CZ/SK verze

The railway line between Plovdiv and Istanbul will be modernized

The railway line between Plovdiv and Istanbul will be modernized
photo: Ivo Radoev/ railway
23 / 12 / 2020

The Turkish State Railways (TCDD) and the railway infrastructure operator in Bulgaria (NRIC) have jointly decided to modernize and improve the transport link between Istanbul and Plovdiv. This connection includes the railway between Svilengrad – Kapikule.

The capacity of the main railway line between Bulgaria and Turkey should be doubled. This project was initiated by the Bulgarian side and is already in the planning stage. In order to make the cooperation between Turkey and Bulgaria on the modernization of the railway line as effective as possible, representatives from the two cooperating countries will be selected to join a joint team, which will better cooperate on day-to-day issues of modernizing the railway connection between Plovdiv and Istanbul.

The Turkish side plans to rehabilitate and double the Halkali – Çerkezköy – Kapikule corridor. This route is significant in that it connects Istanbul with the Bulgarian border, i.e., it connects Turkey with mainland Europe. The implementation of this project has been going on since October 2019, and it should have a cost of 1 billion euros. It is partially subsidized by the European funds. The grant awarded through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 amounted to EUR 275 million.

The total length of the route between Plovdiv and Istanbul is 374 km. The only railway border crossing between the two countries is Kapikule / Svilengrad. In 2016, Bulgaria completed the modernization of the 154 km long Plovdiv-Kapikule route. Freight trains can reach speeds of up to 120 km / hour in this section. After the modernization, a double-track line should operate on the corridor, on which a speed of 200 km / hour can be reached.

This corridor will also be equipped with modern signaling systems that are compatible with ERTMD / ETCS level 1. The modernized railway line will reach a section of 229 km and its construction is divided into two phases. The first of these is Cerkezkoy - Kapikule, this part will be financed by European subsidies. The second part of Halkali - Cerkezkoy will be funded by the Turkish government. The project should be completed in 2022.