LASTMONTH Bulgarian Transport Minister Nikolai Vassilev unveiled a package of 50 measures to revitalise the national railway operator BDZ. Restructuring of the railway’s management will result in 1280 redundancies among administrative staff this year. Routes totalling 308 km will be offered as concessions, and private operators will be allowed to apply for licences to use the network.

Modernisation plans include the purchase of 30 diesel locos and a programme of station refurbishment. Contracts are expected to be awarded shortly for a pair of high speed trains to operate on the Sofia - Varna and Sofia - Burgas routes. Eight firms submitted tenders last year, and Talgo is reported to be the preferred bidder.