Snapshot of Croatian Railways (Hrvatske Zeljeznice)

A View From the Train to Belgrade, 2003.

On August 17, 2003, I traveled by train from Zagreb, Croatia to Belgrade, Serbia. This was a six-hour journey. While the train departed on time, it took a diversionary route around Zagreb to avoid track work on the mainline. On the way out of town, I noted a variety of stored General Motors diesels and a pair of 2-10-0s in a goods yard. Before long the train was 27 minutes behind schedule.

Croatian Railways
Exposed southeast of Zagreb, Croatia with a Nikon F3T and Nikkor f2.8 24mm lens on Fujichrome Sensia 100 slide film.

I made a number of photos, including this one, looking out the back of the train. Generally, Croatian Railways (Hrvatske Zeljeznice) maintained their track to excellent standards. Some HZ mainlines, such as this one, are electrified at 25 kV at 50 Hz, others with high voltage DC overhead, while many other lines are worked with diesels.

Approaching the Serbia frontier, the train was reduced to a crawl. This area was still showing the ravages of war.  Passing Vinkovci, I noted a large yard full of derelict freight wagons, but also saw that line-renewal was under way.

Serbia had just eliminated visa restrictions for American and EU passport holders, so I had no difficulties with the border inspection. The heat, on the other hand, was memorable!

Belgrade was fascinating, but I’ll save that adventure for some future post. Two years later (to the day), I was back in Croatia again, and on that trip explored the line to Rijeka.


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