This inter-regional line would link Subotica in the Bačka region, to Kikinda in the northern Banat region. Both are part of the larger Pannonian Plain. The Bačka and Banat are traditionally divided by the river Tisza, one of the few natural barriers on the plains. The alignment to Senta exists already, but a new section to Kikinda is needed, with a new bridge over the Tisza.
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 route would acquire significance, in the context of other proposed lines in the region. Subotica (Szabadka in Hungarian, population 100 000) is on the route of the proposed high-speed line from Budapest via Kecskemét. The high-speed line would displace the transit function of the existing main line from Budapest, the Kelebia line (named for the border crossing). It would then carry regional and inter-regional services, possibly terminating in Kikinda. Other patterns of service are also possible, for instance a fast inter-regional service Pécs – Timişoara, via the upgraded Baja – Subotica line, and the new line to Kikinda.
The line from Subotica to Senta was built in 1889. In 1915, an 8-km line was built across the Tisza to Čoka: it starts just outside Senta station. The whole region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918: the proposed line is in the Vojvodina region of Serbia. (The base map uses Hungarian names, some in older versions, and it does not show the Čoka link).
The line runs south-east from Subotica, through very flat country, and then turns east into Senta. This section would be double-tracked, electrified, and upgraded for 200 km/h.
The largest village on this section, Orom, has a population of only 1600 – not enough to justify a station on an inter-regional line. Most of the alignment is straight, with a few intermediate curves. The double curve at the junction with the line from Kanjiža, at Gornji Breg, would need improvement. (This line would be re-opened as a Szeged – Novi Sad regional line).
The line turns about 30° into Senta station, and then about 40° after the station, onto the line to Ada. Senta (Zenta in Hungarian) itself has population of 20 000. All trains would stop there, so the curves near the station are not a problem. The existing road-rail bridge would remain in use, for local services to Čoka and along the east bank of the Tisza. Senta station is about 1500 m from the town centre.
The new section would diverge from the existing line to Ada, at the industrial zone on the southern edge of Senta. It would then cross the Tisza, pass south of Ostojićevo / Tiszaszentmiklós, and then go straight across the plain to Kikinda. (See the first map, with the new line in red). The alluvial plain is very flat, and the alignment dead straight, so the line can easily be built for high speed.
About 2 km north of Kikinda station, the new line would join the existing alignment from Szeged. This would either heavily upgraded, or even have a parallel HSL, as an extension of the HSL Budapest – Kecskemét – Szeged. From Kikinda, high-speed trains would continue to Timişoara, the economic centre of western Romania. There would also be interchange at Kikinda, with the line to Novi Bečej and Zrenjanin, and a restored regional line to Arad. (See the list of proposals for the regional lines in this region).
Kikinda itself has a population of 42 000, the municipality 67 000: it is the regional centre for about 100 000 people. Kikinda station is located assymetrically, at the eastern edge of the rectangular town, 2400 m from the main square.
The line from Subotica to Senta is 39 km long. The new section Senta – Kikinda would be about 37 km long, station to station. The total route would be 76 km. Given the very good alignment, and with only one stop, a Subotica – Kikinda journey time of 30 minutes is feasible.