SLOVAKIAN infrastructure manager ŽSR has called tenders to upgrade the 14km Poprad Tatry - Vydrník section of the double-track main line running from the capital Bratislava to the Ukrainian border at Čierna nad Tisou.

The contract is expected to be worth €221m and work is due to be completed within 990 days of contract signature.

The route from Bratislava to Žilina, Košice and Čierna nad Tisou is one of the most important main lines in Slovakia, and has been identified as key route for international intermodal freight traffic.

The infrastructure of the route is now approaching the limit of its useful life, and Slovakia is required to upgrade it to Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) standards by 2030.

Upgrading the main line will include building sections of new alignment to increase the maximum line speed from 110km/h to 160km/h.

Through the upgrade, ŽSR is also aiming to improve ride comfort for passengers while reducing the impact of rail operations on the surrounding environment.

Feasibility studies have also been completed for upgrading the section from Žilina to Košice and Čierna nad Tisou.

"Overall, we plan to modernise the 32km route from Poprad to Markušovice, which includes new alignments and an increase in the line speed, which will contribute to more comfortable and faster journeys for the public,” says Mr Jaroslav Kmeť, state secretary at the Ministry of Transport.

According to Kmet, the total cost of the Poprad - Markušovice upgrade is €600m. Work on the Poprad - Vydrník section is to be financed under the €6.3bn Recovery and Resilience Plan for Slovakia approved by the European Union in 2021, while the Vydrník - Markušovce project will be funded under the Slovakia Programme.

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