Forum on railway strategy

 

The traditional Railway forum 2006, organised jointly by the Scientific and Technical Council for Transport, the National Association of Track Engineers and UEEIV, was held in Veliko Turnovo on 9th-10th October. The event took place under the aegis of the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev. UEEIV President, Heinrich Salzmann, the Honorary President of the organization, Josef Windsinger, and the Secretary General, Peter Brinkmann, presented a detailed analysis of the current situation in European railways.

 

The two-day forum was attended by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Transport Committee, Iordan Mirchev, the Executive Director of BDZ EAD, Oleg Petkov, the Deputy Director-General of NRIC, Vesselin Kozhuharov, experts and research fellows from scientific institutes, “Remtechnology” Ltd. – Varna, the “Todor Kableshkov” High Transport School, etc.

 

The exhibition, which was opened in parallel with the forum and in which various foreign companies, such as Tiefenbach, Volker, Rail, EPG, Rail One, HVB WIEBE GmbH & Co and DE-Consult from Germany, as well as the Swiss-based KG Schwihag participated, was viewed with great interest.

 

The strategic objective of Bulgarian railways is the enhancement of their competitiveness, as was highlighted by Oleg Petkov and Vladimir Dunchev, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Railways Company. Iordan Mirchev proposed the elaboration of a programme document as well as legislative changes, on the basis of which the market strength of the railways in Bulgaria will be improved in the short term. The stations should become “management hubs” and to this end they should be governed by a separate structure within the operator, as was pointed out in addition by Minister Mutafchiev.

 

In 2006, particular measures were adopted for the implementation of radical changes to improve operations. For the railway infrastructure, additional funds amounting to BGN16 million were allocated for the timely completion of reconstruction works on railway lines III and IV. Apart from the procurement of the 25 diesel train-sets Desiro, a programme for the overhaul of 500 passenger coaches, amounting to BGN18 million, is under implementation. In 2007, a further 1,531 freight wagons will be overhauled forBGN 41 million. By 2009, 25 new electric train-sets, 70 passenger trains, 30 sleeping cars, 140 second-hand passenger coaches and 2,500 freight wagons will be procured.

 

The forum concluded with recommendations for the establishment of two new companies within the railways – a power distribution company and a telecommunications company – as well as for the splitting-up of freight and passenger services into separate structures. The development of the latter will be assisted by a foreign investor.


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