Transport Ministry: Bulgarian state railways in ‘extremely worrying’ condition

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has portrayed the country’s state railways BDZ passenger and goods transport divisions as in “extremely worrying” condition – contradicting the optimistic picture painted months ago by then-Transport Minister Nikola Subev.

Krasimir Papukchiiski, Deputy Transport Minister in the caretaker government, told a briefing on August 30 that passenger transport timetables were not kept to, locomotives and carriages were not maintained and hygiene was poor.

Papukchiiski said that since the beginning of 2022, about 5700 high-speed passenger trains had been cancelled.

He said that this was the equivalent of no trains running in Bulgaria for 12 days.

Because of the current condition of the rolling stock, the daily accumulated delay in the timetable averaged 1000 to 1800 minutes.

Papukchiiski, who described the state of BDZ as “extremely worrying”, said that he had ordered immediate steps to be taken to repair locomotives and carriages to cover the timetable and make the service acceptable to the public.

He said that the contract for the repair of locomotives and carriages was not controlled and not implemented.

He gave the example of a locomotive that had been scrapped in January “for unexplained reasons” after having been in service for only 17 years, when the service life of locomotives was 30 years.

Seven of the eight new Siemens locomotives that had been delivered to Bulgaria in 2020 were not running, he said.

Contradicting Subev, who earlier this year had spoken of BDZ going into profit for the first time in years, Papukchiiski said: “We cannot talk about any profit in BDZ. On the contrary – we are talking about the deterioration of the service, the decrease of customers and the outflow of passengers due to the fact that a bad service is offered”.

Commenting on the plan announced by Subev to merge the components of BDZ into a single entity, Papukchiiski said that there had been no analysis of what the effect of such a merger would be.

An analysis had been commissioned, which would cost 70 000 leva, Papukchiiski said.

(Photo: BDZ)

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