Bulgaria’s National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC) is to trim down staff, cut salaries and close rail lines after suffering BGN50m (approximately $36m) in losses in the first half of 2009.

The new anti-crisis programme developed by the rail company includes a 30% salary reduction starting from 1 September.

In addition, plans to lay off nearly 2,000 employees, close down of some rail lines and sell BGN6m of non-operations assets are under consideration.

The company says the losses occurred due to various factors such as a 20% decrease in incomes in the second half of 2009, a drop in planned expenses and a BGN20m shortfall in financing and unsuccessful tenders.

A delay in payments by the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) has also contributed to the operator’s losses.

The operator has assured the 30% monthly cut in payments will be paid back with interest after 1 January 2010.