As a $2.89 billion, 350 km (220 mi) high-speed rail line project, the Budapest–Belgrade railway is also a part, and first stage, of the planned Budapest–Belgrade–Skopje–Athens railway international connection in Central and Southeast Europe, a Chinese-CEE "hallmark" project of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, connecting the China-run Piraeus port in Greece with the "heart" of Europe.
Route, geography and landscapes
The railway line between Budapest and Belgrade passes mainly the Bács-Kiskun County and the Serbian Province of Vojvodina. The landscape is characterised by countless fields, dead straight highways and endless widths.
Track condition, modernization
The outdated railway between Belgrade and Budapest will be modernised. The travel time should be decreased from eight hours to three and a half hours, and the maximum speed of the track is designed to be 200 km/h (120 mph). According to the plans, the track should be modernised by early 2023.
The Hungarian section (152 km (94 mi)) of the project is expected to cost HUF 949 billion ($3.6 billion) with interest. In Hungary, the project is carried out by Kínai-Magyar Vasúti Nonprofit Zrt (Chinese-Hungarian Railway Nonprofit Ltd.), a Hungarian-Chinese joint venture of MÁV Zrt. with China Railway International Corporation (CRIC) and China Railway International Group (CRIG). According to one estimate, the works on this section could begin in 2021, as one year is needed for the public procurement procedures, and two years for the planning and negotiation phase.
In Serbia (some 200 km (120 mi)), one of the segments, the 34.5 km (21.4 mi)-long section Belgrade-Stara Pazova is currently being reconstructed by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) together with China Railways International (CRI), with the investment of $350.1 million, funded with a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China. The section Stara Pazova-Novi Sad is being reconstructed by the Russian RZD International, financed with Russian credit. The reconstruction of the section Novi Sad-Subotica is set to begin in 2019, with estimated cost of €943 million, built by a Chinese company[which?] and a duration of 33 months, during which this section will be closed.
- Another Silk Road fiasco? China's Belgrade to Budapest high-speed rail line is probed by Brussels, by Wade Shepard, Forbes February 25, 2017
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