Croatian rail passenger operator HŽ Putnički prijevoz and Končar signed a contract for the supply of 7 new diesel-electric multiple units (DEMUs) which are financed by Eurofima in the amount of EUR 31 million.
The first DEMU is expected to be supplied in the next two years following a delivery frequency of one train per month.
“By continuing the production of new diesel-electric multiple units, we are changing the perception of railway passenger transport in Croatia. This addition to the contract is a renewed expression of confidence in the Končar Group, but also proof that the cooperation between the domestic industry and Croatian railway companies is at an extremely high level,” the President of the Management Board of Končar – Elektroindustrija Gordan Kolak said.
The new three-car DEMUs will be low-floor and are able to run at a speed of 120 km/h. They are equipped with ramps for the entry and exit of people in wheelchairs and space for bicycles. The trains will have a total capacity of 342 passengers, with 167 seats and 175 standing places and will be equipped with a modern heating and cooling system and video surveillance.
Stops in stations and bus stops will be announced on displays and via loudspeakers, and free internet access (Wi-Fi) will be provided for passengers. The acquisition of the new trains will improve the quality of service, reliability and availability of vehicles.
HŽ Putnički prijevoz is currently operating a fleet of 6 new diesel-electric multiple units and the procurement of additional trains increase the quality of service on non-electrified lines. With these trains, the operator will ensure lower operating costs and contribute to the reduction of environmental pollution. 63% of the Croatian rail network is currently non-electrified and as part of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2021 – 2027, additional trains are planned to be acquired. The preparation of a study is underway, which will also include the modernisation of the train maintenance workshops in addition to the trains.
HŽ Putnički prijevost currently has 40 new trains in operation. As part of the project Renewal of the HŽ Passenger Transport rolling stock with new electric trains from OP Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014 – 2020, the purchase of 21 electric trains is co-financed in the amount of 85%. As part of the National Recovery and Resilience Facility 2021 – 2026, HŽPP will acquire two prototype battery trains that will run on non-electrified tracks and six sites for charging traction batteries. During this and the next two years, new trains will be continuously produced, and by 2025, 70 of them will be running on the tracks.
The continuation of the production of new diesel-electric multiple units is necessary due to the improvement of service quality on non-electrified lines.
In 2020, the European Investment Bank approved a EUR 21 million loan for the procurement of 21 EMUs from Koncar Electric Vehicles. The project was estimated at EUR 150 million. In addition, HŽPP secured EUR 57.9 million loans from Eurofima and IBRD for 12 trains manufactured by the Croatian rolling stock manufacturer.
The modernisation of the railway system is a high priority of the Ministry of Transport which in the next 10 years will increase the funding for the renewal of the rolling stock and modernisation of railway infrastructure. The goal is to increase the number of passengers towards railways by ensuring an increased quality of transport services.
“The preparation of strategic documents is underway, which will define all elements of the development of the railway system for the next ten years and raise the standards to better integrate Croatian railways with the European rail system,” the State Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Alen Gospočić said at the signing ceremony.
At the beginning of the year, HŽ Infrastruktura, the rail infrastructure manager, has announced that HRK 1.7 billion (EUR 224.8 million) will be provided through the Recovery and Resilience Plan for the modernisation and construction of the infrastructure as part of the investment plan to increase the quality of the infrastructure and transport services.
The RRF worth HRK 47 billion (EUR 6.2 billion) includes a HRK 5.5 billion (EUR 727.5 million) financing for the development of a sustainable and energy-efficient transport system, with a large part of the funding expected to be provided to the rail sector.
The projects include the second and third phases of the modernisation and track-doubling works on the Dugo Selo – Novska rail line on the RH1 corridor. The entire project covers upgrade works on the 51.5 km single-track line (Novoselec–Kutina – 26 km and Kutina–Novska – 25.5 km. The double tracks totalling 82 km will be constructed on four sections:
- Dugo Selo–Novoselec (32 km);
- Novoselec–Kutina (29 km);
- Lipovljani–Novska (11 km);
- Kutina–Lipovljani (10 km).
Another project covers the modernisation of Oštarije – Knin – Split line including the the installation of new signalling and interlocking systems, as well as the reconstruction of three stations. This project will be financed by the Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The modernisation of Karlovac – Oštarije railway section is on design and study preparation which is and important upgrade project on the M202 Zagreb GK – Karlovac – Rijeka corridor. The project aim is to prepare study and design documents for the modernisation and construction of the Zagreb – Rijeka route to connect the wider area of Karlovac and Oštarije, together with meeting technical and technological conditions which main corridor lines for international traffic have to fulfil. Karlovac – Oštarije section is a continuation of the Hrvatski Leskovac – Karlovac section.
Recently, a EUR 362.3 million contract has been signed for the overhaul and double-track construction on 44 km Hrvatski Leskovac – Karlovac line. The project also covers the modernisation of stations, the installation of ETCS Level 1 and a new control-command infrastructure subsystem with remote control of external elements
Another project selected is the modernisation of the M101 DG – Savski Marof – Zagreb Glavni kolodvor line which crosses the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County and is also significant for the international traffic providing connection with Slovenia through Savski Marof. A EUR 49 million contract was signed in 2020 for the rehabilitation of 18 km Zagreb – Sava Marof line.
The company is also implementing the 18.7 km Vinkovci – Vukovar upgrade project for which a EUR 69.5 million contract was signed in December 2019 with a consortium of Comsa. The project covers the reconstruction of the existing single-track line, the renewal of four stations and stops and the installation of control-command, signalling and interlocking systems. By the beginning of 2022, more than 20 km of tracks and all turnouts in various stages of readiness have been laid.