Benefits aplenty to come from upgraded rail line

Major improvements to the railway line between the cities of Plovdiv and Burgas are designed to accelerate train journeys for passengers and freight.

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The work focuses on three stretches of the electrified line between the village of Mihaylovo and Burgas on the Black Sea. It will notably deliver 177 km of improved rail track and five stations with new signalling.

Major rail route

Co-funded by the EU, this major project takes place between Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city, and Burgas, a port city of more than 200 000 people. The rehabilitated railway infrastructure will be managed and operated by the National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC).

The project forms part of an overall strategy to refurbish and upgrade the railway routes from Sofia to Burgas and the borders with Turkey and Greece. It will eventually also benefit the EU’s trans-European rail network (part of the so-called TEN-T programme) connecting to the southern Caucasus and Central Asia.

Boost for the regional economy

The first of the specific sections is from Mihaylovo to Kaloyanovetz (c. 10.7 km). The second runs from Stara Zagora to Zimnitza (c. 91.2 km) and the third from Tzerkovsky to Burgas (c. 75.5 km). Together these refurbished sections cover 177.4 km. In addition, 305 km of overhead lines are to be renewed.

Other important work includes reconstruction of the railway stations at Stara Zagora, Kermen and Yambol, reconstruction of the bridge over the River Tundza, and re-signalling of the Burgas node. A new signalling control centre will be installed and signalling systems replaced at five stations between Drujba and Burgas.

When completed around mid-2014, the upgraded line will enable trains to travel at up to 160 km/hour. This will increase the line’s capacity and result in significantly shorter journey times for freight and passenger traffic. By one estimate, this could deliver as much as EUR 4.65 million of travel time savings every year.

Experts predict that train passengers and freight transporters will see traffic increase by 14 % and 16 % respectively after the project ends. Other main beneficiaries will include the regional population of 1.9 million and the regional economy, especially the commercially important sea port of Burgas, not to mention public and private train operators. Up to 420 direct jobs will be created during the project’s implementation phase.

Total and EU funding

The project “Rehabilitation of sections of the railway infrastructure between Plovdiv and Burgas” has a total eligible budget of EUR 250 603 400, with the EU’s Cohesion Fund contributing EUR 174 889 500 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

11/07/2012