Belgrade – Budapest connection to be opened in 2025

Belgrade – Budapest rail lineBelgrade – Budapest rail line is expected to become operational from 2025, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić announced during a press conference held with the Hungarian President Katalin Novák which paid an official visit to Serbia.

The new line will allow trains to rut at a speed of up to 200 km/h from currently 80 km/h, reducing significantly the journey time by five hours from currently 8 hours to three hours only.

“Despite the difficulties, the new high-speed rail will provide a transport connection in less than three hours between Belgrade and Budapest. I want to thank President Novák for always supporting Serbia’s European integration, but also the rational, pragmatic and normal political views that we jointly represent for a good part of Central Europe,” Vučić said.

President Katalin Novák emphasised that Hungary will support the adoption of decisions the sooner possible accession of Serbia and other countries of the Western Balkans to the EU and assessed that Serbia is needed by the European Union.

Hungary has started the construction of Belgrade – Budapest railway connection in November 2021 included the upgrade of the section between Šorokšar in the outskirts of Budapest and Kelebija on Serbian border.

The construction covers the section between Šorokšar, in Budapest area and Kelebija, a village situated at the border with Serbia. The project included the modernisation of the 152 km single-track and the construction of the double track as well as the installation of the ETCS Level 2.

In Hungary, the project also includes upgrade and modernisation of eight stations and the reconstruction of five stations financed by China’s Exim Bank under a EUR 1.6 billion agreement signed in 2020.

The 350 km Belgrade – Budapest rail line project covers the construction of 184 km tracks in Serbia and 166 km in Hungary.

As part of the railway connection to Budapest, at the beginning of this year Serbia started the dynamic testing on the double-tracked railway between Belgrade and Novi Sad with a DB technical train running at 200 km/h. In March, the Serbian President and the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán officially inaugurated the 75 km Belgrade – Novi Sad railway connection part of the corridor linking the two countries.

The project also covers the modernisation of the 108 km Novi Sad – Subotica railway towards Hungary. This section which requires an investment of USD 1 billion is expected to become operational in 2024. Chinese Export Import Bank is financing 85% of the project’s total cost while the Serbian government covers 15%.

In Serbia, Belgrade – Budapest rail project is implemented into three main sections including the 34.5 km Belgrade – Stara Pazova section, the 40.5 km Stara Pazova – Novi Sad and Novi Sad – Subotica (towards border) with a length of 108 km.

A contract has been signed in 2021 with a consortium comprising the Serbian company Karin Komerc and RZD International covering the upgrade and construction of the second track of the Subotica – Szeged connection while a EUR 11.5 million contract signed with AŽD will ensure the installation of the signalling and command-control systems.

The entire project linking the two capitals is estimated at EUR 4 billion, EUR 2 billion of which are required for infrastructure, signalling and systems in each country.

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