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Russian specialists getting down to modernization of Serbia’s railways

March 25, 2014, 6:42 UTC+3 BELGRADE
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BELGRADE, March 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Technical experts of Russia’s state railway corporation RZD are getting down to the modernization of railways in Serbia.

They will be expected to implement several large-scale infrastructure projects to the tune of around $ 940 million within the next few years. First on the list is a reconstruction of the 16 km-long Belgrade-Pancevo line that will be launched in a gala ceremony Tuesday.

Officials at the RZD told Itar-Tass the project envisions construction and electrification of a secondary main track, as well as construction of two main stations and two halting platforms.

“Also, the modernization project envisions construction of five bridges, a new lay-by, a traction substation, and an electric sectionalizing facility in Krnjac,” an official said.

After that the focus will shift to the sections of the X Pan-European Transport Corridor crossing the territory of Serbia. Its reconstruction will be held in two stages.

Stage one will embrace the Sopot Kosmajski-Kovacevac (18.3 km), Mala Krsna-Velika Plana (29.4 km), and Goluvinci-Ruma (17.8 km) sections. The second phase will see the overhaul of the Vinarce-Djorjevo (15.0 km), Vranska Banja-Ristovac (17.7 km) and Bujanovac-Bukarevac (13.7 km) sections.

Also, the Russian specialists and workers are expected to build a secondary track and to modernize the existing 44 km-long line between Stara Pazova and Novi Sad and to reconstruct about 200 km of tracks at the 455 km-long Belgrade-Bar line, which has strategic significance for Serbia’s communications with Montenegro, Albania and Italy.

“We’ll use the Russian technology of railway track repairs, as it’s been recognized to be the most efficient one today,” the official said. “Company experts are ready to share their experience with Serbian counterparts.”

“We have the task of restoring the infrastructure that suffered as a result of events of the past years and the resultant period of economic instability,” he said.

Apart from repair and construction works, the agreement signed last year by the RZD filial company, RZD International Ltd., and the Serbian Railways envisions supplies of diesel-powered trains manufactured by Russia’s OAO Metrovagonmash.

RZD President Vladimir Yakunin told reporters earlier the talks between Russian and Serbian railway officials had taken much time. “This was due to the initial arrangement that was to be fulfilled in the framework of an intergovernmental agreement, which contained a provision on a Russian state loan in the amount of $ 800 million,” he said.

Over the period taken up by negotiations the RZD provided the assistance necessary for the formalization of these projects “by allocating its own funds.” “Quite naturally, these allocations will be compensated in the process of implementation of the project,” Yakunin said.

The overall project will span five years but some sections of the railway lines are to be overhauled within two years or even eight months.

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