A new railway line being built between Sofia and the town of Elin Pelin will reduce travelling time between the Bulgarian capital city and Plovdiv by more than an hour, the government information service said on June 11.
Work on the railway line was inspected by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, accompanied by Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev.
The statement said that the new line would enable people living in Sofia’s outlying areas to connect to public transport, mainly the metro underground railway system.
“This will provide a convenient alternative to more than 3000 people from Elin Pelin, Kazichene, Iskar and others who travel daily by car to Sofia,” according to the statement.
The project will involve the reconstruction of six bridges, the removal of overpasses and the building of 17 new overpasses and underpasses.
At six stations, platforms will be modernised to facilitate access for people with reduced mobility.
The project is funded under the Connecting Europe Facility and totals 133 million leva, of which 113 million leva is EU funding and 20 million leva national co-financing.
Zhelyazkov said that between 6000 and 7000 people were involved in the construction of the line. After the project is completed, trains will be able to travel at 160 to 200km/h, he said.
Trains run from Sofia to Plovdiv 16 times a day. Travelling time by train between Sofia and Plovdiv currently ranges from two hours and 13 minutes to four hours and seven minutes, according to timetables on the website of state railways BDZ.
(Photo of Plovdiv central railway station: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)