Romania’s state railway company has called for €12.2bn in investment over the next five years to reverse the degradation of the network.
The call came in the Strategy for Developing the Railway Infrastructure, 2018-20, the assessment of the country’s network by its state-owned operator, Caile Ferate RomÃ¢ne (CFR).
The document describes the decline in passenger numbers and freight tonnage over the past 30 years, and the progressive decline in the physical state of the local railway infrastructure.
CFR attributed the decline of the system relative to the rest of the EU on "inadequate financing of the maintenance, repair and renewal of the railway infrastructure" which has "led to its progressive degradation and to the increase in the general wear of the infrastructure".
The report also says Romania is losing out on EU funding, ranking second-to-last in terms of money received. It estimates that most of the money required to upgrade the network – €9.2bn – could come from EU funds, as much of the work would be carried out on trans-European networks, or TENs, which receive generous funding from the European Commission.
The report lists the priority improvements in the network. The largest share, €4.4bn, would go on modernising the Romanian segment of the Rhine-Danube railway corridor between Strasbourg and Costanza on Romania’s Black Sea coast.
Some €2.6bn would be needed to refurbish the Orient/East-Mediterranean corridor between the Baltic and the Aegean.
Improving the railway connecting Bucharest’s main train station, the Gara de Nord, to the Henri Coanda International Airport would cost about €100m.
Meanwhile, CFR yesterday named a consortium made up of Austrian companies Brasig Strabag and Swietelsky as a winner of a €640m public tender for the modernisation of the track and signalling systems on an 86km stretch of the Rhine-Danube corridor between Brasov and Sighisoara. This will enable the speed of the line to be increased to 160 km/h for passenger trains.
The work will be funded by the government and should be complete in four years.
Image: Romania’s local network is in need of repair (World of Railways)