Macedonia Considers to Get Involved in Fast Railroad Construction connecting Budapest and Athens

Macedonia is seriously considering getting involved in the construction of fast railroad track, which will start in Budapest, via Belgrade and Skopje to Thessaloniki and Athens, reads daily Dnevnik.

The Chinese government is interested in funding this project, and together with Hungarian and Serbian authorities has already been negotiating for granting a loan.

Although official information has not been given yet, government sources for Dnevnik daily explain that our country is considering involvement in the project, because it will be only a benefit. Among other things and most probably as there will be no need to build completely new rail line, which would be passing through the country. Only reconstruction and upgrading of the existing network, which is part of Corridor 10 would be needed, therefore the benefit is even bigger.

Certain sections of this line, which is stretching from the north toward the south of the country, have already been reconstructed with money from European funds. So, just little has to be done like to upgrade the tracks to be capable to withstand rapid trains. However, our sources add a detailed analysis, needs to be made to see whether and how feasible it is for Macedonia to join the fast rail corridor.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications doesn’t give a specific response about the plans related to the construction of the fast track.

"Ministry of Transport has been informed about this project. Given that the project is under preparation, it is premature to say what it will contain", inform from the Ministry.

The country will not rely only on the used Chinese loan of about EUR 580 million, allocated for two new highways, Macedonian authorities have announced several months ago. Then they said they were considering several major infrastructure projects that could be funded by China, mentioning investments in rail infrastructure.

Greece to be involved 

Besides Macedonia, Greece should be included in the project to build high-speed rail Corridor 10. The Southern neighbor will have to modernize the railway from the border crossing point to Thessaloniki, and to continue to Athens. Other countries, through which the fast track should pass, Serbia and Hungary, have already reached an agreement. According to recent announcements, it is possible to start the construction the next fall and it should be completed in three years.

According to Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who recently made ​​an official visit to China, Greece is seriously interested in this project.

"Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang conveyed the message from his recent conversation with the Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras and that they agreed Budapest-Belgrade railroad to be connected with Thessaloniki", said Vucic for the Serbian media.

He noted that a meeting will be scheduled with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski as to be informed about the intentions of Macedonia for the railway.

The full project for the fast track will be represented at the upcoming summit of the leaders of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, to be held in December in Belgrade under the auspices of China. The summit countries will be able to present infrastructure and energy projects that Chinese would finance through the fund for investment in Central and Eastern Europe worth 10 billion dollars (7.5 billion Euros).

On the railroad with 300 miles per hour

If fast track is built it will be designed for trains that will move up to 300 kilometers per hour, which will significantly shorten travel time, because this track would be one of the fastest in Europe. According to Serbian transport authorities two options for the construction of the railway through Serbia are being considered, which are reconstruction and modernization of the existing and construction of an entirely new system. No matter which one is chosen, there will be work on two branch lines, one towards Budapest and the other towards Thessaloniki, which must pass through Macedonia.

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