CFR has negotiated several international loans to fund the modernisation of its two main international corridors.

European Investment Bank financing worth €200m was negotiated in 1998 for the 160 km core section of Corridor IV between Bucuresti and Brasov, which is shared over the 59 km to Ploesti by Corridor IX. Work is already under way on the first 100 km from the capital to Câmpina, which is being funded from the 75% EIB loan. The government’s 25% co-financing element will cover work between Câmpina and Brasov by 2004.

Maximum speeds will be raised from 120 to 160 km/h for passenger trains and from 80 to 120 km/h for freight. Lower limits will still apply north of Câmpina, where the line climbs at up to 2·7% through the Carpathian mountains, although there are plans for some realignment of the sharpest curves. Generally, the track is being renewed and the 25 kV catenary improved. Embankments and structures will be strengthened or replaced.

The international finance has already enabled the purchase of modern track renewal and maintenance machinery from Plasser & Theurer (below), including ballast cleaners, tampers and dynamic stabilisers. Machines to transport and install track and pointwork have already been acquired from Desec of Finland.

A €140m contract for track and ballast renewal on the Bucuresti - Ploiesti - Câmpina section (below right) was awarded earlier this year to a consortium of CCCF, Swietelski and Wiebe. A consortium of Spie Enertrans and ISAF won a separate €25m contract for modernisation of the electrification equipment (RG 5.01 p289).

CFR has negotiated US$232m from the European Union’s ISPA (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession) programme. This will fund 75% of the US$309m modernisation of the Bucuresti - Constanta main line as far as Fetesti, on which work is due to get under way next year. Earlier this year, the Japan Bank for International Co-operation agreed to provide US$221m for Phase 2 of this project, covering the final 75 km from Fetesti to Constanta.

Using EU Phare funding, CFR has also awarded a €30m contract to SEL Alcatel for the installation of new electronic interlockings at four major signalling centres along Corridor IV: Arad, Timisoara, Brasov and Bucuresti. The capital’s new control system will also cover the surrounding area, with four satellite interlockings. Installation is scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2003. A Siemens electronic interlocking is due to start operation at Ploesti Sud by the end of next month. Resignalling on both corridors will be based on ETCS specifications.

Most of Romania’s trunk lines were electrified at 25 kV 50Hz between 1969 and 1989. In its long-term strategy, CFR has identified three infill schemes where further electrification could be justified. The biggest runs west from Cluj-Napoca to Oradea and the Hungarian border at Episcopia-Bihor, providing a parallel route to duplicate part of Corridor IV. The second would wire the secondary north-south corridor through the Bârlad valley from Iasi to Tecusi, providing a diversionary route for Corridor IX. The third would cover the short coastal route beyond Constanta to Mangalia.