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The Serbian government wants to further modernize the country’s railway infrastructure. For this purpose, it intends to loan 500 million dollars. Russia is considered as a potential borrower.
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic met with the First Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Russian Railways (RZD) Aleksandr Misharin to discuss the modernization of railway infrastructure of her country. Serbia is looking for possible investors for several railway projects valued 500 million dollars and it requested a Russian party to finance them. These projects will boost passenger and freight traffic on the Serbian railway network.
“Today we are talking about new projects, including the construction of a new dispatch centre, continuing the reconstruction of the Bar railway and the electrification works on the Stara Pazova – Novi Sad section. The value of these projects is worth around 500 million dollars and we will continue to talk in terms of potential new loans,” said Zorana Mihajlovic after the meeting being held on October 12th in Belgrade.
Russians in Serbia
Russia is taking an active part in modernisation of Serbian railway infrastructure both as investor and contractor. In May 2013, Serbian Railways (ZS) and RZD International, a subsidiary of RZD, signed the agreement with a value of 941.2 million dollars. According to the document, RZD International should modernize 370 kilometres of main lines across Serbia, including 200-kilometre section of Belgrade – Bar line, electrify the 16-kilometre section of the Belgrade – Panchevo line as well as supply 27 diesel-trains produced by Metrovagonmash. Moreover, Russian government granted Serbia loan of 800 million dollars to finance these projects.
RZD International started its activities in Serbia on March 2014. Today most of the obligations have been already fulfilled. “Serbia has already used almost the entire Russian loan and that money was invested in the modernization of X railway corridor’s section and the Bar railway line, meanwhile we are working currently on the Stara Pazova – Novi Sad section, which is a part of the Belgrade – Budapest high-speed line,” noted Zorana Mihajlovic.
Serbian regional railways
Besides the main lines the national railway infrastructure manager Serbian Railways Infrastructure will continue to upgrade the country’s regional railways. It intends to complete the reconstruction of the regional lines next year. “In 2019, Serbian Railways Infrastructure will reconstruct 318 kilometres of regional railways in Serbia. When we add to this figure another 280 kilometres of regional lines in Serbia to be upgraded by the end of this year, this means that at end of next year, Serbian Railways Infrastructure will almost fully complete the reconstruction of regional railways in our country,” said Miroljub Jevtić, Director General of Serbian Railways Infrastructure.
The longest line that will be modernized next year is the Niš – Zaječar railway with a length of 108 kilometres in the southeastern part of the country. It connects Niš, the third-largest city in Serbia, with adjacent communities. The length of other sections varies between 6 and 84 kilometres. They are the Lapovo – Kraljevo (84 kilometres), Markovac – Resavica (53 kilometres), Subotica – Senta (38.5 kilometres), Kumane – Banatsko Miloševo line (28.5 kilometres), Kikinda – MSK Kikinda (6 kilometres) lines.
This article first appeared on www.railfreight.com
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