Worth it or not? The discussion of railway line between Budapest and Belgrade

30/11/2021

A topic that's brought up every day in politics. What should we know about the railway between Budapest & Belgrade? Find out below. Leading article.

It's common to hear that new and speedy railway will enrich our country. The Line 150, which has been operating between Budapest and Belgrade, and since 1920, between Budapest and Kelebia, will be built for the speed of 160 kph (» 100 mph). In this article, we'll try to answer some of the questions.

Why is it needed?

Currently, the Line 150 is in a catastrophic state. No modern stations, like the one in Vác, and a single-line on which the allowed speed is (regarding the section): 60 - 80 kph (» 37.5 - 50 mph). The situation is no better on the southern section either. Trains, departing from the Eastern Station (Keleti Pályaudvar), have a more than 3-hour ETA on the 158 km (» 98 mi) long line. In comparison, on the 190 km (» 118 mi) long Line 160, with stations such as Budapest, Győr, and Hegyeshalom, the regular/personal (Személy) trains' ETA is 3 hours, with almost twice the number of stations and EuroCity trains also go across hourly with a 2-hour ETA. Despite the international main line, only one international faster train goes daily, with its special schedule, which looks like this: to the station of Kunszentmiklós-Tass, it only stops at 2 important stations and from there to Keleba, every station is on its schedule. The line is used mostly by freight trains, as goods from Greece are transported on it.

Why now?

China had planned out that they would embark their enormous ocean liner boats in Greece, instead of Belgium or Netherlands, and so they've even bought a harbor in Athens. The progress of world economy cannot be forecasted by anyone, but it's certain that China will have a leader role (as they don't already have) in world trade. The intensive changes will flip the Earth's poles. The role of China will grow. Hungary must adapt to it as well, thus we'll have to take these chances.

The long cargo trains will be able to arrive to the heart of Europe by crossing the Lowlands. Furthermore, double lines could be used, with which, the passenger traffic could also be faster and more frequent. In addition, the international passenger traffic could be livened up as well; trains will be able to leave to the direction of Athens and Istambul. It'll be cheaper and more eco-friendly than a plane. Added to which, cargo ships' consumption will be lower significantly, as they won't have to cross the Mediterranean Sea thanks to this investment.

Cost?

Number-wise? 82 billion HUF (» $249,270,438). Not a small number, in fact, it's relatively big.

The larger part of the money is covered by loans from China as lots of Chinese construction engineers took part of the creation of blueprints. China has the world's fastest railways; so they already have experience.

What costs this much?

The number above is horrific. What's the point of view of a regular individual? They lay down another pair of rails, the others are being reconstructed and that's the reason of the constructions throughout the passing years. But more is planned alongside Line 160: 5 new station buildings will be built, and 8 others will be renewed. Taller platforms, like in Vác, will be constructed as well as elevators at the more important stations. The growing numbers of noise pollution require soundproof walls which will also be fabricated at some stations. Other projects will be executed, such as: parking lots, bike storages and replacement of older equipment.

Good news is that the invested money will profit from protective tariffs and international traffic in the long term.

After Serbia, all kinds of goods will be transported to the Schengen area.

Which trains can use it?

Just to write some words to the ones interested in trains: the motor trains of Stadler, the KISS and FLIRT are both capable of a 160 kph (» 99.5 mph) velocity. Vice versa with the Traxx and Taurus locomotives. The new IC+ wagons' allowed speed is at most 200 kph (» 125 mph) which suits the policies of international traffic laws, and additionally, more EuroCity trains could be found throughout the country which will be capable of travelling here as well. Furthermore, renovated trains bought from Austria, will probably be on rails, too. Péter Szijjártó, our country's Secretary of State, talked about the planned termination of the reconstruction at a press conference held at Újvidék. By 2025, railways will have been built on both sides. With the new, more than 300 km (» 186 mi) long rail, Hungary & Serbia will provide a fast route between the Greek harbors and Western Europe for cargo trains

The new InterCity+ | Photo: Facebook/MÁV
The new InterCity+ | Photo: Facebook/MÁV

Only here will high-speed railways be built?

No. The lines between Budapest & Székesfehérvár, and Szolnok & Békéscsaba would be available for use if it wasn't about the small number of trains and wagons. Additionally, it's in the plans to create a line between Cegléd & Szolnok, and Szolnok & Nyíregyháza.

To sum up, we can say that an incredibly useful investment has been started with a huge environmental, infrastructural, and economical significance. The old line will terminate at the Director Station of Ferencváros and the more important passenger transportation can have its opening to the South as our age's Orient Express. Not bad.

Header photograph: Népszava

Konstans in English.
Read the original article in Hungarian.

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