Halkali-Kapikule railway project
The EU finances the construction of a major railway line connecting the metropolitan area of İstanbul to the Turkish-Bulgarian border through an unprecedented grant of 275 million euros. This is part of EU's investment portfolio in Türkiye financed through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funds for the period 2014-2020.
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 enjoying the latest state of the art signalling systems that are compatible with the EU standards (ERTMS ETCS Level 1).
It is estimated that once built, the railway will create major benefits for both consumers and producers up to 1,6 billion euros. Businesses will enjoy more economical and reliable transport services, decreasing the barriers in a corridor of high importance for international import and export activities. Citizens will experience increased and safer mobility and access, particularly in and around the Istanbul urban area, while carbon emissions will decrease and the use of different modes of transport will be promoted.
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-Türkiye Accession negotiations.
It will improve the rail connections between Türkiye and the EU and between the EU and Central Asia. In this context, Türkiye pledged to start the construction of the further strategic railway connections to the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (Third İstanbul bridge) over the Bosphorus at the latest by 2029. These rail connections will provide the missing rail connections and facilitate development of larger trade corridor between the EU and Türkiye and from Türkiye onto the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia.