A joint venture between Alstom of France and PowerChina will begin work on Belgrade’s long delayed metro in the third quarter of the year, according to Serbian infrastructure minister Tomislav Momirovic.
According to state news agency Tanjug, the two companies will sign an agreement on 22 January with the governments of Serbia and the city of Belgrade.
Momirovic said it was too early to set a definite deadline for commencement of the €4.4bn scheme, but that the first line could connect Makis Field in the west of the city and the northeastern district of Mirijevo three years after the start of works.
Sinisa Mali, Serbia’s finance minister and a former mayor of Belgrade, told the agency: "We are working on the preparation of the required documentation. A detailed regulation plan for Makis Field has been adopted recently, so we are working on all the aspects to ensure a construction permit for the start of works by the end of this year."
Proposed lines for Belgrade’s metro (Djidash/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Talks with the French and Chinese companies have been under way since September, and preliminary agreements have already been signed, with Alstom dealing with electro-mechanical packages, including the trainsets, and PowerChina handling the civil engineering.
Belgrade has a population of about 1.1 million, making it the largest European city without a rapid transit system. Planning for a metro began in earnest in the 1970s, but implementation has always been delayed by political and economic difficulties.
Image: SuperGen’s rendering of the Shanghai complex