkan is "to do before he died in Turkey Required 101 Thing" in the name of preparing the book gives place in this historic route visit to.
Since today the line is located in different municipal boundaries, the Municipality of Kağıthane has begun its initiatives for re-implementation and transferred the issue to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Technical project support was received from TCDD Regional Directorate and a workshop group was established within the structure of IMP (Istanbul Metropolitan Planning) under the direction of Istanbul Mayor.
In the course of time, some things change so that they never come back. It is very difficult to understand and evaluate events. Reusing and operating this lost and forgotten line many years ago is an important step towards the preservation of the industrial heritage of our country.
Source: The Book of Kagithane-Kemerburgaz - Agacli - Ciftalan Railway (1914 - 1916) Emre Dölen, Mert Sandalci Press Officer of Kagithane Municipality Huseyin IRMAK
Nükhet IŞIKOĞLU – DTD Bulletin 10. It was published in the issue.