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Balkan Train Line Returns After 18 Years

January 11, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

Eighteen years after war and the collapse of the Soviet Union forever changed maps of the Balkans, a train linking Sarajevo to Belgrade has returned, and is helping locals explore their homeland more. According to, in the 1980s, the lines were known as the “Olympic Express” and the “Bosna Express.” The New York Times has a detailed story on the train's return, and its impact on the Balkans:

Starting on December 19, citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia could travel to European Union countries without visas for the first time since the collapse of Yugoslavia. Serbia, until recently an international pariah, applied for European Union membership a few days later. Reacceptance into the Western fold looks closer for the region than it has in years. But the region - like the train line itself - is by no means normal or fully integrated. In the fragmented territory of the former Yugoslavia, the train journey now requires four different locomotives from four separate railway companies, two passport checks and more than eight hours to journey about 300 miles.


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