Bulgarian PM Vows 'Paradigm Shift' from Highways to Railways
Railways instead of highways should become the main focus of the infrastructure projects of the Bulgarian government after 2020, according to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
Borisov, who is known for the emphasis of his administration on road construction, attended Thursday together Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski, Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova, EU Funds Minister Tomislav Donchev, a test run of a newly renovated section of the Plovdiv-Svilengrad railway line from Krumovo to Parvomay, a 37-km section, which was taken in 20 minutes with a speed of 165 km/h.
"We will stop talking about highways and will transfer funds from them in railway transport by 2020," Borisov declared in the southern town of Parvamay, as cited by Focus.
According to the government, the project provides for the reconstruction of one of the oldest railway lines in Bulgaria; once completed, passenger trains will be able to run at 160 km/h, and freight trains – at 120 km/h.
The project encompasses the reconstruction and partial doubling of approximately 150 km of railway track, construction of a catenary system, traction substations, signaling systems, telecommunications and radio control, as well as structures which will enable the complete doubling of the line in the future.
As of December 22, 2011, Bulgaria's National Company Industrial Infrastructure has seen completed 99% of the renovation of the Krumovo-Parvomay railway line by the Greek company TERNA, and the Parvamay-Dimitrovgrad line's modernization has been completed at 95% by the Italian company Astaldi.
The rest of the Plovdiv-Svilengrad line – from Dimitrovgrad to Svilengrad – will be funded under EU Operational Program Transport, with a tender already having started. The final section – from Svilengrad to the Turkish border – is supposed to be completed by the summer of 2012.
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