Belgrade Centre railway station
Inside the station 2016
|Location||Prokupačka St., Belgrade
5 operational (6 planned)+ (2 metro platforms planned)
8 operational (10 planned)+ (2 metro tracks planned)
26 January 2016 (last opening)
The Belgradе Centre railway station (Serbian: Железничка станица Београд Центар / Železnička stanica Beograd Centar), known as Prokop (Serbian Cyrillic: Прокоп) during its construction, is the new railway station at the core of the massive reconstruction of the Belgrade railway junction in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, which officially started in 1974. The station is located in the Belgrade municipality of Savski Venac.
The unsuccessful, decades-long attempted construction of the new central railway station of Belgrade was hampered by a lack of funding to finish adjoining 14 km of tunnels, several railway bridges including the New Railroad Bridge across the Sava river, a new road network connecting to the city and technical installations.
Belgrade Centre station was opened on 26 January 2016, serving two daily trains to Novi Sad, as well as Belgrade commuter railways. The remaining platforms and tracks became operational and all services are to be rerouted to Prokop from the old Belgrade Main railway station.
The ill-fated construction of the new railway station which was supposed to replace the old one in Savamala was to last for decades. Originally, in the late 1960s, it was supposed to be constructed near the present interchange of Autokomanda, but the idea was suddenly dropped, and one of the major architectural authorities at the time, Branko Žeželj, picked Prokop instead, which ultimately left the Autokomanda interchange unfinished—the exit in the Niš direction was only finished in 2007. Council for Urbanism drafted the projected construction of the new railway station in 1971. In 1974 the project was finished and construction began in 1977. Deadline for completion was 1 May 1979, but the rapidly deteriorating economic situation in Yugoslavia at the time slowed construction and the project was halted in 1980. In 1984, the notion of abandoning the project altogether was officially considered for the first time. Construction resumed in 1990 and in the next several years was stopped and restarted several times. In 1996 a new contract was signed with the “Energoprojekt” company. The President of Serbia Slobodan Milošević officially opened the construction of the concrete roof slab which was for the most part finished in 1999 but the building was halted again due to the NATO bombing of Serbia and lack of funds.
In 2005 an international competition was held to find the strategic partner who would finish the station and acquire rights to build and sell commercial facilities. The Hungarian company TriGranit was chosen, but in 2008 TriGranit was dismissed and the contract with Energoprojekt from 1996 was reactivated. At that point, 2010 was set as the final deadline, but there was no progress. In 2012, a 25.8 million euro loan was granted by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and on 3 December 2014 work was resumed, with the Energoprojekt as the lead company of the construction consortium, being chosen again. The work was expected to be completed in 14 months, and the station was indeed officially opened on 26 January 2016 by the Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić. However, the new station is not used to capacity and is basically still just one of a dozen secondary stations in Belgrade.
Supervisor Dragan Dobrašinović, who reported to the Financial Board of the National Assembly of Serbia, said that procedures for the 2014 reconstruction were “distinctively political” due to the pushing of the Belgrade Waterfront project. He also pointed out that the projected price was inflated by over 5.5 million euros, as the estimate was 20.25 million and the loan was 25.8 million euros. Assembly’s Board accepted Dobrašinović’s report, but dismissed him and no legal proceedings followed.
The construction of the Belgrade Waterfront and track removal in Savamala and apparent pressure to finish the work before the expiration of the deadline, contributed to the hastily done job. Basically, no other facilities were built except for the tracks. The roof was unfinished and due to rain and wind the platforms on the periphery are covered in water. Access roads were not completed either and Prokop is generally badly connected with other parts of Belgrade.
When it was announced that the Kuwaitis would grant the loan, Serbian authorities published a computer model of what the future station building would look like. It turned out to be a picture of the Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Terminus, set against Belgrade as a background. The 2009 project which is still not completed, is the work of the Aedas company and architect Andrew Bromberg who personally reacted to the plagiarism.
- "Vucic opens Prokop railway station after 40 years". Tanjug. 26 January 2016.
- "Vučić otvorio "Prokop" posle 40 godina gradnje: Cela stanica gotova 2018.". Blic. 26 January 2016.
- Nikola Belić (11 February 2016). "Osam koloseka u Prokopu biće otvoreno u januaru iduće godine" (in Serbian). Politika. p. 17.
- Momčilo Petrović (3 February 2016). "Vučićeva promaja: samo pola sata od otvaranja, Prokop je ponovo postao samo rupa u brdu" (in Serbian). Newsweek Serbia.
- Andrew Bromberg (22 February 2016). "Otkriven plagijat: Srpski Prokop već postoji u Hongkongu" (in Serbian). Newsweek Serbia.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prokop railway station.|
- Clip of the planned railway hub with metro interchange
- Clip about the Belgrade railway hub and Beovoz commuter network