Rail improvement project at the Croatian-Serbian border rebuilds war-damaged infrastructure

The Vinkovci to Tovarnik to state border railway rehabilitation project has significantly increased railway speed for passengers and freight, improved safety measures, and reduced noise levels.

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A section of the restored railway line. A section of the restored railway line.

" This is the first railway infrastructure project to be financed from the Pre-accession funds, in the course of which, from the very beginning of the preparation of the tender all the way through to the project completion, all HŽ Infrastruktura staff involved in the implementation have acquired important experiences and knowledge regarding the specific EU requirements and applicable procedures. These experiences have been extremely valuable for us both in the implementation of IPA projects and, after Croatia’s EU accession, for Structural Funds projects. "

Željko Dabić, Project manager

With the restoration of the 33.5 km long railway line between Vinkovci and the Serbian border, line speed capability has been increased from 50 km/h to 160 km/h. In addition, a modern automatic train protection system was installed and safety along twelve crossings was improved by eliminating open unprotected crossings and upgrading them to automatic half-barrier crossings suitable for higher speeds.

The works on the track, electrification and signalling resulted in reduced journey times, lower maintenance and operating costs, and improved comfort for passengers. Furthermore, the local population benefits from better noise protection and from the construction of platforms, sheltering and lighting at nine stations.

Better pan-European transport and increased growth

In order to improve interoperability with train systems from other European countries, international track and gauging standards including electrification adjustments were implemented. This facilitates cross-border rail traffic.

The revamped railway section is part of the Pan-European Transport Corridor X from Salzburg (Austria) to Thessaloniki (Greece). International freight along this route is projected to increase significantly in the future, and the construction works will enhance the cross-border effect in freight and passengers traffic between Croatia and Serbia. At the same time, it will facilitate sustainable growth in the Croatian economy, in particular related to tourism, which accounts for 20 % of Croatia’s GDP.

Investments in the Vincovci to Tovarnik to Serbian border railway line had become necessary due to damage during the War, in particular to the signalling equipment. The line was last overhauled in 1974 and the electrification equipment was renewed in 2000 following war damage. However, as a result of bad track conditions the maximum permissible speed had been lowered to only 50 km/h.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Vinkovci to Tovarnik to state border railway rehabilitation” is EUR 60 182 962 with the EU’s Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession contributing EUR 28 789 180.

Draft date