Тechnical assistance for the project "Doubling of sections along the railway line Plovdiv-Svilengrad-border with the Republic of Turkey"

The Action is the ultimate preparatory phase of the Global project before investment into the construction works. The Global project which aims at doubling the railway route between Plovdiv-Svilengrad and the border with Turkey and constructing its adjacent railway infrastructure (track superstructure and substructures, electrification, signalling and telecommunications, SCADA, etc.) so that it allows a speed of 160 km/h for conventional trains and 200 km/h for tilting trains. The implementation of the Global project aims to improve the capacity of the railway line and fulfil the technical parameters set out in Art.39(a) of the TEN-T Regulation - 1 435mm track gauge, 1x25kV electrification, 50 Hz, ERTMS, GC gauge, 22.5 axle load, 740m train length.


CEF Transport financing: € 8, 922,164

State budget(s): €  1, 574, 499

Total: € 10, 496, 663

In the context of the Global project the benefits of the Action will lead to further development of the Orient-East/Med Corridor through:

  • removing a bottleneck that hampers the freight transport shift from road to rail, in this region along OEM CNC and RFC OEM and as a result to eliminate restrictions on speed and capacity and to ensure the continuity of railway traffic flows;
  • meeting the interoperability requirements applicable to the Trans-European Core Network Corridors;
  • providing a telematic application (ERTMS) and technical solutions to overcome the bottleneck in infrastructure, which hinders the transition of freight from road to rail;
  • ensuring the technical interconnection of a single European rail network with the other modes of transport and accessibility of people and goods to safe, fast and convenient transport services;
  • reducing of environmental damage caused by transport.

The Action will produce a series of technical and administrative documentation necessary to prepare the doubling of sections along the railway line Plovdiv-Svilengrad-border of Turkey (the length of the railway line covered by this Action is approximately 137 km) located on the pre-identified section Vidin-Sofia-Burgas/TR border Sofia-Thessaloniki-Athens/Piraeus of the Orient/East Med Core Network Corridor. The current railway line Plovdiv-Svilengrad-Turkish border is single, electrified, with a normal railway track gauge 1435 mm and its length is approximately 153 km. 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. It needs therefore to achieve the same parameters as those of the main railway line in Bulgaria and the parameters of the Orient/East-Med core network corridor. This barrier leads to a disruption of continuity of long distance and cross-border flows.

Activities description:

Activity 1: Technical Design and Detailed Development Plan(s)

This activity aims at preparation of a full technical design and technical specifications for the construction works, preparation of Detailed Development Plan(s) (DDP(s)) and preparation of all necessary documentation for performing land acquisition. This activity will be implemented through two sub-activities by external consultants selected following the public procurement procedures:

  • Elaboration of technical design and technical specifications - this sub-activity includes preparation of technical design for all elements of railway infrastructure on the new double railway line Plovdiv-Svilengrad-border of Turkey (approximately 137 km length) starting in Krumovo at km 163+745, axis station building 164+575 (including the connection with the Plovdiv Unified Train Control Center) and going until Svilengrad to the border with the Republic of Turkey at km 315+657 (with the exception of the Katunitsa-Popovitsa railway section). The technical design will include all works necessary for the construction of the double railway line (earthworks, drainage, etc.). It will investigate and will include the list of works and the design of items related to geodesy, geology and hydrogeology, road, hydraulics and hydrology, architecture, internal electrical installation, energy efficiency, heat supply, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, water supply and sewerage, related engineering structures (bridges, culverts, etc.), tunnels, power supply, catenary and electrification, crossings at two levels (including the design of the crossings of the railway line with facilities of other technical infrastructure networks, as gas pipelines, power lines, telecommunication cable lines, etc.), related roads, road crossings (road underpass and road overpass), safety and health plan, fire safety, fencing and noise protection, preliminary design for the signalling and telecommunication systems.
  • Preparation of a Detailed Development Plan (DDP(s)) and land acquisition documentation - this sub-activity includes the preparation of DDP(s) (Regulation and Development Plan and Parcel plans) and determination of the necessary areas for land acquisition. The number of necessary DDP(s) will be defined under sub-activity 1.1. DDP(s) will be elaborated on the basis of the existing Cadastral map with volume and content in accordance with the requirements of the Ordinance 8 of 14 June 2001 (or its future updates) of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) on the volume and content of the development plans. The DDP shall be agreed upon the interested persons in accordance with Art.128 of the SDA, so that the MRDPW will grant its approval in accordance with Art.129 of the SDA. Based on the DDP, an Amendment of cadastral maps and registers should be prepared and submitted to the Cadastre Agency.


Activity 2: Environment impact 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 “Doubling of sections along the railway line Plovdiv-Svilengrad-border with the Republic of Turkey”, 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 archeological 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 an open 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 to the preparation of the detailed design (prepared under Activity 1). This Activity will be implemented through two sub-activities by 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 consultant to implement this sub-activity shall be licensed and 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 2008/57/EC and Directive (EC) 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 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 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 the CBA and the AF for funding application for the construction phase of the project. The CBA includes a financial and economic evaluation of the project, risk assessment and other studies and analyses based on the tender documentation from Activity 1, construction strategy 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 a public 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 the 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 previously prepared Feasibility Studies (not within the scope of this Action), including options analysis and respective results;
  • information from the CBA, 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.


Activity 6: Project management and communication

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. This Activity will be implemented by the Beneficiary and external experts and consultant(s).

The Project Management Unit (PMU) is established in the National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC) and it will be responsible for the project management and coordination, tendering procedures, financial management, monitoring, internal quality control, reporting. The PMU consists of internal experts who will work full time throughout the project duration and will report their working time by means of reports. The PMU team will be supported with specific experience by the relevant departments of NRIC, with external experts to be appointed and contractors to be contracted following the national and the EU public procurement law.

Communication 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