Contract terminated for Sofia – Elin Pelin line modernisation

Sofia – Elin Pelin railway Bulgaria’s rail infrastructure manager NRIC has terminated the contract with KELET AB consortium which was assigned as the contractor for the modernisation of Sofia – Elin Pelin railway.

The contract with the Bulgarian – Hungarian consortium worth BGN 120 million (EUR 61.35 million) excluding VAT includes the design, construction and supply of materials for the 23 km double track railway section. The initial deadline for the completion was set for the end of 2020. Since the start of the contract, the contractor has mainly made supplies of materials, and the real physical progress for construction activities is only 43%.

The contract has been signed in 2016 and it was scheduled to be completed in four years including one year for the design and three years for construction works.

In the short term, NRIC will announce a new procedure for the construction of the railway line with transparent conditions, which will enable the participation of a wide range of Bulgarian and foreign companies.

The modernisation of the railway section Sofia – Elin Pelin railway falls within the scope of the project “Modernisation of the railway line Sofia – Plovdiv: railway sections Sofia – Elin Pelin and Elin Pelin – Septemvri”, which is part of the Sofia – Plovdiv – Burgas mainline.

Under the CEF 2014 call, the modernisation of Sofia – Elin Pelin railway section received EUR 57.78 million which had an eligible cost of almost EUR 68 million.

The railway line Sofia – Plovdiv is one of the most important railway connections in the country with significant regional, economic and strategic importance linking the largest industrial centre – Sofia with Plovdiv, Burgas, Stara Zagora and the entire southeastern part of Bulgaria.

The Ministry of Transport and NRIC conducted inspections of all contracts for rehabilitation of railway lines in Bulgaria. The results show very low levels of physical performance for most of the contracts signed from 2019 to the end of 2021. By order of the transport minister Nikolay Sabev, NRIC will strengthen control over construction activities and the quality of construction.

The company will not approve received requests for updating the values ​​of already concluded construction contracts, as a result of public procurement. In case the contractor declares impossibility to fulfill its contractual relations, the option for its termination will be considered.

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