Vučić: Section completion by 2024

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, visited the construction site of the high-speed railway section Novi Sad-Subotica.

Source: B92, Tanjug
Foto: B92
Foto: B92

President Vučić said that the Chinese workers were urged to increase the dynamics and used the opportunity to remind the public that the last railway in Serbia was built in 1976.

"After a few setbacks, now we are increasing the pace and work dynamics. The intention is to speed up the work for six months and to cut the execution and work at least half as fast as you work in China. The last railway in Serbia was built in 1976. Nothing after that - he said and added that from 2012 until today, 108.1 km of railways have been built.

"And then, since 2012, we have built 108.1 kilometers and 775 kilometers, and now we are working on another 156 kilometers, another 160 kilometers are planned, with another 2,000 kilometers covered by our planning documents. This means that there will be a lot of work for Chinese companies and both Serbian and Chinese workers, President Vučić said.

The completion of the entire route is expected by the end of next year. Additionally, some problems with spare parts were reported.

"We need to impose heavier sanctions on those who steal parts of railway tracks. By doing so, they are endangering other people’s lives," he said.

"As of today, here we will have one of the train stations on the way to Subotica. The work is going faster than scheduled, so sometimes it is better to pay more, and pay earlier to see better results, as was the case of the Belgrade-Novi Sad section. We want the railway, not only to be there but to make it work and live. In our calculations, all this will be completed by the end of 2024. It is also important to us because we plan to promote and develop tourism, and all the places on this road map. We have achieved incredible results and we expect even better results. The last railway constructed was the Belgrade-Bar section. In 36 years, we have not built a single kilometer of railway," the president said.

"I am proud of what we have built so far, but I am not completely satisfied – and this is not the end - we have to improve a lot", he concluded.

Questions from the media

"We don't take that issue easily, and people need to know that they are completely safe. The speed was reduced for safety reasons. But when you're dealing with rascals who steal copper or throw stones at trains, we don't know what to do. Yesterday we were 4.5 minutes late because we had to slow down from 200 to 160 kilometers per hour. We won't do that anymore, because people are used to punctuality," he said.

"And it's not the first time. Who are these people who do this, of course, I'm worried, you work, you build and irresponsible people come and take a part away. Then the trains need to slow down. I will propose stronger penalties for specific misdemeanors related to jeopardizing the safety of people. Perpetrators will think twice when faced with a 10-year prison penalty, so, we'll see if they'll think of stealing," said Vučić, answering the media's question to explain the potential increase in the sentence he mentioned earlier.

As he said, we now have one of the best trains in Southeast Europe. He added that the contract for the Belgrade-Niš high-speed railway will be signed soon.

"These are tectonic changes, really huge changes," he said.

Even now, despite our ongoing hard work we are facing countless problems and struggles in our work.

"We are raising the country as we have never done before in history".

"Whatever we built, there are always terrible attacks as if we were building for ourselves and not for the people. I am happy that now everybody can see the progress. We will be able to run everything differently when finish this. We are constructing more and we are very successful. Despite that, I'm not always happy – since this is a struggle on a daily basis, let’s just mention that had three problems and all of them were solved. With a new financial structure in place, we are making things work better and easier. I have to say that I'm really proud and very satisfied with everything we're working on," the president said.

"On Monday, I will present every meter of the roads and highways built. I will show you everything. They (DOS) think that they have done 12.5 km of Lajkovac road, but in fact, they have not done anything - but it doesn't matter. You will see if I am right or if they are. It will be a big surprise for people how much we have to brag about."

About the section

The length of this section is 108.2 kilometers, and it represents a part of China's global "Belt and Road" initiative from the 2016 summit of the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and China.

The works, which are carried out by a consortium of Chinese companies, include the construction of two railway tracks to the border with Hungary near Kelebija, the reconstruction of nine railway stations, including Bačka Topola, Žednik, Naumovićevo, and Subotica, as well as the construction of new stations in Lovćenac, Rumenka, and Vrbas.

The construction of railway junctions in Novi Sad, Vrbas, and Subotica is covered by the same plan.

The entire section will include 49 overpasses, underpasses and viaducts will, and the largest object will be the viaduct near Vrbas (1,600 meters long). The project is valued at 1.16 billion dollars and it is financed from a loan approved by the Chinese Exim Bank.

The works began on November 22, 2021, with a ceremony at which the button for the start of construction was jointly pressed by President Vučić, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Hungary Peter Szijártó, and the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo.

The first part of this project, the high-speed railway from Belgrade to Novi Sad, was put into service on March 19, 2022, and President Vučić, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban and members of the Government of Serbia first rode it on the high-speed train "Soko".

The 75-kilometer-long section was built by a consortium of Chinese companies "China Railway International" and "China Communications Construction Company" at the end of 2017, with a total cost of about one billion dollars.

Business & Economy

page 1 of 3 go to page