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Budapest-Belgrade High-Speed Railway Back on Track, Ahead of Schedule

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The Budapest-Belgrade high-speed railway project, funded through China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is back on track with renewed momentum. Track-laying works on the Hungarian side have resumed after a brief suspension by the Chinese-Hungarian construction team in September 2023. 

The significant milestone of completing the railway between Novi Sad and Subotica in Serbia has paved the way for Hungary’s government to push forward, aiming for a 2025 completion.

The high-speed line, connecting Budapest and Belgrade, will facilitate trains to travel up to 160 km/h while adhering to the European Train Control System, ensuring compliance with EU safety standards. This project, one of Europe’s largest infrastructure undertakings, initially faced delays due to technical challenges, but the recent progress suggests these issues have been resolved.

The project, valued at $2.8 billion and financed primarily through a fixed-rate loan from China, has seen renewed optimism from the Hungarian government, which originally targeted a 2026 completion. Political Director to the Prime Minister, Balazs Orban, likened the route to ancient trade pathways, emphasizing its critical role in the region’s logistics infrastructure. He expressed optimism about future collaborations with China, highlighting potential in railway, highway, and logistics infrastructure.

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The railway, a 350-kilometre corridor linking to the Port of Piraeus, aims to reduce travel time between Budapest and Belgrade to just under three hours. It is poised to become a crucial hub for cargo from China, cementing the region’s role in global trade networks while reestablishing historical connections across Europe and Asia.

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