After a thirty-year hiatus, freight transport along the Szeged-Röszke railway line has resumed, with the first cargo train passing through Serbia on Monday evening before proceeding to the port of Piraeus and on to China, Dávid Vitézy, the Ministry of Technology and Industry state secretary for transport, told a press conference at the site.
The project received 40 billion forints (EUR 100m) of government support.
The completion of the renovation has paved the way for the full reconstruction of the Hungarian section of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line which, he said, catered to growing demand for a competitive and environmentally friendly mode of transport connecting Europe to China and, more broadly, to Asia via Turkey via Balkan routes.
The development of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line will provide a solution for both land transport needs, via Turkey, and combined water and rail transport needs. Thus, the most important rail transport routes from Asia will pass through Hungary, opening up huge potential for economic development, he said.
The renewed Röszke line, together with the investment on the Serbian side, will reconnect Szeged and Subotica on a modern railway line. The development will continue on the Hungarian side, the renovation of the section – including the overhead line – should be completed by next autumn, and passenger transport can start then, Dávid Vitézy said.
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Zoltán Pafféri, President and CEO of MÁV Zrt., reminded that the 20 wagons of Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt. are the first trains to pass through the Szeged-Röszke line in seven years. The line, built in 1863, ceased to operate regular services in 2015.
The European Union has set a target of increasing the share of rail and waterborne transport in short- and medium-distance freight and passenger transport by 50 percent by 2050, thus reducing emissions by 60 percent.
The demand for freight transport between Budapest and Belgrade has already increased compared to previous years, and this demand can really develop once the project is completed,” said the CEO.
Zoltán Pafféri said it was symbolic that the first train on the renovated Röszke line is heading for China, proving that European businesses have a return.
MÁV Zrt. will be able to guarantee the border crossing for up to ten trains a day between 18:00 and 08:00 from 1 August, he said.
At the same time, the President and CEO asked drivers on the Szeged-Röszke line not to drive out of routine and to approach level crossings with special care. As part of the project, 13 level crossings on the line will be modernised, with light or light and semi-blocking, and the crossing roads will also be renovated.
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