Train From Sarajevo to Belgrade Revived

Photo slideshow fromPhotography by Christoph Bangert
(related article here)




The new Sarajevo Central Station in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After 18 years, the famous train line from Sarajevo to Belgrade is running again.
The interior of the Sarajevo Central Station, left. The Sarajevo-to-Belgrade train line had been one of the few physical links that bound Muslims, Serbs and Croats before war broke out.
The new train is hardly luxurious, with mismatched rail cars belonging to three different railway companies.
The station agent did not accept credit cards and wrote out each ticket by hand. A round-trip ticket to Belgrade, the Serbian capital, cost around $45, a bargain compared with a plane ticket, which often costs six times as much.
Lala Tomljanovic and Vera Bagur, both 68, who share an apartment in Sarajevo, rode the train from Sarajevo to Belgrade for the first time in 18 years.
Sasa Mehmedagic, 21, left, boarded the train with two friends, at the town of Doboj, during the first engine change after the train passed the boundary within Bosnia between the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serb Republic. "I think young people realize that nationalism and racism are wrong because we are all from the same flesh," Mr. Mehmedagic said. "I am half-Muslim and half-Serb and I'm proud of it."
The train journey now requires four different locomotives from four seperate railway companies, two passport checks and more than eight hours to voyage about 300 miles.
Back in Sarajevo for a visit, Zeljko Bilanovic, 59, an economist and publisher, and his wife decided to go to Belgrade and called the resumption of service a good sign in a time of stalemate and even setbacks. "It's the train of hope," he said.

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