Trip to Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Serbia - August/September 2003

including Hungary briefly

General Notes

The main part of this trip (24 to 30 August) was organised by GIL Incentive- und Bildungsreisen, Margarete-Massias-Str. 14, D-69124 Heidelberg, Germany, and comprised a group of 20 enthusiasts from Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The party was led by Kai Hellwig, to whom I offer my thanks for a really good trip. I took the opportunity to spend a few days before and afterwards to do some more track in Croatia, and also to cover the passenger routes in Bosnia-Hercegovina that would not otherwise be travelled over.

For other general notes, and the meanings of the abbreviations, go to the Reports index page.

Operating Company Abbreviations:

Place Arrive Depart Train Traction details & notes

Thursday 21st August 2003

Timperley   06:22 Taxi
Manchester Airport (MAN) 06:33 08:10 LH4551 Lufthansa Airbus A321 D-AIRH
Frankfurt Airport (FRA) 10:55 12:15 LH3436 Lufthansa Airbus A321 D-AIRT
Zagreb Airport (ZAG) 13:35      
Zračna Luka Zagreb   14:00   Airport Bus
Autobusni Kolodvor 14:26     walk to Hotel then to station
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor 15:33 3012 H DL 2043 002 dep 6 late
Zabok 16:30 16:37 3220 H DMU 7121 010 set arr/dep 19 late
Gornja Stubica 17:06 17:19 3225 H DMU 7121 010 set arr 16 late/dep 5 late
Zabok 17:48 18:07 3103 H DMU 7121 012 set
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor 18:53 arr 6 late
New passenger track today: Zapreić - Zabok - Gornja Stubica.
Overnight at Hotel Central (outside Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor).
Notes
Flights were on time (probably because they didn't need to be). First time into Zagreb airport. The airport bus runs every half hour throughout the day and costs HRK25, pay on the bus. The main city bus station is about 10 minutes walk east of the main railway station, and you pass the Hotel Central on the way; this is not the cheapest place in town but it is extremely convenient for the station, has air-conditioned rooms (useful when temperatures are 30+degrees as they were this week) and a good buffet breakfast that starts at 06:00. An underbridge just outside Glavni Kolodvor is being partially rebuilt so there was single line working over it, causing delays which lost us our path on the single line towards Zabok, though the connections to both branches there were held as you would expect. Just time at Gornja Stubica for a couple of photographs.

Friday 22nd August 2003

Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor   08:58 397 H EL 1141 390
* Volinja 10:43 10:58   RS EL 441-098
Dobrljin 11:06 11:21   dep 20 late
* Doboj 14:40 14:50   FBH EL 441-411 arr/dep 37 late photo available
Sarajevo 17:59     arr 28 late
Sarajevo station   19:22 '1' Sarajevo tram 248
Sarajevo centre 19:42 22:03 '3' Sarajevo tram 232
near Holiday Inn 22:20      
New passenger track today: Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor - Sunja - Novi Grad - Doboj - Sarajevo
Overnight at Holiday Inn, Sarajevo (5 minutes walk from station)
Notes
I think this is first I have ever travelled on only one train in a day. The main points of this day were to do the cross-border route between Sunja and Novi Grad (only one train pair per day Volinja - Dobrljin) and to set up for Sarajevo to Ploče tomorrow - train 397 does continue to Ploče but most of it would have been in the dark. Though this train is advertised as having first class accommodation, Zagreb would not sell a first class ticket. The train was formed of two un-refurbished ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn coaches owned by RS sandwiching a nicely refurbished FBH first class coach, so of course we sat in the latter - no arguments from the train staff. Unfortunately this was detected as defective at Volinja and was shunted off at Dobrljin, so we had to change coaches. Note the electric haulage throughout. FBH 661-312 was at Novi Grad ready to work the delayed 11:45 to Bihać. 441-411 attached an extra coach (an ex-SJ) at the front but it was locked out of use. Got a decent advanced-booking internet rate at the Holiday Inn. Took a tram to and from Sarajevo city centre for evening meal.

Saturday 23rd August 2003

Sarajevo   08:00 391 FBH EL 441-404 +3C (ex-SJ)
* Čapljina 11:25 11:40 H EL 1141 046
Ploče 12:26     arr 9 late due to track works
Ploče station   13:05   taxi
Split station 15:05      
Split   15:14 5504 H DL 2062 103
Perković 16:19 16:27 5813 H DR 7122 013
ibenik 16:55 17:15 5812 H DR 7122 013
Perković 17:42 19:45 1820 H DL 2062 105
Drni 20:25 20:39   [cross train 5817]
Kosovo 20:50 21:21 [cross train IC521]
Knin 21:23     arr 10 late
New passenger track today: Sarajevo - Ploče, Split - Perković - ibenik, Perković  - Drni (in daylight), Drni - Knin (in darkness).
Overnight at Hotel Mihovil, Vrpolje bb, 22300 Knin (5 minutes taxi ride from station - if you can find one!).
Notes
Stock for train 391 was three ex-SJ coaches donated by Swedish Railways. Sat in the first class again with no problems. 441-404 was in the "new" FBH livery of green and two-tone blue (see photo at Doboj from later in the trip). Very scenic as far as Mostar, especially around Konjic. Several views of the old narrow gauge alignment. The H web site had said that engineering works would close the line between Metković and Ploče during the daytime on certain periods this summer, but we would be OK today; indeed, there had been track relaying in progress, there was a severe speed restriction, and there were Italian vehicles at Ploče - including two (presumably ex-ČD) T448s. We had intended to try to get a bus from Ploče to Split but initial enquiries showed the first, at least, to be full. There were five people travelling (one with a lot of baggage) so we took option 2 which was two taxis. There seemed to be a standard fare of EUR110 for the about-110km journey so we shared this out as EUR44 per person. Though not cheap we all had agreed that this was a viable option - a huge time saving as the alternative was all the way back via Sarajevo. Also, travelling this way after the main trip was not an option because of the engineering works mentioned. Two fine runs behind 2062s followed, with the short branch to ibenik fitted in between - just two of us, the other having gone straight to Knin. If the two English enthusiasts that were on train 5504 read this, I would like to apologise to them for being rather rude about their suggestion that I was only there for the haulage! Perković has a bar near the station, which was useful with two hours to kill. This would have been longer had it not been for train 1820 which happened to run today. This dated car-sleeper train is allowed 98 minutes for Perković to Knin "non-stop", whereas the all-stations local services are only allowed about 70 minutes: it waits as required to cross two other trains, including IC521 which was very late - I am sure we could have crossed it at Knin rather than waiting 31 minutes for it at Kosovo. We were the only people to get off (and possibly on) at Knin, where we stopped on what was effectively a goods line rather than a platform track. We had been advised to get a taxi from Knin station to the group's hotel, but having waited a while with no sign of one, we found that the group leader had found a local resident to ferry us there!

Sunday 24th August 2003

Hotel   07:00   minibus
Knin 07:05 07:30 special H DL 2062 113 + 1 H coach  dep 24 late
Ličko Dugo Polje 08:56 09:13   Croatia border formalities
Martin Brod 09:45 09:55 special FBH 661-323 + 1 RS (ex-SJ) coach arr 12 late/dep 7 late photo available
Bihać   10:57   dep 23 late
* Blatna 12:05 12:15   RS EL 441-808 arr 32 late/dep 37 late
via Novi Grad (reverse/loco run round) dep 13:27 (41 late) - Omarska (reverse/loco run round) dep 14:39 (63 late) - Tomaica (reverse/loco run round) dep 14:21 (55 late) - Omarska - Banja Luka dep 16:46 (74 late)
Doboj 17:21     arr 68 late
New passenger track today: Bihać - Blatna - Novi Grad.
Overnight at Hotel Bosna (15 minutes walk from Doboj station).
Notes
This was the first day of the GIL special trip, and started with a special H train from Knin to the official border with Bosnia-Hercegovina at Martin Brod. A FBH/RS special took us from there via Novi Grad and the freight-only branch to Tomaica to Doboj, using a former SJ coach. The route via Martin Brod only re-opened in 2001 and has not yet carried an advertised passenger service, though it sees very occasional freight traffic. The line crosses the border a total of seven times! The route as far as Bihać has largely been de-wired, and from there to Blatna the wiring is in place but out of use. FBH 661-312 was seen (again) working the Novi Grad - Bihać  passenger service. The branch to Tomaica goes to an iron ore loading area. The hotel at Doboj was rather iffy but was reportedly the only one available in the area. On arrival there was no water in the rooms, though the restaurant was OK. The water came on later but then went off again at about bedtime. Fortunately it was on again for morning showers etc.

Monday 25th August 2003

Doboj   07:21 6540 RS EL 441-059 + 2C
amac 08:48 09:00 special RS EL 441-059 + 1C  arr 6 late/dep 13 late
Slavonski amac 09:06 09:30 special RS EL 441-059 + 1C arr 15 late/dep 8 late
amac 09:36 10:40 6543 RS EL 441-059 + 2C arr 9 late
Doboj 12:08 14:50 397 FBH EL 441-113 dep 29 late
Podlugovi 17:31 17:40 special FBH DL 661-268 + 1 FBH coach arr 17 late/dep 25 late
Vare 18:25 18:50   arr 15 late; loco run round
Podlugovi 19:25 19:27    
delayed crossing at Semizovac - then via goods lines to Alipain Most (but should have been via triangle)
Sarajevo 20:50     arr 5 early
New passenger track today: Grapska - amac - Slavonski amac
Overnight at Hotel Grand, Sarajevo (5 minutes walk from station)
Notes
This morning's principal target was the cross-border route between amac and Slavonski amac, which only sees two train pairs per day, and these all run over the border at night. Trains 6540/6543 are the normal morning service trains on the amac line, and we just took one coach of this over the border to Slavonski amac in the amac layover time. We were not allowed out of the train at Slavonski amac, so no border formalities were required, and no photographs were allowed there. The section of track between Doboj and Grapska, the junction for amac, appears to be the only true section of useable double-track in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and is "right-hand running" [though "double-track" between Doboj and Zenice, only the easternmost track was in use; some work on the other track was in progress, however, and it appeared to be just about useable - and was wired throughout]. After lunch in a cafe in Doboj we visited the offices of BHJK [Bosansko Hercegovačka eljeznička Javna Korporacija], which is the umbrella organisation that co-ordinates RS and FBH activities, and without whose help the trip would not have been possible. There were some interesting maps on the office walls, along with a full set of timetable graphs for the whole of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Some photographs of these were taken for later reference. We then took service train 397 as far as Podlugovi - this train, formed of the "other" set of stock from that used on 397 last Friday, was made up of four refurbished H and FBH coaches, including a buffet trolley. The driver of the 661 enthusiastically made up time on both the ascent and descent of the steeply-graded branch to Vare: this saw passenger services until 1991 but now only sees freight traffic - though the works at Vare did not look to be a good generator of traffic. A freight train had reportedly failed at Alipain outside Sarajevo, which delayed a EMU local service then us in turn at Semizovac. We were due to run via the triangle avoiding Sarajevo but instead ran via the goods lines:  these run via the yard at Rajlovac and a completely separate alignment as far as Alipain Most, but this was still a small disappointment. The Hotel Grand is visible from the station but is about ten minutes walk by road: there is a "footpath" across the eastern end of the platforms that forms a useful if slightly hazardous shortcut.

Tuesday 26th August 2003

Sarajevo   07:15 special FBH EL 441-404 + 1 FBH coach (same as yesterday)
* Doboj 10:25 10:35   FBH DL 661-308
Petrovo Novo   11:06    
Kreka 11:50 12:20   loco run round
ićki Brod       reverse, then propelling movement around triangle
Bosanksa Poljana   12:43   loco run round
ivinice   14:20   76 early
Banovići 14:45     arr 88 early, then loco run round
Stanica Separacija (track 1)   14:01 special eljeznička Saobraćaj DL 720-001 + various wagons fitted with seats (760mm gauge)
via shunt to track 2 - Utovarni loading bunker (pass 14:17) - Stanica Grivica (14:27/28) - delayed by road works at a level crossing (14:38/42) - Stanica Turija (14:50/15:02, loco run round) - Stanica Grivica (15:34/15:40) -
* Stanična Zgrada 16:00 16:25   DL 740-113
Stanica Separacija 16:39      
Banovići   18:00 special FBH DL 661-308 + 1C dep 52 early
Tuzla 19:00     arr 70 early
Tuzla station   18:11 '7' local bus
near Hotel Bristol 18:20      
New passenger track today: Doboj - Petrovo Novo, Tuzla - Kreka - ićki Brod.
Overnight at Hotel Bristol (ten minute bus ride from Tuzla station) (two nights).
Notes
Back down the main line from Sarajevo to Doboj with the same loco as we had last Saturday! Doboj to Petrovo Novo has a passenger service, and was being worked by regular ex-DB 212 019-4 (photo available) in largely original condition except for "eljeznice Republike Srpske" in large letters on the side - still apparently allocated to Darmstadt shed! Petrovo Novo to Tuzla has no passenger service despite being in the published timetables. We were hoping to travel over some of the tracks of the Kreka mine/power station, but the owner thinks he can make money out of people coming to see his steam engines - so we didn't and he didn't! 33-248 was in steam at one of the mines. However we did go around the west-to-north side of the main-line triangle west of Kreka, which was a bonus. We used the freight branch to Banovići to travel on the narrow gauge system there. Very heavy traffic here bringing the lignite from the open-cast mines down to the separators and transfer station. Steam locos 62-677 (standard gauge) and 25-30 (narrow gauge) were working at Banovići, along with numerous narrow gauge diesel locos. Quite a few 661s at the small shed near Kreka station, most of which we had on our specials over the next two days.

Wednesday 27th August 2003

near Hotel Bristol   07:11 '7' local bus
Tuzla station 07:16 07:27 7402 FBH DL 661-267 + 2C (including "our" FBH coach)
Brčko 09:20 09:40   border formalities
Gunja   09:52    
Drenovci 09:59 10:40 2802 H DR 7221 028 dep 11 late
Vinkovci 11:55 12:17 B419 H EL 1141 202
id 13:25 14:00 special J DR B812-017
south end of border bridge 14:29 15:24   border formalities
Bijeljina 16:10      
Bijeljina bus station   17:30 - bus
Tuzla (east end) 19:02      
New passenger track today: Tuzla - Brčko - Gunja, id - Bijeljina.
Overnight at Hotel Bristol, Tuzla.
Notes
A round trip day to travel over two awkward border crossings. Brčko - Gunja sees just the one train pair and is new to the 2002/2003 timetable. id to Bijeljina sees four train pairs per day but is only available for local passport holders, hence the requirement for special border formalities. The branch from Rasputnica [=junction] Rača to Sremska Rača, shown on some maps and indeed on the J timetable map, is intact at the junction end but extremely overgrown.

Thursday 28th August 2003

near Hotel Bristol   07:24 '7' local bus
Tuzla station 07:30 08:15 special FBH DL 661-307 + 21C ("our" FBH coach again)
via ivinice (08:52) - Krivača (09:07) - Kalesija (09:26) - Caparde (09:40)  - ~5km long tunnel (09:43 to 09:54) - Guteri (10:00) -
Zvornik Novi 10:20 10:35   Bosnia-Hercegovina border formalities; dep 16 late
Rasputnica Donja Borina   11:15    
Brasina 10:41 11:00 special J DR B812-017 Jugoslavia border formalities; arr 20 late/dep 18 late
Rasputnica Donja Borina   11:22    
Zvornik Grad 11:25 11:45   reverse; arr 14 late, dep 11 late photo available
Brasina 12:20 13:09   crossing freight train to Zvornik Novi
Loznica fabrika 12:35 13:50   arr 61 late/dep 3 late
abac 15:14 15:24   reverse
abac north points   15:27   reverse, via abac avoiding line
abac south points   15:31   reverse, via abac avoiding line
Platičevo 15:43 16:01   crossing late train 5233
Ruma 16:00     arr 24 late
shunt to Ruma depot for re-fuelling and some maintenance on the cooling system
Ruma   16:10   dep 78 late
Inđija 16:36 16:50   reverse; arr 71 late/dep 77 late
Beograd carriage sidings 18:51 19:09   then via Beograd Dunav
Rasputnica Pančevački most   19:28   reverse into platform occupied by train 8012
Pančevački most 19:29 19:16 8012 J EMU 412-019 set dep 15 late
Rakovica 19:31 19:48   bus arr 12 late
Hotel Park 20:19      
New passenger track today: Zvornik Grad - abac - Ruma, Golubinci - Inđija - Stara Pazova, Pančevački most - Rakovica.
Overnight at Hotel Park, Njegoeva 4 (15 minutes walk uphill from Beograd station).
Notes
Highlight of today and of the whole trip was the traversal of the line between Tuzla and Zvornik. Planned as part of a new through standard gauge route between Beograd and Tuzla (and probably Sarajevo), this was the only section to get anything like completed before the war broke out in 1991 (a tunnel mouth and a half-finished viaduct are visible at Valjevo, on the Beograd - Poega line, from where the route was to head for Zvornik). Damaged in the war, it has been restored for use mainly by military traffic, and ours was almost certainly the first civilian passenger train over the route. It has a distinctly unfinished air about it, with almost no working signalling at the crossing loops, some of which were not even completed. Most of the station buildings were incomplete or damaged. Very few maps show the line at all, and most of those that do show it wrongly as running into the end of the branch at Zvornik Grad. In fact, a freight-only branch from Rasputnica Donja Borina was built in about 1978 to serve a large works over the river at Zvornik Novi, and the line from Tuzla runs into the station there. At Zvornik Grad the line ends by the roadside in what is effectively the town high street, and extension would clearly be impossible; there are no station buildings (the last block post is at Zvornik) and the limit of train operation is probably set by the location of parked vehicles. Note that the last 53km of the branch only sees one train pair per day. There was a useful roadside bar at Brasina to help while away the crossing time, but it presumably doesn't get much railway business unless passengers prefer 79 minutes there to travelling the whole branch: the round trip from Ruma takes 6 hours 26 minutes! The stop at Loznica fabrika was reputedly to see some industrial steam in action, but there were only two cold fireless locos there. Time saved, which was well spent by going round the triangle at abac - some maps do not make it clear that a reversal is required here for the passenger trains, or that there is an avoiding line for the freights to Zvornik Novi. At Ruma participants had a hard decision to make: go to the bar for another beer, or stay on the railcar for a ride to the depot (no prizes for guessing what I did): refuelling was interesting as the fuel pump was on the wrong side, so cans and a funnel were used... the railcar then went into a shed for some attention to its cooling system. The shed area itself was home to a number of 341s, 441s and 461s. The run to Beograd was punctuated by running via the triangle at Inđija, not particularly hard to do but it saves the need to do Inđija to Ruma on a local train. Note that the Inđija avoiding line is much gentler and longer than is shown on many maps, though the alignment of the original sharp curve is still visible. At the south end of the triangle, and on to Nova Pazova, some new construction has been halted - there is a part-finished flying junction - and several separate alignments around what may have been intended as a new set of yards. Finally, to cover for the fact that the trip 2 years ago travelled over the Beograd Dunav line in darkness, this was repeated in daylight - this route is used only by the Beograd - Bucureşti Nord through workings, trains 260 and 261. A peculiar shunt into the platform at Pančevački most enabled an end-on connection into a specially-held local service to Rakovica and the bus to the hotel.

Friday 29th August 2003

Hotel Park   08:30   bus
Beograd 08:40 09:00 special J DR B812-017
Vreoci 10:05 10:19    
via Vreoci TENT end of line (reverse, 10:28/34) - TENT offices (10:39/11:10) - Obrenovac power station (11:49/54) photo available - Stubline (reverse, 12:19/21) - Vorbis (reverse, 12:37/44) - Vreoci station (shunt/reverse, 13:43/14:18) - dual gauge tracks to Kolubara power station gates (reverse, 14:46/55) - Vreoci station (shunt, 15:10/29) - Suara coal drops (15:34) -
Suara level crossing 15:37 15:40 - 900mm gauge draisine
via shunt then Zeoke mine (16:16/25) - Cerotive Potok (reverse, 16:48/59) - Zeoke (17:08) - loading bunker (awaiting coal train 17:34/43)
Suara level crossing 17:43 17:55 special J DR B812-017
via Suara (arrive 17:59; shunt to siding 18:15 to clear steam-hauled coal train; shunt out again 18:40; depart 18:55 for Vreoci station (reverse, 18:58/19:16, nearly four hours late) -
Poega 21:06 21:21   bus
Hotel Zlatibor 22:07      
New passenger track today: none.
Overnight at Hotel Zlatibor, Zlatibor (nowhere near any station, particularly Zlatibor!).
Notes
A day of purely industrial track, firstly the complete TENT (Termoelektrana 'Nicola Tesla') system and the little-used standard-gauge line to Kolubara power station (fed by electrically-hauled narrow gauge trains from the mine at Suara). The ride on the draisine (actually an overhead line maintenance vehicle) was a little wearing but was punctuated by the Buster Keaton antics of the local fire brigade who came racing onto the scene at Zeoke to put out a fire in some dumped lignite. They eventually put out the fire but more water must have gone on themselves or their vehicle than went on the fire. This section of the visit ran very late, compounded by having to wait for an hour to get out of the sidings onto the main line. We were then given highest priority on the main line - even over the afternoon Bar to Beograd first-class-only train which was looped for us to pass rather than the other way around. A very hot day with a track buckle on the main line to contend with.

Saturday 30th August 2003

Hotel Zlatibor   09:00   bus
Mokra Gora 09:48 10:23 special 760mm gauge DL L45H-098 (ex-CFR?) + 3C
via Jatare (10:55) - photo stop at viewing point (11:00/03) -
argan Vitasi 11:21 11:34   loco run round
via Jatare (11:55/12:00) - Golubici (12:03/07) - viewing point (12:08/12) -
Mokra Gora 12:35 13:15   bus
Uice 13:59 14:30   J DR B812-017
via Poega (14:53/15:04) - Kraljevski Gradac (16:17/34) - Vreoci (17:33) -
Beograd 18:30     arr 17 late
New passenger track today: Mokra Gora - Jatare.
Overnight at Hotel Beograd, Balkanska 5 (5 minutes walk from Beograd station).
Notes
Again a day with a single purpose, that of covering the newly-opened section of the rebuilt narrow gauge line at Mokra Gora (originally part of the Beograd - Sarajevo main line). It was not until we were on the train that we found out that we were the first passenger train on the new section between Mokra Gora and Jatare, and that the official opening train would run later in the day! This was the end of the GIL trip.

Sunday 31st August 2003

Beograd   10:30 414 J EL 441-751
* id       H EL 1142 016
Vinkovci 14:33 15:40 2022 H EL 1141 012
Strizivojne-Vrpolje 16:10 16:29 6407 H DMU 7121 101/102 set
Slavonski amac 16:47 17:50 6408 H DMU 7121 102/101 set
Strizivojne-Vrpolje 18:07 18:12 748 H EL 1142 010 dep 9 late
Slavonski Brod 18:32 arr 12 late
New passenger track today: Strizivojne-Vrpolje - Slavonski amac, Strizivojne-Vrpolje - Slavonski Brod.
Overnight at Hotel Brod, u Stečaju (10 minutes walk from Slavonski Brod station)
Notes
A simple day just fitting a few things in, nothing much to report except lots of rebuilding work on the Beograd - Zagreb main line. Didn't know anybody who'd stayed in Slavonski Brod before - it was a useful place to start from for tomorrow's plan - and the town is about 10 minutes south of the station. The Hotel Park (in some of the Guide Books) looked a bit seedy so we went for the Hotel Brod. See tomorrow's notes for more on the hotel.

Monday 1st September 2003

Slavonski Brod   08:31 744 H EL 1142 014
Novska 09:23 10:31 5202 H DR 7122 026
Sunja 11:41 11:56 5112 H EMU 6111 022 set
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor 13:26 15:50 IC201 H EL 1141 385 dep 16 late
Gyknyes 17:05 18:26 8236 MV EL V46 047 arr 27 late
Murakeresztr 18:42 19:23 204 H DL 2044 017 dep 8 late
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor 22:17     arr 18 late
New passenger track today: Novska - Sunja, Dugo Selo - Krievci - Koprivnica - Gyknyes, Murakeresztr - Čakovec, Čakovec - Varadin - Zabok (in darkness).
Overnight at Hotel Central (outside Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor) (two nights).
Notes
The Slavonski Brod hotel room was OK but when we went down for breakfast we were told that they didn't do any - we had to go to the Hotel Park! The receptionist, who spoke reasonable English, had not mentioned this the night before. So we packed our bags and went to the Hotel Park - where they told us we needed a voucher from the Hotel Brod! At this we gave up on the Hotel Trade in Slavonski Brod and walked to the station where we had coffees at a nearby cafe (no food unfortunately). However we got some nice omelettes in a cafe outside Novksa station. Novska to Sunja has only three train pairs per day. The second part of the day was dedicated to my two remaining Croatia - Hungary cross-border routes. I considered staying in Čakovec rather than Zagreb but the hotels in Čakovec are some way from the station.

Tuesday 2nd September 2003

Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor   07:20 205 H DL 2044 017 dep 16 late
Čakovec 09:29 11:05 3802 H DMU 7121 012 set arr 21 late
Mursko Srediće 11:30 11:40 3803 H DMU 7121 012 set
Varadin 12:17 12:52 3607 H DMU 7121 010 set
Koprivnica 13:34 14:40 6809 H DR 7122 021 from bay platform 3 track 21
Klotar 15:23 15:36 2304 H DMU 7121 024 set
* Bjelovar 16:12 16:20 H DMU 7121 111/112 + 024 sets
* Krievci 17:01 17:07 H DMU 7121 024 set shunt from east side platform to island platform - arr/dep 8 late
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor 18:06 18:43 8503 H EMU 6111 008 set
staff train via Borongaj - Resnik - itnjak - Ranirni Kolodvor Zagreb (RK) north side -
Zagreb Klara 19:22 19:30 8502 H EMU 6111 008 set
staff train via RK south side (past depot) - itnjak - Resnik - Borongaj -
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor 20:09
New passenger track today: Zabok - Varadin - Čakovec (in daylight), Čakovec - Mursko Srediće, Varadin - Koprivnica - Klotar, Klotar - Bjelovar - Krievci.
Overnight at Hotel Central
Notes
Walked into Čakovec to find the hotels for future reference - a bit of an awkward walk to the Hotel Park, which looks OK. However there is a Motel Royal outside the station which may also be OK and is a lot nearer. There is still evidence of freight traffic over the border from Mursko Srediće to Lendava. Watch out at Koprivnica as some Osijek line local trains use a bay platform that is not immediately obvious (trains using it in the current timetable are 6802, 6804, 6808 & 6810 arriving, 6805, 6807 & 6809 departing). There is also a bay track 20 at Varadin that is used by most trains to and from the Golubovec branch, and this may have been the source of an incorrect rumour than this service was currently all replaced by buses (in fact during this week trains between about 08:00 and 17:00 were replaced by buses between Varadin and Ivanec, but this is a separate matter). Klotar to Bjelovar is interesting as it does not appear on many maps, and does indeed appear to be newer than the rest of the route. There have been reports of construction of a curve avoiding the reversal at Krievci but there is no sign yet of this work starting. The Zagreb yard staff shuttles (there is another pair at 06:14 from Zagreb Gl.K. (train 8501 returning there at 07:36 (8500)) are advertised on the departure and arrival sheets at Glavni Kolodvor and also on the electronic indicators. Nobody objected to me getting on, or said anything on the train - even when the driver walked through to change ends at Zagreb Klara. However the guard came round when nearly back at Gl.K. and told me off, in poor English, saying that the train was for Croatian Railways staff only - too late!

Wednesday 3rd September 2003

Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor   09:31 3006 H DL 2044 003 dep 6 late
Zabok 10:27 10:35 3122 H DMU 7121 017 set arr 10 late/dep 5 late
Đurmanec 11:15 11:30 3121 H DMU 7121 017 set
Zabok 12:09 12:18 3011 H DL 2044 020
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor 13:14      
Autobusni Kolodvor   15:30   airport bus
Zračna Luka Zagreb 15:55      
Zagreb Airport (ZAG)   17:55 OU414 Croatia Airlines Airbus A319 9A-CTH
Frankfurt Airport (FRA) 19:30 21:45 LH4544 Lufthansa Airbus A321 D-AIRA
Manchester Airport (MAN) 22:25 22:45   taxi
Timperley 22:55      
New passenger track today: Zabok - Đurmanec.
Notes
A fill-in to do the last Zagreb area branch I needed - an interesting line with street-side running through Krapina. The line on towards Rogatec in Slovenia appears to be out of use. Spent some time photographing trains and trams before getting the bus to the airport. Flights on time again.

Summary

An excellent trip which went almost perfectly. I've now covered about 75% of Croatian Railways, most of what I need is in the west (Rijeka, Pula, Zagreb - Knin - Zadar are the most significant). I have also done all the passenger services in Bosnia-Hercegovina (having done Poega - Podgorica two years ago). 758 photographs taken, some of which are linked from this page - more to come later perhaps.

Tickets used (excluding special trains): 7-day Euro Domino for Croatia, otherwise single journey tickets throughout.

Copyright 2003, 2007, 2011 Paul Steane.