Serbia starts upgrade of first section of Belgrade-Budapest railway line

Serbia has launched work on modernization and reconstruction of the first section of the high-speed railway link from Belgrade to Budapest, local media reported. This is the first cross-border project within the cooperation between China and CEE countries jointly implemented by Serbia, Hungary and China. The works on the 34.5km-long section running from Beograd-Centrar to Stara Pazova will take 36 months. A consortium of China Railways International and China Communications Construction Company has been picked as the main contractor on the project, which is estimated to cost USD350.1m. Local companies will participate with up to 46% of the work execution and procurement. The works on the section will be financed through a USD297.6m loan from China Exim Bank. The loan will be repaid in 20 years with five-year grace period.

The reconstruction works in Serbia will unfold in three phases. Works on the Stara Pazova-Novi Sad stretch should be completed by 2020, while talks on the Novi Sad-Subotica section are yet to be launched. Serbian railways have signed an agreement with Russia’s company RZD International on upgrade of the 40-km long section Stara Pazova-Novi Sad. The value of the works is USD338m and will be funded by a Russian USD800m infrastructure upgrade loan. The total value of the project in Serbia is estimated at about USD2bn.

The construction of the high speed railway line that will connect the capital cities of Serbia and Hungary will shorten the time travel from eight to less than three hours. The upgrade will enable trains to run at a speed of 200km/h. The Belgrade-Budapest railway line is 340km-long, of which 184km fall on Serbian territory. The plan is the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway link to be ready by early 2023.

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