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European Railroad Discussion > Has anyone ever ridden the Belgrade to Bar railway?


Date: 02/14/19 06:28
Has anyone ever ridden the Belgrade to Bar railway?
Author: inCHI

I've come across videos and descriptions of the line from Bar, Montenegro to the border with Serbia and ultimately Belgrade. The construction is incredible, there are endless tunnels and bridges. Videos show passengers leaning out of open windows to take in the scenery, which seems like a treat when you see what the line passes through. Has anyone ever ridden it?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/19 07:30 by inCHI.



Date: 02/14/19 07:24
Re: Has anyone ever ridden to the Belgrade to Bar railway?
Author: pennengineer

inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've come across videos and descriptions of the
> line from Bar, Montenegro to the border with
> Serbia and ultimately Belgrade. The construction
> is incredible, there are endless tunnels and
> bridges. Videos show passengers leaning out of
> open windows to take in the scenery, which seems
> like a treat when you see what the line passes
> through. Has anyone ever ridden it?

I rode it in September 2008. Here are my photos from the trip:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesintransit/albums/72157607547954763

It's an absolutely stunning ride -- highly recommended! Definitely one of the most stunning mountain routes one can find outside of Switzerland.

It was quite a circus train, as can be seen in some of the pictures, and yes, most of the windows were open on my trip, though there were more locals smoking out of the windows than tourists using them to enjoy the scenery (I believe I only saw one other at the time).

At the time, there was one daytime train and one night train, which has generally been the service pattern since then, with occasional breaks due to maintenance work or (I believe two years ago) flood damage.

In the summer, I believe there have traditionally been through sleeping cars from Budapest (?), though I'm unsure of the status of these since the closure of Belgrade Central last year and the subsequent displacement of the Serbian terminus to Topčider, not to mention the impending interruption of service between Hungary and Serbia due to engineering works.

About four years ago or so they briefly reactivated Tito's private train to offer luxury trips on the line, though unfortunately that service seems to have lasted only for one season, as far as I know.






Date: 02/14/19 07:30
Re: Has anyone ever ridden to the Belgrade to Bar railway?
Author: inCHI

That view is incredible! Thanks for the information. I am pondering a trip that would try to include it. I'll be sure to check all the current info if so... I know they moved it to the other station in Belgrade because of the main station closure.

Also, I notice your second photo is at a location that stuck out to me. That station's sidings extend into the tunnel, so it is a wide bore for all three tracks, and then the interlocking is at the other end before entering onto a single track bridge and going right into another tunnel. That engineering fascinates me. I understand little freight traffic uses the route, though.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/19 07:33 by inCHI.



Date: 02/14/19 08:25
Re: Has anyone ever ridden to the Belgrade to Bar railway?
Author: pennengineer

inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That view is incredible! Thanks for the
> information. I am pondering a trip that would try
> to include it. I'll be sure to check all the
> current info if so... I know they moved it to the
> other station in Belgrade because of the main
> station closure.
>
> Also, I notice your second photo is at a location
> that stuck out to me. That station's sidings
> extend into the tunnel, so it is a wide bore for
> all three tracks, and then the interlocking is at
> the other end before entering onto a single track
> bridge and going right into another tunnel. That
> engineering fascinates me. I understand little
> freight traffic uses the route, though.

Unfortunately, rail service -- particularly interntionally -- has degraded considerably since my visit 10 years ago. My trip saw me taking the night train "Lisinski" from Munich to Zagreb (thankfully still running, though it was nearly cancelled last year), then the overnight train to Sarajevo (no longer in operation; Bosnia & Herzegovina is no longer reachable by rail, sadly), then the stunning Sarajevo - Mostar route (at that time using very old but charming Swedish 1st class cars, but now serviced I believe by Talgo), then by bus to Bar with stopovers in Dubrovnik and Kotor.

My last trip to Croatia (in 2014) saw me once again on the Lisinksi to Zagreb, followed by an IC to Split (thanks to a mechanical failure on the DMU I was treated to a ride on a two-car, loco-hauled consist), then by bus down to Dubrovnik. This would be a route worth considering for your trip (whereby you obviously would continue down to Bar from Dubrovnik by bus). Bar can also be reached by ferry from Bari, Italy. 

And, yes, the engineering on that line is quite interesting indeed!

As always, any planning for this should include at least a peek at The Man in Seat 61's site.



Date: 02/14/19 13:25
Re: Has anyone ever ridden to the Belgrade to Bar railway?
Author: sys3175

I rode it in April '17 from Podgorica to Belgrade, but the last 60 km from Lajkovac were bustituted due to track work.
The train was a little late in Podgorica, but arrived on time at its destination. The scenery is stunning, but there are also lots of long tunnels. A lot of the track is not well maintained and the speed is limited to 30km/h, I think we rode about two hours at that speed...
You could open some of the windows, but not in our car, which was climatized. The cars are 1980s style with compartments for six, we had one for the two of us. People smoke on the train regardless of the signs, that's the Balkans for you. A guy set up a gas cooker coffee kitchen, brewed Turkish coffee and sold it to the people in the compartments, which we enjoyed, otherwise there's no catering on train. We bought tickets the evening before in Podgorica station, they are very cheap. There was some confusion about the departure time, which we were told was an hour earlier than on the printed timetable in the station, the monitor display showed a third time, and in the end, the train arrived and left about 30 minutes late (or early)... So be early and ask around for the correct times, and don't leave the station even if you see a display that the train will only arrive in half an hour, had we done this, we would have been left behind.

The line is electrified all the way, IIRC the locos are some distant relatives of the ones Amtrak used on the NEC until a few years ago. So, it's kind of an experience, definitely for railfans! I don't know if I'd do it again, all that cigarette smoke got on my nerves after some time, but on the other hand, I like having ridden it.

BTW: we flew out from Berlin to Podgorica, took the train to Belgrade, continued from there to Budapest and flew back to Berlin.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/19 13:35 by sys3175.



Date: 02/14/19 22:19
Re: Has anyone ever ridden the Belgrade to Bar railway?
Author: gaspeamtrak

Check out  seat61.com 
This website is incredible !!! 
Highly recomened !!!


inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've come across videos and descriptions of the
> line from Bar, Montenegro to the border with
> Serbia and ultimately Belgrade. The construction
> is incredible, there are endless tunnels and
> bridges. Videos show passengers leaning out of
> open windows to take in the scenery, which seems
> like a treat when you see what the line passes
> through. Has anyone ever ridden it?



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