stretching along the Prague-Vienna/Bratislava-Budapest –Bucharest-Constanta and –Vidin-Sofia-Thessaloniki-Athens axis, is run by cooperation, common work and efforts of the railway Infrastructure Manager and Capacity-Allocation companies of seven countries, who are committed
to offer reliable, high-quality, competitive freight transport services, and to build on the opinion of business partners to attain their satisfaction,
to be a worthy part of the European railway network by becoming an essential connection between Central Europe and South-East Europe, and form a link to Asia through the Black Sea and Aegean Sea ports,
to facilitate the environmentally sustainable development of the European economy and the achievement of a better quality of life for its people.
Orient Corridor runs form Central-Europe to Eastern- and Southern-Europe, connecting the most of the Member States among the nine rail freight corridors determined by Regulation 913/2010/EC, namely: Czech Republic, Austria, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, between the cities of Prague-Vienna/Bratislava-Budapest — Vidin-Sofia-Thessaloniki-Athens as well as Budapest — Bucharest-Constanta.
Besides the main lines along the principal route outlined in the Regulation, the Corridor includes alternative routes frequently used for re-routing trains in case of disturbance on the main lines, and connecting lines, sections linking terminals and freight areas to the main lines. The length of RFC7 main and alternative lines (without taking into consideration the connecting lines) is almost 5900 km.
The length of the corridor route sections are very different among the involved countries, Austria has the shortest one with about 350 km (approx. 6% of the whole corridor) and Romania has the longest part, about 2200 km corridor line (approx. 37 % of the total length).
In geographical terms, there are three countries which have sea connection therefore their opportunities to sea ports and terminals are substantial for the corridor. At the same time, the Danube, the biggest river in Europe and an important international river transport route, connects five of the corridor countries, including most of the landlocked ones.
Countries are different from the economic background point of view as well. Six of them rely greatly on the EU Cohesion Fund policy therefore their infrastructure mostly develops on the basis of the division of EU funds. Most of these countries have no high-speed lines at all, and the quality of infrastructure needs development at many sections.
The main technical characteristics of the corridor overall are as follows.
The total length of main lines is approx. 3,900 km, and the length of alternative and connecting lines is almost 2,500 km altogether.
About two-thirds of the total length of the main route includes double-track sections, and about one-third is single-track, plus a 33 km three-track section is also included. The proportion of double-track sections is somewhat lower in the alternative and connecting lines (58%).
Traction power is 25 kV AC on the biggest part of the main lines (almost 2,900 km, 77%) and on approx. 58% of alternative and connecting lines. Diesel traction is applicable on almost 15% of the main route and 24% of the alternative one, while at the remaining sections 15 kV AC and 3 kV DC traction power is used.
The allowed axle load is 22,5 t (or more) on 60% of the main line sections and 20 t on the rest. The proportion is similar in case of alternative lines, too.
Trackside ERTMS has been installed on a relatively short part of the corridor, i.e. 360 km, but it is under realization on a major part of its lengths, i.e. along 2,000 km. Rolling stock equipped with on-board ETCS unit is in operation mainly by Austrian, Bulgarian and Greek railway undertakings, but installation is underway in other involved counties, too.
Orient Corridor has connections with the following other RFCs:
in Prague with Rail Freight Corridor 9 (to be set up by 10 November 2013)
in Bratislava/Vienna with Rail Freight Corridor 5 (to be set up by 10 November 2015)
in Budapest with Rail Freight Corridor 6 (to be set up by 10 November 2013)
RFC7 also overlaps greatly with the routes of other corridor conceptions, such as
TEN-T priority axis 22, which runs from Nürnberg and Dresden to Constanta and Athens (common line from Prague to Constanta and Athens),
ERTMS E which runs from Dresden to Constanta (common line from Prague to Constanta),
RNE corridor 10, which runs from Hamburg to Budapest (common line from Prague to Budapest) and RNE corridor 9, which runs from Vienna to Kulata and Constanta as well as to Varna, Burgas and Svilengrad (common line from Vienna to Constanta and to Kulata).
We believe that the overlap with other railway corridor concepts facilitates the development of the freight corridor, partly thanks to the existing cooperation in their framework, partly due to the fact that EU support is mostly allocated to line sections that form part of an international axis and therefore can have major European added value.