The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal
Friday, May 21, 2004
We Get Feedback – And We Stand Corrected!
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Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity: and I'm not so sure about the universe. Einstein
From the Cabalmaster:
Unlike some of our favorite targets for riposte and ridicule (Tom Rubin . . . Randall O’Toole . . . Jonathan Richmond . . . the late John F. Kain . . . and most of all, Wendell Cox) we here at The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal DO respond to feedback – even (gasp) to CRITICAL feedback.
A while ago, we ran a post titled “Beograd’s Phantom Subway.” This drew a response from “Christopher L” that said, in brief, NOT TRUE – the “unfinished” station was completed and is part of the “Beovoz” suburban network.
First, a bit of background. Beograd was once one of the smaller European capitals, but it now has 1.4 million people, with a metro area population approaching 2 million. Suburban railway services cover more than 320 km (200 miles) of route. These include a 52.4-km (32.5-mile) inner-suburban network, known as “Beovoz,” that has four services and three outer terminals. We provided a link www.beograd.co.yu/english/upoznaj/saobrac/beovoz/index.htm to the “official” English page; this includes photos, a map showing Beovoz lines in Beograd proper, and links to timetables.
The “Beovoz” network uses an underground link that extends southeast to Beograd Cental station, then turns northeast, skirting the historic city center. Information available online is incomplete – and sometimes, contradictory. Two Beovoz stations near the city center, Vukov Spomenik and Karadjordjev Park, are definitely underground – we’re not certain about Beograd Centar. The tunnel length is stated as 13 km (8 mi), but we doubt this is correct – the figure may refer to the total route length built as part of the “Beograd Junction” railway project. Vukov Spomenik station opened in 1995. The historic, stub-end Beograd station remains in service and is used by all international trains web.mit.edu/most/www/ser/Belgrade/railway.html.
But Beovoz was not the only rail project in town . . . well, maybe. We had heard of a separate “Beograd Metro” project. A mid-1970s project for an extensive network of subways and suburban railways stalled during the early 1980s, perhaps owing to financial considerations. We do not know if metro construction was started. But we did figure out that the photo, allegedly of the one station that was finished (www.subways.net/yugoslavia/station.bmp This 708k graphic!!) is in fact Vukov Spomenik. Thanks to “Christopher L.” for this link www.pbase.com/image/6939995 to photos including one showing people using those escalators shown in the “other” view. (But note also the misleading photo caption “Belgrade Metro Station.”)
As for the statement in the article “Loss of Memory? – New Urban Condition of Belgrade” by Srdan Jovanovic Weiss (www.normalgroup.net/turbo/tnprobe.html), this is either an error, a reference to something other than Beoovoz and the Vukov Spomenik station (that is, to the planned but not built “Metro” project) – or dezinformatsiya. We’re not sure which.
Other views of Vukov Spomenik station are here www.sicip.co.yu/vuk_und.htm and here www.sicip.co.yu/vuk_undg.htm. This page is part of the website of the Serbian form “Institute of Transportation CIP.” Among the “Topmost Projects” is . . . surprise, surprise . . . high-speed rail lines (www.sicip.co.yu/hsr_ser.htm.)
No, not the “Serbian version of the Japanese Bullet Train,” in spite of the graphics on the page. Trains would obviously be capable of operating away from the dedicated high-speed network – as French TGV and German ICE trains do, but Japanese shinkansen trains cannot.
In sum, it would appear that the story of “Beograd’s Phantom Subway” is a “transit urban legend” – perhaps propagated by critics of the previous Serbian regime. We hope to find detailed articles on the Beograd Junction project, the Beovoz network, and the planned light rail system in Beograd.
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