The opening of the third line of the Sofia metro underground rapid transit system has been pushed back once again, to July-August 2020, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova said on May 5.
The latest delay was due to Siemens, which built the trainsets and installed the rail signalling for the line, pulling some of its personnel involved in testing the equipment from Bulgaria due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Testing was still underway, but at a slower pace, Fandukova said during a visit to one of the stations on the new metro line, in the Hadji Dimitar borough.
Fandukova said that Siemens has proposed to begin regular service on the full 8km stretch of the line after all testing is completed, in July-August. Previously, services were scheduled to begin on a 5km section, followed by the remaining 3km.
The launch of service on Sofia metro line 3, initially envisioned for October 2019, has been delayed several times due to the testing the rail signalling systems and automated Siemens trainsets.
Sofia city hall company Metropolitan has completed 8km of line 3, with plans to extend it into the eastern part of the city, covering the Levski, Slatina and Geo Milev districts. Construction on those sections was not expected to begin before 2021.
(Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, right, and Metropolitan chief executive Stoyan Bratoev visit the Hadji Dimitar station on Sofia metro line 3 on May 5. Photo: sofia.bg)
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