Track upgrading 2019-2025, all direct fast trains cancelled

The 350 km (220 mile) railway from Budapest to Belgrade is largely straight over flat terrain, but for decades speeds were slow and journey times long.  A major upgrading project started in 2019 which will (I hope) raise line speed to 200 km/h and cut journey time to 3 hours.  In 2022, the Novi Sad to Belgrade section was completed and new 200 km/h trains introduced.  The other sections will hopefully follow between now and 2025.

But until then, the line is basically blocked.  All direct Budapest-Belgrade express trains are currently cancelled until at least 2025.  You may wish to avoid this route until works are completed.

But in 2024, you can take the slow train from 22

In 2024, a new cross-border local service started between Szeged & Subotica, and the determined traveller can now get from Budapest to Belgrade (or vice versa) by rail if they don't mind a long and slow (but interesting) journey across Serbia with multiple changes.  The train from Subotica to Novi Sad takes a local line which avoids the upgrading work on the main line.

Incidentally, if you've read Graham Greene's novel Stamboul Train, much of the action takes place when the Orient Express stops at Subotica.  Subotica - pronounced Subboteetsa - is an interesting place to stop for a few hours, and the schedule gives time for lunch in both directions.  If you take this route, feedback would be appreciated.

Budapest ► Belgrade

Belgrade ► Budapest

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Serbian local train of the type used between Subotica and Novi Sad

Serbian local train of the type used between Szeged & Subotica and Subotica & Novi Sad.  They are air-conditioned, 2nd class only, with toilets.  Courtesy of @AndyBTravels,

Route map

Budapest to Belgrade train route map


Click for larger map

Yellow highlight = Route taken from Budapest to Belgrade

European Rail Timetable and mapOn this map you can also make out the much more direct mainline route, services suspended until at least 2025.

Reproduced from the excellent European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.

I recommend buying a copy of the European Rail Map for your travels, with shipping worldwide.


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