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Budapest-Belgrade rail upgrade tender set for November

A tender for the upgrade of the Hungarian stretch of the Budapest-Belgrade rail line will be called when Budapest hosts the next China-CEE Summit in November, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a Tuesday conference organized by professional association Hungrail, state news wire MTI reported.

Serbia is expected to start upgrading its stretch of the line during the summit with the Chinese premier and prime ministers from 16 countries in the CEE region, Szijjártó said.

Last November, Hungarian state-owned railway company MÁV, the China Railway International Corporation and China Railway International Group set up a joint venture for coordinating the upgrade of the Hungarian section of the Budapest-Belgrade line. The joint venture is 85% owned by the Chinese partners and 15% by the Hungarian state firm.

MTI reported at the time that tenders were envisaged for the planning of the upgrade and construction work some time this year.

Meanwhile, talks on the upgrade of the last stretch of a rail line connecting Budapest with the Slovenian port of Koper are ongoing, Szijjártó noted.   

Negotiations are also underway on involving the Croatian railway company in providing passenger transport between Budapest and Sarajevo, he added. 

Finally, preparations are being made for a high-speed line between Budapest and Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár), Romania. The stretch will be the first part of the Budapest-Bucharest line to undergo an upgrade.   

Some HUF 1,500 billion will be spent on railway upgrades by 2020, Szijjártó noted.