In Brief

 

Lukoil buys out part of Bulmarket

According to the governor of the Rousse-based company “Bulmarket” (the first company in our country to be licensed as a private railway operator), Stanko Stanev, the company sold out its propane-butane business to Lukoil Neftochim. The company transferred to Lukoil warehousing facilities, land lots, gas pipelines, tanks, the gas-carrier ship “Bulmarket 1”, 16 trucks for the transport of gas, a railway unloading terminal, 77 tank wagons, etc. The eighty employees engaged in this sector of Bulmarket’s business will now be employed by Lukoil.

 

Pleven station to be rebuilt

According to the Director of Enterprise for the operation and maintenance of the railway infrastructure in Pleven, Ivo Yanakiev, the Contractor selected for the implementation of reconstruction works at Pleven station on 15th July will have to elaborate the reconstruction design for the station and its infrastructure. The total costs for reconstruction works will amount to BGN4.8 million. The annual passenger flow through Pleven station amounts to 600 000 passengers. The current condition of the building and the passenger halls is rather poor, as the last reconstruction of the building and part of the platforms was performed in 1971.

 

Electronic timetable displays at Sofia Central Station function again

As of 30th June, the electronic timetable displays at Sofia Central Station function again. They have been out of order since May 2005, when a failure in their computer system occurred. Experts from Siemens, the manufacturer of the displays, took part in the repair works.

 

A new logistics centre in Plovdiv

The construction of an Industrial and Logistics Park near Plovdiv will provide employment for 3 000 people. The project has been implemented with funding from the Bulgarian – Israeli association SENSOR, which includes Sienit Holding and the Israeli company Eden Group. The project envisages the construction of industrial production facilities, shopping centres and a logistics park where the handling of freight for and from trains will be carried out. The project will cover about 800 decares and will cost about EUR150 million.

 

Fire extinguished on a fast train

On 3rd July at about 13:10 a fire began in the locomotive of the fast train No 3621 from Sofia to Bourgas. It was extinguished when the train stopped at Koniovo station. No one was injured during the incident. A commission has investigated the causes of the fire. BDZ EAD allocated another locomotive to haul the express to Bourgas.

 

Demands for restoration of passenger services

Residents of the towns along the line section Simeonovgrad-Nova Zagora are insisting upon the restoration of passenger services. The line was built in 1873 and passenger services along it were cancelled in October 2002 because they were loss-making. Nevertheless, a couple of companies from Simeonovgrad now claim that their personnel will commute by train to their respective work places, which naturally changes the situation. Before any restoration of passenger services, though, the line itself will have to be rebuilt at a cost of BGN5 million.

 

CITUB organises a discussion on railway issues

At the end of July, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) organised a national discussion on the current condition of, and prospects for, Bulgarian railways. According to CITUB President, Dr. Zheliazko Hristov, in Europe Governments cover 50% of the costs for passenger rail services (in Bulgaria, only 37%) and funds from the State budgets are allocated for the procurement of new locomotives and coaches. He considers that when the State treats BDZ EAD and NRIC as purely commercial companies, without taking into account their social functions, it condemns the railways to a permanent crisis.

 

An intermodal terminal in Rousse

At the beginning of July, during his visit to Rousse on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of Rousse Port, the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev, announced that a second intermodal terminal (the first one will be built in the capital city) in Bulgaria will be established in Rousse. According to Minister Mutafchiev, foreign consultants will be invited to define the site where the transport terminal will be established, including a railway station, a port, a TIR lorry terminal, container cargo terminal, parking lot and connections with the public transport system.

 

The short list for supervision of Danube Bridge 2 is approved

The Delegation of the European Commission approved the short-list of seven companies/consortiums for the design control and construction supervision for the second bridge over the Danube. These are: COWI A/S; Faber Maunsell LTD/ Louis Berger SAS/ Ove Arup & Partners Ltd/ Tecnica Y Proyectos S.A.; INGEROP/ HIGH-POINT RENDEL; Mott MacDonald Limited; SETEC TPI/ CONSULGAL/ DENCO/ DIKRIL CONSULT; Tony Gee and Partners (TGP)/ White Young Green Consulting Ltd. (WYGC)/ PLANET S.A./ WYG International (the former IMC Consulting) and WSP Group; Hill International/Italferr/ Tecnic. The deadline for the submission of bids is 4th September and the Contract with the selected Contractor will be concluded by end-2006.

 

Express Service present a new shunting locomotive

At the end of June, the Rousse-based company Express Service Ltd. presented its new remote-controlled shunting locomotive, which was tested on the territory of Bulmarket, the private railway operator. Express Service has been building locomotives since 2002. Unlike its predecessors, the new locomotive MDD 2-00 is equipped with a command cabin. The first locomotive of this type was sold to the Swiss cement company Holcim, which will operate it in its facility near Vratsa. MDD 2-00 are diesel-hydraulic shunting locomotives of low power and operational speed, suitable for shunting in stations, ports, industrial lines and depots. The locomotive is built with parts supplied by leading British, German and Finnish companies. It is energy-efficient and fully complies with European railway standards.

 

BGN 30 million more for railway infrastructure

At the meeting of the Government, held on 13th July, the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev, proposed an additional allocation of BGN30 million for the current reconstruction of the national railway infrastructure. According to the Minister, the state should undertake particular commitments for the current infrastructure reconstruction, so the Government has decided to establish a working group, members of which will be the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Finance, Plamen Oresharski.

 

Balkan railways sign an agreement

The Directors General of the South-European Railways Group met in Athens on 22-23 June. The meeting was attended by the railways of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. In connection with the entry into force as of 1st July 2006 of the new Convention for International Railway Transport and by initiative of BDZ EAD, the Directors General of the Balkan railways signed a framework agreement on the joint implementation of international freight services with subsequent carriers, as well as an agreement on the traffic of freight wagons, covered with wagon tarpaulin sheets. BDZ EAD are nominated as the Depositary of these two documents, and all official requests by other railways for joining the two agreements will be addressed to the Bulgarian national railway carrier.

 

Minister Mutafchiev meets Minister Berceanu

The Bulgarian Transport Minister and his Romanian counterpart, Radu Berceanu, met on 27th June in Vidin and discussed the Project for Danube Bridge 2. The two ministers decided that the Bulgarian-Romanian agreement on the trans-border traffic of people, transport vehicles, equipment and materials involved in the process of construction and commissioning of the new bridge will be signed this August. It is expected that the Parliaments of both countries will ratify the agreement in September. The bids of the applicants for Contractor will be opened on 15th September and the construction of the bridge will be launched in May 2007. Minister Mutafchiev proposed that in September 2007 the Transport Ministers of Bulgaria, Romania and Greece should meet to discuss the future of Corridor IV.

 

A wall to prevent attacks against trains

It is planned to build a concrete wall along the international railway line Sofia-Thessaloniki in the region of the Fakulteta residential area in Sofia. This would prevent attacks against trains which have caused contusions to over 20 passengers in the last three years. Similar concrete walls will be erected in other high-risk zones in the country, where trains operate in close proximity to residential areas. Last year BDZ incurred losses of nearly BGN6 million from stolen cargoes, broken window panes and cut cables.

 

Siemens Locomotive ES 64U2 is already in Bulgaria

Locomotive ES 64U2-061, which Siemens has provided to BDZ EAD free of charge for operations on the national railway network for a period of one year, arrived in Bulgaria in July. This locomotive is of the Euro-Sprinter family and represents the most state-of-art serial production of Siemens Transportation Systems. The locomotive is pending certification, after which it will be commissioned for operation on our country’s network. After the one-year grace period elapses it is possible that possible options for the procurement of this locomotive will be considered.

 

Measures for financial rehabilitation of the railways

On 14th July, during the regular Parliamentary control session, the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev, claimed that the basis for the financial rehabilitation of BDZ will be laid out by the end of this year. According to him some serious measures for overcoming some of the main problems of the railways have already been undertaken. The Minister considers that the Government should assume a proactive role for this financial rehabilitation, including the covering of some portion of the infrastructure access charges, in order to make the railway competitive to road carriers, who do not incur the total amount of costs for road maintenance.

 

By train from Iskar to Obelia?

The Municipality of Sofia launched the concept for a railway connection between Iskar station and Obelia residential area. According to the Deputy Mayor, Velizar Stoilov, the line would resemble the German S-bahn system and would be 20 km long, encompassing 15 railway stops.

 

The train will cross the whole territory of Sofia from its South-Eastern zones via the city centre to the North-Western zones. Some of the railway stations along the line would be Iskar, Poduene and Zaharna fabrika, as well as Sofia Central Station. The municipal company “Metropoliten” has already been assigned with the elaboration of the conceptual design, and meanwhile talks with the Ministry of Transport have been initiated.

 

The first Siemens EMUs to arrive in 2007

During his visit in Pernik on 17th July, the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev, confirmed that the first electric multiple units among the twenty-five new trains to be supplied under the Contract between BDZ EAD and Siemens will arrive in mid-2007. According to the Minister, all line sections from the primary railway lines, along which the speeds are currently rather limited, will undergo reconstruction. After the completion of reconstruction works, speeds will go up to 130 km per hour.

 

ECDL Centre in Bulgaria

As of May 2006, an ECDL training and testing centre has been functioning in the Todor Kableshkov High Transport School. The centre provides training and testing for the acquiring of internationally-recognised certificates for computer skills in compliance with European standards. The training and testing is performed by highly qualified and licensed lecturers and researchers. Tel. for contacts: 9709 480.


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