Railway connecting Turkey and EU to boost ties, economy

The Halkali-Kapikule railway project, set to be one of Turkey’s biggest ever rail endeavours, will be a 229-kilometre stretch of railway stretching through Istanbul, along the Marmara coast to Tekirdag, north to Kirklareli and then west to Edirne, near Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria.

Trains will travel at speeds up to 200 kilometres an hour, and will have eight stops. The line will join up with the Ankara-Sivas and Kars high-speed rail lines, which will also link to Europe. The line will be a boon for those living in Istanbul with connections to wider Europe and Asia.

Once completed, the railway will become one of the world’s most important railway corridors, linking Europe to Asia by way of Turkey. The connection will not only facilitate the movement of people, but will help boost economic and cultural ties between countries and become part of the new Silk Road.

The EU is fully supportive of the project, with the EU Commissioner for Transport recently stating that the project has “European added value”.

The construction will be completed in around 18 months, and will cost around US$772 million.

Turkey's high speed rail

Ambitious rail targets

The last ten years have seen Turkey embark on an ambitious plan to modernise and strengthen its railway network, and this includes improving its connections to the Europe and Asia, as well as local intercity rail links.

The numbers:

  • $45 billion: the investment to be plowed into the the rail sector.
  • 13,000km: the distance of railway lines to be added by 2023, including 3500km of high-speed rail.
  • 12,770km: the total distance of Turkey’s railway lines by the end of 2018.
  • 80: the number of high-speed trains the government is planning to buy, and investment of $5 billion.
  • 22bn: China’s investment in Turkey’s rail, part of their global Silk Road project.

Through its investments and rail projects, Turkey’s seeking to improve its economy and improve ties with its neighbours.


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