Bulgaria - General Information
National railway system
Bulgarian State Railways - Български държавни железници (БДЖ), romanised: Balgarski Darzhavni Zheleznici (BDZ).
In 2002 the state railway company BDZ was split into separate infrastructure (National Railway Infrastructure Company or NRIC) and carrier (BDZ EAD) companies. Between 2007 and 2011 BDZ EAD was further reformed into a holding company (Holding BDZ EAD) plus subsidiaries including a passenger carrier (BDZ - Passenger Transport EOOD) and freight carrier (BDZ - Freight Transport EOOD), but all collectively still referred to as BDZ.
National Railway Operator
Passenger operations are the responsibility of BDZ – Passenger Transport} (БДЖ - Пътнически превози)
Bulgarian, using Cyrillic script.
Lev (Lv, дв); 100 stotinki = 1 Lv
numeric 52; alpha BG
Actual Train Times
- A real-time tracker is available at https://radar.bdz.bg/en
- The web page https://live.bdz.bg/en has a feature to list real-time arrivals and departures for main stations, however when last reviewed the station selection dialogue was not working correctly and it defaulted to Sofia.
Although BDZ produces a pdf timetable document for domestic services they do not offer it on their web sites. A link will be added when a suitable third-party source has been identified. The 2021-2022 timetable can be found here .
Bulgarian international services are listed individually on https://www.bdz.bg/en/c/international-rail Time-table international.
Patevoditel (ПЪТЕВОДИТЕЛ). Includes all internal and international services. Almost completely written in Bulgarian, using Cyrillic script. The timetable map is diagrammatic and still shows a few lines that no longer have a passenger service. This can be very difficult to obtain, but a pocket-sized version "СЪКРАТЕНО РАЗПИСАНИЕ" with reduced detail is more generally available.
- European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball.
- European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova) by M.G. Ball.
- Mapa Kolejowa Bułgarii by W. Kolondra.
- Overview maps are available on Wikipedia, for example in Cyrillic and in English/German
- Maps and Plans - Bulgaria.
- Thorsten Büker's http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/maps_bulgaria.php Map of Bulgaria with enlargements of http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/maps_sofia-area.php Sofia and http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/maps_gorna-orjahovica-area.php Gorna Orjahovica. Note that content is mostly outdated and page is not updated any more
- A map is available on the Infrastructure Authority website
The National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC), Национална компания "Железопътна инфраструктура" (НКЖИ).
The Network Statement page provides a list of Network Statements for various years, which can be downloaded in sections.
Standard. The BDZ line from Septemvri to Dobrinishte is 760 mm gauge. Sofia Tramways are mainly 1009 mm gauge.
25 kV 50 Hz.
Sofia Metro line M3 is 1500 v dc. with lines M1, M2 and M4 825 V dc third rail. Sofia Tramways are 600 V dc.
Rule of the road
Can be found in Annex 17  of the network statement.
Plovdiv Children's Railway (60 cm gauge and ~ 2 km in length).
See Plovdiv Children's Railway
See Sofia Metro.
A metro track map is available at Popov Metro maps captioned in Cyrillic.
See Sofia Public Electric Transport Company.
The UrbanRailNet site has a basic diagram of the tramway system.
See also Bulgaria - Tram services over obscure routes
Recent and future changes
The Sofia Express (Sofia - Istanbul) is due to resume on 25 April 2022, having been withdrawn because of the pandemic.
A return service on Saturdays and Sundays between Plovdiv and Edirne (Turkey) started on 1 June 2019 (probably the first daytime working over this border crossing for a very long time) but ran for only one weekend before being withdrawn!
Dupnica - Bobov Dol closed to passengers with the Decemeber 2017 timetable change. From 25 May 2017 until further notice passengers on regular services between Thessaloniki and Sofia have been taken by bus over the border between Kulata BDŽ and Promachon OSE. This service had been reintroduced from 10 May 2014, reopening the border crossing to passenger traffic. The http://p.bdz.bg/b/u/buk-solun-11251.pdf 2018/19 international timetable shows the weekly, summer only, Bucuresti - Sofia - Thessaloniki train running through without a bus segment from 7 June 2019 to 6 October 2019.
From an unknown date after December 2013 all of the limited table 600 service between Sofia and Pernik via Razmenna is diverted via a new curve to call at and reverse at Pernik-Razpredelitelna. Details when this commenced would be appreciated by the Compilers.
The journey planner contains trains between Kjustendil and Gjueshevo as at June 2014, following 6 months with none being shown.
Two pairs of cross border all station DMU services between Vidin and Craiova in Romania commenced on 10 May 2014 but from the December 2014 timetable change were replaced by a pair of Sofia - Budapest long distance services which called at the main Vidin station to reverse, using a BDZ Class 55 Diesel over the Bridge. This was replaced at the December 2016 timetable change by a CFR operated Vidin and Craiova DMU service which in 2019 is down to one pair a day. The combined road/rail bridge between Calafat and Vidin named the "New Europe Bridge", was ceremonially opened to traffic on 14 June 2013.
Much of the network is electrified, and more electrification is in progress. Electrification between Svilengrad and the border with Turkey was inaugurated on 9 May 2013, completing an electric route between the Serbian border and Istanbul.
The section of table 331 between Kremikovci and Jana via Obedinena lost its passenger service at the end of the 2008/2009 timetable period.