Beograd Centar station.

SERBIA: investment of €3·3bn is planned over the next decade to upgrade 3 735 km of the rail network to enhance efficiency, environmental sustainability and regional connectivity. This is to include the roll-out of ERTMS, removing speed restrictions, increasing freight capacity and improving asset management.

Targets set under the investment programme include increasing ridership by 5%, growing rail’s share of the freight market by 10%, and a 23% reduction in fatalities, most of which are level crossing accidents.

In support of these aims, on March 17 the World Bank approved a US$62·5m loan and the French development agency AFD is to provide a similar sum to finance the first stage of a three-phase US$400m sectoral modernisation initiative.

‘Serbia’s rail network is a major asset for the country with the potential to play a strategic role in the nation’s growth and job opportunities’, said the World Bank’s Country Manager Stephen Ndegwa. ‘The programme will lead to better quality infrastructure, improved safety, enhanced in-country and regional integration, accelerated economic growth, and an improved business environment.’

He said the programme ‘is fully aligned with Serbia’s European Union accession agenda’, including its commitment to the EU’s Green Deal and climate neutrality, which envisions a 90% reduction in transport emissions.

  • A delegation from the Mayor of Beograd’s office met First Deputy General Director of Russian Railways Sergey Pavlov in Moscow on March 17 to discuss opportunities to use Russian technology to develop passenger rail services around the Serbian capital. The delegation also visited Podmoskovnaya depot and the Moscow Central Diameter suburban railway to learn about RZD’s experience of developing passenger rail infrastructure.