Oštarije – Split railway to be modernised with EU funds

Oštarije – Split railwayDue to the revision of the  TEN-T Regulation, the Oštarije – Split railway via Knin (Lika railway) which is more than 320 km long, has great prospects of being rehabilitated with funds from the European Union, the HZ Infrastruktura Member of the Management Board, Darko Barišić said during a conference held on February 16 in Split.

“The revision includes Croatia with four corridors, which is a very big deal because 430 km of railways have entered the TEN-T network. This is a historic opportunity because now we can fulfill all our wishes,” Darko Barišić said.

Until now, Croatia was included with two international corridors (Mediterranean and Rhine – Danube corridors), and with the revision of the TEN-T Regulation, it was included in two new corridors: the Western Balkans – Eastern Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea – Adriatic Sea, in the direction to Split.

This sets new requirements that Croatia will be required to deliver the modernised TEN-T corridors by 2040 as part of the expanded basic network. Considering this important change brought by the new TEN-T Regulation, a more detailed analysis is being launched.

The Oštarije – Split railway will therefore has to meet the requirted standards of the corridor, and it must be double-tracked, electrified and capable of speeds of up to 160 km/h. Considering these characteristics, a study is to be prepared which will include an analysis of the need to change the route of the existing railway, and HŽ Infrastruktura will, after the official adoption of the revised TEN-T Regulation, which is expected in April, begin activities for the preparation of the study.

In order to ensure the co-financing of works for the implementation of any project, it is necessary to first prepare the study documentation including the feasibility study, cost and benefit analysis and environmental impact study and, after the European Commission accepts the project, technical documentation with the obtaining of all necessary permits, after which it is only possible to register any project for co-financing of the execution of the works, that is, the phase of the execution of the works in which the greatest absorption of funds occurs.

A faster journey from, for example, Zagreb to Split is being modernised. At 12 stations from Oštari to Gračac, installed electronic signalling and safety devices are gradually being put into operation, which should increase the railways and the speed of traffic. At the beginning of February, traffic regulation devices were put into full function at the Josipdol and Plaški stations and at the Vojnovac check-in desk. This resulted in the fact that all stations from Josipdol to Lički Lešće (more than 80 km of track) are connected by the same devices.

Also, in the middle of this year, intensive work will begin on the same devices in the stations to the south including Malovan, Zrmanja, Plavno, Pađene and Knin (together with the Pribudić and Stara Straža stations) in order to integrate 17 stations into a single unit.

When the other devices at the stations up to Split are put into operation, a total of 29 stations and 11 check-out offices will be created, which will be managed from the central location in Knin, which, is one of the largest stations in Croatia.

Considering the investments from EU funds in works on the Lika railway, the first steps have already begun. From the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, it is planned to invest EUR 40 million out of a total planned EUR 100 million for the modernisation and renovation of signalling and safety  devices and the renovation of the infrastructure in the Drniš, Perković, Labin and Kaštel Stari stations, and work is also underway to remove bottlenecks on the railway infrastructure.

After the installation of the new electronic signalling and safety devices at the stations, as well as remote control and removal of bottlenecks, the journey from Zagreb to Split will be significantly shortened to four and a half hours.


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