Bulgarian state railways BDZ’s 30 new sleeping cars, which Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski took delivery of amid much fanfare in June 2012, will come into service in March, Moskovski said on February 4.
This is the latest estimate heard from Moskovski, after initially it was said that the sleeping cars would be in service by the end of last summer, then the end of last year, and then – in December 2012 – a statement that they would come into service by January 2013.
In February 4 television interview, Moskovski said that the most of the sleeping cars ordered from Turkish firm TÜVASAŞ were in Bulgaria and were in the process of certification.
He conceded that the process had been slow and that certification had taken more time than expected.
In a January interview with Bulgarian-language media, the head of the BDZ board of directors, Vladimir Vladimirov, asked why the promise that the sleeping cars would be in service by the end of the summer had not been kept, said “we have done everything that depends on us”.
In December, Moskovski told a meeting of Parliament’s transport committee that the new sleeping cars would most likely be put into operation in January 2013.
The sleeping cars require certification that they meet EU safety standards.
Reports in December said that a British company that had checked the rolling stock had found discrepancies between the required European standards and the Turkish standards to which the sleeping cars had been manufactured. Moskovski told local media, however, that the certification process was on track for the sleeping cars that had been delivered.
The purchase of the 30 sleeping cars was the first time that BDZ bought new sleeping cars in 30 years.
In June 2012, at a ceremony to receive the first group of sleeping cars, Moskovski said that the delivery of the carriages represented the beginning of the gradual renewal of Bulgarian railways’ rolling stock. The sleeping cars were ordered in late 2010 in a deal said at the time to be worth 63 million leva (about 31.5 million euro).
At the time of the handover ceremony, it was reported that changes to European regulations had meant modifications to the original delivery schedule.
Each carriage has 10 compartments with three beds. The rolling stock is equipped with showers, toilets, and individual air conditioning in each compartment. Five of the carriages are adapted to use by passengers with physical disabilities. Each compartment has a table with a basin with hot and cold running water.