Hungary-Serbia Railway provides more convenience to locals

The Hungary-Serbia Railway is revived with Chinese high-speed rail technology. /CMG

The Hungary-Serbia Railway is revived with Chinese high-speed rail technology. /CMG

The two-year anniversary of the Belgrade-Novi Sad segment of the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway, which links Serbia and Hungary, was celebrated on March 19. The 75-kilometer stretch has carried 6.83 million passenger trips since it started operating in 2022.

A partnership of Chinese companies, led by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), is building the high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest. This project holds great significance in the cooperation between China and the nations of Central and Eastern Europe as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

CREC estimates that the remaining portion of the railway line will be operational by the end of this year.

At the Belgrade Center railway station, people line up on the platforms early in the morning and wait for the arrival of the train Coko, which is named after the Serbian word for falcon. The train runs as quickly as the coko, taking only thirty minutes to travel from Belgrade to Novi Sad.

A map of the Hungary-Serbia Railway. /Yu Rong and Yin Yating

A map of the Hungary-Serbia Railway. /Yu Rong and Yin Yating

Nenad Stanisavljevic, head of the public relations department at Serbian Railways, noted that an increasing number of Serbians are now accustomed to taking the high-speed rail, as it is comfortable and provides a safer and more convenient travel experience.

“I have taken the high-speed train to Novi Sad with my husband. It is very fast. It is a change in the way we travel since we used to drive to Novi Sad. I’m looking forward to the operation of the whole line,” Marina, a Belgrade native, told Global Times.

Sandor, a Budapest resident, is excitedly awaiting the completion of the Belgrade-Budapest railway. “I am looking forward to the completion of the whole line,” Sandor told Global Times. “I will take the high-speed train from Budapest to Subotica as soon as the section opens,” Sandor said.

The track-laying work for a 108-kilometer-long section of the Hungary-Serbia Railway between Novi Sad and Subotica in Serbia was completed in April.

The total length of the railway is 341.7 km, with 183.1 km in Serbia. Currently, the overall construction of the Novi Sad-Subotica section is 80 percent complete.

Dynamic testing by European third-party agencies showed that the trains can achieve a top speed of 200 km per hour between Novi Sad and Vrbas. All performances are up to standard, assuring that the Serbian section of the Hungary-Serbia Railway can become operational by the end of this year.

The travel time from Belgrade to the border city of Subotica is expected to be greatly reduced, once the Serbian section of the railway is put into operation. The railway is of great significance for deepening cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe, and for building an international passageway for China-EU trade.