When will Halkali-Cerkezkoy railway connection open? This is one of the most frequently asked questions dealing with international railway transport to/from Europe.
Halkali-Cerkezkoy section is being kept closed since March 2013. Several announcements about opening had been done since then, none of which has become true. After closure, railway transports started to be done via other terminals in European side like Cerkezkoy, Tekirdag. The closest one is Cerkezkoy, 100 km away from Istanbul. The additional cost of trucking caused lots of companies to shift to alternative modes.
Since the closure, many dates were declared officially and inofficially. The last one was a public release of TCDD, telling that Halkali will open by February 2015.
What’s the status of construction works in the section then? Completely stopped. Public Tender Committee (KIK) is now evaluating the applications of contractors, and will decide how to proceed. Of course, one of the parties may go to court after the decision of the committee which will postpone the opening till the end of case.
The remaining works on the line are not much. There’s still an unconstructed section of 18-km-long between Catalca and Ispartakule. Signalization and electrification are also in to-do list. The line is expected to open in 2-3 months after works restart. Thus, the earliest time for the Halkali-Cerkezkoy line to open is the second half of this year.
Photo and translation : Onur Uysal