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January 27, 2023

Transport Master Plan “cuts” railways lines

The network of railway lines has to be lowered by approximately 40 per cent and some of the 1,100 train stations have to be closed, this measure being considered part of the reform that the railway sector needs, according to the authors of the General Transport Master Plan 2014-2020 recently introduced in the public debate by the Transport Ministry.
Romania currently has 10,800 kilometers of railway lines built before the 1989 revolution and a budget of RON 840 M (EUR 190 M) for repairs in 2014, a level similar to the one last year. Not a single kilometer of railway has been built in the last 25 years and now, instead of seeking to modernize the whole network of railway lines, the plan is to close down the network that does not generate revenues.
The Master Plan does not point out which railway lines will be closed, mentioning only that the network will be classified into main lines and secondary lines, and if a secondary line is not transferred from the property of CFR Infrastructure then it should automatically be closed down. The procedure of reducing the network is not an efficient one since even if a railway line is removed from the interoperable network and is classified as inoperable it will continue to be financed from public funds. A primary railway network with a small number of kilometers should be defined. The size of the basic network should be in line with the demand for passenger transport and with the financial resources available, the Master Plan points out.
According to this document, an Agency for Railway Reform should be set up by January 2015, under the leadership of the Transport Ministry, and should implement a radical reform in the railway sector.

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