Monday, 11 October 2021

€5.4 bn To Be Invested in Railways Upgrade Until 2030

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - The Croatian railway system should be restructured and upgraded to the European level by 2030, with the value of related projects estimated at €5.4 billion, it was said at a conference organized by the Hanza Media publishing company in Zagreb on Monday. 

Addressing the event, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković said that current investments in the transport sector totaled just above HRK 25 billion, with investments in the railway sector accounting for about 11 billion.

"As a sector, the railway is in a neglected state and it is a major challenge for the government to build, modernize and restructure it... and raise it to the European level by 2030," Butković said, noting that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan envisaged HRK 670 million for the railways and pointing in that regard also to the Multiannual Financial Framework.

€5.4 billion to be invested in railways until 2030

HŽ Infrastruktura railway maintenance company CEO Ivan Kršić said that projects to build and modernize the railway infrastructure in the period until 2030 amounted to €5.4 billion, while the length of renovated and modernized railways would be 780 kilometers or 30% of the total network, to be mostly co-financed by the EU with 85% of the necessary funding.

Most of the investments referred to projects along two transport corridors - RH1, running from the border with Slovenia to the border with Serbia, and RH2 - stretching from the northern Adriatic port city of Rijeka to the border with Hungary.

Three projects have been completed so far along Corridor RH1 and four more sections are in different stages of preparation or implementation.

One of the active projects along Corridor RH2 is the Dugo Selo-Križevci railway section, which must be completed by 2023, while reconstruction work on several other sections is expected to start soon.

In addition to the two corridors, 12 more projects are planned on the rest of the railway network, Kršić said.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Passenger Transport 31% Down, Transport of Goods 4.5% Down in Q1

ZAGREB, 20 May 2021 - A total of 11.3 million passengers were transported in Croatia by all means of transport in the first three months of 2021, which is around 5.2 million fewer passengers or a 31.4% drop from the same period of 2020, while the transport of commodities dropped by 4.5% to close to 28 million tonnes.

According to preliminary figures released by the national statistical office, in Q1 the most passengers, 7 million, were transported by bus, a drop of 32% compared to Q1 2020.

As for the transport of goods, 18 million of the 28 million tonnes of commodities were transported by road, a 7.4% drop from Q1 2020.

Goods were also transported by ship, with 4.2 million tonnes of commodities transported that way, which is as much as 12% more than in Q1 2020.

Three and a half million tonnes of goods were transported by rail, 3.6% down from Q1 2020, while transport via inland waterways saw a drop of 17% compared to Q1 2020, to 948,000 tonnes.

Around two million tonnes of goods were transported by pipelines.

As for air transport, 298 tonnes of goods were transported by plane in Q1 2021, a 41% drop from the same period as last year.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Croatian Railways Slashes Train Ticket Prices from Zagreb to Coastal Cities

May 16, 2021 - Croatian Railways has launched a sale on train ticket prices from Zagreb to coastal cities in Croatia!

HRTurizam reports that Croatian Railways Passenger Transport (HŽPP) has announced special prices for travel on direct routes from Zagreb to the coast.

Prices refer to one-way trips on direct routes in the 1st and 2nd class of passenger, high-speed, and IR trains for which tickets are purchased at the box office and on the train. Also, HŽ stated that the prices of tickets purchased through online sales and smartphone applications had been further reduced, and train tickets can also be purchased at Tisak kiosks.

Train ticket prices from Zagreb

Zagreb GK - Rijeka / Rijeka - Zagreb GK 65 kn
Zagreb GK - Zadar / Zadar - Zagreb GK 100 kn
Zagreb GK - Šibenik / Šibenik - Zagreb GK 100 kn
Zagreb GK - Split / Split - Zagreb GK 110 kn
Zagreb GK - Pula / Pula - Zagreb GK 80 kn

The offer is valid until June 30, 2021, and the return of partially or completely unused tickets is not possible.

2021 is the European Year of Railways

The European Commission's (EC) initiative highlights the benefits of rail as a sustainable, smart, and safe means of transport. In 2021, various activities will bring rail to the forefront across the continent, encourage citizens and businesses to use rail, and contribute to the goal of the European Green Plan, according to which the EU should become climate neutral by 2050.

One of the key elements of the Plan is the introduction of cleaner and healthier means of transport, given that the transport sector is currently responsible for around 25% of EU greenhouse gas emissions. The European Green Plan calls for a 90% reduction in traffic emissions by 2050.

To achieve this goal and ensure that transport continues to play a role during the transition to a clean, digital and innovative EU economy, the EC adopted a Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in December 2020. It paves the way for more sustainable, smarter, and resilient mobility and includes milestones towards doubling rail freight by 2050 and tripling high-speed rail connections by 2050. In 2021, the EC will present an action plan to strengthen rail passenger transport, which follows the strategy to improve capacity and simplify the system of ticket sales for various modes of transport to increase the attractiveness of rail further.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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.

damir_covic_1939.jpg
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.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

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.

Monday, 16 December 2019

VIDEO: Watch Train Leave Bjelovar Train Station on New Tracks

We recently reported on the train from Bjelovar to Zagreb which runs on Croatian Railways' newly opened tracks. The train ride from the city in Bjelovar-Bilogora County to the Croatian capital should now take a mere one hour, and if you've ever taken a train anywhere in Croatia, you'll know that that's something to be excited about. However, of course, in true Croatian style - the train barely managed to leave Bjelovar train station without encoutering a few little issues.

As Novac writes on the 15th of December, 2019, on the 15th of December at 10:52 in the morning, the first train on the new railway line, which are otherwise the very first railway lines in Croatia to be built after as many as 52 years, departed from Bjelovar train station, heading in the direction of the bustling Croatian capital city.

However, as previously touched on, in true Croatian style, the train couldn't simply just leave Bjelovar train station and embark on its journey to Zagreb without encountering at least one problem. The new train rather anticlimactically stopped in its tracks (literally) just 200 metres after leaving Bjelovar train station owing to some minor technical difficulties, with some blockages reportedly triggered. However, this rather embarrassing situation was quickly remedied and the train continued running, according to a report from the local portal bjelovar.live.

The total value of the project, which was co-financed by the European Regional Development and Cohesion Fund, stands at a massive 258 million kuna.

This is a suburban train section, and the new railway will now allow for shorter journeys. As we reported in the article we linked above, it will now be possible to arrive from Bjelovar train station to Zagreb train station in one hour, a welcome alteration when compared to the previous two hours it took to travel between these two continental Croatian cities.

Watch the video of the train making its maiden journey below:

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for much more.

Search