The Serbian Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Goran Vesić, and his Hungarian counterpart, János Lázár, have officially re-launched the Subotica – Szeged rail connection which will be operated by five pairs of trains each day delivering regular commuter services linking the two cities.
“Serbia and Hungary are friendly countries, and this is just another step that shows that at the moment there are two countries that cooperate better. We have the opportunity to have five trains a day from Subotica to Szeged and from Szeged to Subotica. These are friendship trains and will greatly benefit people from both sides of the border,” the Serbian Minister said.
The event took place at the Palić railway station and the first arrival of the train with officials travelling from Szeged to Subotica was also welcomed by the mayor of Subotica, Stevan Bakić, which emphasised that “the event is a big step for the city of Subotica, as well as for Serbia and Hungary especially for the citizens of Palić, Hajdukov, Bački Vinograd and Šupljak. The re-establishment of the railway line between Subotica and Szeged will contribute to the strengthening of the ties between the two nations and a stronger connection between the two sister cities.”
“This is not just a symbolic event, but something that will actually work, as we will deliver five trains each day on the Subotica – Szeged rail connection. Serbia helped us realise our old plan, because today we can say that we Hungarians and Serbian people stick together. Today and this line is a symbol of that friendship,” the Hungarian Minister said, adding that efforts are being made to ensure that the two countries “can get closer to work together, to be able to travel not only by road, but also by train, and that you can’t get to Hungary by just one road, but by several crossings.”
On October 18, 2021, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, launched the reconstruction works for the 45 km Subotica – Szeged rail line to deliver faster passenger and freight rail services connecting the two countries. The two countries are also working together for the construction of Budapest – Belgrade railway with Subotica being at the centre of this line.
In June 2021, the contract for the upgrade of the railway line linking the two cities and two countries has been signed with a consortium of Karin Komerc MD and RZD International.
As part of the modernisation project, the railway section between Szeged-Rendező and the Röszke border, more than 13 km of tracks and the surrounding areas were renewed. Freight trains were allowed on the line from August 2022 and passenger traffic has been re-established on November 28, 2023.
“The close and effective cooperation of Hungarian and Serbian railway experts was necessary so that not only freight traffic, but also passenger traffic could resume on this railway line after an eight-year hiatus, with a schedule offering – no less than 5 pairs of trains per day – capable of serving real mobility needs as well. Thanks to all railway passengers from here and beyond,” Zoltán Pafféri, the CEO of MÁV Zrt., said.
The price of a full-price ticket valid from Szeged Nagyállomás station to Palić or Subotica terminus is EUR 6.20. The journey time between the two cities is roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes, including the border procedures, with trains running at 120 km/h. The first train leaves Szeged at 5:19 a.m. and arrives in Subotica at 7:00 a.m., and departs from Subotica at 6:03 a.m. and arrives in Szeged at 7:25 a.m., which ensures morning business traffic, MÁV says. In addition, with the new timetable, passengers can plan a one-day trip from Budapest to Subotica or Palić train station tavelling with Napfény IC train from Budapest Nyugati station at 5:53 a.m., arriving back at 9 p.m.
The resumption of passenger traffic will promote interregional connections between Szeged, Subotica and their metropolitan areas. The project for the development of the Subotica – Szeged railway line will be fully completed in 2025.