CROATIA has announced plans to invest more than €4bn in rail infrastructure over the next 10 years to contribute to the development of the single European rail market.

The plans were announced during a conference in Zagreb organised by the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, the Agency for the Safety of Railway Transport, the Agency for the Investigation of Accidents in Air, Maritime and Railway Transport, and the Croatian Regulatory Agency for Network Activities (Hakom).

State secretary in the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Mr Alen Gospočić, says 25 major infrastructure projects are being implemented, 16 of which are co-financed with European Union (EU) funding.

A programme of major renovation and reconstruction of local and regional railways will start in 2024, while negotiations are ongoing with international financial institutions to restore between 800km and 1000km of local and regional lines in the next 10 years.

Modernisation of the passenger fleet is underway to provide over 70 new trains by the middle of 2025. Between 120 and 130 passenger trains should be completely renewed by 2032, Gospočić says.

Commenting on freight operator HŽ Cargo, Gospočić said the company is now stable and restructured and seeking a strategic partner for long-term stability. The minister also announced the government is aiming to increase rail freight traffic from 16 million tonnes today to more than 25 million tonnes by 2033.