This line was already mentioned briefly in the context of the proposed high-speed line from Budapest to Novi Sad via Szekszárd and the associated project for a HSL Pécs – Baja. Upgrading would allow trains from Pécs to continue toward Szeged.
The line is described here, in the context of a list of rail proposals around Subotica and Szeged. Most of the rail network in the region was built under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and many lines were cut when it was broken up after the First World War. Although Baja and Szeged are both in Hungary, the rail line between them crosses into the Vojvodina region of Serbia. The border is currently the external boundary of the European Union, and of the Schengen Zone. All proposals here ignore the borders.
Baja would be an important interchange station, on construction of the second HSL from Budapest to Novi Sad . It is not however a large city, with population of 38 000 (district total 75 0000). Besides high-speed services, the upgraded line toward Szeged would have a regional function.
The line Baja – Subotica is shown below, on the Austro-Hungarian military map of 1910, without the 1918 borders. (Click to enlarge, the map is detailed). The section to Bácsalmás is still in use as Hungarian line 154. The line is 60 km long.
The line would be upgraded to the standards of the German Ausbaustrecken. The line consists of straight sections, with a few curves at stations. It climbs 40 m to Csikéria, and drops 20 m into Subotica (Szabadka in Hungarian), so the average gradient would be about 1 / 1000. The only villages large enough to justify a station are Bácsbokod (population 2800), and Bácsalmás (7200). In Subotica itself, a suburban station on the main northern road (Karadjordjev put) would be logical. The main station of Subotica is 500 m east of the city centre.
Subotica (100 000 inhabitants, municipality 148 000) is a regional centre, on the existing main line Budapest – Beograd (Kelebia line). The proposed HSL from Budapest would replace the Kelebia line north of Subotica, leaving it as an inter-regional route. There would be interchange with the line to Sombor, and another inter-regional route to Kikinda, with a new line from Senta. Six lines would then converge on Subotica.
Trains from Baja would continue from Subotica to Szeged: this line would also be upgraded as a double-track Ausbaustrecke. The line is shown on the two 1910 maps below: it was 41 km long, including 13 km of the present Hungarian line line 136. It is also almost straight, with minimal gradients.
Click to enlarge…
Szeged is the main centre of the region, with 170 000 inhabitants. Via a new bridge over the river Tisza (line in blue), the HSL would connect to the old alignment to Kikinda, and on to Timişoara. The new station (in red) is on the outskirts of Szeged, on the main road to Subotica – the HSL would run alongside the existing line from Kecskemét. There would be interchange with an upgraded line to Békéscsaba, with a regional line to Arad via Makó, and with a restored regional line to Timişoara. The line south along the Tisza / Tiza toward Bečej via Kanjiža, would also be re-opened: more on these lines later.
The flat plains and the straight alignments would allow high speeds on upgraded lines. With a station spacing of about 12 km for regional trains, a Baja – Szeged journey time of around an hour is feasible.