Сhina will construct another high-speed railway in Serbia

The Government of Serbia is planning to construct a new high-speed railway. It will facilitate the train services between Belgrade and Niš, the country’s third-largest city. The project is estimated at 2 billion euros and will be performed by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

“Just as we are already modernising the railway from Belgrade to the border with Hungary, we will also build a high-speed railway from Belgrade to Niš, which will have a speed of up to 200 kilometres per hour,” Zorana Mihajlović, the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and the Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, said to Serbian media. According to her, the project includes the modernisation of the 204-kilometre existing line. Its timeframe is scheduled for 2021-2023. When the works are finished, the travel time between Belgrade and Niš will reduce from 4 hours 40 minutes (or even more) to 1 hour 20 minutes.

Chinese help

The modernisation works on the Belgrade – Niš railway will be carried out by the Chinese company CRBC. In 2019 the Government of Serbia signed a related framework agreement with the Chinese contractor. Currently, the parties are discussing financial issues. It is quite possible the project will be funded by China. “When we talk about financing, we will see whether the construction will be financed via some kind of a preferential loan because there is such cooperation with the People’s Republic of China on infrastructure projects,” Zorana Mihajlović explained.

It is worth to add that the preliminary project included the conventional modernisation of the Belgrade – Niš – Preševo line. CRBC estimated it at 760 million euros. Afterwards, the Government of Serbia reviewed it and decided to focus on the Belgrade – Niš section but to provide a higher speed on it. As a result, the current value of the construction works is 2 billion euros. The Niš – Preševo section will be upgraded after completing the mentioned line to Niš.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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