The CEO of NRIC Dimitar GAIDAROV: Our priority was the safety of trains and passengers

Due to damages on the railway infrastructure, caused by torrential rains in the period 3rd-13th July 2005, the company faced the impossibility of performing its main function - to provide infrastructure access. The train traffic in a number of sections was cancelled due to flooded or devastated tracks, swept-away ballast or track foundation, crushed or deformed catenary poles, torn catenary lines.

The measures undertaken in this situation have been in compliance with the established crisis action plans. The most urgent tasks were to clear the track free from landslides, fallen trees and branches, etc., (many of which have torn the catenary line as well), to restore the tracks, track foundation and ballast, the reconstruction of tilted catenary poles, replacement of crushed or deformed catenary poles, replacement of damaged and torn catenary line. Furthermore, the company undertook measures to ensure the safe operation of signalling equipment and telecommunication facilities which had not been damaged by the floods. All personnel on duty, as well as break-down services and all track and facility maintenance workers, were mobilised in order to restore train traffic as quickly as possible. The priority aim of all actions was to ensure the safety of trains, passengers and railway personnel.

The data on railway infrastructure status in the flooded regions, as well as on the funds necessary for its reconstruction, are still coming in because the damages amount to much more than what has been visible till now. It is expected that damages will have secondary consequences as well. The currently accumulated data show that about BGN100 million will be necessary to cover the costs.

With its own financial resources and as a result of the non-stop efforts of the break-down teams of NRIC, the railway infrastructure was rendered in a condition, which allows safe train operations even though at lower speeds. The repair and reconstruction works are still going on in spite of the insufficient quantities of spare parts, mechanical equipment and financial resources. The company provided the necessary information about the scope of the incurred damages, illustrated with relevant photographs, to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport and Communications and the State Agency for Civil Protection, which is a body within the Council of Ministers. The company also participates in the proceedings of a working group, dealing with the elaboration of an application form to be addressed to the EU 'Solidarity' fund.

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