A new passenger rail service between Turkey and Bulgaria began operating Saturday, as part of an agreement between the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) and Bulgarian Railways. The train hit the rails in Plovdiv at 8:40 a.m. in the morning and reached western Turkey's Edirne at 12:20 p.m., passing through Dimitrovgrad, Svilengrad and Kapıkule. The return journey from Edirne began at 5 p.m. and the train arrived in Plovdiv at 9:15 p.m., making the 184-kilometer journey.
The trains run on Saturdays and Sundays and the ticket prices vary between 6.86 euros ($7.68) and 10.36 euros. TCDD and the Bulgarian Railways had reached an agreement for the new passenger line after the Bulgarian counterparts requested a new line between the country's second largest city Plovdiv and northwestern Turkey's Edirne.
The Istanbul-Sofia Express, which sets off from Istanbul's Halkalı train station and runs to the Bulgarian capital, has long been the only passenger rail service between the countries. It also acts as the rail link connecting Turkey to European lines. The Istanbul-Sofia line was inaugurated in 2017 and runs daily.