The International Steam Pages

Preserved Steam in Istanbul

This article by Chris Hodrien first appeared in the Bulletin of the International Stationary Steam Engine Society (website dead by 12th April 2018) in Autumn 2006.

Click here for a report of James Waite's visit which concentrates on the preserved railway attractions of Istanbul.

Thomas Kautzor visited in April 2016 and found these additional exhibits from the Elmali dam south-east of Istanbul. It was constructed in 1893 and still forms an important part of Istanbul's water resources, holding 15 million cubic metres of water. Both were built by the German company Bopp and Reuther of Mannheim and worked until the 1950s when they were replaced by electric punps.

This engine is a horizontal engine and pump driven off the crank shaft, seen in the background in the first picture::




This engine is a tandem compound engine which drove a water pump from the piston rod extension:





During September 2005 I visited Turkey (Istanbul and the west coast, Izmir – Kusadasi area) with my archaeology evening class. On these trips I am with a guided group in shared transport, but on this occasion I managed to "skive off" three times on my own to see steam - the excellent Rahmi M Koç private technology museum in Istanbul, with a short cruise on their preserved steam tug Liman 2, the Terkos disused 1883 waterworks pumping station, and the Istanbul Royal Mint with its two derelict 1841 Maudslay table engines. John Porter had already blazed the trail to the first two of these sites the previous year and has provided some of the information for this article.

I also managed, while at Kusadasi, to get inland to the village of Camlik which has one of the main railway museums in Turkey. This is an outdoor collection, all in non-working condition, including 29 mainly large locomotives, 4 cranes (2 steam, English + American) and two very interesting 1912 steam snow-blowers by Henschel. 

Rahmi M Koç Museum and Steam Tug Liman 2. See: (link broken July 2020)

This museum possesses an extensive steam collection including 24 stationary and marine steam engines, three internal combustion engines, two vessels, three traction engine/rollers and an early steam car, 40+ fine steam models and two military-medical horse-drawn boilers.

The excellent privately funded Rahmi M Koç technology Museum is based in a former boatyard on the upper North bank of the Golden Horn within Istanbul city. All the taxi drivers seem to know it. It consists of a complex of 1-2 storey buildings from a former ship repair yard, grouped around a preserved boat slip (with a big geared electric winch in situ) and a historic two-storey warehouse building called ‘Legerhane’ across the road. I was able to visit it twice, in glorious sunshine which always helps as quite a bit of the engine collection is outdoors. The Director, Tony Phillipson, is English and is very helpful. He helped me to fix up visits and transport to Terkos Pumping Station and the Mint. The museum is well funded by its private millionaire owner and the buildings and exhibits (nearly all static) are spick and span. The collection is well-chosen and presented, but unfortunately display cards are short and terse and many of the engine exhibits had none at all! I have hinted that they should provide the missing display cards. Apart from engines, its main strengths are in cars/lorries, engineering models and scientific instruments. The Museum also has a nice motorised rack-saw bench by R. & W. McLellan, an early horse-dawn tram, a Starfighter, a Dakota, a tank and the nose section of a crashed Liberator wreck from WW2. 

Two large marine inverted vertical triple expansion engines (IVTEs) are in the open by the boat slip under lightweight top-cover structures. A large and impressive, very late, 1954, 2850 ihp IVTE by Central Marine Engine Works, Hartlepool (seen below, with the low pressure cylinder highlighted) is from the scrapped (in 1993) W Gray-built 7348 GRT Russian freighter Bogdan Khmelnitsky, built in 1954 as Stanpool but immediately sold to Russia . This massive engine is painted white, is fitted with steam turning and reversing engines and can be briefly turned slowly by hydraulic motor via a push-button. It originally had an exhaust steam turbine coupled to the main shaft via a hydraulic coupling, but this interesting feature is not on display. The cylinders are 22”, 37” & 65” x 48”. 

The other engine, painted green, is from the 153 GRT Greek salvage tug Aghios Georgios which was built by the Ardrossan Dry-Dock & Shipbuilding Co. in 1916. The engine (seen below) is by Aitchison, Blair Ltd and has cylinders 13”, 21” & 34” x 24”. It is displayed together with the vessel’s small anonymous inverted vertical single enclosed (IVSe) generating set and the horizontal duplex Greek-made anchor-winch. 

A third medium-sized IVTE, restored to full museum static display condition, forms the spectacular first floor centrepiece of the indoor collection in the Legerhane building across the road. The nice dark green 1911 Wallsend Slipway IVTE (10¾”, 16” & 26’ x 18”) with Brown steam reverser from the Hawthorn, Leslie Istanbul ferry Kalender stands surrounded by a fine display of stationary engine models of all types. It is floodlit and can be viewed from a gallery above and all round. 

In the main complex is a very nice 1/10 scale cased model in dark blue of a North Eastern Marine Engineering “reheater” IVTE with poppet valves similar to that fitted in the Laing freighter Sussex Trader and the last generation of east coast steam colliers.. This model was made by ISSES member Peter Southworth (not credited) and finished off by Walshaw Engineering of Witherslack, Cumbria before the museum purchased it at auction. 

Adjacent to the boat slip is a long open-sided shelter (below) containing a series of marine auxiliary engines:

  • Big 1930s Clarke Chapman horizontal duplex anchor winch (dark green).

  • Small 1940s Clarke Chapman horizontal duplex anchor winch (grey).

  • Stapfer, Du Clos & Cie (Marseille) c1920s vertical duplex steering engine from the steam tug Gonca.

  • Big Donkin vertical duplex steering engine and quadrant from the freighter Bogdan Khmelnitsky, the source of the big IVTE engine (seen below).

  • Big Tangye inverted vertical triple-simple cable winch from the scrapped English cable-layer John W McKay.

  • Weir 2-cylinder inverted vertical non-rotative independent rocker-type air pump from the Bogdan Khmelnitsky.

The main indoor engine gallery displays nine steam and two internal combustion engines and a Cornish boiler front. Just inside the door is a small (about 5’ tall) 1922 Sisson inverted vertical triple-simple cable engine from the cable-layer John W McKay. 

There is nice small light green anonymous horizontal tandem with semi-trunk guide, bayonet frame, Rider expansion slide valves and a round-spoke (? composite) flywheel. 

Against the wall is a modest sized W H Allen inverted vertical compound (IVC), also a very interesting (anonymous) compact marine-style open-crank IVC with diagonal rocker drives to piston valves placed at front and back to give minimum overall length, with all the cylinders and valves in a common rectangular planished casing. Most of the other steam engines in here are marine engines or auxiliaries, including a reasonably sized De Klop IVC. At the end of this gallery is a room with a nice reconstruction of the Araser olive oil pressing works, all belt-driven by a smallish, motorised 1927 dark green Bollincx trunk-guide horizontal slide valve engine mounted on a high fabricated steel frame. 

The display includes an edge-roller mill, a vertical 4-throw hydraulic pump, two hydraulic olive presses and an 1898 Greek-made Cornish boiler front. Steam road vehicles include an 1890s Fowler traction engine Heather, 1910 Aveling & Porter traction The Lady Devorgilla, a c1910 Marshall portable and a rare Malden (USA) 1898 steam car with an inverted vertical duplex engine.

Some exhibits are tucked away a bit. There are two tiny marine IVS engines (about 2 ft tall) tucked away in the upstairs sailing-boat (“Caiques”) gallery, one by Pegden Bros of Kent. Lurking out in the train yard is a fine big black horizontal duplex flat-rope sheave winder (the size of a colliery winder) of 1876 by Schneider of Le Creusot, with wood-lagged slide-valve cylinders. This exhibit has no display information. This engine worked the cable-hauled inclined public passenger Galata Tramway (the “Tünel”) linking the Galata Bridge to the Galata Tower in the city centre. This line was the world’s third underground railway after London and New York. It is still in operation using an electric winder.

Two unusual horse-drawn military portable boilers on display are a Barford & Perkins medical steam sterilising autoclave and a WW2 German hot water shower unit!

The preserved Istanbul steam tug Liman 2 is based at the museum. This 62ft, 50 GRT harbour tug was built in Netherlands by L A Kreber and still has her original 170 bhp small triple expansion engine and hand coal-fired single-flue Scotch boiler (plated No. 188) in a common room. The triple has Marshall’s radial valve gear. The oval builder’s plate is on the front of the wheelhouse. There is also an IV single open-crank generator set by P & W McLellan and a Worthington-style horizontal duplex pump. She is in full working order, resplendent in a smart green and grey and does 40 minute cruises (4 per day) on the Golden Horn on Saturdays. As she can only take 10 passengers, these trips are best booked in advance with the museum by phone and you then buy the ticket on arrival at the main reception (it's only 10 new lire, about £4). 

The crew are friendly and I was able to spend part of the ride in the small engine room - a nice experience altogether. I was also able to see from the Liman 2 the last three of the "1961 class" Fairfield steam ferries, Kanlica, Inkilap, and Tegmen Ali Ihsan Kalmaz, lying laid-up together alongside in a yard on the north side of the Horn about half way between the Museum and the Ataturk low level road bridge. These finished operation in April 2005, the end of a long and fine tradition as one of the most intensive steam ferry services in the World. I have suggested to Mr. Phillipson that the Museum could acquire one of the unique and advanced Christiansen & Meyer double-compound enclosed engines from these. The Museum also has the larger US-built 1944 (ex-US Army) diesel tug Vornkos Irini. 

The museum has the old 1912 twin screw ferry Guzelhisar hidden away in store somewhere, but I was informed that the hull is in poor condition and the engines are out and dismantled. The estimated repair bill is around £4 million, which is beyond even their means, and the future looks poor. 

There is simply no volunteer industrial archaeology movement or interest in Turkey, so everything has to be done by professional contractors.

Terkos, 1883 waterworks Pumping Station

This is quite a long way out of town [Istanbul], 55km to the NNW (an expensive 2 hour taxi ride even at Turkish rates) in the area called the Balkan Forest where all Istanbul's water has always come from since Roman times. It would be very difficult to find on your own by car, as road signs are minimal once you get off the main trunk roads, although I have made a note of the route for anyone brave enough. It is also very confusing on arrival as Terkos village is also known as Durusu, while the modern replacement (2000, 1.5 million m3/day) electric pumping station nearby, where you have to report, is called Osmangazi. In contrast to the scrappy country and towns traversed en route right up to the gate, the site is in a beautiful location on the wooded shore of a large natural lake about five miles long.
The old and new plants are both owned by ISKI, the Istanbul Water and Sewage Administration. The staff, electrical engineers Ahmet Ozer and Recep Avciogla, could not have been friendlier. I got coffee, a run-down on the Company, a photocopy of their impressive draft bi-lingual brochure on the steam station, a guided tour of the new and old stations and as much of their time as I wanted. They are very proud of the old steam engines and on their own initiative have already repainted them and varnished the brightwork (including the planished casings) since 2003, though not yet the boilers - I have encouraged them to take care of the boilers as well, as an important part of the system. They are personally very keen to return the engines to steam or at least motorisation (not yet sanctioned by management) and were very pleased to hear that there are English companies who specialise in this work. 

The surviving engines from the original 1883 installation consist of three big French horizontal duplex 100 hp rotative pumping engines by Fives-Lille driving pairs of horizontal double-acting force pumps below floor level flanking the flywheels, worked by crosshead rockers. The inlet valves have governor-controlled releasing trip motion and short, presumably grid-iron, slide valves at each end of the cylinders, while the exhaust valves have a separate non-releasing motion. These have huge spindly flywheels approaching 20’ diameter. They call them the "Fargo" engines (I didn't find out why). Each pumped 11,000 m3/day against 127m (415’) head to an intermediate hill reservoir, followed by gravity supply to Istanbul. The whole system was built by (quote) "the French water company".


In the same room, to one side is a nice large (c10’ long) Fives-Lille horizontal single cylinder rotative tail-rod air compressor, for topping up the fine large vertical riveted-plate surge vessels. It has twin flywheels, 2-bar guides with pitchfork connecting rod, a tall open flyball governor and Meyer expansion slide valve – altogether, an unnecessarily complex and expensive design for a simple intermittent duty.

The two surviving short (only c10’ long) fire-tube boilers for these engines (there were originally 6 Elephant-type boilers as well) are now derelict and partly cut-up but are very interesting. They are a sort of single-furnace return-tube economic type with corrugated furnace tubes, but with the return tube bank horizontally to one side (left) of the furnace tube rather than the usual position on top. We have so far not found any textbook references or other French survivors for this type of boiler. 

In an adjoining engine room is a standard 650 ihp (500 php), 40 rpm Hathorn, Davey IVTE of 1937 driving the usual basement-level vertical ram pumps that pumped 24,000 m3/day against 127m head. The cylinders are 23”, 43” + 62” x 36” and it took steam at 200 psig and 548º F (163º F superheat). This has Hathorn, Davey's usual Craig trip gear. The piston-drop valves are totally enclosed in the planished cylinder cladding. We believe that this may be the last steam pumping engine ever supplied by Hathorn, Davey, just before they were taken over by Sulzer after which they supplied only electric pumps. Strangely, there is no engine number cast on the bed or on the surviving gauge panel, or even stamped on the motion. 

Also in this room are 3 recording drum venturi water flow meters by George Kent (Nos. 4057/8/9) and two substantial 1945 Fives-Lille steam turbo-alternator sets that powered some of the later electric pumps in the building. These are Nos. 237/8, type G1200 on “System Zoelly”. The turbines are 500kW/760 hp running at 7460 rpm, geared-down to 1500 rpm to the alternators. These are type D47625, Nos. 12545/6, 380 V, 930A, AC. 

The engines and turbines are all painted black, with some brass banding. The two boilers for the Hathorn, Davey engine are standard hand-fired Edwin Danks 7500 lb/hr dish-end Lancashires 8’ 6’ x 30’ , Nos. 7187/8 of 1937. They still have their maker’s plates around the furnaces. They have a common Green's economiser which still has its scraper engine in place. All the boilers are very rusty externally, but all the engines have been repainted. The building is dry and weather-tight, but dusty. Surfaces are surviving well in the dry climate and the engines look complete. The steam reciprocating engines worked till 1967. There are several generations of electric centrifugal pumps in the same building by Worthington-Italy (1928), Bergeron (1952) and Wernert (1953) which continued to pump until replaced by the present Osmangazi electric station nearby on the lakeside in 2000. Grid supply commenced in 1952. Altogether a fine site with some unusual rare engines and lots of preservation potential.

Istanbul Mint

In confirmation of many earlier rumours, two large derelict Maudslay table engines of 1841 (of similar size to the one on display in the Science Museum in London - about 9ft tall), and also a little US horizontal oil engine by Mietz & Weiss, New York, do indeed survive in situ in the old derelict Royal Mint ('Darphane') buildings next to the famous Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. The mint complex is hidden away in a large walled compound with high brick walls. I was given a guided tour and was able to take photographs. The table engines are in situ but missing crankshafts, flywheels and all driven motion. They used to power coining presses in a huge single-storey hall about 100’ square with a fancy carved timber ceiling. Now only 3 small presses/rolls remain in situ and some of the under floor layshafts survive under glass viewing panels. This was not the only press room, a few presses survive in at least 3 other smaller rooms (all belt driven - motive power unclear) and there are 20+ rooms in 12 brick buildings of 1832-3 in the complex. The little US-built, pedestal-mounted horizontal belt-drive oil engine by Mietz & Weiss, Mott St, New York has an overhung cylinder c4” diameter, twin spindly flywheels c3’ diameter and is about 4’ 6” long overall. It has a slim copper vertical cylindrical tank mounted on top.

The Mint has a very long history (300 years+). It was totally re-equipped with British (Maudslay) steam power and press equipment in 1840-1. It was closed in 1967 and transferred to a new site. Most of the machinery was sold for scrap - only c11 items survive. Surviving presses include examples by Maudslay (2), Taylor & Challen of Birmingham, Le Coq of Paris, Schuschardt & Schutte of Vienna, and L Schuler of Goppingen. Several are anonymous. The pictures show a Maudsley engine:

It looks like someone deliberately tried to save examples of different types of press, and they seem to span quite a wide date range. The Schuschardt & Schutte machine in particular must be relatively late as it has the same "works" as a modern belt-driven overhung compressed air hammer with on-board air compressor. Some of the larger presses have a vertical-axis driving wheel (about 7’ diameter on the largest) driving the main press screw and a pair of friction bevels on the horizontal drive-shaft above, which can be moved sideways to engage the wheel, allowing rapid pressing and retraction of the die. There is also a large (c15’ tall) vertical riveted-plate air receiver in situ. There are spectacular Art Deco ornamental glass panel doorways, some with stained glass. The buildings were clearly once of a high decorative standard, but have been derelict since 1967 so are now in a very poor condition, not all roofs being intact.

The Turkish History Foundation has been trying since 1995 to turn the place into a multi-purpose museum but has had political difficulties and is under-funded for the task. I have a contact for their project leader, Mr Tayfun Polat but was unable to meet him on the day as he was suddenly ill. This caused quite some problem at the start of my visit and very nearly "canned" it, as he had forgotten to tell anyone else that I was coming! 

Camlik Railway Museum

When our party moved south down to the resort of Kusadasi, I also got 10 miles inland to Camlik which has one of the main railway museums in Turkey. The museum is located here because it is an intermediate station on the first railway line in Turkey, built by the British from Aydin to Izmir to bring agricultural produce to the coast. It is an outdoor collection, totally “stuffed”, all steam, of 29 locos + 4 cranes (2 hand, 2 steam, English [Coles] + American) and two very interesting 1912 non-propelled steam-powered rotary snow-blowers by Henschel. Many of the locos are grouped around an open 14-road turntable. Turkey imported most of its locomotives and those here are by Robert Stephenson (1887 + 1929), Beyer Peacock (1948), Vulcan Foundry (1912), Alco, Lima, US Vulcan Ironworks, Batignolles, Corpet-Louvert, SNCF, Krupp, Maffei, Borsig, Schwartzkopff, Humboldt, CKD-Skoda and even by Nohab of Sweden and Nydquist & Holm of Norway! Wheel arrangements cover everything form 0-6-0 to 2-10-2. The Lima engine is a classic WW2 1943 “Big Jim” 2-8-0. The SNCF-built loco is one of the famous 1943 3-cylinder compound 2-10-0s with an inclined inside LP cylinder driving a different (2nd) axle. As all trains were air braked, all of the locos are sporting Westinghouse vertical reciprocating steam air compressors with finned cylinders, many of them on the larger locos cross-compound or tandem compound. Their smallest but most treasured exhibit is No. 3362, Type C-n2, a venerable Robert Stephenson 0-6-0 ST of 1887 with an open-back cab and a distinctive saddle-tank shape, the oldest surviving loco in Turkey. This has Stephenson link motion and top-mounted slide valves on the two inside cylinders. One nice feature of the museum is that climbing on-board is allowed - very useful for photographing the cranes and snow-blowers. There is no guide-book, only a few postcards, but there are good detailed metal signs on every exhibit. 
The crane details are as follows: 2 counter-balanced hand cranes, both with moveable ballast boxes on wheels - one anonymous fixed-jib crane of 1890 (apparently 3-speed gearing) with a nice ornamental cast ballast box, the other a 6 ton by Ransomes & Rapier with a solid riveted wrought iron plate-girder jib. There are also two vertical-boiler steam cranes – one 1899 6-wheeler by H J Coles, the other a 15 ton bogie crane, by Orton Crane & Shovel of the USA, No. 45045 with cast wheels. The Coles crane has a c8” x 10" horizontal duplex side-by-side engine with the outer cylinder driving a disc crank and the inner a 2-web slab crank, with top-mounted slide valves driven by eccentrics from a 1:1-geared 2nd-motion shaft. There is a single-reduction main hoist drum. The US crane has a c6” x 8"conventional horizontal cross-duplex engine with disc cranks, single-bar 'clasp' guides and inside slide valves. It has reduction-geared 2nd and 3rd-motion shafts and a vertical worm dive to a jib lifting drum mounted above on an A frame. It appears to have a pneumatic remote control system (probably for clutches) from 4 little joysticks in addition to three foot pedals. There is a little on-board V-belt-driven duplex air compressor and reservoirs for this, taking its drive directly off the rim of one of the disc cranks. The jib is all-welded lattice type. I imagine that this crane is post-1940.
The Henschel rotary snow-blowers are in rough condition but fascinating. These have wooden planked bodies and are un-restored. They weigh 80 tons and are 80’ long. They are not self-propelled, but inside the enclosed wooden body is essentially the works of a conventional locomotive with standard loco fire-tube boiler and Walschaerts valve gear, with the cylinders mounted at a higher level flanking the smokebox. These drive forward to big disc cranks on a layshaft across the front of the smokebox, with a big skew-bevel drive to a central axial shaft in an enclosed casing driving forward under the floor of the control cabin to the big c8’ diameter blowing fan. One unit has top-mounted slide valves, the other has conventional locomotive-style top piston valves. The display notices date both as 1912, but this common date seems unlikely from these design differences. 

Not at all bad for a supposedly “steam-free” tour!

Rob Dickinson