site.btaBDZ's Modernized German Train Cars Presented in Sofia

BDZ's Modernized German Train Cars Presented in Sofia
BDZ's Modernized German Train Cars Presented in Sofia
German Ambassador to Bulgaria Irene Maria Plank and Transport and Communications Minister Georgi Gvozdeykov sit in a German train car at Sofia Central Railway Station, June 21, 2024 (Photo: BTA/Hristo Kasabov)

Modernized passenger train cars which Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) has bought from the German company Deutsche Bahn were presented to the media by caretaker Minister of Transport and Communications Georgi Gvozdeykov at Sofia Central Railway Station on Friday. German Ambassador to Bulgaria Irene Maria Plank was at the ceremony.

The first BDZ train comprising five Deutsche Bahn cars will travel from Sofia to the Black Sea city of Burgas on Saturday. Gvozdeykov will be among the passengers. The train will depart at 6:15 a.m. and is expected to take the 418 km distance in 5 hours and 55 minutes, which, according to BDZ, will make it the fastest train along this route under the present conditions. The cars are equipped with an air conditioning system. "We hope that the next set of cars will include a dining car," the minister said.

Asked whether he is not afraid of travelling by train after a recent spate of railway incidents, Gvozdeykov answered in the negative. He said repairs of railway infrastructure are underway and restrictions have been imposed on the movement of the trains in the respective sections of the system. "Let us not cause stress to the public," he appealed.

Gvozdeykov also commented: "We are making every effort to ensure that Bulgaria catches up on contemporary railway transport technology. Bulgaria has shown it does not intend to overlook this mode of transport."

He said the train car deal with Deutsche Bahn, implemented with the assistance of the German Embassy, is the beginning of a rapid upgrading and catching-up process. "There is a lot of work to do to achieve the goals of modernization of Bulgarian railway transport. The important thing is that we have the motivation, the desire and the vision for Bulgaria to acquire an up-to-date railway transport system in the near future."

Bulgaria is absorbing funding under EU programmes to modernize its railway infrastructure, Gvozdeykov said. He hopes that by 2027 trains in the country will be able to run at speeds of up to 160 km/h, supported by all necessary safety and control systems.

Bulgaria has enough locomotives, the minister said. "Last year, we signed an agreement to acquire another 10 newbuilt locomotives. The public procurement procedures are unfolding on schedule," he added.

He noted that the participants in the latest EU Transport Council meeting in Luxembourg were unanimous that railway transport should be the backbone of the European transport system.

Ambassador Plank expressed hope that by 2026 Bulgaria will have a modernized transport system and its citizens will travel only by train.

On June 18, BDZ said that the new Sofia-Burgas train will run every day throughout the summer. It will consist of four air-conditioned salon-type cars and one car for people with reduced mobility. Between the two end points, it will stop at seven other stations: Poduyane Passenger Station, Kazichene, Karlovo, Kazanlak, Sliven, Zimnitsa and Karnobat.

The first 19 modernized Deutsche Bahn train cars bought by BDZ arrived in Bulgaria on May 23. The whole deal is for 76 cars worth a total of BGN 30 million, or about BGN 400,000 per car.

/MR/

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By 21:20 on 24.07.2024 Today`s news

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