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Construction of a tunnel on the Elin Pelin - Vakarel line in Bulgaria has begun

Construction of a tunnel on the Elin Pelin - Vakarel line in Bulgaria has begun
photo: Archives/Construction of a tunnel on the Elin Pelin - Vakarel line in Bulgaria has begun
13 / 08 / 2021

The construction of a tunnel on the Elin-Pelin-Vakarel railway has been launched in Bulgaria. The construction of this 6.8 km long two-pipe railway tunnel, the longest in the Balkans, is part of a project to modernize the Elin-Pelin-Kostenets line.

In addition to the tunnel, the modernization program provides for the electrification of the Elin-Pelin-Vakarel line with a length of 20 km, the renewal of signaling devices, as well as the construction of a new station in Elin-Pelin. In 2020, a contract for the modernization of signaling and traffic control systems was awarded to Bombardier Transportation (currently part of Alstom). The work on the line is planned to be completed within 5 years, after which passenger trains will be able to move along it at a speed of up to 160 km / h, and freight trains - up to 120 km / h.

The contract worth 498.8 million leva (255 million euros) is executed by the Cen-Duy Railway Elin Pelin consortium, which includes two Turkish companies Cengiz and Duygu. The project is funded with EU support under the Bulgarian Transport and Transport Infrastructure Development Program until 2024. The railway is part of the East-West transport corridor and is of great importance for Bulgaria and neighboring countries along which the trans-European corridor No. 8 runs.

According to the leadership of the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, projects are currently being implemented in the country's railway transport for a total amount of 1.1 billion leva (562.4 million euros).

In addition to the longest railway tunnel in the Balkans, a new group, Elin Celin, will be built, as well as a paved stone, a separate post of Vakarel, and a link to the city. A new contact network is included in the scope of the project. Two two-pipe tunnels with an approximate total length of 1.5 km will be built, overpass and underpass, eight bridges and overpasses, 11 culverts, noise protection facilities with an approximate length of 700 m, drainage facilities, new signaling and telecommunication systems in the stations, and construction of new video surveillance systems.

According to the plan, the 20-kilometer modernization was to be completed by 2025, but the start of the project was delayed.