Bulgarian State Railways

Bulgarian State Railways
Native name
Български държавни железници
Balgarski darzhavni zheleznitsi
Government-owned corporation
Industry Transport
Founded 1885
Headquarters Sofia, Bulgaria
Area served
Key people
Vladimir Vladimirov
Services Passenger and freight transport
Number of employees
Website www.bdz.bg
Bulgarian State Railways

Map of the Bulgarian railway network
Locale Bulgaria
Dates of operation 1885
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 25kV AC, 50Hz OHLE
Length 4,070 km (2,529.0 mi) (as of 31 Dec 2012)

The Bulgarian State Railways (Bulgarian: Български държавни железници, Balgarski darzhavni zheleznitsi, abbreviated as БДЖ, BDZ or BDŽ) are Bulgaria's state railway company and the largest railway carrier in the country, established as an entity in 1885. The company's headquarters are located in the capital Sofia. Since the 1990s the BDŽ has met serious competition from automotive transport. For the period 1994 to 2010 there is significant drop in the market share in the passenger and freight services and the lack of competent management worsens the situation. Up to 2002 the company owned/managed the railway infrastructure in the country, when according to EU regulations a new state company, the National Railway Infrastructure Company, was founded and became the owner of the infrastructure.

Bulgaria is a member of the International Union of Railways (UIC). The UIC Country Code for Bulgaria is 52.


Company structure

BDZ trains at Pernik railway station
Siemens Desiro

Since the last reforms in 2007, a new organizational structure has been approved.

BDŽ Inc. (a holding company with one shareholder, the Republic of Bulgaria)

Still there are many problems with the organizational structure of the holding. In order to optimize the running costs many of the employees from the administration should be laid off. There is an evident lack of effectiveness in the administration and the main goal of the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Telecommunication is to make the company profitable.

Current traction

Class Manufacturer Traction Type Notes
06 Electroputere – Craiova Diesel-electric
07 Luhanskteplovoz Diesel-electric Ludmilla (locomotive) The most famous locomotives built in the Soviet Union. Same as DB Class 232
10 Siemens AG DMU-2 Desiro Modern diesel-hydraulic multiple-units.
30 Siemens AG EMU-3 Desiro Modern 3 car electric multiple units
31 Siemens AG EMU-4 Desiro 4 car version of class 30
32 RVR Riga EMU-4 Soviet built EMUs. Soviet class ЭР25 (ER25)
33 RVR Riga EMU-4 Soviet built EMUs. Soviet class ЭР33 (ER33)
42.1 Škoda Works Electric
43 Škoda Works Electric
44 Škoda Works Electric Same as Class 43, but with electro-dynamic braking.
45 Škoda Works Electric Same as Class 44. Re-geared for 110 km/h operation for freight trains.
46/46.2 Electroputere – Craiova Electric The LE5100 are the most powerful locomotives in use by BDŽ. Similar to CFR class 40.
51 Ganz Diesel Similar to ZS Class 641 and MÁV Class M42.
52 VEB Lokomotiv und Electrotechnische Werke Diesel-hydraulic DB Class V 60.
55 FAUR Diesel-hydraulic The biggest number of locomotives in the BDŽ fleet.
61 Škoda Works Electric Shunter and light service loco. Famous amongst railfans in Bulgaria due to rarity (~ 20 units) of locomotive.
66 Humboldt-Deutzmotoren A.G. Diesel-hydraulic Sofia Depot has one locomotive of the class, which had to be restored for shunting service in the depot, but works were stopped due to lack of financing. DR Class V20.
75 Henschel & Son Diesel-hydraulic 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge locomotives used on the Septemvri – Dobrinisthe tourist-attraction line.
77 FAUR Diesel-hydraulic 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge locomotive.
81 Камбарский машиностроительный завод
(Kambarka Engineering Works)
Diesel-hydraulic 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge shunting locomotive. Soviet class ТУ7 (TU7)
87 British Rail Engineering Limited
(Crewe Works)
Electric Standard gauge main line locomotives acquired second hand from the United Kingdom. Originally British Rail Class 87. A total of 21 units entered Bulgarian service (one badly damaged by fire at Sofia in 2013).

Narrow gauge railways

The scenic Septemvri-Dobrinishte narrow gauge line was finished in 1945. It is now famous for its beautiful views. It goes through the station of Avramovo, which is the highest railway station on the Balkans at 1267.4 meters. Further on, it passes through the summer and winter tourist centre of Bansko. The line is 760mm gauge, unelectrified, and is primarily served by diesel power locomotives, however there are well preserved steam locomotives that provide attraction tours. Even though it is very attractive to tourists, it is also widely used by the local inhabitants for public transport purposes.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rail transport in Bulgaria.


  1. "News in Brief". Railway Gazette. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  2. "Railway Gazette: BDZ becomes holding company". Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  3. "BDZ freight privatisation called off". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
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