Serbia is set to invest around $7.7bn (€6.5bn) to modernise and rehabilitate railway infrastructure in the country.
The move was announced by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic at the opening of the Western Balkans Rail Summit 2021.
The investment will support overhauling around 1,000km of railway lines, boosting connectivity within the country and with its neighbours.
Prime Minister Brnabic added that the government is working on project documentation for a high-speed rail link between Belgrade and Nis. The project will largely be developed using EU grants.
The Nis-Dimitrovgrad and Subotica-Szeged railway lines are also being planned, with works expected to commence soon.
The Western Balkans Rail Summit 2021 was held in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
The event was organised by the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and an international organisation called the Transport Community.
EBRD called for more investment in the Western Balkans’ railway sector to enhance connectivity and address the climate change emergency.
The financial institution has invested nearly €1bn in the Western Balkans’ railway sector.
EBRD Sustainable Infrastructure Group managing director Nandita Parshad said: “Rail not only plays a critical role in any well-balanced transport system, it is the lynchpin for a sustainable transport approach and has a key role to play in addressing today’s climate emergency.
“We are determined to step up our investments and mobilise private-sector participation. And, of course, we will continue to provide policy and technical assistance support to advance the region’s rail sector.”
Earlier this year, the World Bank approved a $62.5m loan to support a railway modernisation project in Serbia.