HŽ Infrastruktura and the consortium of Strabag and AŽD Praha signed the contract for reconstruction and double tracking of 44 km Hrvatski Leskovac – Karlovac railway on the M202 Zagreb – Rijeka mainline. The current single-track 25 kV AC 50 Hz electrified line will become double-track after the implementation of the project.
At the beginning of 2022, Croatia’s rail infrastructure manager selected the consortium to implement the project under a competitive tender.
HRK 2.72 billion (EUR 362.3 million) is the value of the project which is 85% co-financed by the EU through the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020. The grant contract was signed in December 2019 and has a total value of HRK 3.45 billion (EUR 460 million) while the eligible costs worth EUR 362.3 million.
The construction works are scheduled to begin in 42 days, and they are expected to be completed in 30 months (2.5 years).
The project also covers the reconstruction of Hrvatski Leskovac, Jastrebarsko and Karlovac stations, the conversion of three existing stations into stops and the reconstruction of four existing stops. At the stations useful length of tracks will be extended to 750 metres. In addition, all existing bridges, viaducts and other facilities and structures on the rail section will be reconstructed. Three new underpasses and four overpasses will be built instead of level crossings, while the remaining existing crossings will be reconstructed. Noise barriers and a closed drainage system will be also constructed.
The reconstruction of the line includes the renovation and modernisation of stable electric traction facilities (ETS of Mrzlo Polje and Zdenčina) as well as signalling and telecommunication systems by installing the ETCS Level 1 and a new control-command infrastructure subsystem with remote control of external elements.
When completed, the project will allow trains to run at a speed of 160 km/h, excepting the Mavračići, Jastrebarsko and Karlovac areas where trains will run at 120 – 140 km/h due to spatial constraints.
“By signing the contract, we are making an exceptional contribution to the construction of the railway from Zagreb to Rijeka, a very important section for Croatia as a transport hub with a special emphasis on the port of Rijeka. The better and more quality transport infrastructure we have, the better our economic development and the propel of the Croatian economy will be,” the Prime Minister of the Andrej Plenković said at the signing ceremony.
The contract is “a continuation of lowland railway the construction of which is one of the strategic goals of both HŽ Infrastructura and the line the Government Croatia. With this project, we are continuing the outlined plans for the modernisation of the railway network on the Croatian section of the Mediterranean Corridor and starting with the modernisation of the railway infrastructure from Zagreb to Rijeka,” Ivan Kršić, the President of the Management Board of HŽ Infrastruktura.
Following upgrade and track doubling work, the Hrvatski Leskovac – Karlovac railway will improve the suburban rail traffic in Zagreb and Karlovac and will be a forward step of the lowland railway of the Mediterranean corridor which will ultimately contribute to the competitiveness of the port of Rijeka by improving its connection with the markets of Central Europe.
M202 railway line is one of the most important lines in Croatia because it connects the capital Zagreb with the most important Croatian Adriatic port in Rijeka. In Oštarije it diverges into the railway line M604 Oštarije – Split connecting the central Croatia with central Dalmatia. M202 Zagreb Main Railway Station – Rijeka is also part of the Mediterranean TEN-T Corridor, the route Rijeka – Zagreb – Budapest and part of the Rail Freight Corridor 6.
Since the beginning of the modernisation and reconstruction of Mediterranean Corridor, Croatia has signed EUR 800 million contracts. The rail infrastructure manager is currently working on the four rail sections between Karlovac and Rijeka (Karlovac – Oštari, Oštari – Škrljev and Škrljev – Rijeka). This year, HŽ Infrastruktura will open the modernised and electrified Zaprešić – Zabok section and the renovated Savski Marof – Zagreb, Zaprešić – Zabok and Vinkovci – Vukovar rail sections. In addition, also this year a tender will be launched for the modernisation of Dugo Selo – Novska section towards the east of the country. “In the next ten years, Croatia’s large part of investments will be assigned railway transport,” Oleg Butković, the Minister of Transport said while attending the contract signing ceremony.
Croatia plans to invest EUR 3.5 billion until 2030 for the modernisation and development of rail infrastructure focusing on RH1 and RH2 corridors.