|Transit type||Rapid transit|
Belgrade has a population of over 2.0 million people, including the metropolitan area. Traffic congestion is common and poor infrastructure has put additional strain on the city, while the existing public transport system is incapable of shuttling passengers from one outlying end of the city to another efficiently. At the same time, the suburban railway system Beovoz cannot meet its expected role, due to inadequate infrastructure, and obsolete rolling stock. The construction of a metro is meant to alleviate these problems in the near future.
1950s & 1960s
City planners have been contemplating the possibility of introducing a metro into Belgrade’s transit system since the 1950s. Several ideas have been discussed since the 1950s "General Urban Plan" discussions as to how to build the metro. The first plan came in 1958, when architect Nikola Dobrovic suggested a line that runs along Kalemegdan, Terazije, Slavija, and Čubura.
In the 1970s, during the tenure of Mayor Branko Pešić, the decision was made to build the new Belgrade railway junction, which would include tunnels under Vračar and Dedinje. Upon completion of the railway junction, construction of a subway system was planned in accordance with plans made by the team led by Branislav Jovin, Belgrade’s chief urban planner.
The most comprehensive plan came about in the 1970s, but none of this came to existence. In the 1976 plan, the planners envisaged five different metro lines.
In December 1981, the plan Metro Belgrade was finished and was presented to the city council in 1982. One of the ideas was that the Soviet Union could build the metro, and in doing so free itself of debt owed to Yugoslavia. This was however opposed by the republics Slovenia and Croatia. Due to their objections, this plan has never been carried out.
The original subway construction plan from 1976 was abandoned, in favor of the expansion of the existing Belgrade tram system network in 1982. This brought the first chapter of the idea to build a subway system in Belgrade to an ignominious end. The same project was later re-launched a number of times, but it was used for short-term political gains.
The economic crisis facing Yugoslavia in the late 1980s became worse in the 1990s. War in the neighbouring republics and economic sanctions only helped to make things worse. Yet, discussion of a metro system returned, after the completion of the Belgrade railway junction, in 1995. According to officials' talks on the bridge across the Sava river for the metro was planned in 1998.
At first, two underground stations, Vukov Spomenik and Karađorđev Park were opened in 1995 and integrated into the suburban rail system of Beovoz. These are located in tunnels which were constructed for the abandoned metro project and they resemble conventional column metro stations.
On July 3, 2004, the BELAM project was presented to the public. After hiring two companies to do a study; Juginus, a local company from Belgrade, and the Spanish Ineco, a conclusion was reached that a light rail system should be built. Construction was included into the city's new general plan of 2003 and construction was intended to start in 2006. The opening of the first section was due for 2012 with all two lines complete by 2021.
This decision was severely criticized by a large number of urban planners, led by Branislav Jovin, while architects close to city authorities were advocating the construction, resulting in a substantial polarization between the opponents and proponents of the light metro plan. Announcements were made that the construction would start next spring. Yet, this never came, and the plan for the construction of the light railway system inconspicuously faded out.
As time went on beyond 2004, the plan was altered. The light metro was to have three lines. Construction was supposedly set to begin in 2008, the first line opening in 2013 at a cost of 450 million euros.
In late 2008, Mayor Dragan Đilas, announced that a metro along the lines of the 1976 plan would be more likely than a light metro. At the session of the National Council for Infrastructure, the Belgrade Metro is, according to the Minister of Infrastructure Milutin Mrkonjić, the third most important project in Serbia, after road and railway networks. Though the Metro became a national issue, there were still no definite plans.
In 2010, it was stated that construction of the Metro would begin in two years. The first line will be an east-west line, going above ground in Novi Beograd and under ground in the centre and neighbouring districts. The second line is planned from north to south, going underground in the centre through the already constructed tunnels. Two lines would cross in the city centre near the incomplete main railway station Beograd Centar (Prokop).
Funding has not been allocated for the project yet, but it is expected that French or Russian funding sources will be used.
In November 2011, it was stated that the metro will be built with close cooperation/assistance from the French companies. The Egis Group will produce an overall metro concept for the city, while the company Alstom envisages being responsible for tracklaying, electrification, signalling equipment and rolling stock. Again, it was also announced that construction will start in two years.
Some sources say that the system will initially have 36 kilometers, and 55 stations, while others say it will have 15 kilometers and 25 stations. The average speed should be 28.2 km per hour. The construction should last 10 years, as was previously estimated, with each kilometer costing some 60 million euros.
In 2014, Belgrade's Mayor talked about the Metro construction being started by 2016, and that the French may be of support for building and financing it.
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