Bosphorus Express

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Bosphorus Express
Bosfor Ekspresi
Bosphorus Express at Sirkeci.JPG
The Bosphorus Express at the Sirkeci Terminal in Istanbul.
Service type InterCity
Status Operating
Locale European Turkey, eastern Bulgaria, southern Romania
First service 1971
Current operator(s) TCDD, BDZ, CFR
Start Sirkeci Terminal, Istanbul
Stops 8
End Gara de Nord, Bucharest
Average journey time 13 hours, 29 minutes
Service frequency Daily each way
Train number(s) 81032, 492, 464 (westbound), 81031, 461 (eastbound)
On-board services
Sleeping arrangements Private sleeping room accommodations and couchette cars
Catering facilities Dining car
Baggage facilities Yes
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification Istanbul to Kapıkule and Dimitrovgrad to Ruse
Track owner(s) TCDD Istanbul-Kapıkule
BDZ Kapitan Andreevo-Ruse
CFR Giurgiu-Bucharest
Route map
Distance Station
0 km İstanbul
27 km (16.8 mi) Halkalı
129 km (80 mi) Çerkezköy
229 km (142 mi) Alpullu
250 km (155 mi) Pehlivanköy
296 km (184 mi) Edirne
316 km (196 mi) Kapıkule
Turkey/Bulgaria border
336 km (209 mi) Svilengrad
347 km (216 mi) Lyubimets
363 km (226 mi) Harmanli
378 km (235 mi) Simeonovgrad
401 km (249 mi) Dimitrovgrad
434 km (270 mi) Mihajlovo
456 km (283 mi) Stara Zagora
483 km (300 mi) Tulovo
491 km (305 mi) Dabovo
514 km (319 mi) Krastec
530 km (329 mi) Plachkovci
538 km (334 mi) Trjavna
547 km (340 mi) Tsareva Livada
556 km (345 mi) Drjanovo
565 km (351 mi) Sokolovo
573 km (356 mi) Debelec
579 km (360 mi) Veliko Tirnova
592 km (368 mi) Gorno Oryahovitsa
622 km (386 mi) Polski Trambesh
635 km (395 mi) Bjala
653 km (406 mi) Borovo
666 km (414 mi) Dve Mogili
681 km (423 mi) Ivanovo
704 km (437 mi) Russe
Bulgaria/Romania border
717 km (446 mi) Giurgiu
780 km (485 mi) Videle
831 km (516 mi) Bucharest

The Bosphorus Express, also known as the Trans Balkan Express (Turkish: Bosfor Ekspresi), is an international passenger train running between Istanbul, Turkey and Bucharest, Romania. It runs together with the Balkans Express until Dimitrovgrad upon entering Bulgaria, where the later continues to Sofia. The train is jointly operated by three national railways; the Turkish State Railways, the Bulgarian State Railways, and the Romanian State Railways. The train serves important cities like Istanbul, Edirne, Russe and Bucharest. The Bosphorus Express started service in 1971.


The train is pulled by a variety of locomotives in each country. Today the train consists of 3-4 cars usually mixed from the three railways. There are two Couchettes, either TCDD Intercity stock or CFR 59-50 stock, a single coach car, either TCDD or CFR, and a CFR sleeping car. Since the train uses electrified and non-electrified track, locomotives pulling the train also change. From Istanbul, the train is pulled by an E43000 electric locomotive until Kapıkule, where a BDZ class-07 diesel locomotive becomes the motive power. At Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria, the BDZ class-07 de-couples and either a BDZ class-43 or a BDZ class-45 electric locomotive couples onto the train. At Russe, the BDZ electric locomotive changes with a Romanian class-65 diesel locomotive, which pulls the train to Bucharest.

The following configurations are typically used today:

  • CFR Class-65 Locomotive
  • CFR Couchette
  • CFR Sleeper
  • TCDD Couchette

Russe-Gorna Oryahovitsa

  • BDZ Class-43 or BDZ Class-45 Locomotive
  • CFR Couchette
  • CFR Sleeper
  • TCDD Couchette
  • BDZ Coach

Gorna Oryahovitsa-Dimitrovgrad

  • BDZ Class-43 or BDZ Class-45 Locomotive
  • CFR Sleeper
  • TCDD Couchette
  • BDZ Coach


  • BDZ Class-07 Locomotive
  • TCDD Couchette
  • CFR Sleeper
  • TCDD Couchette


  • TCDD E43000 Locomotive
  • TCDD Couchette
  • CFR Sleeper
  • TCDD Couchette

Between Russe and Dimitrovgrad, 1 or 2 BDZ Coaches are added to the train for domestic travel.


The journey starts by bus for 125 km at Istanbul's Sirkeci Terminal. After Edirne it arrives at the town of Kapıkule on the Turkish-Bulgarian border. The electric locomotive disconnects and is replaced with a diesel locomotive Passengers need to disembark and cross the rail tracks to clear passport control. Passengers transfer to a bus at Dimitrovgrad, reboarding the train after a six-hour journey. After the city of Gorna Oryahovitsa, the train arrives at the city of Ruse on the Danube river. A diesel locomotive once again takes over, and it crosses the Danube via the Danube Bridge and into the Romanian town of Giurgiu, stopping at the Giurgiu Nord Railway Station. Then it continues north to Bucharest. After winding its way around the city, the train enters Bucharest from the northwest into Gara de Nord station.


External links[edit]

Media related to Bosphorus Express at Wikimedia Commons