High-speed line Pécs – Osijek – Vinkovci

This proposal is complementary to the proposed high-speed line Koprivinca – Pécs, which would create a Zagreb – Pécs high-speed line (HSL). Near Pécs, it would also share some track, with a possible HSL to Budapest (via Szekszárd).

Pécs, with a population of 157 000, is the only large city between Budapest and the Drava River, and the largest city of Southern Transdanubia, with nearly one million inhabitants. The city is located at the foot of the Mecsek range (the vertical axis is exaggerated on the images). Pécs station lies 1500 m south of the historic city (Belváros). It is a through station on an east-west line, but the line on each side is very different.

Click to enlarge: Pécs, the red dot is the station…

Pécs, the red dot is the station

The line from the west, Hungarian rail line line 60, is level and almost straight. Trains from Budapest enter Pécs over this line: they join it at Szentlőrinc, after going around the Mecsek hills. The line eastwards is the former Pécs – Bátaszék rail line, line 64. This winding line along the foot of the Mecsek hills, was closed in 2009, or earlier abandoned.

About 2 km east of Pécs Station, line 65 to Villány and Mohács splits off from line 64. It runs generally south-east to Villány. The area is characterised by parallel valleys, cut by streams off the Mecsek range. The higher ground between the valleys is fairly level, at around 200 m altitude. Villány itself is at the eastern tip of the Villány Hills.

Click to enlarge: Villany at the tip of the ridge: the rail line curves around the town…

Villany at the tip of the ridge: the rail line curves around the town

South of this east-west range, lies the flat plain of the Drava, at about 100 m altitude. From Villány, line 66 continues across the plain to the border, and then as Croatian line M301 to Osijek. This line is supposedly part of Pan-European Corridor Vc, but in practice the corridor consists of roads only.

The HSL to the Drava would run approximately parallel to the existing lines. It can be split into three distinct sections:

  • a new eastern exit from Pécs, which would also be used by a new line to Szekszárd
  • a new line south-east to Villány, and
  • a HSL across the plains, to a new Drava crossing (bridge or tunnel).

Villány is a logical interchange point for regional services, including the closed Barcs – Villány line (line 62, 101 km) and the 24-km branch to Mohács. That justifies a new station there, even if the population (under 3000) does not. Its location would be determined by – rather than along the curving valley floors, like the existing line. The new line would need to climb about 50-60 m, just east of Pécs.

Click to enlarge…

climb-pecs

Pécs Station is at around 120 m altitude, the junction of lines 64 and 65 about 140 m. The new line could follow the existing Villány line for about 2 km. To reach the ‘plateau’ visible on the image, a tunnel of about 2500 m is then needed (red-white line). From there, the line could run almost straight across the plateau, which falls to about 130 m near Villány. The alignment would rejoin line 65, about 3 km west of Villány station. In that case, the station would stay where it is. A more eastern route is slightly shorter, but can not pass through the existing station. Both are shown below.

Click to enlarge…

villany-western….villany-eastern

If the eastern route is chosen, the station can be relocated to the eastern side of the town (shown in red below). It is just as clode to the town, but the branch to Mohács would need a new curve, and Pécs – Mohács trains would need to reverse. The western option must avoid the sharp curve after the station, the new line could also by-pass Magyarbóly. In both cases, interchange with line 62 is possible: it runs along the southern edge of the Villány Hills, and then curves around Villány into the station.

Click to enlarge…

villany….magyarboly

Either at Villány or Magyarbóly, the new line will join the existing alignment. With the exception of the curves at Beli Manastir and Drada, it is suitable for a high-speed line to the Drava. (North is at the left on the image). Beli Manastir (population 12 000) could be served by inter-regional fast trains.

At Beli Manastir, the line would be joined by the proposed HSL Szekszárd – Osijek.

Click to enlarge…

villany-osijek

The line would now cross the Drava River into Osijek. How that should be done depends on the alignment in the city itself. Osijek is a city of 115 000 inhabitants. It spreads for more than 10 km, along the south bank of the Drava. The rail line is also aligned parallel to the river. This is Croatian regional line R202, the line along the Drava plain. It is joined west of the station by local line L209 from Vinkovci, and regional line M302 from Djakovo. North-south trains cross the Drava bridge, turn west into the station, and then south. The HSL could use that option, with a new bridge. A north-south tunnel under the existing station is also an option (shown in red, schematic).

Click to enlarge…

osijek-curves….osijek-tunnel

The shortest alternative is a new bridge, followed new station (probably on viaduct) at the crossing of Vukovarska and Kralja Petra Svacica. It would continue as a new line due south along the Kralja Petra Svacica, partly in cut-and-cover tunnel. This would transform the local environment, even if demolition was limited. The main station would be moved 1500 m east. (Satellite imagery may be out of date due to local construction, but the options shown follow major axes, which are unlikely to change).

Click to enlarge…

In all cases, the line would then follow a straight line to Vinkovci – about 30 km across flat open countryside. It would enter the station there, by a north-to-east curve. The variant shown below is the shortest, through a relocated Osijek Station: others would be slightly longer.

osijek-vinkovci

At Vinkovci, the line would connect with the proposed Drava plain high-speed line to Beograd (Belgrade). That in turn would connect to the proposed high-speed line from Vienna (Wien) to Nagykanisza. It would also connect with the proposed HSL from Zagreb along the Sava, a possible new HSL to Novi Sad via Vukovar, the line to Tuzla via Brcko, and a re-routed line to Sarajevo via Doboj.

The section Pécs – Villány would be about 32-35 km long, from there to the Drava bridge/tunnel about 43 km, and then about 32-35 km to Vinkovci. Total length would be about 110 km. A train stopping only at Osijek should take about 40 minutes, with two other stops (Villány and Beli Manastir) about 50 minutes. Pécs – Vinkovci is the logical pattern of service, but the line could also carry a Pécs – Beograd service.

High-speed line Pécs – Osijek – Vinkovci

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