Hungary and China both want to conclude talks on conditions for financing the upgrade of the Belgrade-Budapest rail line by the end of this year, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign affairs and trade minister, said in Budapest on Thursday.
Addressing a conference organised by Hungay’s railway association Hungrail, the minister noted that “intensive” negotiations with China’s export-import bank on the project’s financing are under way. The sides have agreed on the interest, maturity and currency of the loan but the stand-by fee and other conditions remain open questions, he added.
Planning and acquiring permits for the upgrade could start early next year and the project is expected to be completed by 2023, he said.
China is financing 85 percent of the cost of upgrading the rail line which it wants to use as part of an export corridor to Europe.
Szijjártó said a high-speed Budapest-Warsaw rail connection should be cut to four hours in order to be competitive,
and a feasibility study is in the pipeline.
Plans are afoot to build a high-speed railway line between Budapest and Cluj (Kolozsvár) in Romania, to be extended by Romania’s railway to Bucharest.
The feasibility study for the project will soon be ordered, the minister said.
Hungary and Slovakia have started talks on resuming traffic on all the nine railway crossings. Passenger trains currently cross the border at three points and freight trains at four.