The finished rail connection will srvice around 5,000 daily commuters on day 1, Source: National Railway Infrastructure Company

A look at Bulgaria’s first urban rail project

A look at Bulgaria’s first urban rail project

It's set to connect the metropolitan areas of Plovdiv with Asenovgrad, as well as the various industrial zones in the area

On Wednesday, authorities in Bulgaria’s Asenovgrad announced the 14 stations along the planned urban rail connection between that city and the neighbouring much larger Plovdiv. The stops are part of Plovdiv’s project to construct an S-Bahn-style network in the city and surrounding metropolitan area, complete with raised rail connections.

A first for Bulgaria

The network would be a first for Bulgaria and its main role would be to strengthen Plovdiv’s central rail station as a multi-modal hub. Additionally, connecting Asenovgrad and Plovdiv with workable short-distance train stops would be a big game changer for the region.

This is because Asenovgrad is the biggest peripheral city in the area, with around 62,000 people, while Plovdiv itself has a population of around 343,000. The two cities see many daily commutes, from students or workers to Plovdiv’s industrial district. 

Expanding that connection would, in turn, improve commute times and lower emissions, as travelling citizens would be less tied to cars, with easier and cheaper mass transit options.

According to a statement by Asenovgrad, there are around 1,500 students and 4,500 workers travelling between the two cities on a daily basis right now. That number is only set to increase by creating an S-Bahn-style rapid transit link.

Multiple sources of funding

A massive project like this needs a lot of different funding sources, according to a statement by Bulgaria’s National Railway Infrastructure Company. The total funding for the project has a low estimate of around 125 million euros.

The main sources of funding are from European Cohesion Policy through the Transport and Connectivity Programme, Connecting Europe Facility and the European Recovery and Resilience Programme. The updated track should allow trains to reach a speed of 160 kilometres per hour, while the joint working group between the two has locked the 14 stops between Asenovgrad and Plovdiv.

  1. Asenovgrad railway station – with a buffer parking for commuters;
  2. Mavrudovo – moving the previous stop to ensure a connection with the Trakia Industrial Zone;
  3. Connection with Plovdiv Airport;
  4. South-eastern industrial zone;
  5. Central Rail Station Plovdiv;
  6. Peshtera Road with public transport connections to different high schools;
  7. 6th September Boulevard, Plovdiv Stadium and the Rowing Canal;
  8. The Regional Hospital and more connections with high schools;
  9. Filipovo Rail Station with further connections to the Radionovo Industrial Zone and the Benovsky Industrial Zone;
  10. Plovdiv Industrial Zone- North;
  11. Voyvodino Industrial Zone;
  12. Skutare Industrial Zone;
  13. Boulevard Skobeleva Mayka, with buffer parking;
  14. Trakia Rail Station.



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