Bulgaria’s Elin Pelin-Kostenetz line is set to be modernised thanks to €451 million from the EU’s European Commission – the largest project in the Commission’s transport and transport infrastructure programme in the country.
The line cuts through mountainous terrain and is part of the Orient/East-Mediterranean railway corridor that passes through the country.
With the aim of establishing speeds of 160km/h for passenger trains and 120km/h for cargo trains, more than 20 tunnels will be constructed – the longest of which will be 6km-long – as well as 23 bridges and viaducts.
Five stations along the line will also be modernised as will 51km of railway. All road/rail level-crossings are set to be removed too.
The construction of the line will be carried out in three stages: Elin Pelin – Vakarel; Vakarel – Ihtiman; and Ihtiman – Kostenetz. The deadline for completion of construction works is 2023.
Bulgaria’s transport ministry said that modernising the line will mean faster connections for more than 53,000 citizens living between the towns of Elin Pelin and Kostenetz.