Sofia Central Railway Station revamp: Swanky interior, skanky English

Written by on April 26, 2016 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia Central Railway Station revamp: Swanky interior, skanky English

The modernised Sofia Central Railway Station reopened on April 26 after a 62 million leva revamp which apparently did not cover sensible signage for international travellers who might not be able to read Cyrillic or understand Bulgarian.

Priests, the Prime Minister, the Transport Minister, mayor of Sofia and other luminaries were in attendance for the inauguration of the revamped station, following its first full-scale renovation in 40 years. Prime Minister Boiko Borissov was especially happy about meeting the goal of opening the station a few days before the Orthodox Easter, which as is customary will see a mighty flood of passengers.

Boiko Borissov ribbon cutting Sofia Central Railway Station photo Clive Leviev-Sawyer Boiko Borissov Sofia Central Railway Station photo Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Sofia Central Railway Station now boasts a sports hall, a gym, a playroom for children (with a toy-railway-themed carpet, a nice touch) and smart-looking dining area. It also has 196 new security cameras throughout the station, in the waiting room, at desks and on the platforms, and handily-distributed panic buttons.

Sofia Central Railway Station 3 photo Clive Leviev-Sawyer Sofia Central Railway Station interior 2 photo copyright Clive Leviev-Sawyer Sofia Central Railway Station interior 4 photo copyright Clive Leviev-Sawyer Sofia Central Railway Station interior 6 photo copyright Clive Leviev-Sawyer Sofia Central Railway Station photo Clive Leviev-Sawyer Sofia Central Railway Station photo copyright Clive Leviev-Sawyer

But going by the state of the electronic signboards on opening day, anyone, for instance, who intends taking a train to Thessaloniki had better be able to read the word Солун and, if they want to find their platform, be able to understand the abbreviation Кол.

Sofia Central Railway Station timetable sign photo copyright Clive Leviev-Sawyer

At another signboard, above the ticket offices, the city of Rousse’s name is translated into English, but for some reason, the names of Plovdiv and Bourgas, two other major cities, are not.

There are advisories in “English”, running as a bar beneath the signs in the main hall. They read: “Stay arriving trains on platform is 30 mins. Please timely passengers to take seats in wagons”.

Those departing the trains were urged, “Please passengers timely release wagons!”

Sofia Central Railway Station weird English 2 photo copyright Clive Leviev-Sawyer Sofia Central Railway Station weird English photo copyright Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Should Sofia Railway Station wish to urge non-Bulgarian-speaking travellers to timely take seats in wagons, perhaps they might make it a bit easier for them to find these wagons, and be quite sure where going the wagons are.

20160426_115654 20160426_120304

(All photos: (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

Comments

comments

About the Author

The Sofia Globe - Bulgaria’s fully independent English-language news and features website, run by an all-expatriate team. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin by using the form on the homepage of our website. Please click to support our advertisers!