BULGARIA's National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC) has begun installing a modern signalling and telecommunication systems including ETCS Level 1 on the 293km Plovdiv - Burgas line, which will help to improve safety and interoperability for international rail services.

Construction was launched by minister of transport, information technology and communications, Mr Georgi Todorov, and the director general of NRIC, Mr Krassimir Papukchiyski.

The project includes upgrading signalling at 18 stations including the installation of electronic interlockings, installing a new train control and CCTV system, and deploying ETCS Level 1 on the 271km Manole - Burgas section of the line. A new TMS will also be introduced in Plovdiv while a system to monitor rolling stock to improve safety will be installed on the full 293km Plovdiv - Burgas section, along with GSM-R and new passenger information systems.

The Lev 185m ($US 112m) project is being implemented by the Plobur Consortium, comprising GP Group, Marmet, Bombardier Transportation Italy and Bombardier Transportation Poland.

“Safety management in railway transport is a complex and complicated process, requiring a comprehensive approach to its solution,” Papukciiski says. “With the implementation of ERTMS and ETCS it will be possible to monitor and manage the rolling stock. The aim of this system is to standardise the different types of signalling and speed control systems existing in the various European countries. In this way, the moment from one country to another is simplified as much as possible, without any technological and regulatory differences, and the security, safety, control and management of trains is improved.”  

The upgrades are part of the phase 2 of the Plovdiv-Burgas railway line rehabilitation project, which is part funded by the European Union’s cohesion fund.