Bosnia-Hercegovina - General Information

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Country Name

Bosnia-Hercegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина).

The country is largely decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (generally known as 'the Federation') and Republika Srpska, with a third region, the Brčko District, governed locally. The central government's power is highly limited, because the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is itself complex and consists of 10 cantons.

National Railway System

The Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia Hercegovina each has its own railway company. BHŽJK [Bosansko Hercegovačka Željeznička Javna Korporacija] is the umbrella organisation that co-ordinates the activities of the two railway companies. It has offices in Doboj.

National Railway Operators

  • In the Republika Srpska: Željeznice Republike Srpske ŽRS.
  • In the Federation: Željeznice Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine ŽFBH, formerly ŽBH). The current timetable can be found at [1]

The boundary stations between the two entities are as follows:

Line Boundary Stations
Novi Grad - Martin Brod Blatna ŽRS - Otoka Bosanska ŽFBH
Doboj - Sarajevo Rječica ŽRS - Maglaj ŽFBH
Doboj - Kreka (- Tuzla) Miričina ŽRS - Dobošnica ŽFBH
Brčko - Kreka (- Tuzla) Brčko ŽRS - Bukovac ŽFBH
(Tuzla -) Bosanska Poljana - Zvornik Novi Kalesija ŽFBH - Caparde ŽRS

So far as passenger trains are concerned, ŽRS operates between Volinja (Croatia) and Doboj, plus local trains between Doboj and Maglaj. ŽFBH operates from Doboj to Tuzla, Sarajevo and Capljina. ŽFBH works freight south and east of Doboj, except that ŽRS runs between Zwornik Novi and Brasina (Serbia). ŽFBH also works any trains on the Martin Brod line, with transfer to/from ŽRS at Blatna or Novi Grad.

Language

Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian according to area.

Currency

Konvertibilna Marka (Convertible Mark), symbol KM. 1 KM was set = 1 Deutsche Mark. Since introduction of the Euro in 2002, KM use the same fixed exchange rate to the Euro (1.95583) as the Deutsche Mark. Euro notes (not coins) are widely accepted.

UIC code

  • ŽFBH: numeric 50; alpha BIH
  • ŽRS: numeric 44; alpha BIH

Originally, ŽFBH was allocated code 89. When ŽRS was later formed, the ŽFBH code was changed to 50. However, the alpha codes for both systems are apparently BIH.

Timetable

Journey Planner

  • The ŽRS website provides a drop down list of stations, which gives both departures and arrivals at that station. For 2017/18 immediately below this is the link to the Timetable PDFs.
  • The ŽFBH website provides a drop down list of stations, for which either 'departures' or 'arrivals' can be selected.

Downloadable Timetable

Printed Timetable

Timetable booklets have been seen for both ŽRS and ŽFBH services, but these are not widely available. Passengers have to rely on departure sheets at stations, but these may not be correct.

Engineering Information

None.

Maps

Printed Maps

  • European Railway Atlas: Scandinavia and Eastern Europe by M.G. Ball (1993) (ISBN 0-7110-2072-4)
  • European Railway Atlas by M.G. Ball (2008 onwards)

Web-based Maps

Infrastructure

Infrastructure Authority

It is believed there is no separate Infrastructure Authority in either Republika Srpska or the Muslim-Croat Federation.

Network Statement

  • ŽFBH in Bosnian only and dated 2009, but it is unlikely much has changed.
  • ZRS: none known

Gauge

Standard.

Electrification

25kV 50Hz.

Rule of the road

Right, but there is very little double track.

Distances

  • ŽFBH: in the appendices of the Network Statement
  • ZRS: none known

Other Railways

None.

Tourist Lines

None.

Metro

None.

Trams

Sarajevo.

Recent and future changes

A contract was signed on January 16 2018 for works on the previously electrified line from Blatna to Bihać with the intention of reopening the line from Novi Grad to passengers as soon as possible, suggested as soon as April 2018. It mentions the use will be by the Talgo service from Sarajevo, so logically by an extension of the existing service to Banja Luka. Whether this will call at Novi Grad or use the avoiding curve is not known.

All passenger trains south of Sarajevo were withdrawn from 5 October 2015 to allow for track renewals with a footnote in the ŽFBH timetable saying they would not run until the construction work was complete. A daily Talgo service to Čapljina resumed with effect from Thursday 8 June 2017 as per this notice, plus a summer only pair until 31 August. It had been hoped to resume a seasonal train to Ploče in April 2017 but there is no mention of this.

The international train between Sarajevo and Ploče ceased at the December 2013 timetable change, withdrawing services over the Čapljina border crossing.

From 1 December 2012 passenger trains ceased on the Novi Grad - Bihać and Tuzla - Brčko lines. The cross border line from Šamac ŽRS to Slavonski Šamac HŽ also closed and services ceased from Srpska-Kostajnica (the junction station north of Doboj) to Šamac ŽRS in late 2014/early 2015.

A passenger service was introduced on the Brčko - Gunja cross-border route into Croatia in the 2002/2003 timetable but was withdrawn by the end of the 2009/2010 timetable period.

A number of passenger services ceased during the war (1991 onwards) and prospects for re-opening are slim. All (except Modriča - Gradačac and Martin Brod - Knin) carry freight traffic, but in some cases this is very limited:

  • Podlugovi - Vareš
  • Modriča - Gradačac
  • Tuzla - Živinice - Banovići
  • Omarska - Tomašica
  • Bihać - Martin Brod - Knin (Croatia)

With passenger services reduced to routes between the major cities, further withdrawals would seem unlikely. However, the railway uses outdated rolling stock to compete with modern coach services, mostly using air-conditioned vehicles, on improved roads. The planned introduction of Talgo trains between Sarajevo and Ploče is a first sign of improvement. The European Commission's West Balkans Investment Framework included provision for upgrading railways, including the border crossing from Croatia at Šamac to Ploče via Sarajevo, Novi Grad to Zwornik Novo and Brčko to Tuzla. The ŽFBH line through Bihać does not feature in the plans and, with only limited freight traffic, its future appeared to be in doubt. However, in May 2017 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia agreed to seek EU funding to reopen the line between Novi Grad (Bosanski Novi) and Knin.

Special Notes

Under no circumstances should disused railway lines or installations be explored, because they may not have been cleared of mines.

See also