Overhead Railway to Run between Split Airport and Ferry Port? New Proposal Introduced

Daniela Rogulj

November 25, 2019 – Sixteen months ago, at a Government session in Split, a decision was made to implement the Split Suburban Railway Project, connecting the Split ferry port with the Split Airport with an intermodal terminal at the new central station in Kopilica.

Splitski Dnevnik reports that the project is worth around 150 million euro and is estimated to be completed in 2027. For its realization, it is necessary to reconstruct 18 kilometers of the existing railway line from the Split ferry port to Kastel Stari and to construct about 10 kilometers of the new railway line from Kastel Stari to the airport. It is precisely on these ten kilometers of the new railway that the project seriously begins.

The people of Kastela have been offered three options. All three envisage using part of the existing railway line, and then a new railway line to the airport would be built either from Kastel Kambelovac or Kastel Stari. The City of Kastela, however, was not in favor of the first, cheapest option, costing 300 million euro.

This project envisaged that the new line would depart from Radun, via Crkva Gospe od Stomorije, to the airport. Mayor Denis Ivanovic explains Kastela’s refusal of the route by the fact that buildings would be damaged and it would pass through the fields, as well as through the protected sanctuary of Crkva Gospe od Stomorije. Kastela demanded that part of the railway line be buried underground, below the highway, but this would significantly increase the cost of the project.

However, a new proposal for Croatian Railways has now been crystallized, according to which trains should run on an overhead line that runs parallel to the high-speed Split-Trogir road, mostly on pillars.

This was confirmed by the Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy in charge of construction, Mirjana Cagalj.

“We are currently in the process of determining that railway route. So far, a dozen variants have been released, accepted by all but Kastela. Some made objections and some didn’t respond. However, the last option by the HZ Infrastruktura designers is excellent, and we all have a feeling that this will be the variant that will be accepted.

For now, it has been sent to the Ministry of Transport and forwarded to the designers of Ernst & Young who should return this as a conclusion to all other variants, whether it is good or not,” said Cagalj, adding that this variant is not the cheapest option, but it is not as expensive as building a tunnel.

“This variant is a little more expensive than the ground railway, but it also has the advantage that for its construction, we do not have to resolve property and legal relations, expropriation, or the consent of neighbors, so we avoid the potential of delaying the project indefinitely,” said Cagalj, who added that the new section would go through the body of the expressway.

“So, in that part, there is room for foundations and pillars above the road. Visually, if done well it can be great, there are many such examples in the world, and with several descending platforms, so that all the people of Kastela can use the rail to get to work, school, or the doctor.”

“The cost of land is lower and the construction is more expensive, so a price will be conceived after that, and the construction deadlines are shorter in this project. We all have hopes that this will be the option that will suit Kastela as well.”

Ernst & Young consultants should evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this solution within 15 days and include it in a study that has already been completed, followed by a revised spatial plan.

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