Regional line Szeged – Bečej – Novi Sad

This regional rail line would link Szeged to Novi Sad, following the river Tisza for about two-thirds of the route. Proposed is a double-track electric regional line, using existing rail alignments (most of them now closed for traffic), with new sections to shorten the route. It would connect to several other proposed lines, new and upgraded. The line runs through the Bačka region. The old lines were built when the area was united under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Szeged is now in Hungary, the rest of this route is in the Vojvodina region of Serbia.

Szeged is a regional city with 170 000 inhabitants, cut off from the region by the 1920 borders. (All proposals here ignore the borders). At Szeged, the inter-regional line would connect to the proposed high-speed line from Budapest via Kecskemét, and to the proposed upgraded line to Békéscsaba. Near Szeged, it would share track with the upgraded line Baja – Subotica – Szeged. Trains would start from the existing Szeged station, and pass through the new station (on the HSL route from Budapest).

Click to enlarge: The new station (red) on the new line south. The base is an Austro-Hungarian military map of around 1910, without the 1918 borders, and with older Hungarian spellings.

The line out of Szeged is at present an isolated local line, Hungarian line 136 to Röszke. Originally it continued to Subotica. The line to Senta diverges at Horgoš, across the border in Serbia. It was built in 1889: the section Horgoš – Kanjiža is still in use. A new cut-off line from Röszke would shorten the route, but it would run alongside former channels of the Tisza, and might be liable to flooding. The line is shown on the map in red: it would rejoin the old alignment, at the village of Martonoš (population 2100).

From Martonoš station the line runs straight to Kanjiža (Kanizsa or Magyarkanizsa in Hungarian). This is a small town with 10 000 inhabitants, 27 000 in the municipality.

From Kanjiža to Senta, the alignment again diverts around the former Tisza channels, inside the river dike (like the Deventer – Zwolle line in the Netherlands). Another cut-off is possible here (purple dotted line), depending on the flood threat.

4 km west of Senta station, at Gornji Breg, the line joins the line from Subotica, the proposed fast inter-regional line Subotica – Kikinda. On a double-track line, joint use by regional services for 4 km should not be a problem, but the junction must be reconstructed. With a population of 1900, Gornji Breg is large enough to justify a station on the regional line, but not on the inter-regional line.

At Senta (Zenta in Hungarian, population 20 000) trains would connect with fast trains to Kikinda, and also with local services to Čoka and along the east bank of the Tisza.

South of Senta, the line would use the old alignment to Bečej, outlined in orange. The alignment is abandoned but available. There would be stations at the villages of Ada (population 10 500) and Mol (7000), which have almost coalesced. There is one more station before Bečej, Bačko Petrovo Selo (in Hungarian Péterréve, population 7000).

Bečej itself is the largest town on the route, with 26 000 inhabitants, 41 000 in the municipality (that includes Bačko Petrovo Selo). The station was built on the western edge, although the town has expanded since then: the streets run toward the river (on the image, north is at the left). Here the line would cross the proposed Bečej – Novi Bečej link line.

South of the station, the line splits: one line runs to Vrbas, the other to Novi Sad via a winding route, 65 km long via Žabalj. The regional line would take a more direct route to Novi Sad, parallel to the regional road R120.

It would first follow the old line out of Bečej. 10 km south of the town, the line crosses the Danube – Tisza – Danube (DTD) Canal. Here, a new 19-km cut-off line to Temerin would begin.

It would run straight across open country, and then pass the eastern edge of Temerin, to rejoin the old line. This is an elongated town, with 19 000 inhabitants (municipality 28 000): the existing line passes through its southern half. There would be a new station on the eastern edge of town: the existing station would be retained. A short tunnel may be needed to approach it: the rail line crosses the main road.

After Temerin, the existing line runs south-southwest, with a station at the village of Bački Jarak (population 6000). About 4 km south of this station, the line would diverge onto the last section of new infrastructure, into Novi Sad.

The new alignment would run through undeveloped areas, crossing the E75 motorway, to join Highway 7. It would run along the south side of this road, crossing the DTD Canal, and then reach the existing rail line via a short link (with some limited demolition). The main station is about 1 km further. The new section would be about 8 km long, forming a north-western exit line from Novi Sad. (This could also be used for a new line to Zrenjanin via Žabalj, parallel to Highway 7).

Novi Sad, the capital of Vojvodina, has a population of 305 000. The main station has enough room for expansion to cope with new traffic over new lines. From the station, the main boulevard (Bulevar Oslobedjenja) leads to the city centre and the Danube.

The line would carry a regional service with a frequency of 20-30 minutes. It would have 13 intermediate stations. Assuming a Horgoš cut-off, the line would be 132 km long, with a station spacing of about 10 km.

Regional line Szeged – Bečej – Novi Sad

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