Bulgarian state railways BDZ is expected by the end of 2019 to start a procedure to purchase about 15 locomotives for medium-distance travel and for the delivery of 30 to 50 new carriages, it emerged from statements by BDZ and Bulgaria’s Transport Ministry.
BDZ’s statement detailed a three-stage plan to replace its rolling stock. The first stage is up to 2022, the next to 2030 and the third, after 2030.
The Transport Ministry said that the indicative value of the investment planned to be initiated by the end of 2019 was just more than 100 million euro “and is planned in a way that will not hamper the financial position of the company”.
In parallel, a program for modernization and repair of the available locomotives and carriages is also underway, the ministry said.
Talks are being conducted with the Škoda locomotive manufacturer about possible modernisation of those trains, which will lead to an increase in the maximum speed to 160 km/h and an increase in their operational lifetime by 20 years. A procedure for the capital repair of the available modular trains is in process.
Negotiations with Deutsche Bahn (DB) are also being conducted for the purchase of about 100 carriages operated and maintained by German railways. Initially, the investment required will be lower than that for the renovation and upgrading of BDZ’s existing carriages, and delivery of the purchases from DB could be completed within one year, according to Bulgaria’s Transport Ministry.
At a public consultation event with various stakeholders on June 13, the investment programme of the National Railway Infrastructure Company up to 2030 was presented, with 50 per cent of the entire railway network being upgraded by then, the statement said.
The first stage of the BDZ plan, to 2022, involves an “intensive” programme of repairs of rolling stock of various kinds.
The second stage, to 2030, runs in parallel with the first, and involves the orders expected to be placed by the end of 2019.
The third stage, from 2030 onwards, involves preparations for a phased replacement of Siemens Desiro locomotives and carriages that have reached the end of their lifespans.