It has been almost ten years since there have been no direct trains between Romania and Serbia, although it is less than 200 km from Timisoara to Belgrade. Below you can read why the introduction of trains failed and what is the history of the connections with Serbia.
In the train station in KikindaPhoto: Wirestock, Dreamstime.com
Still no trains with the neighbor from the south-west
Romania is very bad in terms of international trains. We only have many connections with Hungary, and the Dacia train arrives in Vienna, after a 19-hour journey from Bucharest. With Bulgaria there is a Bucharest – Ruse train (in the summer there were carriages to Sofia and Varna) and a Craiova – Calafat train.
We do not have any trains to Ukraine and Serbia.
Although the times at which trains should have run between Romania and Serbia from December 2022 were also agreed, this will not happen. CFR Călători says that those from Serbia VOZ have not yet communicated the assumption agreement regarding the technical conditions, and the infrastructure capacity allocation calendar is already finished and there will be no trains to Vrsac, Kikinda or Belgrade.
Data appeared on the Internet about the proposed timetable for the future Mers al Trenurilor, and it could have been a train leaving Timișoara at 7:55 and arriving in Vrsac in two hours and three minutes. Another train was supposed to leave for Timișoara at 16.37. Departures from Vrsac to Timișoara were scheduled at 10.41 and 19.45, respectively.
From Timișoara to Kikinda, departures were planned at 8.09 and 15.08, while from Kikinda to Timișoara, the trains would have left at 11.20 and 18.00 and the journey would have lasted approximately one hour and 50 minutes.
If there was a Bucharest-Belgrade train today, the journey would take about 15 hours, because there are so many speed restrictions between Bucharest and Timișoara that the journey takes three hours longer than in 1995.
Serbia is not doing great when it comes to train speeds, with one exception: the Belgrade – Novi Sad line, where trains reach 200 km/h on 41 km of the 78 km from March 2022. The fastest trains take 36 minutes on the 78 km.
What CFR Călători says about the talks with Serbia, in a response to HotNews.ro
- This year, CFR Călători took steps to resume international train traffic between Romania and Serbia through both railway borders: Satamora Moravița – Vrsac and Jimbolia – Kikinda.
- From several options proposed by CFR Călători, the Serbia VOZ representatives approved the option of the circulation with 2 pairs of trains each from Timișoara North to the Serbian border and back (Kikinda, respectively Vrsac), for which the timetables were also agreed.
- The representatives of Serbia VOZ have not yet communicated the assumption agreement regarding the technical, economic-financial and commercial conditions for the circulation of these trains. Considering that the negotiations with Serbia VOZ have not materialized and the fact that currently the infrastructure capacity allocation calendar is already finished, the trains proposed by CFR Călători will not be able to be planned for the 2022/2023 travel plan.
A brief history of rail links with Serbia
There are two railway border points between Romania and Serbia. From Timișoara to Vrsac it is 75 km, and from Vrsac it is another 84 km to Belgrade.
Before the Second World War, international long-distance trains, with carriages to Paris, Milan or Venice, left through the country and through the Jimbolia – Kikinda customs, and the journey to Belgrade took about 20 hours.
At the beginning of the 70s, there were direct seasonal trains during the summer to Rijeka (then in Yugoslavia), on the Adriatic coast, via Timișoara – Kikinda. From Timișoara to Rijeka there are 770 km and the trains took 17-18 hours.
In the 80s, the fast 11 – Bucharest Express, and its pair – left the country via Stamora Moravița, on its way to Belgrade. There are 15 km between Stamora Moravița and Vrsac.
The other border point is Jimbolia – Kikinda, there are 14 km between the two towns, and 58 km from Timișoara to Kikinda.
In 1995, there was not only a Bucharest – Belgrade train, but also a Timișoara – Belgrade train.
In 2010 there was still a direct train Bucharest – Belgrade, via Craiova – Timișoara – Stamora Moravița, 712 km, 12 hours.
In 2015 there were two direct trains per day between Timișoara and Vrsac.
Photo source: Dreamstime.com