Railway in Bjelovar Region



Hrvatski jezik - Croatian language



By 1880-s, the principal rail-lines of Austrian Monarchy passing through Croatia have been opened for traffic. They were financed by the state and intended to make connection between the capitals of the Monarchy (Vienna and Budapest) and the Adriatic Sea (harbours such as Trieste, Rijeka, Pula). However, many important cities and areas abundant in natural resources remained untouched by the railway. For that reason, Hungarian Parliament introduced a new law which enabled individuals and corporations to build commercial rail-lines on the basis of concessions. The connection of the new lines to the existing railway network was obligatory.

Construction begins

The first concession was granted in 1884 to Henrick Benies, who founded Barcs - Pakrac Railway Society. The rail-line connected Barcs (a border station in Hungary), Virovitica and Pakrac, and had two sidelines: Suhopolje - Slatina and Maslenjača - Končanica (see map). Soon afterwards, Mr. Benies entrusted the utilization of the line to the Southern Railways Company (Süd), which introduced special transport requirements and fees for the trains of Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) passing between Virovitica and Slatina.
The length of Barcs - Virovitica - Pakrac line was 93.6 km, the Suhopolje - Slatina line was 16.9 km long, while Maslenjača - Končanica line was 12.5 km long. The mainline Barcs - Pakrac was open for traffic on 1885/08/18, and the sidings were inaugurated on the 4th of October of the same year. The section Virovitica - Suhopolje - Pčelić - Slatina was afterwards incorporated into Virovitica - Osijek line (finished by 1895), which was expanded to Koprivnica in 1912. Regrettably, the Maslenjača - Končanica line was withdrawn in 1966, and Barcs - Virovitica section (approximately 15 km) in 1968 (leaving only industrial track for sugar refinery).

Connection with Zagreb

Once the connection with Budapest had been achieved, further initiatives were risen to extend the railway network. In 1896, Arthur Berchtold and Wilhelm Deutsch requested concession for construction of Dugo Selo - Banova Jaruga - Novska line (84 km), including the sideline Banova Jaruga - Pakrac (30 km). The both lines were admitted into traffic on 1897/11/29. It was now that Barcs and Virovitica obtained direct railway connection with Zagreb.

The newly built Bjelovar Railway Station

Railway in Bjelovar - construction and revitalization

A further initiative was risen to connect Bjelovar with Virovitica and with Zagreb, using the existing line Zagreb - Dugo Selo - Križevci - Koprivnica - Zákány. The concession was granted in 1893. The new rail-line Križevci - Bjelovar - Kloštar - Virovitica was 90.7 km long, and was progressively opened for traffic: Križevci - Bjelovar section on 1894/09/02, Bjelovar - Mišulinovac on 1899/09/01, and Mišulinovac - Kloštar - Virovitica on 1900/05/04.
The construction of the second section was delayed because of tunnel Paulovac, which was broken through Bilogora between Paulovac railway stop and Katalena railway station. It had to be coated with brick twice. Additional two sidings were built on the same section, attached to Mišulinovac station. They were 2 km long each, and led to coal mines, which were worked out until 1904. The tracks were dismantled subsequently.
The Križevci - Bjelovar - Virovitica line proved soon to be very profitable, so in 1908 there were 342,634 passengers transported, and the freight transport amounted 125,759 tons.
In 1968, the section Bjelovar - Kloštar was closed due to decrement of the traffic, and in 1980 the tracks were dismantled. But only twelve years later, in 1992, renewal of the line was initiated, and after the investment of $ 1.5 million, it was restored for traffic on 1995/10/05.

The last regional rail-line

In 1913, the last rail-line of the district was build. It made connection between Bjelovar, Garešnica and Grubišno Polje. In 1968, the line was closed due to alleged minor traffic. The route of the line can be seen on the map.

Traffic today

Today, there are daily two pairs of passengers' trains Zagreb - Bjelovar, plus one pair of direct trains Zagreb - Kloštar and a pair of passengers' trains Zagreb - Virovitica via Bjelovar. Furthermore, there are additional four pairs of local trains Križevci - Bjelovar, and two more pairs of passengers' trains Križevci - Kloštar. Finally, there are two pairs of local trains between Bjelovar and Kloštar, all of them featuring change within several minutes. There is also a pair of daily freight trains in service between Bjelovar and Zagreb.
The new timetable 2001/02 introduces for the first time an express Bjelovar - Zagreb (nos. 972/973) for the price of passengers' train. The traveling time for the distance of 90 km amounts 1:20 h. This service includes coffee, newspapers and magazines on board.
A direct railway connection between Gradec and Sveti Ivan Žabno has been planned, and the new line will be soon under construction. This will enable direct trains Zagreb - Bjelovar - Osijek, without changing direction in Križevci or Koprivnica.

Special thanks to Mrs. Helena Bunijevac, who kindly granted us permission to make use of her articles.