First New Railway Line in Croatia in Almost 50 Years to Be Built

By 26 August 2015

A new railway for Croatia after 50 years. 

HŽ Infrastruktura will in October begin the construction of a new 12.2-kilometre-long railway line between Gradec and Sveti Ivan Žabno. The total amount of the investment is 203.4 million kuna, and on Wednesday the contracts with contractors have been signed. The construction should be completed by the end of 2017. The signing ceremony for the construction of the line, for which 85 percent of costs will be covered by EU funds, was attended by Croatian prime minister Zoran Milanović, reports on August 26, 2015.

This is the first new line in the Croatian railway infrastructure in nearly 50 years (after Zadar-Knin line in 1967), and it will better connect Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Koprivnica-Križevci County, Zagreb County and the City of Zagreb. This line will shorten the travel from Bjelovar to Zagreb to about one hour.

The managing director of HŽ Infrastruktura Renata Suša stressed that they are proud of the project, planning for which commenced in 2003. She added that they had the support of the ministries of transport and regional development. On behalf of the consortium that will work on the construction of the railway line, Jose Miarnau Montserrat said he believes that this is the beginning of a long-term cooperation with Croatian institutions, promising that all companies involved in the consortium will deliver quality work.

Prime Minister Milanović said that the bidding process was serious and strict, but that it demonstrated the administrative and bureaucratic capacities of the state to deliver. He mentioned that Croatia had a very long journey to the EU, but the belief that the EU funds could be very helpful has remained constant. "In the end, you see that the measure of success in the EU is seen by how much money you are able to use for projects which benefit your communities and country", said Milanović. "If more people use trains, the environment will be better protected, and that is something we in Croatia have to think about."

He said that the Croatian motorways have been built for a high price, without help from the EU funds. Railway network is still lagging behind, but Milanović believes that the new line and other projects will strengthen this part of the infrastructure.