Reopened Passenger Train Reconnects Balkans

A passenger train line across the Balkans had been closed for 18 years. As it reopens and reconnects the region to the rest of Europe, there are signs of improved relations in the war-torn region.
January 12, 2010, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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The train line travels 300 miles from Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the southeastern tip of Croatia, and to its end-point in Belgrade, Serbia.

"For the chain-smoking Serbs, Croats and Bosnians toasting one another in the cafe car, the revived passenger line was certainly a sign that their forced isolation from the rest of Europe and the world beyond could be on the verge of ending.

Starting on Dec. 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."

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Published on Monday, January 11, 2010 in The New York Times
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