On a memorial plate in the main railway station of Belgrade you can read: “This building was opened 23rd August 1884 when Belgrade had 35480 inhabitants. The first train had 200 passengers and went to Niš, the railway station had two platforms. Around 1924 Belgrade had 170000 inhabitants and had a traffic of 46 trains daily with 16000 passengers. In 1939 Belgrade had 314000 inhabitants and had a traffic of 116 trains with 32800 passengers daily. The plate was revealed in 1970, when the railway station had 10 platforms, 150 trains daily with 45000 passengers”.
Today 27 trains arrive and 27 trains depart from the main railway station in Belgrade,because the current main railway station is going slowly to disappear. At one point all the trains will stop in Belgrade’s new main railway station with the name,despite being more far away from the city center, ” Beograd Centar”.
The station is not only going to disappear, because of an old plan of Tito (yes the former leader of Yugoslavia), but also because of the current Belgrade’s Waterfront plans. Construction already started and the area is transforming rapidly, see my pictures below: one displaying the situation in 2010 and one now in 2017.
The plans are pretty controversial here in Serbia, but for me as a railway fan it hurts to see that railway heritage is being slowly destroyed. It was here when the famous Orient Express halted on it’s way from Paris to Istanbul. Millions of people passed this place with their dreams, hopes, fears, sadness and joy. It was here where I set my first step in Belgrade (28/08/2008). It was here when I was sometimes drinking a beer with for example Yvo Kuhling, while watching the steady stream of passengers arriving or departing.
It was here when I was “adopted” by the members of “Belgrade model railway club” (in Serbian Klub Ljubitelja Železnice – Beograd, website) and where we talked about trains while drinking a beer. Their (or our) railway wagon (with models) was moved a couple of months and now nothing: there is no more electricity so meetings cannot be held any more. I truly hope there will be a solution for our railway club.
And of the railway station ? They say it will not be destroyed, but the day the the last train arrives and leaves Belgrade main railway station is approaching faster then we think……
According to the information I have received the station will finally close 01/07/2018.