Bulgarian State Railways

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Bulgarian State Railways
Native name Български държавни железници
Romanized name Balgarski darzhavni zheleznitsi
Type Government-owned corporation
Industry Transport
Founded 1885
Headquarters Sofia, Bulgaria
Area served Bulgaria
Key people Hristiyan Krastev
Services Passenger and freight transport
Employees 17,867
Website www.bdz.bg
Bulgarian State Railways
BGrailroads-en.png
Map of the Bulgarian railway network
Locale Bulgaria
Dates of operation 1885–
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 25kV AC, 50Hz OHLE
Length 4,070 km (2,529.0 mi) (as of 31 Dec 2012)

The Bulgarian State Railways (Bulgarian: Български държавни железници, Balgarski darzhavni zheleznitsi, abbreviated as БДЖ, BDZ or BDŽ) are Bulgaria's state railway company and the largest railway carrier in the country, established as an entity in 1885. The company's headquarters are located in the capital Sofia. Since the 1990s the BDŽ has met serious competition from automotive transport. For the period 1994 to 2010 there is significant drop in the market share in the passenger and freight services and the lack of competent management worsens the situation. Up to 2002 the company owned managed the railway infrastructure in the country, when according to EU regulations a new state company, the National Railway Infrastructure Company, was founded and became the owner of the infrastructure.

Bulgaria is a member of the International Union of Railways (UIC). The UIC Country Code for Bulgaria is 52.

History[edit]

  • 1864 - The first sod is turned for making the RuseVarna railway line. The Turkish government had commissioned for it an English company managed by William Gladstone, a politician, and the Barkley brothers, civil engineers
  • 1866 - Official opening of the 223 km long Ruse – Varna railway line
  • 1870 - Baron Maurice de Hirsch starts the construction of the ConstantinopleBelovo railway line
  • 1873 - Official opening of the Constantinople – Belovo railway line. The National Liberation movement and railway revolutionaries: Todor Kableskov – station master at Belovo railway station, Zahari Stojanov – shunter at Tarnovo Sejmen (today’s Simeonovgrad) railway station, Ilarion Dragostinov – a telegraph operator at Ruse railway station, Georgi Ikonomov – a shunter at the railway stations in Ruse, Tarnovo Sejmen and Edirne, etc.
  • 1885 - The National Assembly passes the Railway Act, according to which railways in Bulgaria are state property and are operated by the state
  • 1888 - Stefan Stambolov’s government expropriates the Vakarel – Belovo railway line (built and previously operated by Vitalis) and starts operating it. On 1 August, the whole of the Tsaribrod (Dimitrovgrad, Serbia) – Sofia – Belovo railway line is opened for international traffic. The state buys off the Ruse – Varna railway line and starts operating it on 10 August. The Bulgarian State Railways are established, based on the Tsaribrod – Sofia – Belovo and Ruse – Varna railway lines.
  • 1912 - An independent Ministry of Railways, Post Offices and Telegraphs is established
  • 1922 - A State Railway School is established
  • 1950 - The Day of the Railwayman is officially declared – the first Sunday of August
  • 1952 - The sub-Balkan railway line is opened
  • 1963 - Diesel traction is introduced for train traffic with the diesel-hydraulic B′B′ locomotives (class 04), built by SGP; the first electrified line, Sofia – Plovdiv, enters into operation with the new then class 41, built by Škoda.
  • 1964 - The first doubled track, Sindel – Varna, is completed
  • 1978 - Operations start on the Varna - Illichivsk ferry line with four train ferries capable of carrying each 104 four-axle 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in) wagons. Break of gauge facility was constructed in Beloslav
  • 2002 - On 1 January 2002, the new Railway Transport Act enters into force, passed by the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, according to which the National Company Bulgarian State Railways is split into two separate enterprises – a railway carrier (Bulgarian State Railways EAD) and an infrastructure enterprise (Railway Infrastructure National Company)
  • 2010 - The European Commission formally warned Bulgaria in May 2010 for failure to implement the First Railway rules on track access charges.[1]
  • October 2010 - further restructuring announced, with BDŽ EAD becoming a holding company, and all rolling stock allocated to passenger & freight subsidiaries.[2]

Company structure[edit]

BDZ trains at Pernik railway station

Since the last reforms in 2007, a new organizational structure has been approved.

BDŽ Inc. (a holding company with one shareholder, the Republic of Bulgaria)

  • BDŽ Putnicheski Prevozi Ltd. - responsible for the passenger services. The company carried 31.36 million passengers in 2009.
  • BDŽ Tovarni Prevozi Ltd. - Freight operations and expedition with subsidiary BDZ SPED Ltd. The company carried 13.3 million tonnes of freight in 2009 in 3.1 million tonne-kilometers. Privatisation was attempted in 2012, but called off in 2013 due to financial problems.[3]
  • BDŽ Traktzionen Podvizhen Sustav Ltd. - locomotive management and servicing.
  • BDŽ-Koncar Inc. - joint venture between BDŽ EAD and KONČAR Group from Croatia with main scope of work locomotive repairs and modernization.

Still there are many problems with the organizational structure of the holding. In order to optimize the running costs many of the employees from the administration should be laid off. There is an evident lack of effectiveness in the administration and the main goal of the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Telecommunication is to make the company profitable.

Current traction[edit]

Class Manufacturer Traction Type Notes
06 Electroputere – Craiova Diesel-electric
07 Luhanskteplovoz Diesel-electric Ludmilla (locomotive) The most famous locomotives built in the Soviet Union. Same as DB Class 232
10 Siemens AG DMU-2 Desiro Modern diesel-hydraulic multiple-units.
30 Siemens AG EMU-3 Desiro Modern 3 car electric multiple units
31 Siemens AG EMU-4 Desiro 4 car version of class 30
32 RVR Riga EMU-4 Soviet built EMUs
33 RVR Riga EMU-4 Soviet built EMUs
42.1 Škoda Works Electric
43 Škoda Works Electric
44 Škoda Works Electric Same as Class 43, but with electro-dynamic braking.
45 Škoda Works Electric Same as Class 44. Re-geared for 110 km/h operation for freight trains.
46/46.2 Electroputere – Craiova Electric The LE5100 are the most powerful locomotives in use by BDŽ. Similar to CFR class 40.
51 Ganz Diesel Similar to ZS Class 641 and MÁV Class M42.
52 VEB Lokomotiv und Electrotechnische Werke Diesel-hydraulic DB Class V 60.
55 FAUR Diesel-hydraulic The biggest number of locomotives in the BDŽ fleet.
61 Škoda Works Electric Shunter and light service loco. Famous amongst railfans in Bulgaria due to rarity (~ 20 units) of locomotive.
66 Humboldt-Deutzmotoren A.G. Diesel-hydraulic Sofia Depot has one locomotive of the class, which had to be restored for shunting service in the depot, but works were stopped due to lack of financing. DR Class V20.
75 Henschel & Son Diesel-hydraulic 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge locomotives used on the SeptemvriDobrinisthe tourist-attraction line.
77 FAUR Diesel-hydraulic 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge locomotive.
81 Камбарский машиностроительный завод
(Kambarka Engineering Works)
Diesel-hydraulic 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge shunting locomotive. Soviet class ТУ7 (TU7)

Narrow gauge railways[edit]

The scenic Septemvri-Dobrinishte narrow gauge line was finished in 1945. It is now famous for its beautiful views. It goes through the station of Avramovo, which is the highest railway station on the Balkans at 1267.4 meters. Further on, it passes through the summer and winter tourist centre of Bansko. The line is 760mm gauge, unelectrified, and is primarily served by diesel power locomotives, however there are well preserved steam locomotives that provide attraction tours. Even though it is very attractive to tourists, it is also widely used by the local inhabitants for public transport purposes.

Rail links to adjacent countries[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "News in Brief". Railway Gazette. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  2. ^ "Railway Gazette: BDZ becomes holding company". Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  3. ^ "BDZ freight privatisation called off". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 24 June 2013.