The city’s dream for green public transport dates back to 1892.
The Plovdiv project actually precedes Sofia’s trams by almost a decade. After realizing that the trams would not arrive, the city reoriented. For the past 30 years, Plovdiv has been putting forward the idea of ecological and functional rail transport, but this time in the form of a city railway. The concept is to connect all areas of the city, as well as the eleven villages around it. This will significantly facilitate the movement of the growing population, attracted by the high quality of life and economic climate Plovdiv provides.
“In this case, it is really a city railway, not a tram, but a train that runs on the streets of the city. Small trains that use existing railways, but would provide links to Plovdiv Airport, the industrial areas, and the nearby settlements, which are already served by the Asenovgrad, Sofia, Burgas, Panagyurishte, Karlovo and Stara Zagora railways. The existing railway routes in the city can be used for the purpose, “the chief architect of the city Dimitar Ahryanov told Capital.
The city railway would reduce congestion in and around the booming city and halve travel time between nearby towns. The plan also envisages special bus lines to serve the stops of the city railway. In addition, the system will include transfer points for car parks and garages connected to a Park & Ride system.
This idea seems more feasible to the city government, as it does not want new routes and trams, but can use the existing railway network. Most of it is already constructed and there is preserved undeveloped land for railways. Funding can be provided through the Green Deal, as mentioned to municipal councilors in the city by the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Plovdiv’s plans arrive just in time. The issue of urban railways has received a strong boost and has become one of Brussels’ priorities as a transport solution in line with EUs long-term goals. After the whole country made efforts for two programming periods to finance the Sofia subway, the next three cities also demanded theirs – in the list of potential railways are Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv.
The city railway will now be included in the amendment of the general development plan of the city. This is the first and obligatory step for the actual construction of the S-Bahn.