Technical assistance for preparation of project "Modernization of Dragoman - Border with the Republic of Serbia railway section"

The Action is part of the Global project “Modernization of Dragoman - Border with the Republic of Serbia railway section” and it is the ultimate preparatory phase of the Global project before investment into the construction works. The Global project aims at modernization of the railway section Dragoman - Border with the Republic of Serbia that is technically and financially independent section. The railway line Sofia - Border with the Republic of Serbia is part of the Trans-European Transport Axes to the Neighbouring Countries and Regions. Equally, this is the main direction of Bulgaria’s railway connection with Europe and Asia. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Serbia in 2018 on the cooperation for the improvement of the efficiency of rail transport and includes this cross-border section.

The current railway line Dragoman - Border with the Republic of Serbia is a single electrified railway line with 1435 mm gauge, 25 кV/50 Hz catenary voltage, approx. 15 km length (from the end switch of Dragoman, direction Sofia, to border with the Republic of Serbia, maximum allowed speed along the section 65 km/h. It has 10 bridges with a total length of 305 m. The line does not meet the requirements of passenger and freight transport users and operators in terms of capacity and therefore represents a bottleneck in the transport freight rail system of Bulgaria.


CEF Transport financing: € 2, 408, 708

State budget(s): €  425,066

Total: € 2, 833, 774


The main goals of the Global Project are:

  • ensure modernisation of the railway infrastructure of the section Dragoman - Border with the Republic of Serbia that will lead to an improved railway service;
  • eliminate bottlenecks and complete the missing link on the cross-border section of the Trans-European Railway Network;
  • improve the technical parameters and the speed of movement in the region of the railway section, including creating conditions for optimal combination and integration of various transport modes, optimisation of the capacity and efficiency of the existing railway lines;
  • increase the volume of freight traffic and to improve the conditions regarding travel time and passenger comfort on intercity and international trips;
  • improve safety;
  • reduce the environmental impact of transport by stimulating road-to-rail modal shift.

The Action will produce a series of technical and administrative documentation necessary to prepare the modernization of the railway infrastructure along the section Dragoman-border with the Republic of Serbia which is one of the pre-identified projects on the TEN-T network located on other sections on the Core network and part of Bulgaria’s national railway transport network.


Activities description:

Activity 1: Technical Design and Detailed Site Development Plans

The Activity covers the review, analysis of the Preliminary Design, preparation of Technical Design and Detailed Site Development Plans for the following sections:

  • new single railway line, 23,27 km, that will connect Aldomirovtsi Zapad Sectional Post with border with the Republic of Serbia at km 59+106 along the core network;
  • existing railway line from Aldomirovtsi Zapad Sectional Post, km 35+831.24 to km 57+259.71, start of transitional curve before the east station throat of Kalotina Zapad Station. The section includes Aldomirovtsi Zapad Sectional Post beginning at km 35+831.24, Gaber Station and the open lines between Aldomirovtsi Zapad Sectional Post and Start of transitional curve, km 57+259.71 before the east station throat of Kalotina Zapad Border Station. Length of the section: 21,428 m;
  • existing railway line from the start of transitional curve, 57+259.71 before the east station throat of Kalotina Zapad Border (Schengen) Station to the border with the Republic of Serbia at km 59+106. The section includes new Kalotina Zapad Border Station and IMT Kalotina Zapad. Reconstruction of railroad 2 (length: 1,663 m) to include new Dragoman Border Station into the existing permanent way through Dragoman Gorge from km 53+088.18 to km 54+750.57.

This activity will be implemented through two sub-activities by external consultants selected following public procurement procedures:

  • Elaboration of technical design and technical specifications;
  • Preparation of Detailed Development Plan(s) (DDP(s))

Activity 2: Environmental assessment (EIA)

This Activity aims at preparation of necessary documentation to obtain the decision on the EIA from the competent Authorities. This Activity will be implemented in three steps. It will start with a notification from the Beneficiary to the competent authority (the Ministry of Environment and water- MoEW) in accordance with the art. 10, para 1 of the EIA Ordinance and art. 6 of the Regulation on the compatibility assessment with the special areas of conservation. The purpose of the notification is to inform the competent authority  about the investment proposal of NRIC for “Modernization of Dragoman - Border with the Republic of Serbia railway section”, which is the first step of the EIA procedure. As a second step, the MoEW shall provide its opinion whether the investment proposal falls under the scope of Annex I and Annex II of the Environmental protection act and shall inform NRIC about the activities need to be undertaken.

If necessary, following the opinion of the competent authority, as step three, this Activity will continue with the EIA report which will be submitted to the competent authority for its final opinion on the EIA. Issuing of an EIA decision by the competent authority will end this Activity.

This activity will be implemented by the Beneficiary with the support of external contractor selected under an open tendering procedure.

The main tasks under this Activity are the following:

  • Elaboration of EIA Report;
  • Coordination of EIA Report with competent authority and other specialized agencies and companies;
  • Conducting public consultations with interested parties.

Activity 3: Preliminary archaeological study

The objective of the study is to establish the presence and the exact location of archaeological findings in the determined areas for the construction of the sites of the railway infrastructure. The study will also aim to establish whether any archaeological objects within the scope of the project could be affected or destroyed by the subsequent project implementation. This activity will be implemented by external consultant selected by a procurement procedure.

This activity will start with the Preliminary survey for archaeological findings along the alignment of the railway line within the scope of the Action. It will be followed by the Report on the results of the survey of the railway section in the available sources of information and data collection on the registered archaeological sites and on the specifics of the investigated areas. In case of archaeological objects being found, the Consultant report will include heritage conservation measures for rescue archaeological excavation ​​and monitoring that must be applied during the construction phase in accordance with Article 161 (1) and (2) of the Cultural Heritage Act.

The heritage conservation activities are not part of Activity 3.

Activity 4: Conformity and Interoperability Assessment

This activity is closely linked to Activity 1 since the conformity assessment of the technical design is performed during the entire process of the preparation of the technical design (prepared under Activity 1). This Activity will be implemented through two sub-activities by the licensed external consultants selected following an open procurement procedure:

  • Elaboration of Conformity Assessment Report - this sub-activity will be implemented according to the Art. 142 (6), item 2 of Spatial Development Act (SDA) of Bulgaria. According to this article, the assessment of compliance of the technical design with the requirements for the construction is obligatory and it is basis for issuing a building permit. According to Art, 168 (2) of SDA the design assessment is to be done by a licensed company (consultant). The external expert to implement this sub-activity will be selected through an open tender procedure;
  • Elaboration of Interoperability Assessment Report - the sub-activity includes the preparation of an Interoperability Assessment Report and the Conformity assessment with the TSI by a Notified Body (NoBo) in the frame of Directive (EU) 2016/797 and in accordance with the requirements of the Railway Transport Act and Ordinance No57/09.06.2004 or its future updates on the achievement of the interoperability of the national railway system with the railway system within the European Union. The Interoperability assessment report guarantees the assurance of the interoperability of the national rail system with the rail system within the EU and will be used during the construction phase of the Global project. The positive assessment is a prerequisite for issuing an interim declaration of verification of the technical design with the TSI requirements. The external consultant to implement this sub-activity shall be licensed certified and will be selected through an open tender procedure.

Activity 5: Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Application Form (AF)

This activity covers the elaboration of Cost-benefit Analysis and the Application Form for the funding application for the construction phase of the Global action. The CBA includes a financial and economic evaluation of the Action, risk assessment and other studies and analyses based on the tender documentation from Activity 1, implementation strategy of the project and funding opportunities. It will be realized according to the European methodology set in for the Cohesion Policy (DG REGIO) - Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis of investment projects and in accordance with the adopted regulations and directives for the forthcoming programming period. This activity will be implemented by external consultants selected by an open procurement procedure.

The CBA will consist of two analyses:

  • Financial analysis. The main purpose of the financial analysis is to calculate the project’s financial performance indicators: Financial Net Present Value (FNPV), and Financial Rate of Return (FRR)
  • Economic analysis. The economic analysis appraises the project’s contribution to the economic welfare of the region or country. This part of analysis will calculate economic net present value (ENPV), the economic rate of return (ERR) and the Benefit/Cost ratio (B/C).

This elaborated CBA will serve as a basis for the preparation of application documents for construction activities funding. The following parts of the application form will be prepared: description of the investment proposal and its location; presentation of the project proposal’s compatibility with the priorities of the financing institution and how it is expected to contribute to the achievement of the specific objectives of these priorities; total costs and eligibility costs; information on the prepared Feasibility Studies, including options analysis and respective results; information from the Cost Benefit Analysis, including financial and economic analyses and risk assessment; analysis of the environmental impact taking into account the need for adapting to climate change and mitigating its consequences, as well as resistance to natural disasters; financial plan detailing the total amount of the planned financial resources and the planned support from EU funds, EIB and all other financing resources as well as physical and financial indicators for progress monitoring, taking into account the identified risks; project implementation timetable.

Activity 6: Project Management and Communication

This Activity is cross-cutting and will be implemented by the beneficiary through two sub-activities together with external experts selected through an open tendering procedure.

  • Project Management - this Activity foresees to ensure the day-to-day management and coordination of implementation of the Action and will carry out the information and communication activities;
  • Communication - this sub-activity covers the communication and dissemination activities and the necessary publicity measures in accordance with the requirements of Regulation 1303/2013, Regulation 1316/2013 and CEF rules for publicity measures.



Headquarters, Bulgaria,

Sofia 1233 bul. ”Knyaginya Mariya Luiza” 110

E-mail: office@rail-infra.bg