Serbia Pushes Ahead with High-Speed Rail, Nears Budapest Link

Serbia's 180-kilometer Belgrade-Subotica high-speed rail section is set to be completed by the end of 2024, with the Novi Sad-Subotica section already 80% complete. Trains have reached a top speed of 200 kilometers per hour in dynamic tests, paving the way for faster travel between Serbia and Hungary.

Trim Correspondents
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Serbia Pushes Ahead with High-Speed Rail, Nears Budapest Link

Serbia Pushes Ahead with High-Speed Rail, Nears Budapest Link

Serbia is making significant progress on its high-speed rail ambitions, with the 180-kilometer Belgrade-Subotica section of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line set for completion by the end of 2024. The double-track electrified railway, spanning a total of 341.7 kilometers between the two capital cities, is designed for a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour in Serbia and 160 kilometers per hour in Hungary.

Why this matters: The development of high-speed rail infrastructure in Serbia has far-reaching implications for regional connectivity and economic growth, facilitating faster and more efficient travel between countries. As the project advances, it is likely to have a positive impact on trade, tourism, and cultural exchange between Serbia, Hungary, and other European nations.

The Novi Sad-Subotica section is already 80% complete, and dynamic tests have seen trains reach the impressive top speed of 200 kilometers per hour. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic expressed confidence in the project's timeline, stating, "We are confident that our Hungarian friends will finish on the Hungarian side by the end of 2025 or February-March 2026."

The impact of the high-speed rail line is already being felt, with the completed section between Belgrade and Novi Sad carrying nearly 3 million passengers in its first year of operation. Since 2022, the railway has transported over 7 million people between Serbia's two largest cities. The benefits extend beyond Serbia's borders, as long-distance trains within Hungary are expected to see a one-hour reduction in travel time between Budapest and Kelebia, while suburban passengers can anticipate up to a 20-minute decrease in journey time to Kunszentmiklós-Tass.

The Novi Sad – Vrbas southern section of the 108-kilometer corridor between Novi Sad, Subotica, and the Hungarian border at Kelebia is currently undergoing reconstruction to modern standards. Test runs are underway, with a DB Systemtechnik's Siemens Vectron locomotive (193 969) reaching speeds of 200 kilometers per hour.

As Serbia continues to invest in its high-speed rail infrastructure, the country moves closer to its goal of seamless connectivity with neighboring Hungary and beyond. The completion of the Belgrade-Subotica section by the end of 2024 marks a significant milestone in this ambitious project, paving the way for faster, more efficient travel between the two nations and throughout the region.

Key Takeaways

  • Serbia's Belgrade-Subotica high-speed rail section to be completed by end-2024.
  • Maximum speed: 200 km/h in Serbia, 160 km/h in Hungary.
  • Project to boost regional connectivity, trade, tourism, and cultural exchange.
  • Novi Sad-Subotica section 80% complete, dynamic tests reach 200 km/h.
  • Completed Belgrade-Novi Sad section carried 3 million passengers in 1st year.