“20 years after the restructuring of rail transport, we are witnessing a downfall of our rail network. Since the 90s, the number of railway passengers has dropped significantly from 408 million to around 100 million in 2004 and 54 million in 2011. A total number of 66 million people travelled by rail in 2015. However, the share of rail passenger transport continues to be small of just 20% of total transport services”, declared Maria Magdalena Grigore, Secretary of State – Romanian Ministry of Transport, during the conference called “Rolling Stock between modern and modernised”, organised by Club Feroviar with the support of the Romanian Railway Industry Association (AIF) on 25 and 26 April in Iasi.
The poor condition of the infrastructure is also the result of the fact that just 40% of the network is electrified and doesn’t allow the operation of trains in attractive conditions for passengers. Although the network allows speeds between 70 and 160 km/h, passenger trains travel at an average speed of less than 50 km/h. Also, many of the railway networks are in an obvious state of degradation, far from necessary standards and technologisation.
In 2016, the Romanian railway freight transport sector ranked last as regards the delivery times.
In what concerns the rolling stock, 80% of CFR Calatori locomotives need repairs, while urgent modernisation is required for over 40% of the coaches. The national passenger transport operator should also take necessary measures to repair damaged locomotives and should ask for the support of assurance companies. The Desiro multiple-units should also be upgraded.
„A change of the staff policy is absolutely necessary to attracct young people towards the railway sector. Their training will have to be continuous”, believes Maria Magdalena Grigore.
„Currently, the passengers’s opinion also reflects the current condition of the system, such as low traffic speed, traffic delays and low comfort in trains, so that passengers choose other transport modes. I believe a radical change is necessary and this means focusing railway services on passengers’ demands. It is not good to have three or four overcrowded wagons per train, while other wagons are empty. I just want to know that operators observe passenger transport conditions. There is no point to focus on rail infrastructure investments if rolling stock is obsolete”, pointed out the Secretary of State, Maria Magdalena Grigore.