Belgrade-Sarajevo railway line resumes nearly 18 years

A grimy three-car train pulled out of Belgrade’s railway station Sunday on the first direct trip to Sarajevo in nearly 18 years, restoring a link broken at the start of ethnic warfare in the former Yugoslavia

Rail workers prepare a train

A grimy three-car train pulled out of Belgrade’s railway station Sunday on the first direct trip to Sarajevo in nearly 18 years, restoring a link broken at the start of ethnic warfare in the former Yugoslavia

Branko Rogosic, 43-year-old Belgrade lawyer, was one of 17 passengers who boarded the drab-looking train. Only nine were planning the journey all the way to Sarajevo.

“It is a very special event to make this connection again,” he said.

Its windows smeared and seats shabby and old, the train looked nothing like its old self, when it was called the Olympic Express and hailed as the pride of the Communist-run nation.

The 1980s Belgrade-Sarajevo line was the most modern transportation line in the country. The train was redecorated for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo with a red carpet and stewardesses, and its carriages were packed with skiers, businesspeople or youth.

“It was the best train in Yugoslavia, I loved it,” said 41-year-old translator Slavica Nikolic from Belgrade, who frequently took the Olympic Express in the past.

During Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, Serbia’s nationalist leadership armed and supported a Bosnian Serb deadly three-year siege of Sarajevo which killed thousands of its residents.

The war saw both cities change dramatically, with their once travel-loving middle classes growing impoverished, educated youths fleeing and refugees pouring in.

The train will cross two borders in more than eight hours and is itself is divided along ethnic lines: one carriage belongs to the Bosnian Serb railway, one is from Serbia and the third one was provided by the Sarajevo railway authorities.

The Bosnian Serb carriage is to be disconnected at the Serb territory in Bosnia, before reaching Sarajevo.

Railway officials said they hope the line will attract more people during upcoming winter holidays. They said the ticket price of C31 ($45) for the approximately 500-kilometre (310-mile) journey to Bosnia-Herzegovina is less than the cost of driving.

“I am proud to do this,” said engine driver Dusan Bosnjakovic, 54.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Street Tales: Life is filled with unlearned lessons

There are days that I almost believe evolutionists in that we are… Continue reading

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month