Reconstruction of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line – We’ve gathered the most important information on this matter

Budapest-Belgrad-railway-line

As we also prepare goods for rail transport we try to keep up with new happenings and changes. Such is the reconstruction of the Hungarian section of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line nr.150. Another reason why we are concerned is that the line is also passing through Dunaharaszti- the main factory unit of our company, Strapa-Pack Kft. can be found here. We gathered the most important information without bias.

What is exactly happening?

In 2014, the government decided to develop domestic transport infrastructure – in the hope of increasing Hungary’s economic competitiveness. The aim of the project under Serbian–Hungarian–Chinese cooperation is to upgrade and increase the capacity of the Hungarian stretch – from Soroksár to Kelebia – of the nearly 140-year-old railway line.

The rail line would serve as the primary route for Chinese goods transported from the Greek port of Athens-Pyreus to Europe. With this investment the government would also like to contribute to the climate targets of the EU – that is, to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 90% by 2050, one of the means of which is to prioritise rail transport over less environmentally friendly modes of transport.

The Budapest-Belgrade railway line – When and how will the development take place?

The winning consortium was announced in 2019 (the winner from the Hungarian side is RM International Zrt.), planning and licensing started in July 2020. The completion of project is expected by 2025, the financing would be covered by Chinese loans – 85% and 15% own contribution.

The single-track line is being replaced by two tracks, new station buildings, pedestrian crossings and car parks are being installed, and the allowed speed limit will also be increased. Freight trains can move with 225 kN axle load on the new track.

 As we can read on the official website of the government: By the development of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line we also develop Hungarian national economy, Hungarian green transport technology, and Hungarian-Chinese and Hungarian-Serbian relations…”

The railway line in numbers

  • The total expected cost is estimated to be HUF 750 billion[1]
  • Total length of section :339 track km
  • The Hungarian section is more than 150 kilometers long
  • Maximum speed is increased to 160 km/h for passenger traffic
  • 188,000 square meters noise protection wall will be built
  • Increased, 55 cm platform height for reduced mobility
  • Up to 740 metres long freight trains can be accepted by stations
  • It is estimated that the current 8-hour journey time between Budapest and Belgrade can be reduced to 3 1/2 hours [2]

Where’s the project now?

15/10/21 – The preparatory works, and in a solemn manner the symbolic laying of the foundation stone also took place at Kiskunhalas station on 15 October 2021.  Over the next few weeks, months, the task will be to transport and store the necessary materials, to develop the depot and to make the area suitable for dismantling the old track. Working does not affect rail transport, the trains will continue to run according to the regular, officially published timetable and no disruption is expected either in case of rail freight transport (although no official communication has been issued by the government in this regard).

02/01/22 – The contract for the construction of the northern section (Ferencváros station-Soroksár) was concluded on January 2 2021. The winner of the public procurement tender of The Chinese-Hungarian Railway Nonprofit Ltd. is FeSo Consortium. The necessary funding for the implementation of the subproject is not yet available.[3]

The final construction plans of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line will expectedly be completed by 2022. April-May and major works will begin in August  after the construction of the Szeged-Subotica line.[4]

In the light of the above data, it is clear that this is the largest domestic railway investment to date. As there are other alternatives to the Greek port of Pyreus to transport Chinese goods to Western Europe, some doubt the legitimacy of the development from the point of view of economic recovery.

At present, only rough estimates have come to light as to how many years the project will take to bring in a substantial amount of money. We look forward to the outcome.

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[1] Index domestic news (2021.10.15.)- The Budapest-Belgrade railway line will be launched with an investment of HUF 750 billion. Downloaded: 2021.11.04. Source: https://index.hu/belfold/2021/10/15/kelebia-szerbia-vasutvonal-korszerusites-alapko-letetel-itm-palkovics-mav-homolya/

[2] MÁV Zrt. (2021.10.15.)- Modernization of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line – laying of the foundation stone. Downloaded: 2021.11.04. Source: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/mav/budapest-belgrad-vasutvonal-korszerusitese-alapkoletetel

[3] Index economy (14.01.2022) – It turns out who is building the northern section of the Budapest–Belgrade railway line. Downloaded: 2022.03.17. Source: https://index.hu/gazdasag/2022/01/14/budapest-belgrad-vasutvonal-kozbeszerzes/

[4] HVG economy – In August, the construction of the Budapest–Belgrade railway can begin in full swing. Downloaded: 2022.03.17.Source: https://hvg.hu/ingatlan/20220310_budapest_belgrad_v0_kiskunhalas_forum

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