(MTI) – The Belgrade-Budapest railway line reconstruction will start in 2015, Alexander Antic, the Serbian transport minister, said in Belgrade on Monday.
Antic told a press conference after meeting Chinese officials who will help with the project’s financing that the Serbian section of the reconstruction will cost about 880 million euros, while the Hungarian section is estimated to cost twice as much due to the bad condition of tracks. The railway line is planned to be turned into an electric, dual-gauge line enabling fast-speed train travel.
A working group of Hungarian, Serbian and Chinese officials will meet in January to discuss the details of the project, Antic said.
Serbia wants the rail line to enable train travel at a speed of 200 kph which is open to freight and passenger services, too, he said.
On Friday, Hungarian officials met a delegation from China’s National Development and Reform Commission in Budapest to discuss cooperation on the 2.89 billion dollar Budapest-Belgrade railway upgrade. The modernisation of a 40-kilometre Serbian section of the 374-kilometre Budapest-Belgrade railway line has been completed and the rest of the line now awaits reconstruction, said state secretary for foreign trade and investment Peter Szijjarto after the meeting.
China proposed at the Eastern and Central Europe-China summit last year in Warsaw that it would start a 10-billion-dollar fund to finance developments in the central and eastern European region. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang and Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic signed an agreement on cooperation on the rail line in Bucharest on November 25.