EU funds for Turkey’s rail connection with Bulgaria

The EU awarded Turkey a EUR 275 million grant for the construction of Halkali – Kapikule railway line, connecting the metropolitan area of İstanbul to the Turkish-Bulgarian border. The total project investment cost is estimated at EUR 1 billion.
The grant is part of EU’s investment portfolio in Turkey financed through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funds for the period 2014-2020. It is the largest EU – Turkey financial assistance project.
With the signing of this flagship railway project, EU and Turkey show once more that they can work hand in hand for the benefit of their peoples, and for a joint and sustainable future. Turkey is our bridge between East and West. We are committed to achieve the full potential in our cooperation,” EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said.
The new link will provide a safe, high-speed and clean connection for freight and passengers between the Halkalı station of Istanbul and the Bulgarian border crossing point at Kapıkule / Svelingrad station.
The double-track electrified line will have 200 km/h design speed and will be equipped with the latest state of the art signaling systems that are compatible with the EU standards (ERTMS ETCS Level 1).
The double track line will have a length of 229 km and it will be built in two phases. The Cerkezkoy-Kapikule section, which will be funded by the EU, it will be constructed by the Gulermak-Alsim Alarko consortium and the Halkali-Cerkezkoy section, which will be funded by the Turkish government.
The Ministry of Transport named Sweco as the engineering consultant to elaborate the detailed design of Halkalı-Kapıkule line. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
It is estimated that once built, the railway will create major benefits for both consumers and producers up to EUR 1,6 billion.
This investment offers a natural extension of the core Trans-European Transport Networks, and as such it has been identified as a project of European Interest in the framework of Chapter 21 of the EU-Turkey Accession negotiations.
In this context, Turkey pledged to start the construction of the further strategic railway connections to the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge over the Bosphorus latest by 2029. These rail connections will provide the missing rail connections and facilitate development of larger trade corridor between the EU and Turkey and from Turkey onto the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia.


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