BULGARIA: The European Union is providing more than €293m from the Cohesion Fund to support modernisation of the 293 km line from Plovdiv to the Black Sea port of Burgas. The route forms part of the Orient/East Med TEN-T corridor connecting central and southeastern Europe.

The scope includes raising lines speeds to between 130 and 160 km/h, which would reduce passenger and freight journey times by 40 min to help make rail more competitive with road transport. Measures to improve safety will include the installation of new signalling and telecommunications and replacing level crossings with 29 overbridges, an underbridge and a pedestrian bridge.

‘Thanks to this EU-funded project, Bulgarian people will enjoy shorter travel times and increased safety’, said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu on November 15. ‘Because this project promotes clean mobility, they will also ultimately benefit from better air quality.’

In February the European Commission announced the allocation of €471m for the modernisation of a 51 km section of the Sofia – Plovdiv main line, and a 10-year project to upgrade the route from Plovdiv to the Greek and Turkish borders near Svilengrad was completed in 2016.