The Action is located in Bulgaria on the Kostenets–Septemvri section of the Sofia-Plovdiv railway line and on the Orient-East Med Core Network Corridor. The Action is a part of a global project "Modernisation of the railway line Sofia-Septemvri" which is part of the Sofia–Plovdiv railway line, an important element of the Trans-European Transport Core network corridors.
The Action covers the Kostenets-Septemvri railway section, aiming to remove a major bottleneck on this section of the railway line which does not meet the technical standards for passenger and freight transport.
The Action consists of 5 activities related to physical works, project management, land acquisition and supervision of works.
As a result, a double track line of 24.4 km and supporting infrastructure along the railway section Kostenets-Septemvri is upgraded according to TEN-T requirements.
The Action will reduce congestion and will have a positive effect on modal split and the environment. It will also contribute to the interoperability of the Corridor, consequently increasing service quality and safety.
Greece and Bulgaria are two key European states on the transportation map, ensuring railway, fluvial and maritime connections on the Europe-Asia axis. To increase the traffic flow and implicitly the transit degree, the two countries launch projects to revitalise the infrastructure, the ports being important points in the freight delivery and receipt.
Therefore, for the purpose of creating a multimodal corridor between the ports of Greece and Bulgaria, in January 2013, the European Union has announced that through the TEN-T programme it grants financing for the elaboration of the feasibility study on the execution of railway connections with a series of fluvial ports in the north-eastern part of Greece and Bulgaria. The total cost of the project reaches EUR 1.5 Million, out of which the EU will finance EUR 750,000 (the studies being covered in a 50% share).
Practically, the project aims at creating a transport corridor on the Aegean Sea-Black Sea-Danube axis. Named “Sea2Sea”, the project will develop the transport corridor concept, by executing connections between the ports of Greece (from the Aegean Sea) to the Bulgarian ones, from the Black Sea through railway links, offering an alternative route to the Bosphorus Strait. In addition, the link between the fluvial ports in the Danube region will also be analysed. The project should be completed by the end of 2014.
To ensure the railway connection between the ports of the two countries, in March, the company Ergose (the subsidiary of the Greek Railway) initiated the construction works for the line between the port of Alexandroupoli and the Bulgarian ports at the Black Sea. The cost of the project amounts to EUR 4 Million and should be completed within 12 months. Alexandroupoli has become a strategic port, which provides fast connection to Burgas and Varna and, according to the experts, the cost of the railway transport will be much lower and will reduce the travel time from 2 days to 6 hours.
Greece focuses intensely on the development of the railway infrastructure initiating projects to improve the railway freight transport and to facilitate the connections to the ports. According to the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE), the projects to be launched will turn Greece into an important provider for the transport services in south-eastern Europe and for the provision of logistics services on the Far East, Balkans, Central and South-Eastern Europe axis.