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Thursday, June 21, 2018, 

Macedonia-Bulgaria railway connection to be completed by 2023

Macedonia-Bulgaria railway connection to be completed by 2023

Skopje, 17 May 2018 (MIA) - A railway network connecting Macedonia and Bulgaria by 2023, instead of by 2025 as earlier announced, is said to be expected by the heads of the countries' railway companies.

Director of the Macedonian Railways, Irfan Asani met Thursday in Skopje with Krasimir Papukchiyski, CEO of Bulgaria’s National Railway Infrastructure Company. They said that it was a priority to build the railroad section of Corridor 8 through which 10 pairs of freight trains from Skopje to Sofia should transit daily, according to studies.

"The two sides have set a goal - in 2023 to greet each other on the border, in fact to meet each other at the already built connection and to inaugurate the first Skopje-Sofia train. We cooperate splendidly with our colleagues and we hope we will fulfill the defined goals," stated Papukchiyski.

According to Asani, there is a large possibility in 2023 to finish building the connectivity instead of in 2025, which is foreseen under the memorandum signed in 2017 by the transport ministers of Macedonia and Bulgaria. "We will start building once the financial construction is concluded. A portion of the funds have been set aside by the EU and the rest should be taken care of by the government, because it is in talks with international financial institutions," he stated.

Macedonia's portion of the railway connecting it with Bulgaria covers the construction of three sections, namely Kumanovo-Beljakovce (31km) - under construction, Beljakovce-Kriva Palanka (32km) and Kriva Palanka-Deve Bair (23km). Also, a 2,400-meter tunnel should be build on the Deve Bair border crossing.

It is estimated the construction of the railway towards Bulgaria, a project launched 25 years ago, costs between EUR 600 million and EUR 700 million. ba/17:31

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