Bosnia-Herzegovina - General Information
Bosnia-Herzegovina (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 Herzegovina 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 boundary stations between the two entities are as follows:
|Novi Grad - Martin Brod
|Blatna ŽRS - Bosanska Otoka ŽFBH
|Doboj - Sarajevo
|Rječica ŽRS - Maglaj ŽFBH
|Doboj - Kreka (- Tuzla)
|Petrovo Novo ŽRS - Miričina ŽFBH
|Brčko - Kreka (- Tuzla)
|Brčko ŽRS - Bukovac ŽFBH
|(Tuzla -) Bosanska Poljana - Zvornik Novi
|Kalesija ŽFBH [but see below] - 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 ŽFBH operates from Sarajevo and Capljina and also Doboj to Tuzla [but this service was withdrawn beyond Petrovo Novo, the penultimate station in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the 15 December 2019 timetable change]. 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.
Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian according to area.
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.
- 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.
- The ŽFBH website provides a point to point journey planner.
- The ŽRS website provides a point to point journey planner.
- None found for ŽRS but an overview of services for 2023/24 can be found here
- None found for ŽFBH but their website gives a decent summary of planned services for 2023/24 here
A good unofficial timetable in German is available at Linien- und Tabellenfahrpläne.
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.
- European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball.
- European Railway Atlas (Regional Series: Book 3) by M.G. Ball.
- Thorsten Büker's Map of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
- Maps and Plans - Bosnia-Herzegovina
It is believed there is no separate Infrastructure Authority in either Republika Srpska or the Muslim-Croat Federation. ZFBH infrastructure page here
- ŽFBH: none known. The link to an old network statement is broken.
- ZRS: none known
Sarajevo tram network is 600 V dc.
Rule of the road
Right, but there is very little double track.
- ŽFBH: in the appendices of the Network Statement
- ZRS: none known
Trams are operated by the Kantonalno Javno Komunalno Preduzeće "Gradski saobraćaj" d.o.o. Sarajevo public transport operator KJKP GRAS Sarajevo - website in Bosnian.
A Track plan for the Sarajevo tram system, dated 2018, is available on the Gleisplanweb site.
Recent and future changes
The Podlugovi - Vareš branch line reopened to freight traffic on 14 December 2023, following works initiated by a UK silver mining company with a concession in Vareš. The possibility of restarting a passenger service in 2025 has been suggested.
A summer seasonal service was restored for 2022 between Sarajevo and Ploče, reopening the border crossing between Čapljina and Metković (HŽ).
Due to Covid travel restrictions the Talgo operated services between Sarajevo and Banja Luka / Bihać were suspended from 17 March 2020, leaving Novi Grad - Blatna - Bihać and Doboj - Maglaj temporarily without any passenger services.
The Doboj - Tuzla service was withdrawn beyond the last station in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina of Petrovo Novo resulting in no service onwards to Tuzla with effect from the 15 December 2019 timetable.
Novi Grad - Blatna - Bihać reopened to passengers on 3 July 2018, following an inaugural train the previous day as damaged electrification equipment between Blatna and Bihać has been reinstated. The one train each way is an extension of the Sarajevo - Banja Luka Talgo service, calling at Novi Grad.
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, plus a summer only pair until 31 August. It had been hoped to resume a seasonal train to Ploče in April 2017 but this has not resumed to date.
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:
- Modriča - Gradačac
- Tuzla - Živinice - Banovići
- Omarska - Tomašica
- Bihać - Martin Brod - Knin (Croatia)
The railway mainly uses outdated rolling stock to compete with modern coach services, mostly using air-conditioned vehicles, on improved roads so the introduction of Talgo trains from Sarajevo in 2017 was the first service improvement for some years. 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.
Under no circumstances should disused railway lines or installations be explored, because they may not have been cleared of mines.