BULGARIA’s minister of transport and communications, Mr Georgi Gvozdeikov, has signed a contract with Stadler Poland for the supply of seven double-deck Kiss four-car EMUs.

The contract includes an option for three additional trains, 15 years of fleet maintenance and training for Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) staff. At least 10 % of the seats in each unit and in each class will be prioritised for use by people with reduced mobility. The zero-emission emus will comply with the European TSI requirements for conventional trains.

The contract is worth Lev 300.5m ($US 163.5m) and delivery is expected within 26 months. The European Union (EU) is co-financing the order through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan for Bulgaria.

The ministry also confirmed that it is in negotiations with Talgo for the supply of 20 push-pull trains. These will be based on fleets supplied to German Rail (DB) and Danish State Railways (DSB), and will be certified to operate cross-border services to four countries. They will each have capacity for up to 390 seated passengers.

CRRC Qingdao Sifang withdrew its bid for the contract earlier this month, leaving Talgo as the only remaining bidder.

In addition, bids for a contract to supply 35 single-deck EMUs were due to be submitted on April 11.

Tenders for all three contracts were originally launched in May 2022, but attracted virtually no interest from international suppliers, reportedly due to the extremely detailed fleet specifications. This prompted the ministry to suspend bidding and eventually relaunch the tenders with updated technical documentation earlier this year.

A fourth contract to supply nine battery and nine battery-electric shunting locomotives was split into two lots and a bid by Bulgarian company Express Service for the first lot was accepted. However, the sole bid for the second lot from CRRC-Vossloh Rolling Stock was rejected. A new tender announcement is expected soon.

Done deals

Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) signed a Lev 91.1m contract for 10 Smartron X4-E-Lok-D electric locomotives from Siemens Mobility in December.

BDZ also confirmed in March that it will purchase 76 refurbished second-hand coaches from DB for Lev 30.5m.

Delivery of the first 19 coaches from the order is imminent and the remaining 57 will be delivered by the beginning of June. The order comprises 60 conventional passenger coaches, six fully-accessible coaches for passengers with reduced mobility, which will also feature storage areas for bicycles, and 10 dining cars. They will all join the BDZs fleet this summer.

Bulgaria is planning to spend more than €1.5bn on new rolling stock under a 2021-2027 investment programme. This will also include extensive modernisation of BDZ’s existing fleets.

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