Halkali-Kapikule railway line project, Turkey



The first ground breaking for the Halkali-Kapikule project took place in September 2019. Credit: TC UAB Sectoral Operational Program For Transport.

The project will provide low-carbon, high-speed passenger and freight rail transport. Credit: TC UAB Sectoral operational program for transport.

The rail line will connect the Turkish rail network to the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) via Bulgaria. Credit: Webuild.

The Halkali-Kapikule project is a 231 km long rail line under development in Turkey to link the country’s rail network to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) via Bulgaria.

The TEN-T is a planned network of roads, railways, inland waterways, maritime waterways, ports, rail terminals and airports to enable the smooth movement of people and goods in Europe.

The project is developed by the General Directorate of Turkish Railways. It will be a major rail axis, connecting the metropolitan area of ​​Istanbul to the Turkish-Bulgarian border. It will serve ten million people and support the transport of 3.6 million tonnes of goods.

The rail link will create a dual-line high-speed rail line, allowing passenger and freight trains to travel at a speed of 200 km / h.

The groundbreaking event took place in September 2019 and the project is expected to be completed by 2022.

Details of the Halkali-Kapikule railway project

The Halkali-Kapikule railway line will be part of the Orient / East-Med corridor, which provides connections with the ports of the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, North and Mediterranean. It will consist of three sections, Çerkezköy-Kapikule, Halkali-Ispartakule and Ispartakule-Çerkezköy.

“It will be a major rail axis, connecting the Istanbul metropolitan area to the Turkish-Bulgarian border.”

The entire line will include six stations, two viaducts, 16 railway bridges and ten covered trench tunnels. It will also include 59 overpasses, 59 underpasses and 193 vents, as well as four underpasses and six overpasses to facilitate passage of animals.

The double track line will be electrified and will have the latest signaling systems compatible with the European Train Control System (ERTMS) level 1.

The Cerkezkoy-Kapikule line will consist of a 142.5 km double track and 10.36 km triple track sections. It will start in Çerkezköy and end in Kapikule on the border with Bulgaria. The Ispartakule-Çerkezkoy section will be 68 km long and will have nine bridges, two viaducts and two tunnels.

The 76 km Halkali-Ispartakule section (phase 2), which will end just before Cerkezkoy station, will also see changes to existing infrastructure, including stations and connections to the existing rail line.

Benefits of the Halkali-Kapikule railway project

The project is expected to generate economic benefits worth 1.6 billion euros ($ 1.8 billion) for consumers and producers. It will create an economical and reliable transport service to support international import and export activities.

The route will provide a safer transportation option for commuters in the Istanbul urban area and reduce carbon emissions.

The project will improve rail connectivity between Turkey and the European Union (EU), as well as between the EU and Central Asia. The Halkali-Ispartakule railway line, along with other planned projects, will provide the missing rail links while supporting the development of a wider trade corridor between the EU and Turkey and from Turkey to the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia.

The line will also form an important part of the Iron Silk Road from London to Beijing.

Financing of the Halkali-Kapikule railway project

The project will receive a grant of € 275 million ($ 301.8 million) from the EU, making it the largest EU investment project implemented in Turkey. The project will also receive national funds, corresponding to the EU contribution. Phase 2 of the project is estimated at € 663.5 million ($ 746.8 million).

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided a sovereign loan of up to € 100 million ($ 112.5 million) for this phase. The second phase will be co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Entrepreneurs involved

Salini Impregilo has been awarded a € 530 million ($ 593 million) contract to build the high-speed project. The company will hold a 50.01% stake in a joint venture with Turkish builder Kolin İnşaat Turizm after the completion of one year of work on the project.

A consortium led by TPF has won a 23.2 million euro ($ 26 million) contract to supervise the construction of the Çerkezköy-Kapikule section. Under the contract, TPF will act as FIDIC engineer and also undertake a design component of three stations and the track between Kapikule station and the Bulgarian border.

SU-YAPI was retained for the final design and preparation of technical specifications and tender documents. AETS assisted the EU in the procurement and monitoring of works and service contracts for the project.

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