MACEDONIA: A joint venture of Austrian firm Alpine Construction and its German partner HF Wiebe has been awarded a track renewal contract under a €17·6m programme to modernise the section of Pan-European Corridor X which runs north-south through Macedonia.

The contract is worth €7m and covers the 13·3 km between Tabanovce and Kumanovo in the north of the country as well as the 13·1 km from Miravci to Smokvica in the south. The two single-track sections will be upgraded for 120 km/h operation with the elimination of current speed restrictions. The work will include ballast cleaning and laying new track, with concrete sleepers replacing wood. The project is expected to take 12 months to complete, with the cost to be met by EBRD.

National railway MZ plans to let further contracts to upgrade the remaining sections of Corridor X, along with the route to Kremenica.

Other projects scheduled for this year include a €2·9m modernisation of Skopje station to improve accessibility and passenger information, for which studies were undertaken last year, and a €3m modernisation programme at up to eight other stations, Planning will begin for the implementation of ETCS and GSM-R, and studies will examine the feasibility of building a new line to Bulgaria.