Tuesday, 17 May 2022

First Prague Regiojet Train This Year to Arrive in Rijeka on June 3rd

May the 17th, 2022 - The very first Prague Regiojet train will arrive from the Czech capital to the City of Rijeka on the Northern Adriatic coast on June the 3rd, but there will be nothing to speak of when it comes to the Polish line to Croatia this year, it seems.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this year's first train of the Czech carrier Regiojet to Rijeka and Split departs from the City of Prague on June the 3rd, 2022. Tereza Ptackova, head of international projects at Regiojet, confirmed this for Rijeka portal Novi list, stating that the recognisable yellow Regiojet trains will run again via Zagreb to Rijeka and Split, but will not stop in the Hungarian capital of Budapest this year.

"The trains will run from June the 3rd to September the 26th, with them running on a daily basis throughout July and August, and three times a week in June and September. The route hasn't really changed. We still stop in the capitals of Prague, Bratislava and Zagreb. Some stops within the Czech Republic itself are set to differ from last year, but that is only because of the construction works," Ptackova explained.

The line goes Prague - Kolin, Havlickuv Brod - Zdar nad Sazavou - Brno - Breclav - Bratislava - Zagreb - Ogulin - Rijeka and Split. So, just like last year, the train will part in Ogulin, meaning part of the wagon will go to Rijeka, and part will head south to Split. Upon returning, the wagons will reunite into one composition in Ogulin.

This year, a new line from Poland was set to be launched. However, the events of the war in neighbouring Ukraine have put these plans on hold for now, with the Prague Regiojet train the only one set to run in 2022.

"The line from Poland to Croatia will not start running this year. We hope to start operations from Poland next year. During this extremely difficult situation, we're trying to help as much as possible, so we're transporting Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border town of Przemysl to the Czech Republic. In cooperation with Clovik v tisni, CD Cargo and Rail Cargo Logistics, we're also sending material aid into Ukraine,'' said Ptackova, adding that she didn't expect the war in Ukraine to affect ticket sales from the Czech Republic to Croatia whatsoever.

In terms of capacity, the head of Regiojet's international projects said that the capacity this year is more than 600 passengers per train, meaning that it is, once again, 15 wagons. Wagons with seating as well as sleeping cars will also be available.

“Perhaps the only change is that we've increased the number of so-called ''quiet wagons'' that are suitable for families with small children or the elderly. The trains will once again offer familiar comfort at very popular prices and tickets for the Prague Regiojet train have been on sale since March the 8th this year.

Ticket prices for the Rijeka range from 23.9 euros per seat, or 31.9 euros for a ticket in a sleeping compartment. Ticket prices for Split range from 36.1 euros for a seat and about 44 euros for a ticket in a sleeping car. Free services such as coffee, water, WiFi, an entertainment portal and the like are all entirely included in the ticket price.

This summer tourist season will be an excellent opportunity for people from the Czech Republic and Slovakia to travel to Croatia, but we also believe that the people of Rijeka and Split will use this opportunity to visit, for example, Bratislava or Prague,'' concluded Ptackova.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

10 Years Ago HZ Ordered New Trains for €1.66 Billion, Where Are They?

April the 17th, 2022 - A decade ago, HZ (Croatian railways) purchased 44 new trains for the mind-boggling price of 1.66 billion kuna, but where are they today?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, in order to procure seven new diesel-electric motor trains, the Croatian Government gave the "green light" to HZ Putnicki prijevoz (CR Passenger transport) to sign pre-financing and lease agreements with EUROFIMA - the European Society for Financing the Procurement of Railway Materials. The value of this financing stands at a massive 31 million euros.

When it comes to the renewal of HZ Putnicki prijevoz's fleet, ten years ago, as part of the strategic goals of restructuring, the government "appointed" a plan worth 1.66 billion kuna for the purchase of a total of 44 new passenger trains - 32 being electric and 12 being diesel-electric.

A few years later (more precisely back in 2014), sales were agreed with Koncar - HZ PP Electric Vehicles, and in the same year financing was provided for a total of 33 such trains.

A total of 29 electric trains have been delivered so far, and the remaining three deliveries are expected to arrive later this year. In the case of diesel-electrics, all five had financing provided for them (one loan from HBOR, and four from an IBRD loan).

For the remaining seven vehicles, funding is being provided through EUROFIME, with delivery being promised by the end of 2024, thus completing the major procurement project.

In addition to approving these requests from HZ Putnicki prijevoz, in order to finance the reconstruction and modernisation of Croatian railway infrastructure on projects not financed from European Union (EU) funds and international development banks, the Croatian Government also approved a request from HZ Infrastruktura (Infrastructure) for two loans from HBOR in the amount of 200 million kuna.

These are loans envisaged by the Financing Plan for the year 2022 and projections for the coming years of 2023 and 2024. The explanation states, among other things, that the debt balance of Infrastruktura for total credit loans at the end of January amounts to 1.78 billion kuna.

For more, make sure to check out our business section.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Only 15% of Croatian School Pupils Will Use Free Train Transport

October the 1st, 2021 - Croatian school pupils will more than likely be taking advantage of free train transport (which is intended for primary and secondary school students), but it will in fact only be used by a very small amount of kids.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the Association of Croatian Bus Lines (UHAJLP) welcomed the introduction of free train transport for primary and secondary Croatian school pupils, but also warned that such a form of transport will ultimately be used by only a small percentage of students.

Namely, in the explanation of its decision on the introduction of free transport by Croatian Railways (HZ), the Croatian Government pointed out that it will be able to be used by about 780,000 children and students of primary and secondary schools throughout the Republic of Croatia, but this mode of transport is hardly the most popular.

While most Croatian school pupils live close enough to their schools to simply walk there from home, others arrive by bus, are driven there by their parents, or catch trams in Zagreb, trains are far from popular. In fact, transportation for daily commuting to school will be used by a mere 10 to 15 percent of Croatian school pupils who just happen to be living right next to the railway tracks.

“The basis for the introduction of free transport by HZ Putnicki prijevoz (HZ passenger transport) is the so-called the concept of a public service on the basis of which this carrier receives over 450 million kuna a year from the state and is an additional pilot project of the competent ministry, which will pay out an additional 30 million kuna to this publicly owned company over the next fifteen months.

Although there are of course legal preconditions to take into consideration, as well as obligations derived from European Union directives, this public service is not paid to entrepreneurs who transport students, workers and other passengers by bus on routes that are generally not economically viable, but only to state companies such as HZ or Jadrolinija,'' they stated from UHAJLP.

Commenting on the recent decision of Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic, Hrvoje Mestrovic, president of the Association of Croatian Bus Public Line Carriers, pointed out that out of the total number of primary and secondary school students, HZ transports a maximum of 15 percent per year, which is hardly a huge amount of kids.

Slightly more than a third of those Croatian school pupils are located in cities that have some form of public city transport which is also covered by public services, while half of the students depend exclusively on public line bus carriers, explained Mestrovic.

For more, make sure to check our our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Croatian Passenger Transport in 2021 124% Stronger Than 2020

August the 27th, 2021 - Croatian passenger transport for 2021 so far is significantly stronger than that of the comparable period of pandemic-dominated 2020, by as much as 124 percent.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, the restrictions imposed on travel that came with the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic last year have left a strong mark on Croatian passenger transport activities, and in recent months this has been reflected in a significant increase when compared to 2020.

While the first quarter of this year was still very much marked by a decline in the number of passengers transported (34 percent) because in a good part of last year's first quarter there were no such restrictions in force, in the second quarter of 2021, state statisticians recorded significant annual growth.

According to the latest CBS data, a total of 13.9 million passengers were transported from April to June, which is 124 percent more than in the same period last year, although this still means that there has been a 35.8 percent decrease when compared to the same period in 2019, equal to 7.7 million fewer passengers.

Of the less than 14 million passengers transported, road line transport is expected to account for 7.9 million passengers. And that is far from the pre-pandemic figures (35 percent less), but compared to last year, it represents an increase of a very encouraging 157 percent.

At the same time, slightly less than 3.4 million passengers were transported by rail, almost twice as many as in the observed period of 2020, with a relative lag for 2019, as was the case in road transport.

The same percentage decrease compared to the year before the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 was recorded in the period April-June by Croatian shipping companies in maritime and coastal transport with close to 2.5 million passengers, which is four fifths more than last year.

The biggest gap compared to pre-pandemic achievements is, unsurprisingly, in air transport. Airlines carried 173,000 passengers in the second quarter of 2021, and although this means an increase of as much as 176 percent when compared to last year, it is also only 27.2 percent of the realisation in the same quarter of pre-pandemic 2019.

If we add up the total decline in the first and growth in the second quarter, the result of the first half of this year is 25.2 million passengers carried or 11.2 percent more people using Croatian passenger transport than last year, but 38.3 percent less than in 2019.

For more, follow our travel section.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

1st Train within Seasonal Prague -Zagreb -Rijeka/Split Service Arrives in Rijeka

ZAGREB, 29 May 2021 - The first train within the Czech rail operator RegioJet's seasonal train service on the Prague- Zagreb-Rijeka/Split route arrived in Rijeka on Saturday morning, bringing more than 150 travellers to this northern Croatian seaport.

On Saturday afternoon, the RegioJet train is expected in Split.

Over 30,000 tickets have been sold to date for this train service this summer.

Last year, more than 60,000 passengers rode on this route.

In mid-May, Croatia's HŽ Putnički Prijevoz (HŽPP) rail passenger transport company signed a cooperation agreement with the Czech rail operator RegioJet on the train service on the Prague - Zagreb -Rijeka/Split route, after their successful cooperation last year.

The cooperation between the two railways will continue until 30 September and a total of 176 trains will be made available.

Trains will run three times a week in both directions during May and June while daily trains will run in July and August.

An agreement of partnership was signed by the two railways companies on a 10-year cooperation and partnership in activities and projects related to organising and promoting tour trains in Croatia.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Deer Killed By Train, Stolen By Train Driver, Later Caught Drunk Driving

January 26, 2021 – Road kill we've heard of. But rail kill? One Slavonia deer killed by train was due to end up on the dining table of a train driver, who stopped his train to stuff the dead deer into his cab, before later being caught drunk driving with the decapitated animal in his trunk

Road kill we've heard of. But rail kill? One Slavonia deer killed by train was due to end up on the dining table of a train driver, who stopped his train to stuff the dead animal into his cab. Alas, the čobanac (a spicy, wild meat stew, popular in Slavonia) was not meant to be. He was caught drunk-driving the next day by police at a traffic stop in Vinkovci and arrested.

It's perhaps easy to understand the train driver not wanting to look such a gift horse, or deer, in the mouth. This is not the first deer killed by train or car within the wild rural landscape of Slavonia. With the unfortunate collision having offered the opportunity for fine dining, the train driver apparently had a one track mind.

VINKOVCI_TRAIN_STATION123.jpg

However, with the benefit of hindsight, it was perhaps not the best i-deer to retrieve the sizeable body of the deer killed by train to save for a later feast. Less easy to forgive is that he was caught with the deer while driving his car under the influence of alcohol. Such foolhardiness is no way to go about covering your tracks.

Police halted the man around 5pm on January 12 at a regular traffic roe-d stop and breathalysed him, as they correctly suspected he had been drinking. The 56-year-old man, who had Vinkovci license plates was found to be under the influence of alcohol (1.22 g / kg). However, that was just the first of the finds on the stop.

Upon searching the car trunk, police discovered the decapitated corpse of a sizeable deer. It turned out the train driver had stopped his train the day before to retrieve the animal and placed it in the driver's cab for consumption at a later date. The animal was presumably being transported home – or to a local butcher – by car the next day. But, the traffic stop put an end to any notions of a free meal.

cobanac.jpgCobanac, a hearty, spicy stew made in Slavonia using deer and other wild meats. Alas, it was not meant to be © Youtube screenshot

The deer corpse was confiscated and handed over to the hunting society of Stari Mikanovac for safekeeping until a warrant for an autopsy was obtained in order to determine the cause of death. Pursuant to the order of the Vinkovci Municipal State Attorney's Office, the examination of the deer carcass was performed by the Vinkovci Veterinary Institute.

For the appropriation of the deer, the police filed a complaint at the Municipal State Attorney's Office in Vinkovci against the 56-year-old for the criminal offence of theft. For his inebriated driving, the man was issued a misdemeanour order, imposing a fine of HRK 5,000 and was banned from driving a "B" category vehicle for two months. Having been charged for both excess beer and excess deer, at the time of the police road stop you could say the game was well and truly up.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

All Full-Time Osijek and Baranja Students Get Free Train Travel

January 9, 2021 – From this year, full-time Osijek and Baranja students can get free train travel any time throughout their own county and for travel to educational centres anywhere in Croatia, in a new deal struck by the county and the national train operator

Once a sea bed, the vast flatlands of Slavonia are perfect for farming. At one time, this area was the breadbasket for much of Yugoslavia. It really wasn't so long ago that many folks left dry and dusty Dalmatia in search of employment and new lives on this fertile ground. Now, it's the other way round - Slavonian youth travel to the coast each summer in search of seasonal work. Others move to Ireland, Germany, Austria. Slavonia is losing many skilled younger people at an alarming rate. Increased mechanisation has reduced the need for labour in the area's agriculture. And, besides, most Slavonian youths are these days educated to a degree where their ambitions are greater than joining local agricultural endeavours.

In an area with limited possibilities, limited opportunities, education lies at the heart of survival in Slavonia. Local authorities know this and try to facilitate education as best they can. It is to that end that those in the Slavonian county of Osijek and Baranja have struck a deal with Croatia's national train operator to offer free train travel to all full-time Osijek and Baranja students.

Agreed upon at the end of last year, the scheme was implemented on 1 January 2021. Osijek and Baranja County has agreed to co-finance journeys for full-time Osijek and Baranja students who study not only within the county itself but across the whole of Croatia.

Slavonija_OsijekTrainstation.jpgOsijek train station © Romulić & Stojčić

Monthly tickets for travel within the county already held a discount of up to 65 percent given to full-time students by the train operator, depending on the route. The County has now agreed to pay the remainder of the monthly ticket for all full-time Osijek and Baranja students. To meet the requirements of this deal, the departing and destination stations must both be in Osijek-Baranja County. The free monthly ticket allows an unlimited number of trips on the route, meaning that Osijek and Baranja students can also use the train for free on recreational journeys within the county.

The second deal sees the County co-finance 50% of journey costs for full-time Osijek and Baranja students who study elsewhere in Croatia, with the train operator HŽ agreeing to grant a discount to cover the other 50 %.

In order to obtain a free (monthly or individual) ticket, it is necessary to first obtain a certificate from their Administrative Department for the Economy. To get the certificate, Osijek and Baranja students must submit a copy of their identity card, a certificate of full-time study and two completed application forms (these can be found on the county's website www.obz.hr). Requests can be made in person or by mail (Osijek-Baranja County, Administrative Department for Economy, Županijska 4, Osijek or on the e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Free tickets can thereafter be bought by Osijek and Baranja students at the box office, prior to travel, or on the train itself, upon producing the relevant and needed documentation.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Kvarner Goes Green: Opatija and Rijeka Integrated Rail and Bus

January 7, 2021 – From the Bay of Bakar through the beaches of Rijeka to the opulence of Opatija and up, all the way to the border with Slovenia, Kvarner residents and visitors will be able to travel with just one ticket across the whole of the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network

An existing co-operation between rail and bus operators in Kvarner was today extended, allowing the Rijeka Integrated Rail and Bus network to continue for at least another year. This holds exciting implications for travel in the region for years to come.

Planned changes to the infrastructure of the coastal part of the north Kvarner Bay mean that within the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme, you will soon be able to travel from the Bay of Bakar, stop off at a series of Rijeka beaches, hop back on public transport to go to Opatija and even travel beyond the coast, all the way to the border with Slovenia, using just one ticket. Passengers will not be limited in their choice to travel by either aril or bus.

Autotrolej.jpg
An Autotrolej bus, longtime providers of local bus services in Rijeka © Grad Rijeka

The Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme, organised through Kvarner County, Rijeka, Matulji and Bakar Town Halls, rail and local bus operators is an eco-friendly drive that seeks to encourage people to leave their cars at home and instead choose public transport. However, access to the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network is not limited to commuting workers and travelling students. Although the scheme is most cost-effective using a monthly ticket, day tickets are available for the network which may be of huge appeal to visitors wishing to explore a wider portion of Kvarner's northern coast.

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The train station of Opatija Matulji © Damir Covic 1939 / Matulji Tourist Board

Rijeka integrated rail and bus: International

What makes the extension of the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme even more welcome is the planned overhaul of infrastructure that will accompany it.

Fifteen extra stations will be added (or reactivated) on the route between Kantrida in the west of Rijeka, along the Rijeka seafront and on to the outskirts of Bakar. Furthermore, the entire train line from Bakar to Šapjane will be brought into the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme with the completion of a second train track along the route.

Šapjane_train_station_from_Regiojet_1047_Prague_to_Rijeka.jpgTrains along the line at Šapjane. Next stop Slovenia! © DiningCar_

Šapjane, in the municipality of Matulji, lies 20 kilometres inland, north of Opatija. It sits right on the border with Slovenia. The train line extends across this border, through the Slovenian town of Ilirska Bistrica, and then on to Postojna and Ljubljana, Italy or Austria. This means the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme will be directly linked to another green, international travel network.

These routes will all be linked to the incoming, double-tracked Pan-European fast train network, which, as TCN highlighted last year, will connect this part of Kvarner with France, Spain and Portugal in the west all the way to eastern Hungary via Zagreb and Budapest. Needless to say, it will require more than a single day ticket (cvikalica) from the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network to make such a journey!

Monday, 2 November 2020

Croatia Pan Europe Trains Will Run 160 Kilometres Per Hour By 2030

November 2, 2020 – From southern Spain to Budapest through Rijeka and Zagreb and from Salzburg through Zagreb, Belgrade and Skopje to Greece, Croatia pan Europe trains will run 160 kilometres per hour by 2030

In the biggest investment ever made in the infrastructure of the country's rail network, Croatia pan Europe trains will run 160 kilometres Per Hour By 2030. In an investment costing 4.5 billion Euros, 750 kilometres of railways will be modernised.

koncar08.jpg© HZPP

The lines that will receive the upgrade will connect Rijeka to Budapest in Hungary via Zagreb (RH2) and Zagreb to Belgrade via Vinkovci (RH1). Though these lines already exist, they have never undergone an overhaul of the scale proposed. The modernisation with ensure double lanes across the whole of both routes and facilitate passenger train speeds of 160 kilometres per hour.

The level of investment means that during the next ten years, HŽ Infrastruktura's (Croatian Railway Infrastructure Company) rebuild of the Croatia pan Europe trains network will be the largest infrastructure project in the Republic of Croatia and the largest beneficiary of EU grants in the transport sector. Most of the money for the modernisation is coming from European Union grants.

ddzphoto.jpgAlmeria on the Mediterranean, in Andalusia, southern Spain, where the Mediterranean Corridor begins © ddz photo

The RH2 line is part of the Mediterranean Corridor which connects the south of the Iberian peninsula with eastern Hungary via six countries. The line runs from Almeria on the Mediterranean coast in the south-east of Spain, through Madrid and Barcelona. It passes through Marseille in France, then northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, the Hungarian capital of Budapest, before finishing in Záhony in the east of Hungary, not far from the border with Ukraine. The route covers more than 6000 kilometres. The Croatian section will pass through Jurdani (six kilometres north of Opatija), Rijeka, Karlovac, Zagreb, Dugo Selo, Križevci and Koprivnica.

PatriceAudet.jpegTo Croatian rail passengers, the Spanish city of Barcelona will be just a few hours away by 2030 © Patrice Audet

The RH1 line is part of the Pan-European Corridor X. The Croatia pan Europe trains section of this transport route was once one of the three lines taken by the Orient Express. The modernised rail line will start in Salzburg, Austria and pass through Ljubljana before reaching Zagreb. The line will pass through Slavonski Brod and Vinkovci before making its way to Belgrade, then Niš in southern Serbia. The old Oriental Express line then headed east, to Istanbul via Sofia, Bulgaria. The EU-funded train section of the Pan-European Corridor X instead heads south, to Thessaloniki in Greece via Skopje in Macedonia.

Djordje Jovanovic.jpgThe rail journey time between Zagreb and Belgrade (pictured) will be shortened considerably by the improvements © Djordje Jovanovic

Trains are currently the greenest transport option for long-distance travel. As the world heads in the direction of seeking energy sources that do not rely on finite fossil fuels, rail also currently looks to be the long-distance travel option best-equipped to meet this challenge. In the future, visitors from all across Europe may increasingly rely on the Croatia pan European trains network in order to access the country. The improvements also increase business and leisure opportunities for Croatians in Europe.

Dimitris Vetsikas.jpgThessaloniki in Greece is one of the most popular cities in Europe for visitors. The renewed rail section of the Pan European Corridor X will end here © Dimitris Vetsikas

Around 935 million Euros was invested in the Croatian railway infrastructure between 2010 and 2019. The new investment dwarfs those figures. The initial investment, occurring between 2020 and 2024 amounts to as much as 1.8 billion Euros, of which almost 78.7 per cent is co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). From 2025 to 2030, EU funds totalling more than 2.7 billion Euros are expected to be invested in the Croatia pan European trains network.

Freight train passage along the lines will also be increased, reaching a new speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The Croatia pan European trains network also offers great potential to open up continental Croatia regions to international visitors. The Croatian railway network currently has 2,617 kilometres of track, of which 274 kilometres are double-track and 980 are electrified.

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Friday, 14 February 2020

Croatian and Slovenian Railways Cooperate to Improve and Expand

Despite the issues that still linger between Croatia and neighbouring Slovenia owing to the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute, cooperation in transport services with a coming together of Croatian and Slovenian railways.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of February, 2020, HZ PP and SZ Passenger Transport are collaborating on a European Union (EU) project to improve their services and expand their supply of international rail lines, worth 2.8 million euros.

HZ Passenger Transport and Slovenian Railways' SZ Passenger Transport signed an agreement on improving services on international trains between Croatia and Slovenia on Wednesday in Zagreb.

The aim is to improve transport on Croatian and Slovenian railways as part of the Connect2CE EU project, which is, as stated, worth a massive 2.8 million euros in total. The agreement was signed by the President of the Board of HZ Passenger Transport, Zeljko Ukic, and the Director of Slovenia's SZ Passenger Transport, Darja Kocjan.

The goal of the project, according to Ukic, is to improve the planning system and encourage the better coordination of regional public transport systems, in order to strengthen co-operation and improve connectivity.

"The rail passenger carriers are committed to promoting strategic partnerships and working to improve train service between Croatia and Slovenia, ie, Zagreb-Ljubljana, with the aim of increasing passenger numbers and revenues," he said.

About fourteen lines operate between Croatia and Slovenia, with just over 130,000 passengers having been transported last year. Ukic believes that with the cooperation between Croatian and Slovenian railways, new service offers will be introduced to increase the number of passengers and provide them with better quality.

The agreement defines measures that can be achieved through the sale of online tickets in international traffic, the introduction of catering services, the promotion of special offers and the introduction of special types of tickets.

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

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