The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Thursday that it would lend the Serbian state railway company Srbija Voz 100 million Euro to buy new trains.
“Serbian rail travel is set to become safer and more comfortable when the state railway company Srbija Voz uses a €100 million EBRD loan to buy up to 18 new trains. Srbija Voz will buy new four-car coaches, which will provide comfortable and reliable regional passenger services on the electrified sections of the rail network,” the EBRD press release said.
It said that Serbia’s rail infrastructure has suffered from severe under-investment since the early 1990s and as a result the preferred form of transport is road-based, with only five per cent of passengers using railways. It added that the purchase of new trains is expected to encourage people to change their travel habits from road to rail services and lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The press release quoted EBRD Head of Infrastructure Europe Susan Goeransson as saying that the revitalisation process would bring more comfortable and safer travel in Serbia. Srbija Voz acting CEO Jugoslav Jovic said that the project will help improve organization, quality and cost-effectiveness in regional rail transport.
The press release recalled that the EBRD has secured more than one billion Euro for investments in sustainable infrastructure in Serbia. “The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. The Bank has invested more than 5 billion Euro across 250 projects in the country to date. The EBRD is supporting private-sector development and the transition towards a green economy, as well as investing in infrastructure to boost connectivity in the Western Balkans region,” it said.