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Chinese, French firms to start building Belgrade’s first metro line

| 2021-11-08 < 1 min read

Chinese, French firms to start building Belgrade’s first metro line

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At a cost of roughly EUR 4 billion, a section of Belgrade’s metro system should be operational by 2028, according to Emerging Europe, which reports that construction of the Serbian capital’s first underground line will begin shortly with the help of Chinese construction firms. This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in January with French companies Alstom and Egis Rail, and PowerChina for the construction of an underground railway.

Serbia’s government will contribute EUR 1.4 billion, France’s contribution comprises EUR 450 million in rail stock, while potential shortfalls could be covered by China.

However, critics have pointed out that the city’s first metro line, which runs along the banks of the Sava river, will not pass through Belgrade’s city centre, but only connect two sparsely populated areas: “Mirijevo” in the east with “Makiš” in the southwest, presumably to please private investors who would develop those areas as part of Belgrade’s urban expansion. Serbia’s transportation minister admits that Belgrade’s first metro line will require the synergy of a second one that connects both sides of the Sava river, which should be operational by 2030.

Last summer, the city of Belgrade city government signed a deal with French company Egis Rail toward the design of a second metro line. Running through the “New Belgrade” urban municipality, it will have 23 stations and be 21 km in length.

While the concept of building an underground in Serbia’s capital has been around for nearly a century, and has endured numerous false starts, construction is finally scheduled to begin later this month. Once finished, Belgrade’s metro system could provided needed relief to a congested city of nearly 1.4 million people.

Sources: Emerging Europe, SeeNews