TASR, Teraz.sk - 26.7.2013 EN


Feasibility Study on Broad-Gauge Rail to Be Complete By 2014 or Earlier

      Bratislava, July 26 (TASR) - The timetable of the feasibility study on the project designed to extend the broad-gauge railway from Cierna nad Tisou (Kosice region) through Slovakia all the way to Vienna will be decided at the General Assembly of Breitspur Planunsgesellschaft, a company consisting of railway infrastructure owners from Austria, Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia.
      "The General Assembly will take place in accordance with company statutes, with the exact date not set yet. The timetable and deadline of the study will be included in due time in the tender documentation," spokesperson of the Slovak railway infrastructure company ZSR Martina Pavlikova told TASR on Friday.
      According to TASR information, the study is expected to be completed by the end of 2013 or the first half of 2014 at the very latest. The analysis is tasked with evaluating the environmental impacts, determining the route and construction details.
      Furthermore, the study is to determine the location of new cargo terminal in the Vienna-Bratislava region. "The new cargo terminal won't be situated in Vienna the way it was reported by media, but quite likely in the existing industrial park Kittsee or Parndorf. That would be the location cheapest for Austria and most economically  advantageous in terms of geopolitical strategy for Slovakia," lawyer Jana Martinkova told TASR, citing Austrian sources. Martinkova has been dealing with the initiatve for many years.
      According to the internet website pluska.sk, Slovakia's major competitor for the project is Hungary, which has expressed an interest in the broad-gauge railway, too. The project is opposed by SDKU and Most-Hid political parties (currently in Opposition), as they are concerned that hundreds of people, employed at current cargo terminal (where Slovak 1,435mm gauge meets 1,520mm broad-gauge rail track) in Cierna nad Tisou, losing their jobs. "The way Prime Minister Robert Fico is leading the talks will make 3,000 people in Cierna nad Tisou jobless. Why can't we come up with conditions that would make the construction of the railway to Vienna not worth the trouble?" Most-Hid vice-chair Zsolt Simon told pluska.sk.
      The rejection of the project due to political reasons could cost Slovakia, Martinkova told pluska.sk. "By having the traffic diverted via Hungary, we would lose jobs in Cierna nad Tisou anyway because the terminal there would see less cargo bound for western Europe."
      According to the preliminary studies, the operation of broad-gauge railway is expected to create more than 8,000 jobs in Slovakia, with the construction of the new route from Kosice to Bratislava to provide employment for another 2,000 people over five years. The project enjoys the support from the Government for the moment, which has an interest in its success. "Those who want to withdraw from the project are not aware of the reality in the international context," Fico told pluska.sk.