China's expertise and finance launches Serbia's first high-speed railway

Reconstruction of a railway line between Budapest and Belgrade was part of 'flagship project' enhancing China's presence in the Balkans./Darko Vojinovic/AP

While the entire world is carefully monitoring conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, Serbia has been preparing for the grand opening of the first stretch of the new high-speed railway. The 75 kilometer-long part connects the two largest cities in Serbia, Belgrade and Novi Sad. It is a part of a much bigger, ongoing project to connect Belgrade to Hungary's capital Budapest. 

Ahead of the railway's official opening, heavy machines make some finishing touches to one of the train stations on the outskirts of Belgrade. Tests were conducted to ensure the railway had EU certification, and of course, the train drivers are familiarizing themselves with the new route.

The line includes a 184 kilometers section in Serbia and 166 kilometers stretch in Hungary and is designed to reduce journey times between Belgrade and Budapest from eight hours to less than three hours. Currently, some line speeds on the route are as low as 60 kilometers per hour (km/h). When fully operational, the high-speed trains can travel at up to 200 km/h as part of the $370.4 million contract awarded to China Civil Engineering and China Railway.

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