The CEO of Serbian Railways Milanko Sarancic: The European way is the only way for Balkan railways

In his interview, Milanko Sarancic described the present situation on the Serbian Railways, the realisation of the restructuring process, the priorities, particularly infrastructure projects, the long-term plans of the Serbian Railways and a lot of other important information about the business and functioning of the Serbian Railways.

In connection with the question about the relationship between Bulgarian and Serbian Railways, Mr Sarancic answered that the fact that the modernisation of the line Belgrade-Nis-Bulgarian border is one of the priority projects of the Serbian Railways, says enough not only about the mutual interests of these two railways, but also about the permanent European orientation and the necessity for the borders of the two countries to become even more open, in the widest sense. “I would remind you that, at the beginning of May, in Dimitrovgrad, the first joint international railway station of the Serbian and Bulgarian railways was opened, and on that special occasion, the Prime Ministers of the two countries were present, as well as the ministers. That confirms best the mutual interest of making the traffic flows of passengers and goods even faster and of greater volume, in order to increase the level of works and the quality of service, and to create the conditions for the modernisation and development of this European main line.

“The best guarantee that the co-operation between the Serbian and Bulgarian railways will be improved, regarding either business or transport functioning, are those mutual business interests: the necessity of improving the speeds and volumes of traffic between Serbia and Bulgaria, both with passengers and freight, the need to offer the best-quality service, in order to compete with the other types of transport, especially road, as well as the mutual decision to achieve some important incomes on this main transport line.”

After the question about his expectations for the introduction of high-speed trains between Belgrade and Sofia, and the chances of Balkan railways for the integration into the transport network of the European Union, Sarancic said that it is hard to talk about any time schedule, but the fact is that the need to develop the competitiveness on the transport market, and the ‘erasing’ of European borders, will force us to realise that big and important project. “Europe doesn’t have time to wait and to adjust itself to our ‘slow’ railways. If we don’t answer with quality, responsibly and on time to all the European requests regarding speed and quality on our lines, we will be excluded from all these activities, and that surely is neither in our nor Europe’s interest. That is why it is necessary to modernise this railway line in order to shorten travel times, to offer the highest-quality service, and then, I am sure, we will have the support and help of Europe in the realisation of our projects. We should keep in mind the extremely good geographical position of this railway line in South-Eastern Europe, as one very important fact, which has to be exploited and used, regarding the construction of high-speed railways.

“It depends only on us how quickly and how well we will succeed in the integration into the developed European traffic system. The European Union is surely interested in modernising and developing the railway lines in the Balkans, in order to make the whole system of modern railways on the old continent function perfectly and efficiently. Of course, significant financial resources are necessary for the modernisation of the Balkan railways, up to a level requested by the European market, because they are mostly in very bad condition. But our experiences show that we have common interests with Europe, that the international institutions offer support to the realisation of the plans included in that common interest, and that the Balkan railways have a historic chance to develop and improve their networks, thanks to European integration.” said the General Manager of the Serbian Railways, Milanko Sarancic, to the readers of Bulgarian ‘Railway Magazine’.

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