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Contractors appointed to build Turkey's high speed ‘Orient Express’

Kapikule railway station building 3to2

Italian contractor Salini Impregilo has won a €530M (£460M) contract to build a 153km section of a new “Orient Express” high speed railway between Istanbul in Turkey and the border with Bulgaria.

Working in a joint venture with Turkish contractor Kolin İnşaat Turizm Sanayi ve Ticaret, Salini Impreglio will take the lead on the four-year project. 

The new line will become part of the Trans‐European Transport Network (TEN-T) that connects member countries of the European Union. It will be a part of the Orient/East‐Med Corridor, which connects Central Europe with ports of the North, Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas. 

The line has been modelled on the original Orient Express which ran luxury trains between Paris and Istanbul in the 1920s to 1977. 

The overall cost of the line, which stretches 229km from Istanbul’s Halkali Station to the Bulgarian border crossing point at the Kapikule-Svelingrad station, will be £870M and will have a double track that will supplant the existing single track. Train speeds will be up to 200km/h.

The contract includes electrification, signalling and other auxiliary civil works related to that section of the line. It also guarantees the immediate availability of machines to move 80M.m3 of earth.

The project will be overseen by the Directorate General of Turkish State Railways and will reduce travel times, increase safety and contribute to the development of the region.

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