Railways in Dalmatia

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Logo of Biafiaruri da Dalmatia

Dalmatia has a large railway network, providing passenger and goods transportation throughout the country operated by the state-owned corporation Biafiaruri da Dalmatia ("Railways of Dalmatia"). In addition to extensive domestic passenger trains - both local, express and high-speed - there are a number of international trains in service between Raguza and Tirana (Albania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Budapest (Hungary), Belgrade (Serbia), Konstantinopolis (Greece), Osijek (Croatia) and Vienna (Austria) via Ljubljana (Croatia).

The class 443 electric locomotive for heavy goods trains, built by the Helvetian Locomotive Works. 20 are in service, primarily in the Zenica area for steel and ore trains.

Since the early 1980s, the majority of trains in Dalmatia are hauled by electric locomotives - both the conventional overhead catenary system and the so-called Tesla Locomotives, first introduced into regular service in 1981 on the "Trans-Balkan Ekspres" - one of the flagship trains of the former Soviet Danubian Railway Company, which ran between Raguza on the Adriatic Sea and Varna on the Black Sea (nowadays in Bulgaria).

The class 801 CAV "Teslatalgo". Fifteen ten-car trainsets are in service.

In 2003, the new CAV (Cug da Alta Veloczita, High Speed Train), also known as the Teslatalgo, was introduced into revenue service on the Raguza-Agram and Raguza-Kampa da Miarle domestic routes, as well as the Raguza-Tirana international express and the Raguza-Doboj-Banyaluka train, which starts and ends in Dalmatia but travels through Serbia. The Teslatalgo is based on the Castillean Talgo Pendular system of tilting trains that allows for high speeds even on lines with many curves, and is powered by the Tesla-type powerplant.

The class 861 Tesla-type electric locomotive prototype. This was the first locomotive powered by the Tesla-type powerplant, built in 1978. It ran with the Soviet Danubian Railway Company as a technology-testing unit until 1979, after which it remained in the inventory as a crew-training unit and for emergency backup.

The Dalmatian business culture is firmly entrenched, so increasing the speed of travel by much is basically superfluous. The new Cug da Alta Veloczita (aka Teslatalgo) has reached 317 versts per hour (192.05 mph - one Dalmatian verst is 0.6058 miles) in testing on the straight track through level land on the Agram-Sejesta rail line, though in scheduled service it doesn't exceed 140 vph. Partly due to limitations of the existing track (most lines have a speed limit of 97 vph; only the newest lines have higher limits - the Bar-Dokya-Kola da Miyat line (part of the Belgrade-Bar magistral built in the 1960s as one of the CSDS's so-called "Hero Projects", built rapidly at great expense) has a speed limit of 114 vph, and the Dokya-Skutara line opened in 1984, which has a limit of 140 vph - it is the Raguza-Tirana "Skenderbeg Ekspres" operated since earlier this year by Teslatalgo 10-car trainsets that reaches this speed between Dokya and Skutara, but once it crosses the border into Albania the speed drops considerably, as inside Albania the HSH has an across-the-network open-line speed limit of 70 vph (except on the Tirana-Durres line, renovated by the Dalmatian Railway company for 90 vph operation in 2002). Also the Agram-Osijek international express, still locomotive hauled (by the newest Tesla-powered locomotive capable of 230 vph) operates at 130 vph between Anduana and the border. Crossing the border it slows down too, to an average speed of 97 vph, due to the Croatian Railways still operating only older classes of Tesla locomotives, all built before 1988.

The Dalmatian railway network

In Dalmatia train composition is fairly old-style, though on certain segments there are trains that become one or separate at various points on the line. This is especially common in northern Dalmatia and in Dardania, where there are a large number of rail routes which now are split between several states.

The CSDS's biggest Hero Project, the Belgrade-Bar line built in the 1960s, now runs through three countries: Belgrade to Pozega in Serbia, Sevojno-Uzice-Bijelo Polje in Sanjak, while the remainder (Kola da Miyat-Bar) runs through Dalmatia.

Even more complex is the former north-south magistral that linked Belgrade to Greece:

     Belgrade - Kragujevac - Vitanovac is in Serbia;
     Imamovo (ex Kraljevo) - Raska - Banjska in Sanjak;
     Zveczan - Kampa da Miarle - Ulpiana in Dalmatia;
     Babljak - Ferizovac (ex Urosevac) - Djeneral Jankovic in Sanjak;
     Volkovo - Skopie - Gevgeliya in Bulgaria, whence it crosses the border into Greece.

Dalmatian Railways also operate two domestic services that are in all technicality international trains, as they run through Serbia: the Czieta da Saray-Tuzla and the Cz.Saray-Banyaluka trains. From Czieta da Saray as far as Globarica (just past Zavidovicz) the line is in Dalmatia, but there it crosses the border with Serbia, both trains continuing to the junction at Doboj. From Doboj the Banyaluka train heads west and is in Serbia all the way to the destination: Banyaluka/Banja Luka is a divided city, sharing a railway station. The Tuzla train heads east from Doboj and is in Serbia as far as Bistarac, from there it is only 7 or so versts from Tuzla. From Tuzla is a short line south to Banesku, which is completely isolated from the rest of the Dalmatian railway network, though work has commenced on a line to between Banesku to Podluguri on the Cz. Saray-Zenica line.

There are four types of passenger trains in Dalmatia: Local, Regional, Accelerated and Express trains. Take as an example the stretch of rail between Nenia and Czietanoa. On this line there are 31 stations and halts, including Nenia and Czietanoa. Local trains run along this line on these relations: Nenia-Brodul da Marta (13 stops), Brodul da Marta-Bihacz (9 stops) and Bihacz-Czietanoa (8 stops), making for a total of 30 stops.

The class 862 Tesla-type electric locomotive for heavy goods and passenger trains on mountain lines. This was the first series-built Tesla-type electric locomotive in the world, entering production in 1980 and revenue service in 1981. This is the largest class of locomotives in Dalmatia, with 415 in service in three subclasses: the 862-000 series (numbers 001 to 093) which is fitted with steam heating for passenger trains, the 862-100 series (numbers 101 to 219) which are the same as the 000 series but without steam heating and used only for goods trains, and the 862-300 series (numbers 301 to 503) which are fitted with flange lubrication and an advanced dynamic braking system.

The Regional trains on this line run Nenia-Bihacz and Bihacz-Czietanoa (this one continues from Czietanoa to Sejesta). The Nenia-Bihacz train makes 20 stops, two less than the locals on this relation, while the Bihacz-Czietanoa train stops the same eight times as the local. The Regional trains, then, stop at all the stations that Locals do, but not the halts, and serve longer relations than the locals.

The Accelerated train Yaxiar-Nenia-Czietanoa-Sejesta, along this line, stops 11 times only - 19 less than the locals and 17 less than the regionals. It serves a longer route than the Regionals do, but move at an average of 7 versts per hour faster than the Regionals, and also save time by not stopping at the Class 3 stations, only at the Class 2 and Class 1 stations.

The class 842 Tesla-type electric locomotive, introduced in 2002 for passenger and goods trains. 85 are in service.

One Express runs on this line: the Spalatu-Agram train, the so-called "Una Ekspres". Between Nenia and Czietanoa this train stops only at Nenia, Bihacz and Czietanoa, and makes a speed on average 12 vph faster than the accelerated trains. In fact, the Una Ekspress, on the whole run after leaving Spalatu stops only at Kastelul Biatu, Perkovicz, Xernesz, Nenia, Bihacz, Czietanoa, Sejesta and Agram - eight stops, while passing through 71 stations and halts without stopping. Thus, it is vastly quicker to take the Una Ekspres from Spalatu to Agram than to take the seven local trains...and at an average speed of 90 to 95 vph, the passenger can still comfortably observe the view!