BULGARIAN State Railways’ main line from Sofia to the Greek border at Kulata is to be electrified at 25 kV 50Hz by the middle of 2001. During May the Ministry of Regional Development awarded a contract worth 35m euros to a consortium of Adtranz and Glavbolgarstroy for the wiring of the final 131 route-km from Dupnitza to Kulata.

As the line forms part of trans-European corridor IV, linking Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, the work is being funded by the European Union’s Phare programme. Project design and supervision will be undertaken by DE-Consult. Adtranz is to supply the fixed equipment for installation by its local partner and other Bulgarian subcontractors. As well as electrification, the project includes modernisation of signalling and communications, together with repairs and renewal of tunnels and bridges.

Last month BDZ received the first of 44 Co-Co electric locos of Class 46200 which are being modernised by Konkar Elektricne Lokomotive of Zagreb, Croatia (above). Originally built by Electroputere in Craiova, Romania, as Class 46000, the locos are being converted from diode rectifiers and tap changers to thyristor control. A new static converter provides a three-phase auxiliary supply, and multiple-unit controls are being fitted to allow two locos to run together. The cabs are being fully refurbished and fitted with air-conditioning, and many other components are being replaced or refurbished.