The EU-funded technical assistance (TA) support for a WBIF project which involves the Corridor X in Serbia has been launched by the representatives of the European Union Delegation in Serbia, the European Investment Bank, Serbian Ministry of Transport and Serbian Railways. The EU has allocated a EUR 3.5 million technical assistance grant through WBIF for the preparation of the documents prior to implementation.
The support is provided for the modernisation and construction of the Niš – Preševo railway line providing transport connection with North Macedonia.
The project concerns the rehabilitation of a 132.6 km single railway line between Brestovac, 15 km south of Niš, and Preševo at the state border of Serbia with North Macedonia.
The scope of the Infrastructure Project Facility 8 technical assistance for the project includes option analysis, feasibility study and cost-benefit analysis, surveys, including geotechnical, topographic and environmental baseline surveys. Preliminary design for the rehabilitation of the section to allow a speed of up to 120km/h, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and tender documents for construction works and design build conditions are also part of the funded technical assistance activities.
The upgrade of the railway line will meet European standards, increase train speeds and capacity and improve safety, particularly at the level crossings and will improve the competition with road transport, especially for international and transit freight traffic.
EUR 182.25 million is the total value of the investment for the rehabilitation of Niš – Preševo railway line. A EUR 90.5 million loan is provided by the European Investment Bank, EUR 4 million are covered by the EU grants for TA and EUR 70 million are expected to come from WBIF grants. EUR 14.67 million is the national contribution for the implementation of the project.
“The Ministry is grateful for the WBIF grant funds with which the subproject is to be implemented. This is a very important railway line at EU level and its role will be to shift the freight and passenger transport from roads to railways,” said Vida Jerković, the Head of Department for Railway Transport at Serbian Ministry of Transport.
The objective of the project is the completion and modernisation of Corridor X in Serbia, part of on the Oriental-East Mediterranean Corridor. The Niš – Preševo rail section is one of the oldest railway line in Serbia part of the Corridor X which crosses Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia and Greece, leading also through Turkey to Asia.