Mega extension for capital’s metro system

Construction of a 6.5 km section of underground railway (metro) line will complete the missing central section of line 2 in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city. Scheduled to end in 2012, the project will cut journey times within the city and help to tackle its growing road congestion.

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The vital new link will include seven metro stations. It forms part of an expanding metro system that will eventually include three lines, all intersecting in the city centre, and more than 60 stations.

Tunnel vision

Sofia’s metro system was planned several decades ago but only started operations in January 1998. Although it continues to expand, it is struggling to cope with a burgeoning population (the city already has around 1.6 million inhabitants) and increasing car ownership.

In their master transport plan for 2020, city planners initially estimated passenger flows of up to around 15 400 people/hour/direction in the sections around the Central Railway station between 08.00 and 09.00. However those figures have now been raised by almost a third, because planners believe that they underestimated Sofia’s population growth.

The new project, co-funded by the EU, plugs a 6.5 km gap in the metro’s line 2. Running roughly from the city’s north-west to its south-east, the extension will be completely underground and built from the Nadejda road junction, via the Central Railway Station and Sveta Nedelya square, to Cherni Vrah boulevard.

Five of the link’s seven stations will be newly built. The other two, which already exist, will require finishing and the tunnel between them must be renovated.

The project will also involve the construction of 4.4 km of tunnels, twin-track standard gauge railways and other necessary infrastructure. Rolling stock will not be financed under this contract.

Speedy and efficient travel

Once completed, the project will enable metro line 2 to carry 24 000 passengers/direction/hour. Yet there will be enough capacity to increase this number by 25% in future, by calling on five-car train sets instead of the current four.

The project will speed up passenger journeys and facilitate inter-modal transport in the city, thanks to better connections with surface trains, buses and the planned metro link to Sofia’s international airport. It should also increase the metro’s share of public transport in the city.

The new link will create 1 500 jobs during the implementation phase, lasting 45 months. In the operational phase, it will lead to some 360 jobs.

Draft date