Saturday, 3 October 2020

Continental Croatia Trains: Inland Opens Up With Green Travel

October 3, 2020 - With charter airlines in a state of flux and Croatia Railways beginning a renewal of their fleet in Slavonia, are continental Croatia trains the eco-friendly and best way to unlock the inland's amazing potential?

Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Even before 2020 arrived, lifestyles and trends were headed in new directions. Eco-tourism and agro-tourism were two of the fastest-growing areas within the travel sector, this behaviour change a response to concerns about the environment. And nowhere in the country stands better poised to take advantage of this interest than continental Croatia.

ivo-biocinaCNTB.jpgImpossibly pretty Zagorje - the region lies just north of Zagreb and is accessible by continental Croatia trains © Ivo Biocina / Croatia National Tourist Board

From the impossibly pretty hills of Zagorje, the peaceful rivers of Karlovac county and the hidden vineyards that surround the capital Zagreb to the vast Pannonian flatlands that stretch to Slavonia, Baranya, Vukovar-Srijem and beyond, the varied topography of continental Croatia is wild, exciting and - by many - wholly undiscovered.

This is land where agriculture and nature thrive side by side, where the stresses of modern-day existence ebb away as you readjust to a way of life that would look mostly familiar to the people who lived here centuries ago. These are places where you can truly be at one with yourself and with your surroundings. In continental Croatia, you often find yourself in an environment that is both timeless and traditional, yet wholly contemporary in regards to its ecological aspirations. And you're never far away from an exciting city environment that you can dip into on a whim – not just Zagreb, but Osijek, Slavonski Brod, Karlovac, Sisak and Varaždin too.

kalendar04.jpgTo those who really know and love Croatia, Osijek is simply unmissable. It is both the capital of and the doorway to Slavonia and Baranya and should be more accessible by continental Croatia trains. Sadly, international transportation links to the city by air are also quite poor. Improvements in accessibility to Slavonia and Baranya by rail and road are imminent © Romulić & Stojčić

Unlocking the incredible potential of continental Croatia relies on getting the message out there and facilitating travel to these regions

In recent TCN features we have detailed that motorways within Croatia are among the best in Europe - once you're inside Croatia, travelling by car (or bus) between the regions couldn't be easier. We have also seen evidence of the huge interest in travelling here by rail and using continental Croatia trains.

Of all the modern methods of long-distance travel, rail is by far the most eco-friendly. What better way to begin an environmentally friendly holiday than by arriving on continental Croatia trains? When the country wisely decided to prioritise its internal motorway system, a modern and fast inter-regional rail network was put on the back burner. Nowhere suffers greater from this decision than continental Croatia.

Croatian Official Document uploaded to Wikipedia by Epepe.gifThe Croatian rail network © Croatian Official Document uploaded to Wikipedia by Epepe

The only high-speed line that currently exists in Croatia links Rijeka to Budapest, via Zagreb and Koprivnica. Planned improvements hope to cut journey times between Zagreb and its nearest coastal city to an hour. Same as it ever was - Rijeka was the first Croatian city to be connected internationally by rail. That line also ran into the heart of Austro-Hungary and facilitated upper-class travel to places like Opatija. But does it best benefit the country to invest in more links to the coast or in continental Croatia trains? Well, the inland is not being ignored. Upgrades are being made to continental Croatia trains.

IMG_8990.jpgThis impressive beast actually services the country's coast. But would more investment in the continental Croatia trains network better service more people and help unlock the inland to tourists? Around 70% of the country's inhabitants live in continental Croatia © HŽPP

The rail link between Zagreb and Slavonski Brod is so historic that it was once part of the four routes of the Orient Express. It has been maintained to a standard where you can make a relatively quick journey from the capital to Vinkovci via Slavonski Brod. The same cannot be said for rail travel to Osijek, the access point to Baranya and much more. So slow is the connection between Osijek and Zagreb that it has been possible over recent times to reach the Slavonian capital quicker by taking the train to Vinkovci, then the bus to Osijek, rather than travelling direct by rail.

Slavonija_Osijek0191.jpgOsijek train station. A renovation to the building is planned for the near future © Romulić & Stojčić

However, in February this year, Croatian Railways introduced four direct daily lines between Slavonski Brod and Osijek. And there will be a new tilting train line that will run between Zagreb to Osijek on Friday afternoon and from Osijek to Zagreb on Sunday afternoon, facilitating student travel. On October 15, the first low-floor train will run between Osijek and Vinkovci as an additional part of the renewal of their continental Croatia trains fleet in Slavonia. The welcome return of Croatia's second-oldest international rail line - linking Osijek to Pécs in Hungary, via Beli Manastir and Baranya - was introduced in late 2018.

23e1f08a601e02be10403fbc28ced968_XL.jpgA motorway stretch between Metković and Dubrovnik, integrating the Pelješac bridge and the Croatian segment of the European corridor are the final big remaining projects in a three-decade-long undertaking to give Croatia one of the best motorway networks in Europe. Should Croatia's rail network be next? © Hrvatske Autoceste

Access to Slavonia and Baranya will also be massively facilitated upon completion of the European corridor, which will connect North Europe to the Adriatic. Starting in Budapest, it necessitates the building of a bridge near Beli Manastir. Thereafter the motorway will pass by Osijek, connect to the Zagreb-Slavonia motorway near Lipovac, then pass through Bosnia and its capital Sarajevo and on to Ploče.

The removal of budget airline flights to the airport in Osijek remains a hindrance to attracting many international visitors to Slavonia and Baranya. However, with charter airlines facing the greatest uncertainty of all modes of transport at the current time, though their return is a must, it is perhaps now an ambition that should remain more long term. For the immediate future, improvements to rail travel look to be a brilliant way of opening up not only Slavonia, Baranya and Vukovar-Srijem, but also an eco-friendly access point capable of serving the whole of untapped continental Croatia.

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Monday, 31 August 2020

Croatian Railways Investment Completion Set for Summer 2022

August the 31st, 2020 - Croatian railways aren't often in receipt of much praise. The train journeys are typically much longer than they should be, and the infrastructure system requires a lot of work. That being said, the Croatian railways investment has been going on since spring this year, and it isn't due for completion until 2022.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of August, 2020, works on the reconstruction of the Zagreb Zapadni kolodvor - Savski Marof railway have been underway since back in May this year, the value of which amounts to almost 366 million kuna without VAT, and most of which is being financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

This Croatian railways investment is part of a much larger investment cycle in transport infrastructure involving up to 20 billion kuna, half of which is going to the railway system, which, as stated, is in need of an upgrade. The works are expected to be completed by the summer of 2022, and the site was recently visited by the longtime Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic.

The eighteen-kilometre-long railway was last overhauled back in 1974, and this ongoing renovation should strengthen it, increase the carrying capacity and the level of safety and speed of trains to 120 km/h, and maintenance costs should be reduced in general. About 170 trains run on the line daily and it is located on an important corridor for international freight and urban-suburban transport.

During his visit, the Minister recalled the fact that the reconstruction of the Zapresic - Zabok railway saw an investment of around 900 million kuna in that micro-location alone.

He announced the continuation Croatian railways investments, and next week he will sign yet another contract for the purchase of 22 new trains for HŽ Putnički prijevoz (Passenger transport), worth more than one billion kuna in total.

He also stated that the traffic in the current part of this year is at the level of about 50 percent of last year, while cargo rail and passenger traffic didn't actually suffer much damage as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

2.3 Billion Kuna: Croatian Railways Begins Biggest Individual Project

An enormous individual project for Croatian Railways is about to kick off, backed with 2.3 billion kuna and considerable help from European Union funds.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of August, 2020, HZ Infrastructure is starting the reconstruction of the existing track and the construction of the second track of the railway from Hrvatski Leskovac to Karlovac, and the estimated value of works on this project is the largest of all individual works undertaken by Croatian Railways so far, amounting to 2.3 billion kuna without VAT, as was reported by Vecernji list on Monday.

According to HZ Infrastructure, the tender for this line will be announced in September, and the tender documentation is currently being reviewed by the Central Agency for Financing and Contracting of EU Programmes and Projects (CFCA), because this project is also co-financed in the amount of 85 percent by European Union funds. The Hrvatski Leskovac section is part of the Rijeka - Hungarian border railway, and the conversion of a single-track line into a two-track line from Zagreb to the border has already begun. Works are already being carried out on the Dugo Selo - Krizevci section, and the contractor for the Krizevci - state border section has already been put into operation.

With the realisation of the Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac project, the works on the transformation of this Croatian railway into a modern two-track railway from Zagreb to Rijeka will start.

The Rijeka - Zagreb - Budapest railway is part of the Mediterranean TEN-T corridor. The realisation of this project, as well as other sections on which works are being performed and on which they are planned, will increase the competitiveness of the Port of Rijeka by improving its transport connections with the markets across Central Europe, the aforementioned publication writes. With the reconstruction of the existing track and construction of the second track on the section Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac in the length of 44.02 kilometres, the section will be able to boast a maximum speed of 160 km/h, except in the area of ​​Mavracic, Jastrebarsko and Karlovac, where it will be 120 and 140 km/h due to the space constraints. The current single-track electrified railway will also become double-track.

As for other sections on the Rijeka - state border line, ie the lowland railway project, HZ Infrastructure says that the main project for the Skrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani section is underway and that they plan to apply for European Union funds in the second half of next year for that project. For the Karlovac - Ostarije section, which is 40 kilometres long, a tender for the preparation of the study documentation is in progress. The preparation of the study documentation for the Ostarije - Skrljevo section is also currently in progress.

Croatia also expects co-financing from EU funds for the remaining Rijeka-state border line section, and according to the announcements of the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, the entire project could be completed by 2027.

For more on Croatian railways and other investments in Croatia, follow our dedicated business section.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Modernisation: Koncar Making 12 New Trains for Croatian Railways

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of May, 2020, Croatian Railways (HZ) has ordered twelve new trains for suburban and intercity traffic from Končar's company - Electric Vehicles.

The move marks an investment worth a massive 465 million kuna and it is part of the investment cycle of Croatia's much needed railway modernisation, which is being realised with foreign loans and money from European Union funds, writes HRT.

This is one of about twenty electric trains that Croatian Railways (HZ Putnički prijevoz) ordered from Končar, and the new twelve brand new modern trains should be in service in a couple of years.

''The trains are low-floor trains adapted for easier entry for people with reduced mobility, the vehicles are equipped with a passenger information system, video surveillance, wireless internet access, passengers have space for bicycles and also for additional luggage,'' said Josip Ninić, President of Končar-Electric Vehicles.

The high-tech product was developed by Končar's experts with domestic subcontractors.

''Trains like this are very expensive, the lowest price is around 40 million kuna. Such trains boast numerous pieces of sophisticated equipment, software solutions and all of this was purpose-developed in Končar. The trains were made according to all of the necessarily global standards and we've already sold one to Bosnia and Herzegovina,'' emphasised Ivan Bahun, a member of the Management Board of Končar.

Končar is also hoping for new jobs for Croatian Railways, which has announced a tender for the procurement of 21 more trains that would be financed with European Union money. Croatian Railways would contract 37 new trains by the end of the year.

''These trains will run next year on the newly renovated sections of the railway to Zabok to Križevci and the section to Vinkovci. We'll raise the quality and the frequency of this type of transport, we'll reduce operating costs and change the perception of the railways,'' stated Željko Ukić, President of the Management Board of Croatian Railways.

In addition to trains produced for Croatian Railways, Končar worked diligently on the overhaul of foreign locomotives throughout the coronavirus epidemic, as well as on the first tram for a foreign customer.

The first of six contracted trams made for Latvia should start working in the autumn.

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Thursday, 26 March 2020

Government Gives Go Ahead for Financing Upgrade of Railways' Rolling Stock

ZAGREB, March 26, 2020 - The Croatian government on Thursday adopted a decision on the financing of a project to upgrade the rolling stock of the railways transport company HŽ Putnički Prijevoz, the estimated value of the four-year project being HRK 1.29 billion, including VAT.

Transport Minister Oleg Butković said that HŽ Putnički Prijevoz would expand its rolling stock by buying 21 new electric trains, which would improve public transport services.

The eligible cost of the project has been estimated at HRK 1.03 billion, and the non-eligible cost refers to VAT in the amount of HRK 258.17 million.

Under the government's decision, the transport ministry has been entrusted with securing funding for eligible costs until the completion of the process of allocation of EU grants. Those eligible costs refer exclusively to preparations for the project that precede the purchase of trains, for which budgetary funds have been secured.

HŽ Putnički Prijevoz is obliged to secure funds for non-eligible project costs.

The project is expected to be completed by December 2023, said Butković.

Last week the ministry said that the European Commission had granted €119.3 million to co-finance the upgrade of HŽ Putnički Prijevoz's rolling stock.

More news about railways can be found in the Travel section.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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