From 11th to 31st November 2011 you had the opportunity to vote for your favourite project, recently co-financed by the European Union. Here is the TOP 3 results of the competition:
- Romania - Strategic railway upgrade connecting Europe (17 %)
- Spain - Creating Green jobs (15 %)
- Latvia - Seaside resort and international traffic benefit from big bypass (12 %)
As promised prior to the competition, we are bringing you a special report about the winner, featuring photo documentation and an interview with the man behind the project, Marius Corduneanu, Deputy General Manager, European Projects – CFR SA (Romanian Railways)
Missing link in South East railway network completed
A key section of the Trans-European Transport Network is being renovated and upgraded in Romania. The railway between the town of Câmpina and the Carpathian resort of Predeal is strategically vital for linking the Eastern EU countries, and is the only connection from southeast Europe to the heart of the EU. The section is one of three main national and international railways, also crossing the country's most important tourist area.
The recent completion of the project allows higher speed travel than before, up to 160 km/h for passenger trains and 120 km/h for freight. Station platforms have also been improved according to European technical standards. In other words the travel is much quicker and safer.
Marius Corduneanu who oversaw both application for the funding and the implementation of the project, shared his experience with us:
What makes this railway so vital for Romania and important for Europe as a whole?
This rail line is a part of so-called Corridor IV of the Pan-European Transport Network, running from Dresden to the biggest Black Sea harbour, Constanta. Major part of this corridor will be completed in 2015 to link Romania with the centre of Europe.
What was the greatest challenge of the whole project? Were there any obstacles you had to overcome?
A great part of this rail line is situated in a very difficult mountainous area, Predeal is a town situated at the highest altitude in the Romania. We have encountered many technical problems, but eventually we managed to overcome them and to finish the project in time and within the budget, mainly thanks to the support of highly skilled staff.
What is the feedback from passengers? What do they like the most about the rehabilitated railway?
We are very happy to have positive feedback from the passengers, as well as the media. There is now no doubt that in terms of time and money it is now better to use the rail line than the road route from Bucharest to Brasov. The distance now can be crossed in 2 hours 40 min, compared to 5 hours which was the case not long ago. We expect to have even more positive feedback very soon, since the most important Romanian winter resorts in are along this line.
What do you personally think is the greatest achievement of the project?
Most of the people will be extremely happy to see a brand new, shiny rail line, which will help them to get faster to their destination. But personally I consider that the most important works done in this project are the ones related to the safety of passangers, The works related to the consolidation of enbankments, the signaling systems etc, all assuring a safe traffic, this I consider the major achievement of this project. As for the economic impact, we have already noticed that an increasing number of transport companies choose to use this rail route over the road trucks, which will surely relieve the environment.
How essential was the European contribution to the realization of the project and why?
The most important European contribution was the help we received from the European Commission services while preparing, implementing and completing the project. This is a pre-accession ISPA project, initiated at a time when Romania did not have much experience in managing European funded projects. The know-how we gathered with its implementation will be essential for all future rail rehabilitation projects financed through the Cohesion Funds.
- about 48 km double track;
- six stations and six halts;
- over 7 km new passenger platforms;
- six pedestrian tunnels for access to platforms;
- the signalling system;
- contact line over the whole section;
- a new system for passenger information;
Which areas should be next on the priority list for European support and why? What are you working on right now?
Our main objective is to complete the projects for the rehabilitation of the Pan-European Corridor IV. The financial allocation for these projects under the Sectorial Operational Program for Transport during the 2007-2013 programming period is around € 1.8 billion. We are aware of the fact that the allocation of the 2014-2020 programming period depends on the results of the implementation of these projects, so we are concentrating all our resources on finishing them successfully.