New Route in Discussion for Anticipated Split Airport Train Project

Daniela Rogulj

October 7, 2019 – The strategic project connecting the Split ferry port and airport, unofficially estimated at a total of 150 million euro, got a new twist last week.

As T.portal confirmed by several sources, after a disagreement that the future railways should pass through Kastela, a completely new route surfaced amid the chaos. 

According to the proposal made by HŽ Infrastruktura to the Ministry of Transport, the trains would run on an overhead line that is parallel to the Split-Trogir highway, mostly on the pillars that would sit between its two lanes.

“This solution is only slightly more expensive than the route proposed by the City of Kastela, which, in one part, rises to a relatively high altitude and almost completely bypasses populated areas. On the other hand, it is much cheaper than installing a railway line in a tunnel or a buried pipe in the lower part of Kastela, which was insisted by local authorities, and thus could be financed from European funds. Third, there are no property and legal issues on this route, while the performance itself would be relatively straightforward. It would not even be necessary to close the entire expressway for traffic, but only possibly one of its lanes,” said T.portal’s source. 

In addition to the Ministry of Transport, a proposal for a new, fourth route of the railway through Kastela was sent to consultants from Ernst & Young, who will make an assessment of its cost-effectiveness in the next month, and include it in an already completed study, followed by a change of spatial plans.

At a government session last May in Split, connecting the Split ferry port and airport was declared a project of strategic national importance, which implies, among other things, possible funding from European funds from 2020 to 2027. It should be suitable because Split airport handles 3.3 million passengers per year and the ferry port over 5.5 million, while the daily migrations of Split and Kastela residents should be added.

In fact, there are already 18 kilometers of railroad tracks between the two endpoints that need to be thoroughly reconstructed, and the added section – depending on whether it would be separated in Kastel Kambelovac or Kastel Stari – would be between eight and ten kilometers long. The final train station would be located south of the newly built Split Airport terminal, though there are ideas to move it to nearby Trogir.

Small suburban trains have been operating between a part of Kastela and Split for a long time, and since this summer, the famous ‘mini-metro’ between the Split suburbs and the city center has been in operation. However, the mini-metro has recorded a low number in passengers – reportedly only one per ride on average – but city officials continue to say that ‘citizens should get used to this option’ and that everything will make sense when the airport and ferry are connected with one logical and complete project.

It was announced that several existing railway stations in Split, Solin, and Kastela would be reconstructed by next summer, and HŽ Infrastruktura also signed a 2.7 million kuna contract last week to develop the technical documentation of the underground station at Trg Hrvatske bratske zajednice, exactly halfway between Kopilica and the port, in the administrative part of town, near the court and the police. 

The station should adapt to new security conditions and be about a hundred meters long, with platforms and exits to Trg Hrvatske bratske zajednice. The same project envisages the installation of a ventilation and fire-fighting system and other equipment in the Split ‘metro’ tunnel. 

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