Christmas address of the

Executive Director of BDZ EAD


Engl-1.jpgOn the eve of one of the greatest Christian holidays, the bright Christmas, and on the threshold of the New Year, I would like to address all employees and customers of “Bulgarian State Railways” EAD. To the workers and staff within the railway system and their families I wish health and luck, personal and professional success in 2011! I would particularly like to thank every colleague for the professionalism, diligence and devotion, which they put into their work in the course of the current year!

Traditionally, on the eve the of the bright Christmas season everyone looks back to those events which have marked both in terms of professional and personal perspective the particular character of the passing year. For BDZ EAD the year 2010 was a year of challenges and even at its very beginning we had to deal with difficulties and problems. More than once the accidents, which occurred in the railways and which tested the faith in the professionalism of railway workers, brought, thankfully, no further grave consequences. Still, those accidents have happened to remind us of the number of unresolved issues, which will continue to be in the focus of our attention next year as well.

I am convinced that as good professionals, all of us are well aware of the faults in our work. BDZ EAD is one of the largest companies in Bulgaria and each professional failure has impact over the functioning of the whole railway system. The good image of the railways is built with the effort of each and every railway employee and the professional attitude of all BDZ EAD staff determines the public perception of the company.

There is some hard work for us to do in 2011! We must restore public trust in the reliability of railway services, we need to make active efforts to attract new customers and we should manifest in practice that we have learned our lessons from the mistakes of inertia, irresponsible performance of office duties and passive expectation that problems will be resolved by someone else.

“Bulgarian State Railways” EAD will enter into 2011 with a new organizational structure which will provide better interaction between the separate units in the railway system and will outline clearly the responsibilities, results and achievement of each activity.

I do believe that we can deal with the challenges only when we are united by a common objective, namely – to make BDZ EAD a modern railway company. Let the issues, which each of us faces in everyday work, make us wiser and let the difficulties we overcome make us stronger! I am convinced that if this is our guiding principle in both professional and personal life, we shall work and live as dignified, confident and proud people!

Let me extend my special gratitude to all customers and partners for the good cooperation and wish them professional and personal success in 2011! I trust that the reform in the sector will contribute for the more proactive and mutually beneficial development of our relations with the Bulgarian business community and the general public.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear colleagues and customers!

Eng. Pencho POPOV

Executive Director



Greater interest in Plovdiv – Burgas railway line project


Engl-2.jpgThe second opening of bids for the project “Rehabilitation of railway infrastructure along the sections of Plovdiv - Burgas railway line”, held on 9th November in the Head Office of SE NRIC, manifested a greater interest of both foreign and Bulgarian companies in this project. At the first bidding, held on 11th February and annulled on 14th June due to the large difference between the project tentative costs (BGN 330 million before VAT) and the financial offers of the competing bids (BGN 426.229 million before VAT), there were eight companies and consortia, while now the bidders were twelve.

The bids were opened by a commission, headed by eng. Zlatin Krumov. The procurement assignments were separated into three different lots and the bidders could bid for both the total of the three assignments or for each separate lot.

Lot 1 – Rehabilitation of Mihailovo - Kaloyahovets railway line section, including the main tracks at Mihailovo and Kaloyanovets stations. The approximate overall length is 21 km. The implementation term is 19 months.

Lot 2 – Rehabilitation of Stara Zagora - Yambol and Zavoy - Zimnitsa railway line sections, including the main tracks at Stara Zagora and Yambol stations as well as at all stations and halts between them. The approximate overall length is 120 km. The implementation term is 38 months.

Lot 3 – Rehabilitation of Tserkovski - Karnobat railway line section, including the main tracks at Tserkovski station. The approximate overall length is 122 km and the implementation term is 43 months.

The bidders for the project implementation are as follows:

1.   Consortium between the Austrian concern SWIETELSKY and the Bulgarian company RVP Koehne AD (which is part of RAILWAY INFRASTRUCTURE – HOLDING COMPANY AD), bidding for Lots 1,2 and 3;

2.   Athens-based company AKTOR (the largest construction company in Greece, member of ELLAKTOR Group), bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

3.   Consortium between the Italian construction company BALDASSINI - TOGNOZZI - PONTELLO COSTRUZIONI GENERALI S.p.A. (ÂÒÐ), which is based in Florence, and the Bulgarian company GLAVBOLGARSTROI AD, bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

4.   Greek company TERNA AD, branch office Bulgaria, bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

5.   Consortium “STRABAG RAILWAY LINES”, which is based in Sofia and is centered round the Austrian company STRABAG, bidding for Lot 1;

6.   Consortium between the Spanish construction group AZVI and the Bulgarian CONSTRUCTION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP HOLDING (CEH), bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

7.   Italian company COSTRUZIONI LINEE FERROVIARIE (C.L.F. S.p.A.), based in Bologna, bidding for Lots 2 and 3;

8.   Consortium between the Italian company SALCEF S.p.A., based in Rome, and the Bulgarian company ENERGOREMONT, bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

9.   Consortium between the Italian company GENERALE COSTRUZIONI FERROVIARIE (G.C.F. S.p.A.), based in Rome, and the Bulgarian companies SK 13 and TRACE RAILINFRA (daughter-company of TRACE GROUP HOLD AD), bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

10. the Austrian company PORR TECHNOBAU UND UMWELT AG, branch office Bulgaria, bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

11. the Italian company C.M.C.RAVENNA, bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3;

12. Consortium “European railways”, which includes the Spanish companies COSTESA S.L. and COPASA S.A., as well as the Bulgarian companies SOFSTROI AD and PONSSTROIENGINEERING (which is part of PONS HOLDING), bidding for Lots 1, 2 and 3.

The winning bidders for each separate lot should be selected by 15th January 2011 at the latest.

The indicative budget for this project is EUR 187.365 million, 64% of which comes as grant funding from the Cohesion Fund of the EU under Priority axis 1 of Operational Programme “Transport” 2007 - 2013 and the remaining 36% will be covered by the national budget.



The base tunnel of the modernized railway line Radomir - Gueshevo


Eng. Margarit ZHIPONOV

Engl-3.jpgRadomir – Gueshevo railway line is a main connection along Trans-European corridor No 8 and the project “Technical assistance for the modernization of Radomir – Gueshevo railway line” should identify the necessary investments and form the basis for the tender documentation for the next modernization phases. After the completion and approval of the “Feasibility study” phase in April, the designer team continued with the elaboration of three new scenarios of the design project which are developed along the corridor of Scenario 2, from Radomir to Kopilovtsi, and Scenario 3, between Kopilovtsi and Gueshevo.

The employer (MTITC and SE NRIC) was presented with the best option for the track alignment, which is Scenario 7. It surpasses the remaining options (scenarios 5 and 6) in terms of return on investment and technical solution. The line length till the axis of the building of Gueshevo railway station is 72.5 km (while the current track is 88.6 km long). This scenario envisages the construction of 16 tunnels and 37 multi-span railway trestle bridges and conventional bridges.

Geological survey of the line path was performed in the summer and autumn of 2010. The recommended Scenario 7 envisages the construction of 16 tunnels. Tunnel No 2 (14.9 km long) will be bored with a mechanized tunnel excavation equipment at the front of which will go the tunnel boring machine. The wider implementation of new security standards for longer tunnels has established the practice of excavating single-track tunnel tubes with an adjacent tube of smaller diameter for the evacuation of people in case of emergency. At the railway tunnel tube there will be evacuation exits at each 250 meters. The designed longitudinal gradient is 12 ‰, which is the optimum for long tunnels. The use of a tunnel boring machine necessitates the implementation of circular cross-section and advance availability of reinforced concrete segments. The geological and geo-mechanical conditions favor this method for the boring of the tunnel as the quantity of rock in the soils is moderate. The path alignment through Tunnel No2 has been selected very appropriately in terms of geological engineering. It also takes into account the complicated geological and tectonic structure of the region.

If the line path is shifted westwards, it will have to go via a pronounced karst region in the proximity of the erosion basis of Struma river, which would mean that in the karst there will be weak sections and possible strong influx of karst waters.

If the line path is shifted eastwards, it will fall in the proximity (according to the geological and tectonic maps of the region) of large tectonic transform faults at the boundary between the so called Zemen monoclynal and Koniovski negative graben. This means that part of the tunnel could fall into large tectonic faults where subsidence of large masses of tectonic strata and occurrence of water-filled rock milonitized (clayey) materials is highly probable. There also is a risk of a strong influx of water.

Taking into consideration the above-described geological and tectonic conditions, the proposed line path goes through a section with relatively monolithic materials, low karst occurrence, at a sufficient distance from a strong karst process and large tectonic faults, with a low probability of water influx.



SCHENCK PROCESS presented state-of-art weighing and diagnostic systems


Engl-4.jpgThe Austrian trade commission in Bulgaria and the Austrian – German corporation SCHENCK PROCESS organized at end-November an expert presentation of state-of-art weighing and diagnostic systems, which are widely used all over the world and can significantly boost the efficiency of Bulgarian railways. Mr. Michael Angerer, Commercial Counselor and Trade Commissioner within the Austrian Embassy in Sofia, attended the event. SCHENCK PROCESS was represented by Martin Stillger, Vice President for Transport Automation; Herbert Hartl, Executive Director of SCHENCK-Austria, and Josef Frauscher, Sales Engineer. On the Bulgarian side, it was the top management of STRAIL BULGARIA & RELASTECT as official representative of SCHENCK in our country which took part in the presentation. A number of leading experts in the transport sector, among which was the Director General of SE NRIC, eng. Milcho Lambrev, attended the event in proof of the high interest in the topic of the presentation.

Weighing equipment, which is currently used in our country, includes about 120 technologically outdated fixed scales, built before the 80s of the 20th century. This technology does not allow the weighing of compositions during operation but only the weighing of separate wagons, positioned at a dedicated weighing track in the vicinity of a given station. In such a situation weighing time amounts to 5 – 7 minutes, it requires detachment of the wagon from the composition and securing it against unplanned movement, it is necessary to allocate personnel and a shunting locomotive for these operations, etc.

SCHENCK MUTLIRAIL systems perform precise weighing of each individual wagon in a composition during operation (at speeds of up to 15 km/h).

Recent new developments in the railways, the great diversity of rolling stock, projections for Ro-La transports to be performed over one and the same infrastructure make it necessary to implement diagnostic facilities for railway operational safety. These aim at both the prevention of damage infliction upon railway infrastructure and the improvement of criteria for train routing assessment and cost optimization. It becomes possible to determine the quality level of railway vehicles and infrastructure loading. Given the ongoing increase of operational speeds and the ever-growing need for safe route access, it is necessary to detect risks, related to rolling stock, in a timely manner with the help of a reliable equipment as well as to prevent potential failures of infrastructure facilities.

Diagnostic weighing systems can identify with their sensors all types of railway vehicles in operation in Europe as well as their axle bearings and brake systems. If mechanical defects occur in a given axle bearing, it can become over-heated due to excessive friction and result in train derailment. This is the reason why it is necessary to control the dangerous overheating of axle bearings and wheel tires as well as of brake discs of railway rolling stock. If the system detects some danger it transmits a signal to the operational unit. It can also monitor rolling stock and cargo gauge, fire risks, improperly loaded or overloaded wagons, etc. All these functionalities of the system will enhance safety levels, provide for railway transport security and ensure the European level of service quality.



In Brief


Minister Tsvetkov launched operation “Without ticket”

The transport minister, Alexander Tsvetkov, initiated a large-scale operation, starting on 22nd October, to check if passengers travel with valid transport documents in the trains. The controls are performed jointly by BDZ employees and Transport police officers. The aim of the operation is to curb fare evasion in the trains. The controls are expected to have a preventive effect upon passenger and train crew malpractices, when ticket collectors accept money from the passengers without issuing a travel document.


Minister Tsvetkov signed a memorandum with Korea

On 26th October during his visit to the Republic of Korea, the transport minister Alexander Tsvetkov signed with his Korean counterpart Chung Jong Hwan a Memorandum of Understanding which binds the two ministries to perform exchanges and cooperation in the sector of transport infrastructure construction. The two ministers agreed upon the establishment of two working groups – for railway transport and for transport infrastructure. In Busan the Bulgarian delegation visited the XVII World Congress for Intelligent Transport Systems and met representatives of the high-speed train producing company Hyundai Rotem Co. 


Two new stations to provide connection to the Underground

According to the CEO of Sofia-based “Metropoliten” company, Stoyan Bratoev, and Sofia Mayor, Yordanka Fandakova, two new railway stations will be constructed to provide connection to the Underground for incoming passengers from Pernik and Plovdiv. One of the new stations will be in Gorna banya residential district and the other – next to Underground station No21 in Druzhba residential district.


Tender for Septemvri – Plovdiv railway section

On 2nd November SE NRIC launched an open procurement procedure for the assignment “Modernization of Septemvri – Plovdiv railway section, part of the Trans-European railway network”. The objective is to achieve interoperability and train speeds of 160 km/h. The deadline for submission of bids is 17th January 2011.


Proposal for joint railway project with China and Turkey

During his visit to China at end-October, the transport minister Alexander Tsvetkov held a series of meetings with the Chinese minister of transport Li Shenglin, the minister of railways Liu Zhijun as well as with leading local companies, among which was CMCEC – a leader in the sphere of infrastructure projects. During the talks the parties discussed possible Chinese investments in Bulgaria and the establishment of joint ventures. Minister Liu Zhijun proposed to minister Tsvetkov that Bulgaria get involved in a Chinese-Turkish project for high-speed railway services. The trilateral agreement can be signed in December if it is prepared in due time.


Permanent way between Byala and Polski Trambesh was renewed

Reconstruction works for the railway line section between the stations Byala and Polski Trambesh were performed for about 40 working days. The railway units in Gorna Oryahovitsa and Pleven replaced 1 500 wooden and concrete sleepers. After 23rd October the trains operate in this section with 70 km/h (while before the renewal the operation speed was only 25 km/h). Reconstruction works cost BGN 1.325 million.


Conference on intermodal transport

On 26th October the Executive Director of Executive Agency “Maritime administration” Sergey Tsarnakliyski opened the first national meeting on the project “Transnational network for the promotion of multimodal water - land transport” (WATERMODE). The main topic of the forum was “Intermodal transport – key factor for development in South-Eastern Europe”. The participants discussed the development of intermodal transport and container services in the Black Sea region and the optimization of the links between ports and hinterland.


BDZ EAD is getting restructured into a holding

In implementation of decision by the transport minister Alexander Tsvetkov as of 22nd October BDZEAD is getting restructured into a holding company. The two main business activities – passenger and freight services – will be developed within the new structure and all the assets, such as locomotives, wagons and coaches, which are necessary for their operations will be transferred to them. The mother-company BDZ EAD will focus upon the strategic management of the company as well as all assets, which are of no use to the two daughter companies, including rolling stock which will be either scrapped or offered for sale. Thus, the organizational structure of BDZ will become uniform with the structure of most European railways. The main objective thereof is to establish an effective system for reforms and changes to pave the way for profit-making operations of the company.


A bill for changes in RTA

At end-October the ministry of transport published on its website for public discussion the bill that amends and complements the Railway Transport Act. The proposed changes aim at harmonizing the act with the European legislation which has been adopted in the transport sphere in the last few years. These changes concern the rights and obligations of passengers in railway transport (including sanctions for any lack of non-discriminative conditions for disabled people as well as compensations for train delays, lack of information, railway accidents, etc.); certification of railway rolling stock; free travel of EARA staff when they have to perform their official duties; the option for EARA to manage under certain conditions part of the collected charges and fines, as well as some amendments to current legal definitions.   


Sofia – Elin Pelin project will be ready by end-2010

The technical project for modernization of the railway section Sofia – Elin Pelin, which is part of the project “Modernization of Sofia – Plovdiv railway line” (split into three parts), should be completed by the end of this year. It comes under ISPA programme. As regards the railway section Elin Pelin – Septemvri, it is expected that the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure will get launched in 2011 and will be followed by a tender for selection of designer, which means that the implementation of this part of the overall project will be most probably left for the next programme period of Operational Programme “Transport” (2014 – 2020).


Deputy Minister Moskovski met Minister Landau

The Deputy Minister of transport, Ivaylo Moskovski, met in Sofia the Israeli Minister of infrastructure Uzi Landau. They discussed the options for the development of bilateral cooperation, exchange of experience and know-how. The talks were also attended by a group of Israeli businessmen, who expressed their wish for potential investments in the transport infrastructure projects within Operational Programme “Transport”.


Milcho Lambrev met a representative of JICA

On 5th November the Director General of SE NRIC, Milcho Lambrev, received the representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mr. Fudjita, and discussed with him issues, concerning the railway infrastructure and freight services to and from the port of Burgas. It is common knowledge that JICA funded the construction of Terminal 2 of the port. The Japanese expert was presented with information on other projects for modernization of Bulgarian railway infrastructure.


Michael Clausecker visited Bulgaria

By invitation of the Railway Automatics, Telecommunications and Signaling Association (RASTIA), the Director General of UNIFE (the Association of the European Rail Industry), Michael Clausecker, visited our country. He met the deputy transport minister, Kamen Kichev, and discussed with him the options for assisting the Bulgarian railway sector in the provision of sustainable and safe railway transport services and the attraction of investments. On 23rd November Michael Clausecker gave a press-conference in the Head Office of SE NRIC together with Veselin Vasilev, Executive Director of EARA; Krasimir Krachunov, Deputy Director General of SE NRIC; Ivan Markov, member of the Managing Board of SE NRIC, and Nikola Durchev, Chairman of RASTIA.