MACEDONIA: Work is set to start in March to reinstate the 31 km Kumanovo – Beljakovce line as the initial phase of a long-planned railway between Kumanovo and Deve Bair on the Bulgarian border, after infrastructure manager MZ Infra and Wiebe signed a €39·8m contract during December.

The route forms part of Pan-European Corridor VIII from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. The rehabilitation work is to be financed using an €46·4m EBRD loan, with completion scheduled for the third quarter of 2016.

The line to Beljakovce opened in 1956 as the initial phase of the international route. However, services were suspended in 1994, and construction of the next 34 km to Kriva Palanka ceased with around a third of the work completed.

Completion of this section and construction of the unstarted 23 km continuation to the Bulgarian border and railhead at Gyueshevo is now planned for 2016-22.