Bulgaria Tests High-Speed Railway Section to Turkish Border
Bulgaria's government has made a test run of a newly renovated southern highway railway section where trains can go at 160 km/h.
The testing of a section of the Plovdiv-Svilengrad railway line, which runs from the center of Southern Bulgaria to the border with Turkey, was attended by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski, Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova, EU Funds Minister Tomislav Donchev.
The government delegation took a trip with from Krumovo to Parvomay, a 37-km section, which was taken in 20 minutes with a speed of 165 km/h. Before the modernization of the line, the distance there would take about an hour, the Transport Ministry explained.
"After 2013 Bulgaria can apply for a total funding of EUR 300 M from the EU, which amounts to modernized railway sections for 100 new trains," stated Bulgaria's Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski.
He further promised that by 2014 the entire railway line from Plovdiv to the border with Turkey and Greece would be modernized, and the distance would take about 1 hour 15 minutes.
The Bulgarian Transport Ministry pointed out that the Plovdiv-Svilengrad railway line renovation is the largest infrastructure project of "National Company Industrial Infrastructure"; it is being carried out with a transition in the types of EU funding – from the pre-accession ISPA program to Operational Program Transport.
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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