THE European Investment Bank (EIB) has given final approval for a loan of up to €250m for the €1.23bn project to build a second 26.95km line between Divača and Koper in Slovenia, to relieve pressure on the existing single-track line.

The line forms part of the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and part of the corridor between the Baltic and Mediterranean regions. However, the existing route is vulnerable to landslides in its more mountainous sections, and the track is also exposed to significant fire risk caused by the braking of trains on some of the steeper sections.

The new line will be single track, with the potential to be upgraded to double-track in future.

2TDK, the state company managing the project, is expected to start drawing the loan in 2025, Slovenia’s Infrastructure Ministry said, adding that the loan contract is likely to be signed at the end of the year.

The new line will increase capacity on the route to 212 trains per day and 36.9 million tonnes of freight a year.

The project includes 25.87km of new line and modifying 1.08km of the existing line near Divača. The new line will rise 400m in elevation, with a maximum gradient of 1.7%, and will run through eight tunnels totalling 20km in length, and 1.3km of viaducts.

The EU’s Cohesion Fund has contributed €80m to the project.

Main construction works began on May 5 2021, with tunnelling starting in September 2021. The first tunnel broke through in June 2022, followed by the Stepani tunnel in November 2022 and the Skofia tunnel in March.

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