„Serbian Railways“ Director General Dragoljub Simonović and his associates held today a meeting with representatives of Chinese EXIM Bank and Hungarian State Railways (MAV) regarding the continuation of activities on realization of the project of modernization of Belgrade – Budapest line.
-The involvement of local companies in the modernization of Belgrade – Budapest railway line is one of the priorities for Serbian economy, bearing in mind that it is an almost € 1.5 billion investment. That doesn´t mean that Chinese companies will not be engaged, but it is important to find the right model for cooperation – said Mr. Simonović.
Trilateral meeting of the working group was primarily technical, and there was an opportunity to inform Chinese party about current condition of railway infrastructure on the section in Serbia from the technical and operative aspect.
-EXIM Bank, a state Bank of the People´s Republic of China, realizes potential and significance of modernization of this railway route for Serbia and Hungary. Joint participation of the representatives of both countries in negotiations with EXIM Bank represents an excellent starting point and I am sure that we are on the right track to realize this project – said Huihong Gong, vice president for concessional loans of EXIM Bank. She estimated that preparation of feasibility study for the section from Belgrade to state border with Hungary represents the starting point for further negotiations, and that it is necessary to intensify activities in order to finish this work as soon as possible.
Guests from China emphasized successful examples of cooperation with Chinese companies which were involved in projects of building road network in Serbia and Zemun – Borca bridge, and expressed the firm belief that this cooperation could be extended to the railway infrastructure domain.
According to Simonović words, the various options are being considered, and given the importance and specific nature of the project, it is important that the first decision should be made at the state level between representatives of the Serbian and Chinese governments.
The Belgrade – Subotica railway line was built from 1882 to 1884 and the last overhaul was done in 1980, that is, 33 years ago. In 2005, 14 kilometers of Čortanovci – Petrovaradin line were repaired from the European Investment Bank loan. It is a single-track railway, electrified, with a total length of cca. 149 kilometers.
This project is the first on the priority list when it comes to rail traffic Master Plan for Transport Infrastructure in Serbia from 2010 to 2027, which was adopted by the National Council for Infrastructure.