Halkali Construction Works, Photo: Rail Turkey

Balkans Under Construction

If one is a railway professionals dealing with South East Europe, he/she must keep eyes on the railway construction works.

Because especially in this region, construction works in railway may sometimes cause delays of trains, using more expensive routes or even closures.

Unfortunately, Balkan region is almost totally under construction. Here are the construction works in Balkan countries:

Turkey

The most used line for European traffic, Cerkezkoy-Halkalı has been closed for 8 months. Although it’s partially opened for full trains in westbound direction, since Halkali Terminal is not ready, it’s expected to be kept closed for a couple of months more.

Derince-Kosekoy, after a closure of almost 2 years, had opened last month together with the start of Tekirdag-Derince ferry to European traffic. Unfortunately, the line is not again closed, and is planned to be opened within a month. Derince is the last station for European traffic nowadays.

Serbia

Prefered by almost all traffic operators, Serbian railway infrastructure is carrying a huge traffic between Europe and Balkan countries. Rail corridor X is passing through Serbia. Serbian Railways, now, agreed with Russian Railways for a USD 800 million project. Under the contract, Russian Railways will renovate 370 km of railway lines in Serbia.

One of the most important part of this reconstruction program is the six sections of Rail Corridor X, totally 112 km. Construction and electrification of Belgrade-Pancevo (16 km), reconstruction of current lane and construction of second lane between Stara Pazova-Novi Sad (in sum 44 km) and reconstruction of 200 km stretch between Belgrade-Bar (Monte Negro) will be compeleted within the same project as well.

Serbian Railways have a target of modernising the national section of Corridor X which includes also the electrification of the section and allowing trains to run at speeds of 160 km/h. The project has an estimated budget of EUR 4 billion, and expected to complete in next 5 years.

Bulgaria

Bulgarian Railways had completed the third phase of the upgrading and electrification of the 154km Plovdiv – Dimitrovgrad – Kapikule route in 2013, which forms part of European Corridor 10. Now the fourth and final phase is ongoing. It covers the 67.2km section between Dimitrovgrad and Svilengrad. By the completion of the project, the conventional trains will be able to reach up to 160 km/h through this line.

There’s another railway project to connect the Bulgarian cities of Plovdiv and Burgas. The plan was to complete the line by the end of 2015, but the tender is postponed.

Romania

Romanian state rail company CFR SA has awarded a contract for the construction of the rail line between Vințu de Jos and Simeria. This line has an importance for one part of the Railway Corridor 7, linking Constanta to Europe. The project is scheduled to start in the spring of 2014 and take 30 months to complete. It also includes the renovation of five stations, tunnelling and bridge building. Although the current line is dual-track and electrified, the max speed is 90 to 120km/h and will be raised to 160km/h after completion of the construction works.

Crotia

Works on the DugoSelo-Krizevic section, which will include the reconstruction of the existing infrastructure and construction of a new 38.2 kilometre track, should start in 2014 and be completed by 2018. They will be funded under the EU’s Transport operational program. Following the completion of the project, the track will support train speed of up to 160 km/h. The railway line is part of pan-European corridor Vb, which links the Adriatic town of Rijeka with the Hungarian border in the north.

Macedonia

Construction of the line connecting Macedonia to to Bulgaria will start this year in February, and should be complete by 2022. The first section, from the northern town of Kumanovo to Beljakovce, is expected to be completed by 2017 and the other two remaining sections are planned to be finished by 2022.

Photo: Onur Uysal

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