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The modernisation of the Belgrade – Budapest line (Serbian section): The first part

The modernisation of the Belgrade – Budapest line (Serbian section): The first part
photo: Archives/Railway
04 / 05 / 2021

Today we begin a three-part series on the modernization of the railway track between Belgrade and Budapest. In the following articles we will inform you about the course and technical parameters of the Serbian section of this track. Let's start with a description of this project.

Project description
The modernisation of the Belgrade – Budapest line has been split into 2 separate projects partially funded by international sources:

- Stara Pazova – Novi Sad is being implemented through a loan from Russia,

- Belgrade (Central station) – Stara Pazova 34.5 km and Novi Sad – state border (Kelebija) 108.2 km, currently involving the People's Republic of China, Hungary, and the Republic of Serbia, as a project of the (1+16) China Central and East Europe States initiative, as set out in the MoU on Cooperation in the Modernisation and Reconstruction of the Hungarian- Serbian Railway, signed between the parties in November 2014.

The aim of this project is to rebuild and modernise the existing old single-track rail line Belgrade – Subotica – state border (Kelebija), on the comprehensive rail line Belgrade – Budapest (Corridor Xb), into a modern, interoperable double-track rail line for mixed passenger and freight traffic, with a speed of up to 200 km/h and in accordance with the relevant TSIs.

The Role and Effects of the Investment

Modernisation of the Belgrade – Stara Pazova – Novi Sad – Subotica – Hungarian border rail line is a national priority, considering Serbia's central geographical location in the Western Balkan region. The railway line is essential to the Pan European Transport Corridor X and the South East Europe Core Transport Network, which links the EU with the Balkans and Turkey and further with the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea, as well as with the Middle East to Egypt and the Red Sea. However, due to years of underinvestment in maintenance and infrastructure, the line is not able to meet current requirements. Serbia is a signatory to AGC, AGTC and SEECP, as well as to the Treaty establishing the Transport Community. These agreements define the need for infrastructure to comply with international standards and performance criteria. This project will contribute to the achievement of these standards. The sustainability of the project is ensured as the maintenance of the railway infrastructure is the responsibility of PERS and must be financed from their financial resources and from the state budget.

The line directly connects three of the five largest cities in Serbia and is of major importance to the Serbian economy by improving rail freight transport and by increasing passenger and freight rail competitiveness.