Bulgaria’s PM: Sofia metro third line will open by end of August

The Sofia metro underground railway third line will “certainly” open by the end of August, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said during an inspection of the line on June 7.

Just more than a month earlier, during an inspection of the line, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova announced a delay in the opening, estimating that it would take place in July or August.

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 trains.

During his June 7 inspection, Borissov was accompanied by Fandukova, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov, Sofia deputy mayor Doncho Barbalov and Metropoliten director Stoyan Bratoev.

Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, Metropoliten director Stoyan Bratoev and Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.

“We have talked to Siemens. They must complete the tests. The coronavirus stopped their work for a while, but they will certainly be ready by August 31. We insist that the subway be launched by August 15, but the final option is August 31,” Borissov said.

The deadline of August 31 for the launch of the new metro line refers to the metro stations from Krasno Selo to Hadji Dimitar. From the Krasno Selo metro station to Gorna Banya, the tests of the trainsets on the route will start in two weeks and it will be put into operation by the end of the year, Borissov.

Fandukova said in a Facebook post that Sofia was buying 10 new Siemens metro trains for the third line and would gradually modernise the oldest trains.

She said that she had been assured during the June 7 visit that the Finance Ministry would provide co-financing of 15 million leva.

The total budget for the 10 new trains is 88 million leva and they will start arriving in Sofia next year.

Tests with the first 20 Siemens metro trains on the completed eight km section of the third line are continuing, Fandukova said.

Work on the four kilometres via Ovcha Kupel to the Ring Road at Gorna Banya is continuing. Tests with trains on them will begin in July, Fandukova said.

For a branch from the third line, from the Military Academy to Slatina to Tsarigradsko Chaussee, near Arena Armeec, the city is currently in the process of preparing regulatory plans and plans to start the procedure to select a contractor this autumn, she said.

(Photos: Adelina Angelova)

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