Croatian Trains Were Late For Over 100 Days In 2023

Lauren Simmonds

croatian trains
Patrik Macek/PIXSELL

March the 8th, 2024 – Croatian trains aren’t known for their speed, efficiency, nor for arriving on time. Last year, they were delayed over 100 days. Here’s how much they’ll need to pay out to disgruntled passengers.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, waiting for an hour and a half because the train driver didn’t get to work on time, a five and a half hour journey from Osijek to Zagreb… The list when it comes to Croatian trains and their, erm, “habits” goes on, and on, and then on some more. It should really come as no real surprise that at one time the Internet was flooded with humorous and sarcastic comments when HŽ (Hrvatske zeljeznice) asked for help with an idea for a new slogan.

Without going off on a tangent, it’s more than safe to say that domestic passengers are already more than used to slow journeys and train delays.

Many passengers are still unaware that they can claim compensation if their train is delayed in Croatia. Thanks to one European Union regulation, this has been possible from 2021, but only for tickets whose amount is more than four euros. For a delay of 60 to 119 minutes, compensation is paid in the amount of 25 percent of the original ticket price, and if the train was delayed more than that, half of the ticket amount will be refunded, according to a report from N1.

In order for passengers to be better informed in regard to what they’re owed in regard to Croatian trains, the Consumers’ Association appeals for their rights to be clearly highlighted when selling tickets. Although there are generally more passenger complaints about bus and air transport, this association also regularly receive complaints about issues with rail transport.

There have been cases in which people have been sold tickets for trains that don’t even exist

Ana Knežević from the Consumer Protection Association recalled one curious case when there was no train at all, but a ticket was still sold for it.

Out of about 216,000 Croatian trains, 1,611 of them were late within the scope of HŽ passenger transport (putnicki prijevoz) last year. Also last year, Croatian trains were late spanning a total of 112 days. For this reason, HŽ had to pay a total of 1,787 euros out to affected passengers.

As the main reason for train delays, HŽ cites works on various different sections of the tracks, resulting in issues and slowdowns.

“During the works on the two-track railways, the trains are running along a single track, which also leads to delays. In addition, due to the state of the infrastructure, HŽ Infrastruktura (infrastructure) is introducing reduced-speed rides, which also cause delays. In addition to the aforementioned reasons, delays also occur due to extraordinary events and vehicle breakdowns,” they stated from HŽ.

On some sections, Croatian trains don’t even manage to exceed a speed of 40 kilometres per hour. HŽ Infrastruktura revealed that their goal is to soon be able to run at twice the speed on them, and on some sections, the plans are to travel at 160 kilometres per hour.

“That’s a fast enough speed that we could reach Slavonski Brod or Vinkovci in an hour and a half, or maybe two hours, Osijek in three, three and a half hours, or one day in three, three and a half hours to Split,” explained Dr. Mladen Nikšić from the Faculty of Traffic Sciences in Zagreb.

The rest of Europe is, for the time being, unreachable for Croatian trains because there, trains typically run at a speed of up to 350 kilometres per hour.

“These are the more Western countries that are far ahead of us in this regard: France, Italy, Germany… We’re well behind them because investments were made in Croatian motorways, but not in the railways,” explained Nikšić.

HŽ pointed out that this year, they plan to invest around 286 million euros in the modernisation and renovation of the country’s railway infrastructure.


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