Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Croatia Given More Than 119 Million Euro to Purchase 21 Electric Trains

ZAGREB, March 17, 2020 - The European Commission on Tuesday approved the allocation of more than €119 million from the Cohesion Fund to Croatia to purchase 21 electric trains.

That is one of 14 large infrastructure projects in seven EU member states with a total value of €1.4 billion.

"Over €119 million from the Cohesion Fund will finance the purchase of 21 new electric trains to boost service quality, reduce delays and encourage more people to use a sustainable transport type. This project will contribute to modernise the country's rolling stock and to improve connectivity and mobility with positive economic consequences. Travel times, noise, vibrations and operating costs will be reduced while safety will increase," the EC said in a press release published on its web site.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: "In such difficult times for our continent, it is crucial that Cohesion policy continues to play its role in supporting the economy for the benefit of our citizens."

"Today's major project adoptions show that EU funding, and Cohesion policy in particular, delivers concrete results, helping regions and cities becoming a safer, cleaner and more comfortable place for people and business. Many of the approved projects also help delivering on the goals of the European Green Deal. When the European Commission, Member States and regions join forces, we can achieve a lot,” Ferreira said.

More news about EU Funds can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

322 Million Euro Deal on Upgrading Rail from Križevci to Hungarian Border Signed

ZAGREB, March 12, 2020 - The Croatian state-run HŽ Infrastruktura company and the Turkish Cengiz Insaat Sanayi ve Ticaret on Thursday signed a HRK 2.42 billion contract on the reconstruction and upgrade of a 42.6-kilometre-long railway from Križevci via Koprivnica to the Croatian border with Hungary.

The project, which is co-financed with funds from the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), is expected to last 42 months. The works are due to start in April and end in October 2023.

The project envisages upgrading the route to a double-track railway, with nine modernised rail stations, two viaducts, 21 railway overpasses and underpasses and other improvements that will enable trains to drive at a speed of up to 160 kilometres per hour.

This route is part of the Croatian segment of the Mediterranean corridor passing from Hungary via Zagreb to Rijeka.

Speaking at the contract-signing ceremony in Government House, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that this was a strategic project and pointed out the fact that EU grants for the investment totalled HRK 1.8 billion.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 21 February 2020

HZ Infrastructure and Swietelsky Embark on Project Worth 365.7 Million Kuna

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of February, 2020, HZ Infrastructure has signed a contract with Swietelsky for the reconstruction of the Zagreb West Railway Station - Savski Marof line, worth a massive 365.7 million kuna (VAT excluded), of which the majority (210 million kuna) is financed with a World Bank loan for reconstruction and development.

The implementation deadline is 27 months from the date of the conclusion of the contract, and according to World Bank Director for Croatia Elisabette Capannelli, this investment will help eliminate critical infrastructure issues, improve efficiency and safety, and achieve the financial sustainability of the Croatian railway sector.

It regards a section of the 17.8-kilometre two-lane railway line on the RH1 corridor, which is extremely important for international freight and suburban transport. It takes an average of about 160 trains per day. Once completed, trains will run at a speed of 120 km/h, railway safety and interoperability will be increased, the cost of maintaining the railway line will be reduced, and the ability to carry more passengers in daily migration will be improved.

According to the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, this is another contract that marks a huge investment cycle that has been launched in the rail sector. The President of the Board of HZ Infrastructure, Ivan Krsic, also pointed out that it is a continuation of a series of activities on modernisation and construction of railway infrastructure in the Republic of Croatia.

''Recently, we've witnessed numerous contracts signed by HZ Infrastructure, the value of which is measured in billions of kuna. The projects we're working on throughout Croatia will make the railways better, more efficient and more competitive with other types of traffic. The reconstruction of the section from Savski Marof to Zagreb West Station is a project that, when completed, will strengthen the most frequently used railway route in Croatia.

The renovation of the existing infrastructure will increase the level of safety, allow for faster train speeds, greater railway load capacity, and make suburban transport better and more attractive to passengers. At the same time, it will open up the possibility of unburdening roads from vehicles, which will ultimately contribute to a positive environmental impact,'' Krsic said.

Swietelsky has been present on the construction market in Croatia for more than twenty years now, and, according to its representative Zvonko Dunkovic, has upgraded more than 500 kilometres of tracks of the railroads managed by HZ Infrastructure. The ones which stand out are Ogulin - Split, Mrzlo Polje - Ogulin, Vrbovec - Botovo, Osijek - Beli Manastir, Vrpolje - Slavonski Samac and Zagreb Borongaj - Dugo Selo.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and travel pages for more.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

3.5 Billion Euro Investment on Cards for Croatian Railways

A much needed and huge investment of 3.5 billion euros is in the works for Croatian railways.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josip Bohutinski/VL writes on the 13th of January, 2020 the total length of the network of railway lines operated by HŽ Infrastruktura (HŽI) is 2617 kilometres, of which 2343 kilometres are single tracks and only 274 kilometres are double tracks.

Croatia has invested tens of billions of kuna in the construction of highways, and now the turn has come for Croatian railways. Sveti Ivan Zabno - Gredec, the first new railway in the last 52 years in Croatia, opened at the end of last year, and the 258 million kuna invested in the construction of this railway line is only one small part of the 3.5 billion euro investment cycle launched for Croatian railways, Vecernji list writes.

The total length of the network of railway lines operated by HŽ Infrastruktura (HŽI) is, as stated, 2617 kilometres, of which 2343 kilometres are single tracks and only 274 kilometres are double tracks. According to data, 980 kilometres of the network were electrified. But in the next ten years, and mainly thanks to European Union funds, this should change significantly. Thus, by 2030, Croatia should have up to 681 kilometres double-track lines and 1,022 kilometres of electrified lines.

Thus, the length of two-lane lines should increase by 361 or 407 kilometres, depending on the future route of the section of the lowland railway. HŽI explains that along the RH2 corridor, ie the Croatian part of the Mediterranean corridor, the length of two-track lines will increase by at least 145 kilometres, which includes the sections Križevci - Koprivnica - the state border, Dugo Selo - Križevci, Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac and Škrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani.

For the sections Karlovac - Oštarije and Oštarije - Škrljevo, study documentation is being prepared which will define the routes. For the section Karlovac - Oštarije, the possible length of the route is 40 kilometres, and for Oštarije - Škrljevo, 67 or 113 kilometres. HŽI also says that the length of two-track sections will increase by 82 kilometres on the RH1 corridor, and that will be on the Dugo Selo - Novska section. In addition, 42.6 kilometres of single-track lines will be electrified in this investment cycle, namely the Zaprešić-Zabok (23.9 km) and Vinkovci-Vukovar (18.7 km) lines.

EU co-financing is currently underway for the reconstruction of the existing track and construction of the second track on the 36.4 kilometre long Dugo Selo - Križevci section. The project is worth 196.9 million euros. Work on the reconstruction of the existing and construction of the second track on the section Križevci - Koprivnica - state border, totalling 42.6 kilometres, should begin soon.

The decision to select a contractor for the job with an estimated value of 283.9 million euros was made, but appeals were also lodged.

A tender for the reconstruction and construction of the second track on the Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac section will also be announced this year. The estimated value of the works stands at 315 million euros, and this section is 44 kilometres long. For the Karlovac - Oštarije section, however, as HŽI claims, a public procurement procedure is underway to select the designer of the study documentation, as it also is for the Oštarije-Škrljevo section.

The estimated value of works for the Karlovac - Oštarije section is 400 million euros, and for the line from Oštarije to Škrljevo - 667 million euros, depending on the selected technical solution of the route. For the project of the construction of the second track, modernisation and reconstruction of the Škrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani section, the main project is underway. The section is 27.5 kilometres long and the estimated value of the works is 270 million euros.

Financing has not yet been resolved for the sections of the lowland railway from Karlovac to Jurdani, but it is possible, according to the announcement of the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, that Croatia will receive EU funds for the construction of these sections.

Chinese companies have shown interest in building these Croatian railways under a concession model. The estimated value of the works on the Dugo Selo - Novska section is 570 million euros, which would make the entire RH1 corridor two-lane. The design speeds for these new lines are 160 kilometres per hour. There will be new trains on the new tracks.

HŽ Passenger Transport has so far contracted the purchase of 28 new trains with a maximum speed of 120 km/h. It intends to finance the acquisition of 21 trains with 1.1 billion kuna in grants and the remaining 19 with a loan from the World Bank and Eurofima.

Other major projects include the Zaprešić-Zabok railway (the value of the modernisation and electrification project is 80.8 million euros), the Vinkovci-Vukovar railway, the Rijeka port (a project worth almost 36 million euros) and the Rijeka railway station where work is already underway.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for more on Croatian railways.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Croatian Railways Building 400 Kilometers of High Speed Track

Croatian Railways is building 400 kilometers of high-speed track and trains on several key routes will be running at speeds of up to 160 km/h within 10 years. The average speed of a current Croatian train is only 58.2 km/h! Only Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro have railway systems worse than ours.

However, December has proven to be the month of railways when it comes to major projects in this area of Croatian infrastructure, according to Krešimir Žabec/Jutarnji List on December 30, 2019. For years, there have been reports of billions of euros coming to Croatia to upgrade our catastrophic rail network.

croatian_railways_high_speed_01.jpg

Map of Current and Upcoming Croatian Railways High-Speed Projects | Croatian Railways

Average Speed of Current Croatian Train: 58.2 km/h

The state of railway infrastructure in Croatia is perhaps best illustrated by the indicator of 58.2 kilometers per hour, which is the average speed of trains running in Croatia. Only Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro have railway systems worse than ours. But until recently, promises of a brighter future for Croatian Railways have sounded like the dreams of politicians which never produced any visible results. However, a turnaround began to take hold this past month.

First New Railway Line in 50 Years Launched in December 2019

First, after 50 years, a new railway line was launched in Croatia: from Gradec to Sveti Ivan Žabno. Then, in Vukovar, a contract was signed with the Spanish company Comsa to upgrade and electrify the Vinkovci - Vukovar railway. Eight years after its launch; the Turkish company Cengiz was selected as contractor for the Križevci - Koprivnica - Hungarian Border section of the project. And a 321 million EUR contract was finally signed to build the Lowland Railway section of Hrvatski Leskovac to Karlovac, which is being co-financed by the European Union.

Three Billion EUR Investment in Croatian Railways

Croatia, the European Union and the World Bank are expected to invest more than 3 billion EUR in designing, renovating and upgrading Croatian railway infrastructure over the next ten years. There are 18 projects in different stages of progress, of which only the Gradec - Sv. Ivan Žabno line has been finished.

Overview of the 250-Kilometer Lowland Railway Project

The international Mediterranean railway corridor connects Rijeka with the Baltic. The Croatian part of this corridor is divided into a section from Zagreb to Rijeka, known as the Lowland Railway, and the section from Zagreb to Botovo (the Hungarian border). It is a 250-kilometer railway line, and only 22 kilometers, from Zagreb to Dugo Selo, are currently two-lane and have been electrified. The estimated value of the modernization and construction of this route is approximately 2.6 billion EUR, and that tab does not include the cost of modernizing the Zagreb hub.

The other sections of this route are in different stages of completion. Work on the 38.2-kilometer Dugo Selo – Križevci section is underway and running about two years behind schedule.

The contract for co-financing and a tender for a contractor have been signed for the section from Hrvatski Leskovac to Karlovac.

Two Options for Most Expensive Lowland Span: Karlovac - Škrljevo

The Hrvatski Leskovac – Karlovac section is connected to the most difficult and expensive span, running from Karlovac to Škrljevo, which is about 150 kilometers long. Construction costs could reach 1.5 billion EUR, but he total cost of will depend on whether the Northern or Southern option is selected. Kupska, the Northern option, is 150 kilometers long, of which 61 kilometers involve tunnels and bridges. Drežnička, the Southern option, is 170 kilometers long with 45 kilometers of tunnels and bridges.

It is unknown at this time whether this section will be put into concession or the European Commission will decide to co-finance the project, due to concern over utilizing Chinese capital. EU funding for Croatia is a more favorable option as it won’t impact public debt. In the event of a concession, a Chinese company would build and finance the project, backed by state guarantees of around 1.5 billion EUR. And it would be difficult for the Croatian state to allow that.

croatian_railways_high_speed_04.jpg

Close-Up of the Zagreb - Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac - Škrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani Line | Croatian Railways

Location Permit and Plans for Škrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani Section

A location permit has been obtained for the Škrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani section and the main plans are being drawn, and are being co-financed by the EU with 8.5 million EUR. A final solution is currently being worked on for the Zagreb hub. According to projections, the entire Lowland Railway could be completed by 2030.

croatian_railways_high_speed_05.jpg

Close-Up of Railway Line Upgrades to Hungary and Serbia | Croatian Railways

Work Progressing on the Zagreb - Serbian Border Railway

Another important international route is railway from Zagreb to the border of Serbia. The sections of Vinkovci – Tovarnik – Serbian Border and Okučani – Novska have been modernized and plans reconstruction and upgrade of the Dugo Selo – Novska section are underway. The estimated price tag for work on this section is 580 million EUR. Project plans for the modernization of the Okučani - Vinkovci section are also in development.

In addition to the construction of the Dugo Selo - Križevci section, two more projects are underway. As part of the modernization and electrification of the Zaprešić - Čakovec railway, work is progressing on the Zaprešić - Zabok section.

Zagreb and Rijeka Port Hubs Undergoing Upgrades

The railway network within the greater Zagreb metropolitan area plays a crucial role in passenger transport. The value of this project, which is being carried out by the Swietelsky construction firm, is estimated at 529 million EUR, with a planned completion date of 2021.

Another important project is the reconstruction and capacity expansion of the Rijeka Brajdica freight railway station.

This project includes the complete reconstruction of the existing nine tracks and the extension of the Sušak railway tunnel to a length of 423 meters. The total value of this project is 35.6 million EUR. This project is extremely important for expanding the capacity of the Port of Rijeka.

Along with these and a few other projects in the upcoming ten years, Croatia is expected to finally upgrade its railway infrastructure. As mentioned in an earlier TCN article, these upgrades will allow train passengers to travel at speeds of 160 kilometers per hour.

Croatian Railways Project Overviews:

Here is an overview of six key railway projects; their statuses and expected dates of completion:

Dugo Selo - Križevci:

Length: 38.2 kilometers
Details: Upgrade of the existing track and construction of the second track.
Contractors: Zagreb Montaža, DIV, Dalekovod Integral
Completed: 65 percent of the financial part of the contract.
Deadline: 48 months
Cost: 196.9 million EUR

Križevci - Koprivnica - Hungarian Border:

Length: 42.6 kilometers
Details: Upgrade of the existing track and construction of the second track.
Contractors: Cengiz (Turkey)
Completed: Signing of construction contract in Spring 2020.
Deadline: 48 months
Cost: 400 million EUR

Vinkovci - Vukovar:

Length: 18.7 kilometers
Details: Track upgrade and electrification.
Contractors: Comsa
Completed: Signed construction contract.
Deadline: 24 months
Cost: 55 million EUR

Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac:

Length: 44 kilometers
Details: Upgrade of the existing track and construction of a second track.
Contractors: Tender in process.
Completed: EU approved co-financing with 361 million EUR.
Deadline: TBD
Cost: 450 million EUR

Zaprešić - Zabok:

Length: 23.9 kilometers
Details: Railway modernization and electrification.
Contractors: Swietelsky
Completed: In progress.
Deadline: End of 2021.
Cost: 80.8 million EUR

Rijeka Brajdica:

Length: 4 kilometers
Details: Connecting track to the container terminal of Adriatic port.
Contractors: Kolektor and Euro Asphalt
Completed: In progress.
Deadline: 45 months
Cost: 29.5 million EUR

Follow our Travel page for our continuting coverage of high-speed train track upgrades in Croatia. Train schedules, tickets, route maps and news can be accessed on the Croatian Railways site here.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Zagreb to Karlovac in 30 Minutes: Croatian Railways Upgrade Project

The train ride from Karlovac to Zagreb currently takes an hour. A track reconstruction project of the Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac railway line, worth 3.45 billion HRK (463.4 million EUR), will cut the train journey to 30 minutes.

zagreb karlovac train 07.jpg

Section of Current Weekday Zagreb - Karlovac Train Schedule | Croatian Railways

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković attended a ceremony in Karlovac on December 27, 2019 to sign the grant agreement for the project to rebuild the existing railway line and construct a second track from Hrvatski Leskovac to Karlovac.

Zagreb – Karlovac Train Speeds to 160km/h

It is a 44-kilometer section of the railway, and its reconstruction and second track upgrade will improve suburban traffic from Zagreb to Karlovac, and is part of a larger project to build a lowland railway from Hungary to the Port of Rijeka, which will improve connections to the markets of Central Europe.

The project encompasses the reconstruction of the existing railway line and the construction of a second track. It also includes the renovation of the Hrvatski Leskovac, Jastrebarsko and Karlovac railway stations, while the Horvati, Zdenčina and Draganići stations will be transformed into stops. The existing stops Mavracići, Desinec, Domagovići and Lazina will also be renovated. The reconstruction of the railway line will include upgrading and modernizing a stable railway track and installing signaling and telecommunications systems, which will enable maximum train speeds of 160 km/h.

zagreb karlovac train 01.jpg

Current 44 Kilometer Track Upgrade and Construction | Croatian Railways

Increased Use of EU Budget Funds for Infrastructure

The Prime Minister stressed that it is important that this event is happening just a few days before Croatia takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, according to 01Portal on December 27, 2019.

“In public life, it is important to continue to raise awareness of the added value of EU membership. This project, worth 3.45 billion HRK, of which 2.7 billion are entirely grants from the European budget to Croatia, is another example of how important EU membership is for the development of Croatia, and for the development of transport or railway infrastructure in this particular case,” Prime Minister Plenković pointed out.

Croatia to Invest 3 Billion EUR in Railway Upgrades

He announced that Croatia will invest 3 billion EUR in railway infrastructure improvements over the next ten years. He added that the reconstruction of the main train station in Karlovac was also a sound investment for Karlovac, and an effective use of European funds.

“Karlovac will obtain a modernized renovated station and, most importantly, our Karlovac residents will arrive in Zagreb twice as fast as they can currently,” said the Prime Minister, pointing out the additional value of this project, which increases the overall percentage of fund usage within the EU budgetary framework to 83 percent.

The contract for the grant was signed by the Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković, the CFCA (Central Finance and Contracting Agency) Director Tomislav Petrić and the President of the Board of HZ (Croatian Railways) Infrastructure Ivan Kršić. The Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac track section is a part of the Zagreb - Rijeka railway line.

Upgrades Underway for Entire Zagreb – Rijeka Line

“Tenders are underway for project studies to upgrade the next two railway sections to Rijeka: Karlovac - Oštarije and Oštarije – Škrljevo. We have obtained the necessary location permits and plans are also underway to improve the Škrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani section, which is the fourth and final section of the Zagreb - Rijeka railway line,” Ivan Kršić noted.

Follow our Travel page for more information on upgrades to transportation infrastructure in Croatia.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

FlixBus and Croatian Railways: Synergy in Future of Sustainable Travel

December 21, 2019 -  As integrated transport occupies an increasingly important place in the future of sustainable driving and becomes an alternative to using passenger vehicles, the more transport providers see the future precisely through cooperation. Like the latest project between Flixbus and Croatian Railways. 

HRTurizam writes that this step into the future was also confirmed by the first collaboration between the leading European bus carrier and the national rail passenger transport. FlixBus and HŽŽ (Croatian Railways) have networked to their advantage and now, European destinations like Vienna, Rome, Paris or Prague are closer to destinations like Bjelovar, Sisak, Zabok or Koprivnica.

In recent years, FlixBus has developed the largest international bus network with over 400,000 daily connections in 30 countries. By collaborating with HŽ Passenger Transport, an additional 70 destinations from Central Croatia are included in this global network with almost 170 daily departures.

Thanks to this collaboration, travelers can now plan their trip to the most desirable European destinations by combining train and bus rides. Those traveling by train from or to Zagreb from Sisak, Bjelovar, Križevci, Koprivnica, Zabok, Krapina and Karlovac and everywhere the train passes can travel directly to 10 European countries such as Germany, Italy or France with one ticket for both carriers. Available combination destinations and tickets can be found today on the free mobile app and the FlixBus website and at the ticket office of the Sisak railway station.

“From the outset, the mission of FlixBus is to provide everyone with a comfortable and easy journey. Smartly connecting different transport models is crucial in carrying out this mission. Cooperation with Croatian Railways is the next step in the future of integrated travel and an easy journey for all,” said Ante Grbeša, Director of  FlixBus CEE South.

Traveling by train is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable in the long run. Accordingly, Croatian Railways focuses its development policy on business and social goals based on the principles of sustainable development. By adapting to the challenges of mobility and increasing the quality of service, they promote integrated transport, which improves the movement of the population to improve the quality of life of citizens.

"The introduction of integrated regular transport creates added value and citizens will be able to use one ticket for train and bus transportation. This type of transport is part of positive European practice and we believe that we will soon offer it in other major cities. Using public transport relieves the city roads, so I hope that citizens will be satisfied with this service and use cars less,” said Željko Ukic, President of Croatian Railways Board. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Croatian Railways: Refund or Voucher if Train More Than 60 Minutes Late

Croatian Railways is introducing a new guideline: If your train is more than 60 minutes late, you are entitled to a partial refund or travel voucher.

According to Poslovni Dnevnik on December 4, 2019; here's what you’ll need to do to get your partial refund or voucher. As of today, passengers using Croatian Railways are entitled to a partial refund for 60 to 119-minute delay. They will be paid a refund, which is 25 percent of the ticket price, and the refund deadline is one month after the application is received.

Instead of a receiving a partial refund, the passenger can choose a travel voucher of equal value, as reported on the official website of HZ Passenger Transport.

The Statute of the European Parliament and Council on rail passengers' rights and obligations will be in effect as of today. According to the new law, passengers are entitled to a partial refund for a delay of 60 to 119 minutes, which is equivalent to 25 percent of the ticket price. Travelers are entitled to a 50 percent refund for delays longer than 120 minutes, reports tportal.

In order to exercise their rights to a refund, passengers must submit their original ticket (certified by a train attendant or cashier) and send the request and the certified ticket by mail to:

HŽ Putnički prijevoz
Prodaja i marketing
Strojarska cesta 11
10 000 Zagreb

The refund payment, as noted, does not apply to subsidized tickets, those sold by other railway ticket vendors or tickets for railway workers for their work or business trips. The refund for the delay will be paid to the passenger within one month of receipt of their application.

HZ Passenger Transport will not pay a refund of less than 4 EUR (at the current HRK conversion rate). Passengers can download claim forms on their website here.

For more information on transportation and travel in Croatia, follow our dedicated page here.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

3.5 Billion Euro to Be Invested in Railway Infrastructure by 2030

ZAGREB, October 1, 2019 - Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković, addressing a conference on Tuesday marking the 150th anniversary of the start of construction of the Zagreb - Rijeka railway line, announced that about €3.5 billion would be invested by 2030 in the reconstruction and construction of the railway infrastructure.

Opening a business forum, Butković said that the Zagreb-Rijeka railway had a lot of potential even today and that the development of the railway infrastructure was one of the main preconditions to achieve the full potential of the port of Rijeka. He said that an estimated €3.5 billion would be invested by 2030 in the reconstruction and construction of Croatia's railway infrastructure.

He recalled that in the 1990s railway freight transport accounted for 90% of transport at the Rijeka port but with the construction of the motorway a part of freight transport was redirected and now railway freight at the port accounts for about 25% of turnover. Today more than ever it is necessary to change those statistics, he said adding that the transport strategy has recognised the potential of the Zagreb-Rijeka railway line for freight transport and that the European Commission too has recognised the potential of railway freight transport and has financed the construction of several railway lines in Croatia, listing several railway infrastructure projects.

Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Prefect Zlatko Komadina said that it was necessary to embark on strategic projects as soon as possible, while Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel commented on the poor state of the Rijeka passenger railway station considering that next year Rijeka would be the European Capital of Culture and that it was necessary to construct a railway line to modern standards.

"This has been talked about for decades and I hope that the time has come for us all to get to work. I have warned on several occasions that the railway station needs to be reconstructed and hope that will be done soon," the mayor said.

Butković said that money for the railway station had been secured and that two tenders had been advertised, but the bids were significantly higher than the estimated value of the project. He added that a new tender would be advertised soon with corrected prices and that he hoped contracts would be signed before the end of the year.

More transport news can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

HŽPP Planer App Helps Passenger See When Their Train Will Arrive

It is free, accurate like a Swiss clock, and saves time to people who usually spend half an hour or more a day waiting for their trains. The mobile app in question is HŽPP Planer, thanks to which with just a few clicks on a mobile phone passengers can see the GPS position of the train they are waiting for, when the train will arrive and how much will the trip cost them. The app has more than 42,000 downloads on Google Play and was designed by a third-year student of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing Josip Šalković. Thanks to the success of his software, he has recently established cooperation with the Croatian Railways company, which promotes his app on its website, reports Večernji List on January 12, 2019.

“The main goal of the app is for no one to have to wait for the train for more than a few minutes because now they know where the train is at any moment. And we all know how much our trains like to abide by the timetables,” said Šalković laughingly. His GPS tracking system for trains is the first such system in Croatia.

How does it work? The HŽPP Planer app downloads the GPS data in real-time from the central data network of the Croatian Railways. Instead of showing a map with the exact position of the train, the app tells the passenger near what station the train is currently located and at what speed it is moving, calculating how much time the train will need to reach the passenger’s station.

“The HŽPP Planer app covers the whole national rail traffic. It does not matter whether a person is travelling from Zagreb to Dugo Selo or from Osijek to Rijeka or Split. The app will ‘find’ the train and tell them everything they are interested in,” Šalković pointed out.

The GSP system and the timetable overview are just some of the information given to users, since the application also notifies the users about construction works, navigates them during the trip, and tells them at which station they should leave the train. It explains where and how to change trains if needed and informs them about any inevitable delays. People who are particularly curious can enter the code of the train to check whether it is an older or a newer model and see the photos of its interior. The app calculates the ticket price in both directions, including discounts if the traveller is a student or a pensioner. In addition to searching within the app, timetables can be downloaded to your phone and viewed even when you are not online.

“This is especially useful to people who travel by train every day to work or university because their life depends on the timetables,” said Josip, who often travels from Zagreb, where he lives, to Karlovac, where he comes from. That is why he came up with the idea to develop the HžZPP Planer app in the first place.

More news on the Croatian Railways can be found in our Travel section.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Hana Ivković).

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