|Owner||Serbian Railways, ŽICG|
|Operator(s)||Serbian Railways, ŽPCG|
|Line length||476 km (296 mi)|
|Number of tracks||1|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||25 kV, 50 Hz AC|
|Operating speed||70 km/h (43 mph) (Currently)|
75 km/h (47 mph)–120 km/h (75 mph) (Designed)
The Belgrade–Bar railway is a standard-gauge railway, 476 km (296 mi) long. Of this length, 301 km (187 mi) of the railway goes through Serbia, and 175 km (109 mi) through Montenegro. It is electrified with 25 kV, 50 Hz AC along the entire corridor. It passes through 254 tunnels of total length of 114,435 m (375,443 ft) and over 435 bridges (total length 14,593 m (47,877 ft)). The longest tunnels are "Sozina", 6.17 km (4 mi), and "Zlatibor", 6.169 km (4 mi). The biggest and the best known bridge is Mala Rijeka Viaduct, 498 m (1,634 ft) long and 198 m (650 ft) above ground level.
The highest point of the railway is at 1,032 m (3,386 ft) above mean sea level, at the town of Kolašin. The railway descends to 40m above mean sea level at Podgorica in a relatively short distance, thus the gradient of 25‰ on this section.
A small 9 km (6 mi) section of the railway actually passes through Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the town of Štrpci, and three trains per day stop there in each direction (though no border police is normally present)
When the line was completed in the late 1970s, it took a train approximately seven hours to complete the trip from Belgrade to Bar. Today it takes 11 hours, due to speed restrictions, as the railway cannot safely sustain the projected speeds without being thoroughly rebuilt.
The decision to build the railway connection between Belgrade and Bar was made in 1952, as a national project of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, the construction was passed to the constituent Republics, SR Serbia and SR Montenegro, to build on their own.
The sections of the railway were completed as follows:
- Resnik – Vreoci in 1958
- Podgorica – Bar in 1959
- Vreoci – Valjevo in 1968
- Valjevo – Užice in 1972
- Užice – Podgorica in 1976
The construction works were concluded on 27 November 1975, by joining the railway tracks south of Kolašin. The railway was opened on 28 May 1976. Electrification was completed at the end of 1977.
Maintenance of the Belgrade–Bar railway suffered from chronic underfunding during the 1990s, which has resulted in the railway deteriorating and becoming unsafe. This culminated in the Bioče derailment, when a passenger train derailed, causing the deaths of 47 passengers. As a result, efforts are being made to thoroughly reconstruct the railway.
The Serbian part of the railway was targeted several times by NATO during its bombing campaign in 1999, seriously damaging portions of the railway. Also, the small section that passes through Bosnia and Herzegovina was blown up by SFOR ground forces. All of this damage was later repaired.
In 2016, Serbia commenced a thorough reconstruction of the entire section on its territory. The aim is to make the line able to support the maximum speed of 120 km/h as originally designed. The first section, from Belgrade to Valjevo, which represents 27% of the Serbian part of the line, was due for completion during the summer of 2017.
Former JŽ class 461 passing through Virpazar
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