The Plovdiv-Burgas railway is an important part of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) and the Orient / East-Mediterranean corridor in the Republic of Bulgaria. TEN-T is a network of airports, roads, railways and water infrastructure that is being built in the EU, while the Orient / Eastern Mediterranean Corridor is one of the main priority axes of the TEN-T.
The expansion of the railway line between the cities of Plovdiv and Burgas will take place in two phases. Phase one comprised the expansion of the Mihailovo-Kaloyanovets, Stara Zagora-Zavoi and Tserkovski-Karnobat sections with a total route length of 263 km. The first renovation phase began in April 2011 and was completed in December 2016.
Phase two will increase operating speeds in the renovated sections while improving safety. Funding from the European Investment Bank is currently being examined and will help modernize the rail infrastructure to be compatible with interoperability and relevant EU rules.
Details of the second stage of the Plovdiv-Burgas railway rehabilitation
The Plovdiv-Burgas railway is 292 km long, of which 139 km are single-track and 153 km are double-track. It connects Plovdiv, the second largest city in the country after Sofia, with Burgas, the fourth largest city in the country.
The second phase project includes the planning and installation of telecommunications and signaling systems in 18 train stations along the Plovdiv-Burgas line, the installation of a European Train Control System (ETCS) – first-level train control system and a system for the central train dispatch office in the Manole section – Burgas.
A global train communication system for cellular railways (GSM-R) and fiber optic cables will be installed. The project also includes the construction of overpasses and underpasses along the Plovdiv-Burgas railway line.
Other construction and modernization work
In addition, the project is building a protective forest belt in the Chernograd-Aytos section to protect the route from adverse weather conditions. The renovation of the existing 26 km long railway line between Skutare and Orizovo includes the bridge renovation as well as the existing catenary extension and the station signaling. The renovation of Skutare-Orizovo, which began in March 2017, was completed in July 2020 with a total investment of 35.4 million euros (42 million US dollars).
The phase includes the expansion of the Orizovo and Mihaylovo railway section, which includes the modernization and construction of tracks and overhead lines, the construction of a tunnel, the modernization of the Chirpan substation, the reconstruction of bridges, the dismantling of level crossings, the construction of flyovers and the Expansion of signaling in train stations.
The project includes the modernization of the railway section between Yambol and Zimnitsa, including the construction of new tracks at Zavoy station, the bridge reconstruction and the modernization of existing and newly built overhead lines.
In addition, it includes the reconstruction of the switch system in Zimnitsa station and the renovation of the overhead contact line in the Zimnitsa and Straldzha stations, the modernization of a railway line and the Zimnitsa signaling system as well as a reconstructed system in the Zimnitsa station. The Straldzha-Tserkovsi railway line is also being renewed and rehabilitated.
Objectives and advantages of the second phase of the rehabilitation of the Plovdiv-Burgas railway
The project aims to improve the quality of the Plovdiv-Burgas railway line and increase passenger transport. It will reduce travel time by increasing the speed to 130 km / h in the Ortozovo, Straldzha and Tserkovski districts and to 160 km / h in the Oriovo-Mihailov and Yambol-Zimnitsa sections.
Level crossings on the same level will be removed in order to reduce the operating costs of the service providers. The catenary at Zimnitsa station will be renewed together with the renovation of the shooting range.
The Plovdiv-Burgas railway line, a priority for the Bulgarian national railway system, is being rehabilitated to improve service quality and increase the competitiveness of rail transport while reducing transport costs.
The expanded line will support train speeds of more than 100 km / h, with certain sections able to reach up to 160 km / h.
Once the project is complete, the number of incidents can be reduced by 42% and travel time by 70 minutes.
In terms of sustainability, emissions are to be reduced by 35,000 t CO₂ per year. Accessibility for people with reduced mobility will also be improved.
The rehabilitation project will expand the capacity of the railway infrastructure by improving the operating parameters and incorporating modern methods of train movement control.
The upgrade introduces new management systems such as the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) / ETCS as well as monitoring control and data acquisition (SCADA).
Financing of the Plovdiv-Burgas railway rehabilitation
The Plovdiv-Burgas rehabilitation project is financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Program (OP) for Transport and Transport Infrastructure and national co-financing. The program aims to develop the TEN-T network in Bulgaria and improve the safety and sustainability of transport.
The total cost of the Phase 1 rehabilitation project was EUR 250.6 million (US $ 304 million) funded by Priority 1 of the OP Transport 2007-2013.
The estimated investment for the second phase of the renovation is EUR 414 million (USD 468.7 million), of which EUR 293 million (USD 331.7 million) will come from the EU Cohesion Fund through the Transport and Infrastructure OP 2014-2020, while EUR 121 million (US $ 137 million) through national funding.
The 26 km long railway section Skutare-Orizovo was renewed by the Italian railway construction company Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie (GCF) in cooperation with the Bulgarian companies SK 13 and Trace Group.
The Bulgarian infrastructure planning company Vector-Bul was also involved in the rehabilitation of the Skutare-Orizovo railway section.
VVD Consult, a consulting company based in Bulgaria, was commissioned to provide technical support for the construction of an intermodal terminal in the planning region South-Central Bulgaria-Plovdiv.