The upgrade project of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, now under way, will be a “benchmark” as this is “the first Chinese-Hungarian development project implemented under the European Union’s rules in cooperation with Chinese partners in Hungary”, the minister of technology and industry said in Kiskőrös, in southern Hungary, during an on-site visit on Friday.
László Palkovics said the project, worth a total 2 billion dollars and scheduled to be complete by 2025, will facilitate fast shipping of Chinese goods to Europe via Greek ports.
The minister said the renewed railway line would be part of the Silk Road linking Asia with Europe, adding that it would be a substitute for another section, through Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan, which could not currently be used. He noted that he had signed an agreement with his Serbian, Bulgarian and Turkish counterparts that the middle section of the same route, via the Bosphorus, would be linked to the Budapest-Belgrade line. He said it was in Hungary’s interest that Asian goods should reach Europe via Hungary.
Zoltán Pafferi, head of national transport group MAV-Volan, noted that the Budapest-Subotica (Szabadka) railway line had been opened in 1882. The whole project, between Budapest and Belgrade, involves renewal of 341 kilometres of lines, 91 railway crossings, 13 pedestrian subways, 26 lifts, 29,000 square metres of platforms and parking facilities for nearly 800 cars. The project will also ensure 59 kilometres of fences protecting residential areas from noise and vibrations, while the whole line will be equipped with the most modern controls and security systems, he added.
Pafferi also cited the European Union’s goal to redirect 50 percent of medium-distance passenger and cargo traffic to railways and ships, thus reducing transport emissions by 60 percent by 2050.