|Macedonian Railway puts modern train from China into use|
Macedonian Railways has put into use an electric multiple unit train, manufactured China's CRRC company – the first of six passenger trains procured through a government project on renewing the rolling stock fleet in Macedonia.
Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Sunday was accompanied by Deputy Premier Zoran Stavreski, Transport Minister Vlado Misajlovski, Chinese Ambassador Wen Zhenshun on a promotional train ride from Skopje to Veles.
The two-hundred-passenger train features an electronic display for steering, cameras instead of rearview mirrors, air conditioned coaches, vacuum toilets, etc. It is designed in line with EU's technical standards for interoperability.
"The ongoing projects on procuring new trains and coaches, overhauling train stations and reconstructing and building new railroad tracks are an investment estimated at EUR 600 million," said Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski noting that Macedonia's railways had been left without any major investment in the past 30 years.
The new train is the first one out of many new modern trains provided to renew the Macedonian Railways – a capital investment of EUR 25 million secured through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
New 150 freight coaches were provided beforehand, which is an investment in amount of EUR 13 million. The new trains cover close to 60% of the train lines.
"The Government is reviewing a plan to procure trains for the remaining 40% in Macedonia," noted Gruevski.
The 2016 budget envisages more than MKD 2 billion for investments in the Macedonian railways, i.e. "15 times more than in 2006", according to Stavreski.
"The objective is Macedonian Railways to be turned into modern and functional infrastructure, something that should have been done years ago. It is happening now and it must not be delayed. This train is a mere segment of the mosaic we are trying to assemble for modern Macedonia," Stavreski stated.
CRRC company is supposed to deliver yet another electric multiple unit train by the year's end and four diesel trains in the first quarter of 2016, said Transport Minister Misajlovski.
"Macedonian Railways enters a new era today. This train with a capacity for 200 passengers is one of the most modern trains produced in compliance with all EU standards," Misajlovski said.
He added that works for the reconstruction of the Skopje Railway Station were nearing the end stating that activities were under way to overhaul ten railway stations along Corridor 10.