Bulgaria - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services

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Introduction

This list is based on the timetable period 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024 unless otherwise stated. Standard abbreviations are explained here. Trains running only certain days of the week are shown using ISO 8601 weekday numbers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_week_date )

Map references for each route entry are given in parentheses ( ). References prefixed "ERA-E" refer to the European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball. References prefixed "ERA-R" refer to the European Railway Atlas (Regional Series: Book 3) by M.G. Ball. Note the transliterations used in these maps to Latin characters do not always correspond with the current BDŽ English station names.

Obscure services

Mezdra Avoiding Line: Mezdra-Jug – Ruska Bjala

[200, 700] (ERA-E 110B3; ERA-R 243C2) BG24/1

This route is used by fast trains between Sofia and Vraca not reversing at Mezdra.

7620 Sofia - 08:45 Zverino - Vidin
7623 Vidin - 15:36 Vraca - Sofia
7625 Vidin - 20:42 Vraca - Sofia

(Plovdiv –) Filipovo – Skutare

[800] (ERA-E 110A3; ERA-R 248B5) BG24/2

Most trains between Plovdiv and Skutare (and onwards to Mihajlovo) run via a shorter, easterly route via Trakija. After a break of several years, some local trains started using the route to the west and north of Plovdiv via Filipovo in the 2021/2022 timetable. The 2023-24 timetable has a 5 train pair service on this route, easily identified by a search from Filipovo to Skutare.
Due to engineering works between Plovdiv and Filipovo, the trains on this obscure route start/finish at Filipovo.

(Sofia –) Cherepish – Lyuti brod (– Mezdra)

[200] (ERA-E 110B3, not shown; ERA-R 243C2, not shown) BG24/3

Between Lyuti brod and Cherepish the two tracks are on very different alignments for over a kilometre and are up to 170 metres apart. Indeed for a time the tracks are on opposite sides of the river Iskar.

Harmanli Avoiding Line: bypassing Harmanli Centar and Harmanli stations

(ERA-E 110A2; ERA-R 232B5) BG24/4

This new alignment was opened by 2016 as part of improvements between Simeonovgrad and Svilengrad. All timetabled passenger trains call at Harmanli Centar and/or Harmanli stations so cannot use this route; however it has been reported that the Optima Express runs this way.

Ilyantsi avoiding line: Kurilo to Svetovrachane

(ERA-E 110A3; ERA-R 246B2) BG24/5

This 4.8km north - east freight line will be used from 7 May 2024 until August 2025 for two fast train pairs Sofia <=> Varna in conjunction with BG24/6

7622 11:05 Sofia - Vidin
2617 14:35 Sofia - Varna
2627 22:00 Sofia - Varna
2626 Varna - 05:39 Kurilo - Sofia
2614 Varna - 18:07 Kurilo - Sofia

Stolnik avoiding line: Yana to Musachevo

(ERA-E 110A4; ERA-R 246C1/C22) BG24/6

This 3.0km west - south freight line will be used from 7 May 2024 until August 2025 for two fast train pairs Sofia <=> Varna in conjunction with BG24/5.

7622 11:05 Sofia - Vidin
2617 14:35 Sofia - Varna
2627 22:00 Sofia - Varna
2626 Varna - 05:39 Kurilo - Sofia
2614 Varna - 18:07 Kurilo - Sofia

Trams

See Bulgaria - Tram services over obscure routes

Other sparse services

The following lines have few trains (relative to service levels generally in this country) - fewer than three trains each way on at least three days a week - or do not run each weekday:

100 Dragoman - Dimitrovgrad (Serbia) BDZ Service suspended. Optima Express runs in summer.
102 Svilengrad - Kapıkule (Turkey) One train pair daily
228 (Poveljanovo -) Dobrich - Kardam Two train pairs daily
400 Ruse - Giurgiu Nord (Romania) One train pair daily
401 Dimitrovgrad - Kardzhali Two train pairs daily
500 Kulata - Promachon (Greece) Service currently suspended
600 (Sofia –) Volujak – Razmenna – Pernik-Razpredelitelna (– Pernik) Two train pairs daily
600 Gjueshevo - Kjustendil Two train pairs WSSuO
700 Vidin - Golenti (Romania) One train pair daily

Deletions since previous edition

See also