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Thales as trusted partner for safe and reliable railway operation throughout the system lifetime

Photo: Dirk Kittelberger / Thales


Bulgarian Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC) has defined maintenance activities in order to prolong the high availability and safety on the railway section Septemvri-Plovdiv-Svilingrad. Thales together with its local partner company BalkanTel, as the suppliers of the corresponding overall system solution, are authorized to carry out these maintenance tasks and ensure that the high safety level of the railway signalling system can be kept.

Thales’ railway signalling and automation systems are successfully in operation on the important Bulgarian railway section Septemvri-Plovdiv-Svilengrad, which connects Turkey with Central Europe. The overall system solution provides train operation centrally done in Plovdiv, automatic train route setting with electronic interlockings, point machines, axle counters and LED based signals, train monitoring as well as safe train control based on ETCS Level 1 system functionality.

The first section was put in operation already in 2012, following a phased putting in operation of the other sections in parallel with the progress of the construction works. With more than ten years in normal operation, the overall system proved to meet the highest availability and safety requirements of NRIC.

However, in order to maintain the value of the railway system throughout its defined lifecycle and thus, to justify the initial investment based on EU funding, specific maintenance procedures have to be set up. First, second and third level maintenance tasks including preventive and corrective maintenance activities are considered. These maintenance activities demand a high level of competences and certifications in order to guarantee further the high safety integrity level of the railway signalling system. 

With customers in more the 50 countries worldwide Thales has proven as trusted partner not only for supplying cutting edge signalling technology but also for efficient maintenance services throughout the system lifetime. Together with its local partner BalkanTel, Thales is ready to support NRIC with their important ambitions with regards to a comprehensive and sustainable maintenance strategy.  This will be key in order to secure the significant investments in Bulgarian railway infrastructure of the last decade and ensures a reliable and safe train operation on the respective railway section in future.