939 - Istanbul Eskisehir HST line - Dusko DjuricRailway Infrastructure

Halkali-Kapikule railway in 10 questions


The financial agreement was signed last week with EU regarding consturction of new Halkali-Kapikule railway.

Here are most frequently asked questions about Halkali-Kapikule railway which is the biggest investment in Turkey funded by IPA program of EU.

Is this a HST line?

No. This is “speed line” where trains can run with speeds upto 200 km/h.

Is it modernization of current conventional line?

No. It’ll be built on a new route which is more straight. It’ll meet the old line at Halkali, Cerkezkoy, Edirne and Kapikule.

What’s the new route?

Halkali – Ispartakule – Catalca – Cerkezkoy – Buyukkaristiran – Luleburgaz – Babaeski – Havsa – Edirne – Kapikule.

Halkali-Kapikule line route

What’ll be the new travel time?

The travel time will drop from 3.5 hrs to 1.5 hrs on this new line.

Will freight trains run on the old line?

No. The trains departing from Halkali/Cerkezkoy will also use this new line.

What’ll happen to old line?

It’ll continue to be used. The transports to/from the terminals on the old line and Greece will follow this line.

After opening of new line, maintanance works will most probably start on the the current line.

This line will also be an alternative connection to Europe in case anything happens on the new line.

Is the line completely funded by EU?

No. The project is worth € 1.2 bn. € 275 mn of it is funded by IPA funds, rest by Ministry of Transport.

When will it be commissioned?

The construction works will start in April and are expected to be completed in 2022. IPA funds will be used for Cerkezkoy-Kapikule section, thus that section may be completed before Halkali-Cerkezkoy section.

How will passenger traffic be effected?

Majority of the passenger traffic of 3 mn between Istanbul and Edirne is expected to shift to rail as this project is commissioned. More passengers are expected on Turkey-Bulgaria international trains as well.

How will freight traffic be effected?

The double track will increase the capacity sharply. Trains will not lose time waiting for the ones coming in opposite direction. The transit time between Istanbul and border will drop down from 8 hrs to 2 hrs, which will surely support increasing in rail freight between Turkey and Europe.

Cover photo: Onur Uysal ©

1 reply »

  1. A good thing and necessary but what is more needed is a good connection beyond Dimitrovgrad and Sofia. Serbian railways are a mess and the connection via Rousse Duna bridge is hardly better, both marşandiz as passanger.

    Liked by 1 person

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