Ambassadors take train tour,
see SFOR projects
By Maj. Ladislav Ruzicka
and 1lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer #98, October 11, 2000
- The Commander of the Stabilisation Force SFOR (COMSFOR) in Bosnia and
Hercegovina (BiH) invited local ambassadors for a train tour from Sarajevo
to Mostar Sept. 28.
The purpose of the ride was to give members of the International Community
an overview on railway reconstruction projects in BiH with the aim of
stimulating further funding and development.
is a good way of getting many parties together. We achieve two things
at the same time; An opportunity to talk together, and to demonstrate
the importance of working side by side on a project to get the economy
on track in BiH," said Lt. Gen. Michael Dodson, COMSFOR. "The
roads and railways are the arteries of this country, and designed to carry
the lifeblood. Now these arteries are nearly opened, and will be essential
for the economy of BiH."
North-South-Line (Bosanski Samac-Capljina-Ploce) is a critical link from
SFOR loading facilities in Zenica, Doboj, and Sarajevo to Adriatic coast.
The line is also, quite simply, an impressive work of construction and
At present there are 29 SFOR projects for a total of 5.7 million DM funded
by the Infrastructure Committee, SHAPE. Currently, four projects are ongoing
on the Sarajevo to Mostar line.
These projects involve the repair of overhead contact lines in tunnels,
telecommunication systems, the signals and safety equipment of seven railway
stations and the replacement of broken sleepers.
Distinguished SFOR and civilian guests partook of the train laid on by
the Railway Company of the Federation of BiH (ZBH). Among them, the Ambassadors
of Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy,
Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Charge d'Affairs
of the Czech Republic, First Secretary of Embassy of the Austria and USA
and Third Secretary of Embassy of Turkey.
event started with a briefing by Mr. Hidajet Serbo, the General Manager
of the ZBH and German Capt. Michael Müller, HQ SFOR Engineer Staff
Officer (Railway), who was responsible for organising the train trip.
He gave an overview of current re- projects and acquainted the visitors
with the history of the line, current and pre-war status, and financial
25-minute stops at Parazic, Ovcari and Dreznica gave Müller the opportunity
to show participants the most important aspects of the current projects.
Swedish Ambassador Nils Eliasson and Ambassador of Egypt DR Salah ElAshry
showed a particular interest in the details of the projects, and their
probing questions gave Müller opportunity to go into detail on the
"This is a critical sector because of the climate and the geography.
It is also politically critical to the economical unification of BiH",
said Ambassador Dr. Salah El Ashry. "Egypt was the first country
in Africa which built a railway system, and it is a very important part
of our peoples lives, and Egypt's economy."
trip makes it possible for me to see with my own two eyes what Sweden
is doing to rebuild the railway here. Among other things, we help them
to restore the signalling system, which is made of Swedish technology.
But the main challenge, as I see it, is to make ZBH understand the importance
of marketing the railway to the people", said Swedish Ambassador
the 128-km line from Sarajevo to Mostar, there are 92 tunnels and 45 bridges.
Therefore the local people call this line 'half in the dark and half in
the air.' I had a good opportunity to show all the different deficiencies
that are still limiting railway traffic in BiH," said Möller,
who had also briefing on the future funding requirements needed to assure
the continued improvement of the system.
Engineering - Railways