This proposed Kikinda – Arad line is complementary to the earlier proposal for a regional line Szeged – Lovrin – Timişoara. The two upgraded and electrified lines would form an X, serving the quadrilateral between Szeged, Kikinda, Timişoara and Arad. Its west and south boundary is the Szeged – Kikinda – Timişoara line, part of a high-speed line from Budapest (HSL).
The two lines in the quadrilateral would cross at Lovrin. Both restore regional links, cut by the Treaty of Trianon which divided the Kingdom of Hungary after the First World War. Kikinda and the village of Nakovo are now in Serbia, the rest of the Kikinda – Arad line is in Romania. The proposed line incorporates parts of Romanian lines 216 (Arad to Periam) and 217. All proposals here ignore the borders.
Click to enlarge: The base map is an Austro-Hungarian military map of around 1910, without the 1920 borders, and with older Hungarian spellings.
The line would start at Kikinda (population 42 000, municipality 67 000). It would be served by high-speed trains from Budapest, and fast inter-regional trains from Pécs via a new link from Subotica via Senta. The existing line south also connects to Zrenjanin, via Novi Bečej.
The station is located at the eastern edge of the town, and the alignment toward Lovrin is still available. Restoration means in practice, that a new line would be built on the old alignment. On the abandoned section Nakovo – Comloşu Mare, a new alignment is needed, and possibly also on the section next to the road out of Kikinda.
From Comloşu Mare, 14 km from Kikinda, the line is in use. The section to Lovrin has 6 trains per day, as does the section Lovrin – Periam. Three of them are through services – at average speeds of under 30 km/h.
There is one more village between Comloşu Mare and Lovrin, Gottlob: the existing alignment is acceptable. Lovrin station would be reconstructed as an interchange with the proposed regional line Szeged – Lovrin – Timişoara, but no major work is needed. Obviously, services on both lines should be timed to connect. Lovrin itself has 4000 inhabitants, and would not be a destination for most passengers.
From Lovrin to Secusigiu, the existing alignment needs improvement. A simple cut-off would shorten the line to Pesac station, and again from there to Periam. The line on the eastern edge of Periam can be extended to the eastern edge of Secusigiu.
East of Periam, the existing line is part of line 216, with 5 trains per day to Arad, at up to 47 km/h. It runs parallel to the river Mureş / Maros, serving several small villages, roughly 5 km apart.
On the line from Lovrin, Periam (Hungarian Perjámos) is the largest village, with about 4000 inhabitants. The others are Pesac / Pészak (2000), Satu Mare / Nagyfalu (1000), Secusigiu / Székesút (2000), Sânpetru German /Németszentpéter (2000), Felnac / Fönlak (3000), and Zădăreni / Zádorlak (2000). The existing stations at Munor / Munar (500 inhabitants) and Bodrogu Nou (200) would probably close.
The existing alignment into Arad itself is indirect, but it has the advantage of serving southern Arad (Aradu Nou, ‘New Arad’) and the western suburbs. It could be improved between Zădăreni and Aradu Nou.
Arad (population 167 000) is a major rail junction. It is on the main rail routes from Budapest to Bucharest / București, via either Craiova or Braşov. It is also on the transversal route, from Timişoara to Oradea and Satu Mare (the city, not the village). Arad would be the terminus of the proposed regional line from Szeged via Makó.
The new line would be about 88 km long: about 28 from Kikinda to Lovrin, and 60 km from Lovrin to Arad. Journey times, with new trains on an upgraded line, could be around 70-75 minutes.
The other local lines 217 Timişoara – Periam, and 216 Periam – Vălcani, can be combined, and possibly extended to Mokrin. Trains on line 928, Lovrin – Jimbolia, could start at Sânnicolau Mare. The remaining stub line Comloşu Mare – Nerău can be closed: reopening the former Kikinda – Nerău – Sânnicolau Mare line would make more sense. Details of these lines are not considered further here.