About BGN 3.5 billion are planned for Bulgaria’s first railway highway. It should be ready by 2027 and connect the lines Sofia-Burgas and Sofia-Svilengrad. From the amount in question, BGN 2 billion is allocated under the new “Transport Connectivity 2021-2027” program. They will mainly be for completing projects on the line Sofia – Burgas and Sofia – Svilengrad. BGN 1.5 billion is the money under the Connecting Europe Mechanism, for which the National Railway Infrastructure Company will apply for projects, confirmed to Money.bg from NKŽI.
“There is readiness even with projects for 6-7 billion BGN, but at this stage, there will be no application for European financing for the entire amount, because there is simply no way it will not be received. In addition, trains will have to be stopped, which is unthinkable“, comment from NKŽI.
The new railway highway must acquire the so-called fast tracks, which allow the movement of new trains developing at least 160 km per hour.
Bulgarian plus European funding
Almost BGN 2 billion of European and a smaller part of national money are invested in the modernization of railway lines and train control systems under the expiring operational program “Transport and Transport Infrastructure” and under the Connecting Europe Facility until 2024. BGN 1.058 billion are under the operational program. BGN 732 million are under the Connecting Europe Facility 2014-2020. BGN 205 million are for two projects under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which must be absorbed by the end of 2026.
New fast trains will run from Ruse to Bucharest airport at 160 km/h
The train should run on the route Ruse-Bucharest-Giurgevo by the end of the year
According to the preliminary plan, the first railway highway from Sofia to Burgas and to the Bulgarian-Turkish border should have been fully completed by 2024. However, this will not happen. The reason is the difficult section of the railway line Sofia – Plovdiv – from Elin Pelin to Kostenets, which is being implemented for the second program period, with sections of it being transferred to the period 2021-2027.
The railway projects under the recovery and sustainability plan include the introduction of the super-modern European train traffic management system on the Ruse-Caspian line and an intermodal terminal in Ruse. The second project was removed from the plan, but NKŽI objected. We are yet to find out whether the experts from the European Commission will allow the project.
After the modernizations, the First high-speed railway highway will be practically completed in our country – from the Bulgarian-Serbian border at Kalotina to the port of Burgas and Svilengrad on the Bulgarian-Turkish road. The goal is for the heavy goods traffic transiting through Bulgaria to board freight trains. The idea is for TIRs to move from border to border faster, and for the state to profit from rail charges. The benefit to passengers is clear.
The state’s attempt to acquire modern electric trains for over 1 billion BGN is at a standstill
Against this background, private competition is also set
Order for new electric trains stalled
As Money.bg wrote, the state’s attempt to acquire modern electric trains for over BGN 1 billion is at a standstill.
This is one of the four tenders for new rolling stock, which was financed under the Recovery Plan, and the reason was a complaint filed with the Commission for the Protection of Competition by the company “Skoda Transportation”. Thus, the procedure for the purchase of 7 double-decker electric locomotives was stopped.
Source: iStock Images
On October 10 this year, again due to a complaint, the large order for the delivery of 35 single-deck electric locomotives, whose estimated value is over BGN 1.1 billion excluding VAT, was also suspended.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications commented to Money.bg that they expect “a delay for some time”, but they hope that the orders will start again and that the lost time will be made up and that the deadline for receiving the new trains, which is 2026, will happen .
The private competitor
Against the backdrop of endless problems around our state trains, their private competitor is already looming. As Money.bg already wrote, the private transport company Pimk announced that it had received a license for rail passenger transport from the Executive Agency “Railway Administration”.
The activity of the company will be carried out through the company “Pimk Rail Express” EOOD, which was established and registered in the Commercial Register in April this year. Thus, for the first time in its history, the state-owned “BDZ – Passenger Transport” will have a real competitor in the transport of passengers in Bulgaria.
The company is currently looking at the possibilities for a route on which to run the new trains. The main one is Sofia – Burgas, where higher speeds are allowed on completed sections of the railway line, and the automated control of train traffic gives greater capacity.
About 70% of the passenger cars in our country have not undergone capital repairs for years. The average age of BDZ’s rolling stock is 40 years.
BDZ has a competitor: a Plovdiv company took a license for train transportation of passengers
Will state trains also improve?