Bulgaria Faces Setback as Air Fresheners for New Rail Cars Stolen Upon Arrival

Incidents | June 24, 2024, Monday // 11:00|  views

Air fresheners intended for the salons and toilets of recently imported passenger railroad cars from Germany were reported stolen upon their arrival at a Bulgarian depot, according to Transport Minister Georgi Gvozdeikov in an interview with bTV. The minister expressed dismay over the incident, describing it as tragic rather than humorous. He emphasized the need for proper maintenance of the rail cars despite the setback.

 "The situation in railway transport in Bulgaria is serious. Regarding the accidents, there are investigative bodies to analyze the whole process and come up with a conclusion. There is an investigation by the investigative authorities and the labor inspectorate," he added.

"I commissioned an audit at National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC) because the biggest problem comes from the organization and functioning of the enterprise. Its activity requires serious reform, new priorities and goals. Europe aims for the railways to be the backbone of transport. The commitment is that these enterprises pass as commercial companies or agencies depending on the activity. This has to happen now. This should be done in the next three months," stressed the caretaker minister.

"NRIC cannot exist as a state enterprise, because this is our commitment to the OECD and to the entry into the Eurozone. It will be another legal entity - a state agency or a commercial company. The whole concept of this enterprise needs to be cleared in order to have a modern and safe infrastructure."

"I don't want to instill fear in people. The situation is difficult from the point of view of organizational work. From a safety point of view, the measures are strictly followed. I made sure yesterday during my trip from Sofia to Burgas," he explained.

The train with which the official minister traveled on the Sub-Balkan line was 5-6 minutes late arriving in the seaside city.

"The train is more than 25 years late. During the trip, I wanted to see where Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) went wrong. We managed to show that in a short time we found the strength and means and offered such quality railroad cars with air conditioners and seats. It is time and we have no right to compromise to keep this transport at this level. This is an appeal to the people and politicians," said Gvozdeikov.

"I wish the German railroad cars looked like this until the end of their life. The air fresheners with which the railroad cars arrived from Germany were stolen already at the depot in our country. It's not funny," commented the acting transport minister.

Meanwhile, last night, the night train traveling from Sofia to Burgas experienced a significant delay of nearly three hours, causing frustration among passengers who were forced to stand in crowded corridors, as reported by Nova TV. One passenger shared their experience on social media after boarding the train in Plovdiv.

Arriving at the station at 3:40 AM instead of the scheduled 1:00 AM, passengers noticed immediately that many were standing due to the lack of available seats from Sofia. Concerned passengers approached the conductor to inquire about seating options.

"We spoke to the conductor who informed us there were three sleeping cars, but they were locked and only accessible by the train master. Upon approaching him, he refused our request, citing the presence of passengers with duplicate reservations," explained Georgi Bozhev, a traveler from Plovdiv, during an interview on Nova TV/

In a gesture of goodwill, some passengers voluntarily relinquished their reserved seats to elderly individuals to ensure they could rest more comfortably during the journey.

The train finally reached its destination 138 minutes behind schedule, attributed to other train delays and necessary speed reductions on certain sections of the track due to maintenance work. According to BDZ (Bulgarian State Railways), the train operated without mandatory reservations and made stops at various unserviced stations, requiring passengers boarding from these locations to purchase tickets directly from staff.

BDZ clarified the situation in a statement: "After inspecting our systems, there were no indications of issues with the ticketing system for this particular train. The system is designed to prevent double booking of seats. The train includes two sleeping cars, which passengers can use during the journey if available. Additional coaches will be added to the train from June 24, 2024, with further expansions planned by the end of the month."

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Tags: STOLEN, Bulgaria, Germany, air fresheners

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