The Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway line is part of pan-European Corridor X (on the extension of Orient/East-Med Core Corridor, part of the TEN-T Network). The physical condition of this section and the level of service provided are inconsistent with its significance in the railway network of Serbia and in the European transport network.
With a total length of approximately 100 km, the Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway line is the only section of Corridor X in Serbia that is not electrified. The ageing signalling and rail control system was commissioned more than 50 years ago and requires replacement as it currently limits the travel speed to 30-50 km/h on 3/4 of the section. The line is also encumbered by a large number of level crossings (approx. 65), more than 50% of which are equipped only with road signs, resulting in low safety standards.
The estimated total investment cost of the Reconstruction and Modernisation (including electrification) of the railway Niš-Dimitrovgrad project is around €270 million, including €134 million secured through a loan from the European Investment Bank and €73 million from Western Balkans Investment Framework grants. The project is mature with design documents which are complete or on the point of being finalized.
The main objective of CONNECTA’s assignment, which builds on previous WBIF assistance, is to upgrade the existing design for signalling and telecommunication sub-systems of the railway line from ETCS-1 to ETCS-2 standard to ensure that the functional requirements included in the tender documents for a design-build works contract will enable smooth implementation of the full European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). This upgrade is in line with EU policies and standards as well as the national strategy i.e. the Serbian Railways Infrastructure’s decision for the entire core network in Serbia to be equipped with ETCS-2, aiming for safer and more competitive rail transport.
Upon completion, the Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway rehabilitation project is expected to increase travel speeds to 120km/h, increase capacity and improve safety – notably at level crossings, and improve competition with road transportation, especially for international and transit freight traffic. The electrification of the line will also decrease current levels of air and noise pollution generated by the diesel-powered fleet.
A kick-off meeting was held on 30 September in Belgrade to mark the start of CONNECTA’s sub-project ‘Technical Assistance for upgrade of the design for signalling and telecommunication sub-systems (from ETCS-1 to ETCS-2) of the railway line ‘Niš-Dimitrovgrad’. The meeting was attended by representatives of Serbian Railways and the CONNECTA team.
Additional information on the assignment can be obtained by contacting Chris Germanacos, CONNECTA Team Leader, at firstname.lastname@example.org.