Trains in Croatia: 1st Railway Built in Last 50 Years Stuck 100m from Finish Line

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HŽ Infrastruktura

Construction of the first railroad to be built in Croatia in the last 50 years is reaching its final stage – there are only 100 metres of tracks left to finish. As it turns out, these mere 100 metres are proving to be the most problematic part of the whole project.

The fastest man in the world can run 100 metres in 9.58 seconds, writes RTL on October 15, 2017. And yet, these 100m have been a problem for HŽ (Croatian Railways) for quite a long time.

The remaining distance is all that is needed to shorten the trip from Bjelovar to Zagreb in half. So far, passengers who boarded in Bjelovar used to travel to Zagreb via Križevci and Dugo Selo; in order to make the trip shorter, the new tracks connected Sveti Ivan Žabno and Gradec. At the same time, new tracks have been built, but there is a significant delay to the construction project. There’s a simple solution: extend the new tracks by 100 metres and connect them with the old ones… Easier said than done, it seems.

“It would be really weird for the first railway built in 50 years, the railway that should connect a whole [wider Bjelovar] area with Zagreb, to be out of operation for three years due to 100 metres of something that should have been taken care of by HŽ, their funding and their infrastructure”, said Damir Bajs, the Prefect of Bjelovar-Bilogora County.

On those days when the train manages to arrive on time, it takes people 1 hour and 45 minutes to travel from Bjelovar to Zagreb. It can often take more than two hours. The new railway would take that time down to around 50 minutes.



“The original plan entailed connecting the new railway with the existing tracks; that’s neither hard to carry out, it’s not technologically challenging or expensive, nor it would take a lot of time to do it”, said Dalibor Petrović of the Railroad Engineer Trade Union of Croatia.

HŽ Infrastructure, on the other hand, stated they cannot take this into consideration because the proposed solution would lead to significant losses, especially in cargo transport. “It has been concluded that the temporary connection of the routes Gradec – Sv. Ivan Žabno and Dugo Selo – Križevci would lead to major disturbances in traffic on the crucial, busiest railway in the Republic of Croatia. At this moment, all works haven’t been finished yet, nor have the technical preconditions for safe railway traffic been met”, says the statement.

Prefect Bajs claims he has been told an entirely different thing by HŽ, while the union members stated that HŽ decided to decrease the number of train lines from Bjelovar to Zagreb from eight to two – on the same day the contract for the railway construction was signed. Construction that’s worth 200 million kuna, most of that amount provided by EU funding.

“The railway is getting built to shorten the distance between Bjelovar and Zagreb. If you don’t connect what you were supposed to, if you can’t reach your destination, the distance hasn’t been shortened. I hope the EU Commission will react in case someone files a complaint that the prerequisites listed in the contract haven’t been met”, said Petrović.

HŽ Infrastructure doesn’t seem to worry that much, as they stated it’s impossible for Brussels to ask for a refund.


Photo credit: HŽ Infrastruktura


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