The situation at Bulgarian state railways BDZ has been allowed by a succession of governments to decay into crisis, and now the question is whether the reforms planned by the current Government are appropriate, or indeed viable.
Facing job cuts, employees have announced an open-ended strike, even though they say that they agree with the need for reforms. The European Commission has taken an interest, starting a formal investigation because of doubts about the workability of the reform plan.
However, while ensuring that its plans are acceptable under European Union rules, the Government needs to be bold and relentless in pushing through reforms.
Not only does Bulgaria require a properly-functioning railway system, but also it needs to address the crisis as part of wider economic measures.
As a matter of priority, not only do the reforms need to augment the safety of train travel in Bulgaria, but every caution must be exercised to prevent a repeat of the tragedies and disruptions of recent years.
Beyond that priority, BDZ will require investment, in parallel with dealing with the issue of its vast debts, to bring the train service up to speed in terms of efficiency through the use of modern information technology and, at the same time, terminating the cumbersome and outmoded procedures inherited from the past.