Budapest, April 12 (MTI) – Lawmakers on Tuesday approved the upgrade of the Hungarian section of the Budapest-Belgrade rail line. The upgrade is expected to cost 472 billion forints (EUR 1.5bn), 85 percent of which will be financed by a 20-year loan from China.
The investment was approved with 123 votes in favour, 6 against and 45 abstentions.
The Hungarian-Chinese inter-governmental agreement on the project was signed last November.
China is motivated by the prospect of transporting Chinese goods from the Greek docks of Piraeus to western Europe.
When work on the line is complete, trains of up to a speed of 160kmh will be able to roll on the upgraded tracks, including 740 metre-long freight trains.
The upgrade is expected to be completed sometime in 2018 and will reduce travel time between Budapest and Belgrade from eight to 3.5 hours.