EVZ has an internal report of the main railway company in Romania. The document states that the travelers safety is in great danger or “in limited” safety in an increasingly number of railway sections.
“There are 1.054 dangerous spots in the entire railway system of 13,730 km. 319 sections of the dangerous areas are of first degree, and 119 of these are on main routes”, states the document which was signed by Constantin Manea, CFR’s Infrastructure Manager, in the first month of this year. Technical experts of CFR say that a part of these problems are caused by landslides or rock falls, but that the budget cannot cover up the necessary consolidations and major repairments.
A speed of under 50 km/h for a third of the railways
In the middle of the conflict between CFR employees, who ask for an 8 percent increase of their wages, and the Minister of Transports, union leaders reveal the dangers that everyday passengers assume without their knowledge.
“We now have over a third of the railways where trains cannot operate on speeds of over 50 kilometers per hour and the malfunctions are a great risk both for the employees and for the passengers” said Ionel Socaciu, president of Elcatel Federation union.
Up to this day, the Authority for Railway Safety (ASFR) has never revealed the report on the number of incidents and accidents that occurred, but officials from inside the Minister of Transports told us that the statistics are getting worse every year. Over 19.500 instalation problems occurred last year, a fact which lead to delaying over 4.512 trains by 51.117 minutes (over 35 days), according to the official data of CFR.
Half the infrastructure is out of date
The Romanian railway system was envied by most of the European countries, right after the Revolution in 1989, when the infrastructure was well spread and the network was very well equipped. Railway transportation was for a long time an advantage Romania had toward other countries.
Now, the lines, the equipments and the electrical appliances are deplorable shape. Over 50 percent of the railway administered by CFR is expired and officials from the Minister of Transports have found a single solution over the past 18 years: restraining the speed.
Most of the tracks are in urgent need of top overhaul or complete reconstructions and the money coming from the state budget barely covers 10 percent of the scheduled repayments.
Over 62 million people chose the railways in order to move throughout or transit Romania, in the first nine months of 2007. The company estimates a number of over 112 million clients by 2015.