National Railway Infrastructure Company To Absorb 580 Mln Euros EU Funding for Modernization

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National Railway Infrastructure Company To Absorb 580 Mln Euros EU Funding for Modernization

Bulgaria's National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC) will implement projects for 580 mln euros until 2013 under EU's Transport operational program, the company told Profit.bg.

The funding will be extended for the development of the railway transport in Bulgaria and for the improvement of the railway infrastructure in the country.

The railway infrastructure projects account for nearly 29% of the budget of the program, which makes NRIC the second biggest beneficiary under the program after the National Road Infrastructure Fund.

The major priorities of the projects implemented under the program are the modernization of the Vidin-Sofia railway line, the electrification and the reconstruction of the railway line linking Sofia with Svilengrad and the Turkish border, the modernization of the Sofia-Plovdiv line and the upgrade of the Sofia-Pernik-Radomir line.

A total of 320 mln euro have been allocated for modernization of the Vidin-Sofia line, which is the biggest project. The traveling time between Vidin and Sofia is expected to drop to under 2 hours after the project is completed. The duration of the traveling time exceeds 5 hours at present.

A total of 120 mln euros will be invested in the modernization of the Sofia-Plovdiv railway line. The trains will able to move with up to 200 km per hour after the project is completed. Thus, the traveling time will be reduced by 60 min. to 1 hour an 30 min.

NRIC will invest 100 mln euros in the upgrade of the Sofia-Pernik-Radomir line. Improvements in the infrastructure along the line and the establishing of proper conditions for the speed of the trains to be increased will help reduce by half the traveling time along the line to 35 min. The development of the Pernik-Sofia line is also crucial for easing car traffic into Sofia.

The implementation of the project for the electrification and the reconstruction of the railway line linking Svilengrad with the Turkish border is also of extreme importance to Bulgaria. The investment is estimated at 35 mln euros.

The implementation of the project will facilitate the railway transportation of passengers and cargo from Central Europe and Bulgaria to Turkey and Greece.

NRIC's management has prepared four alternative projects under the Transport program, which can be implemented if unforeseen circumstances threaten the utilization of the funding earmarked for railway infrastructure.

The total value of the alternative projects is estimated at 329 mln euros. These include: Upgrade of stretches along the Mezdra-Gorna Oryahovotsa line (160 mln euros), modernization of stretches along the Plovdiv-Burgas line (63 mln euros), electrification of the Parvomay-Yabalkovo line (23 mln euros) and modernization of the Sofia-Dragoman (83 mln euros)

NRIC will also invest a total of 29 mln euros in the setting up of an intermodal terminal in Sofia.

The first stage of the project is expected to be launched in 2009.

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