The railway between the Bucharest North Railway Station and Otopeni Airport will not be ready before 2020.
The idea had been revived in 2016 and should have been ready this year according to plans, but Transport authorities were unable to review the feasibility study in due time.
The project only involves the building of 2 km of new rail tracks, a passage under DN1 road and a station at the airport.
Authorities seem to be prioritising the project of a subway line to the airport. However, it would cost 13 times more than the railway and it would not be ready before 2023.
There is already a train line from the North Railway Station to the airport, but the train takes a longer route, through Chitila and Mogosoaia, and stops 3 km away from the airport, so passengers need to take a bus to make the connection. It takes much longer to take this route (80-100 minutes in total) than going to the airport by car or the special buses that go from the centre to the airport.
The direct railway link between the city and the airport was one of the most important transport projects started by the Ciolos cabinet towards the end of 2016, at an estimated cost of EUR 100 million. The project was included in the Transport Master Plan and it was due to get non-reimbursable European funding.
The ideal outcome was a fast train that would take 18 minutes to get from the North Station to the airport, along with other, slower trains which would make additional stops.
Delays in the project first came up due to issues with an auction which was caught between CFR and The National Public Acquisitions Agency, which pushed it back from the original due date of 2018 to Q3 of 2019.
New delays are now expected according to hotnews.ro, citing sources from CFR Infrastructure – a review of documentation is needed on the feasibility study, which means that the trains will not be introduced for until at least 2020.
The railroad would be 19 km long in total, of which 17 km are already built.
Former transport minister Felix Stroe did not make any announcements about the railway link to the airport, but did seem to prioritise the subway line, a much more expensive project (around EUR 1.3 billion) that would take significantly longer to build. In one cabinet meeting, Stroe had said that the subway line could be ready by 2020, a statement which attracted strong criticism as it was seen as irresponsible and unrealistic.
The subway line would be 14.2 km long and should take four years to build, but the experience of the M5 line in Drumul Taberei, which was due to be completed in 2013 and is still not done, leads many to doubt that this is an achievable goal.