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the transit nazi
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That last shot of it looks similar to Sendai station in northern Honshu.

For the person who asked: Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Google, man!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you everybody for your comments.

Let me clear some facts for you. :eek:kay:

This is the approved project for the renovation of the Central Railway Station in Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria).

Work should start in several months.

Marked with 2. on the above photo are 2 highrises that will serve the municipal authorities.

Marked with 3. and 5. are overground and underground parking lots.

Marked with 9. on the above photo is the following project that must kick off this year too.

Riofisa Mall

The Leisure and Shopping Center will be located in Sofía, Bulgaria´s capital city. Placed in an easily accessible zone by underground and bus (with a new station), it will have a total constructed surface of around 120.000 square meters, and a Gross Lettable Area of 80.000 m2. Customers will find a broad commercial and leisure offering, including a modern supermarket, a state-of-the-art cinematographic complex, a professional bowling alley and stores from the most internationally recognized companies in the commercial, leisure and restoration industries.

 

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Iron horse rider dlx
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I was there in October and I loved the giant communist era artpiece on the wall. I wish that one would be preserved somehow, but I guess it would look out of place in the future. Otherwise a renovation seems badly needed and the new design looks promising!
 

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инто спе
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As of 2005 Bulgaria has some 6,238 kilometers of track, 4,316 kilometers of which were considered main lines. Sofia is the hub of the domestic system and of international rail connections. In the mid-2000s, railroads remained a major mode of freight transportation, although highways carried a progressively larger share of freight A recent project upgraded the line connecting Plovdiv with the Greek and Turkish borders. Despite recent privatization of some operations, the national railroad has suffered substantial financial losses in the early 2000s. In 1998 the first six kilometers of an often-interrupted 52-kilometer subway project opened in Sofia Additional stations were opened recently and with the one to be opened on the 7th of September 2009 the subway will reach total length of 18 kilometers with 14 working stations





 

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инто спе
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High Speed Expansion

Bulgaria is in the beginning stages of upgrading the railway infrastructure throughout the country. Several new lines with a top speed of 160 km/hr for regular trains and 200 km/hr for tilting trains are being constructed and planned.

The first railway section allowing for higher speed trains in Bulgaria is currently being constructed between the city of Plovdiv and town of Svilengrad, more accurately, to the Captain Andreevo border checkpoint with Turkey. The total length will be 150 km, of which 20 km will be double track. The section will have 27 stations and halts. This will link Turkey's already existing higher speed railway line to Bulgaria's newly developed one and should be finished by June 2011.

The second phase of the higher speed railways in Bulgaria will be from Plovdiv to the Serbian border at Dragoman. This will complete the trans-Bulgarian high speed section between Turkey and Serbia. When this second section is completed, travel time between Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria's two largest cities, will be shortened to an estimated 40 minutes. This section should be started by May 2011.

The third phase will be extending the high speed rail from Sofia to Vidin, going through Botevgrad. From Vidin, the high speed rail can connect to neighboring Romania through the currently being built Calafat-Vidin Bridge over the Danube. Also, there is a possibility that it can branch off into Serbia again through Vidin. This will be constructed by 2017 and will be completed in three phases itself, Vidin-Brusartsi, Brusartsi-Mezdra, and Mezdra-Sofia.

In the far off future, more high speed rail lines will be constructed, including Plovdiv-Burgas and Sofia-Pernik.
photo update from Plovdiv-Svilengrad railway reconstruction of Corridors IV and IX, September '09















 

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Blow the Horn!
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"High speed expansion"? 160-200km/h? :nuts: This is the top speed for most standard railways in Europe and in Bulgaria they call it "high speed"... :crazy:
 

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And... look at the photos. Significant parts of those 150 km are going to be single-tracked only. Like you said, paF4uko, 160 km/h is what a cheapskate national railway company announces as an "upgrade" to an existing railway line dating back to the 19th century. It is most definitely not something that - here in the 21st century - is being built from scratch. And...

...the most depressing thing is that this "project" enjoys lavish support from the EU - hence benefits from my tax money:
http://www.plovdivsvilengradrailway.com/en/

I can only assume bribery has played a role in bringing this parody of a railway project into the world. :(
 

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Blow the Horn!
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And... look at the photos. Significant parts of those 150 km are going to be single-tracked only. Like you said, paF4uko, 160 km/h is what a cheapskate national railway company announces as an "upgrade" to an existing railway line dating back to the 19th century. It is most definitely not something that - here in the 21st century - is being built from scratch. And...

...the most depressing thing is that this "project" enjoys lavish support from the EU - hence benefits from my tax money:
http://www.plovdivsvilengradrailway.com/en/

I can only assume bribery has played a role in bringing this parody of a railway project into the world. :(
Hans, you can find such ridiculous projects everywhere in the EU, not only in Bulgaria... Take for instance the Line 5 tramway in Saint-Etienne... I need no more than 5-10 minutes to do the Place du Peuple (where it joins the Line 4) - Chateaucreux section by feet and they paid about 50M€ to put a tram... :nuts:
 

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^^C'est que... I don't think this line is, in itself, unnecessary or wasteful. On the contrary, Bulgaria probably needs better railway links with Turkey. I'm just convinced that it's one of these cases of trying to save a few pennies in a way that's going to cause both cash and severe headaches in the longer run. A bit like trying to save money by re-painting only three sides of one's car.

All over Europe these days newly built long-distance railways are laid out for 200 km/h in difficult terrain (e.g. the recent Swiss investments) and for at least 250 km/h in a reasonably flat landscape. This is the case even in countries that do not currently have highspeed trains (e.g. the new 250-line out of Copenhagen although Denmark has no train capable of more than 180 km/h) - on the quite reasonable assumption that unless they prepare for future upgrades now they're going to regret it later.
 

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All over Europe these days newly built long-distance railways are laid out for 200 km/h in difficult terrain (e.g. the recent Swiss investments) and for at least 250 km/h in a reasonably flat landscape.
You're quite right about newly built lines.

But this line in Bulgaria is an existing line, which is just upgraded.

Maybe there are some small corrections of the alignment, but I think that it's mainly just new tracks on the existing alignment, which might allow only 160-200 km/h.

Depending on the topography, building a totally new railway with alignment for 250-300 km/h is usually still much more expensive than upgrading an existing line to decent 160 km/h.
And for countries like Bulgaria even 160 km/h is a big first step, consindering that most lines are run-down and often don't allow 100 km/h due to bad track condition.
For those countries it's better to quickly upgrade the existing lines than to wait 20 more years for much more expensive long-term projects.
Of course, if the alignment allows more, I'm with you, then it makes sense to build the line for higher speeds, as the additional costs are quite low.


Also here in Austria we have many main-lines which will never be real high-speed lines. One example is the Tauern-line from Villach to Salzburg - we have to be lucky to adapt the alignment for 120-160 km/h (there are still many sections with only 70 km/h), everything else would be much too expensive considering the mountainous terrain.

Also not every area in Europe is as densely populated as the area between Hamburg, Cologne, Paris and London. Real high speed lines make sense, if you have real big cities to connect.

In countries like Austria and Switzerland the focus is better laid on a bunch of smaller projects to create positive effects over the whole network, like enabling ideal travel times of 30, 60, 90 minutes between main-hubs to optimize connections or capacity improvements - the Swiss are already quite successful with their strategy (which doesn't include dedicated high-speed lines).
Of course, the long tunnels will be suitable for ~250 km/h, as they are usually quite straight anyway.


Highspeed rail is nice, but you have to consider the reality:

- population structure and traffic demand (even in 20 years and even with a high-speed line the traffic demand between Sofia and Istanbul won't be comparable to Paris - London)
- current situation of the railway (existing lines in urgent need of improvement, no time to wait)
- budget for investment (countries like Bulgaria are nearly bankrupt, also the EU-funds are not endless)



Nachalnik
 

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You're quite right about newly built lines.

But this line in Bulgaria is an existing line, which is just upgraded.
Ah, in that case I stand corrected. But, you must admit that the following text makes believe that this is a newly built line:

"Several new lines with a top speed of 160 km/hr for regular trains and 200 km/hr for tilting trains are being constructed and planned.

The first railway section allowing for higher speed trains in Bulgaria is currently being constructed between the city of Plovdiv and town of Svilengrad, more accurately, to the Captain Andreevo border checkpoint with Turkey."

The rest of your argument I just don't agree with. Of course it's less expensive to build for 160 km/h than to build for 200 km/h. But, then again, it's less expensive to build for 120 km/h than to build for 160 km/h. And so on... Where does it end?

The European TEN standard, as you probably know, is upgrade to 200 km/h and newly built track for at least 250 km/h. I have no clue whether the railways around Plovdiv are part of the TEN, but I can only repeat my earlier concern about spending other countries' taxpayers' money on solutions that, by the standards of the 21st century, are very much sub-standard.
 
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