This proposal for a high-speed rail line (HSL), from Vinkovci to Novi Sad, is complementary to earlier proposals for a Drava plain high-speed line. That line would extend the high-speed line from Vienna (Wien) to Nagykanizsa, through the Podravina (Drava plain) to Vinkovci, and on to Beograd (Belgrade). At Vinkovci it would also connect to the proposed Sava valley HSL from Zagreb, to the proposed high-speed line Pécs – Osijek – Vinkovci, and the lines to the south (Tuzla and Sarajevo).
The proposal here also assumes the construction of a high-speed line, north-west from Novi Sad, toward Sombor and Baja. That makes sense in combination with a HSL southward from Budapest, via Szekszárd, to Pécs and Baja. Part of the new line from Vukovar to Novi Sad, would be shared with this HSL from Sombor. There is an existing line from Novi Sad to Sombor via Odžaci, but a new HSL alignment to Brestovac may be preferable. In any case, both high-speed lines would meet somewhere near Bački Petrovac. The route Vukovar – Petrovac is described schematically here. Apart from the villages, there are no constraints on a route through the plain of the Bačka.
The new line would carry trains starting west of Vinkovci, to Beograd, via Novi Sad. It would substantially shorten journeys through Vinkovci from Novi Sad, for instance to Zagreb. (At present, that requires a detour via Indija, on the main line to Beograd). The new line would serve Novi Sad itself, with a population of 305 000. It would connect there, to local transport in the Vojvodina region, especially the South Bačka and Central Banat districts, with a combined population of 800 000. It would also allow interchange with a possible HSL to Budapest via Subotica, and a (partly new) inter-regional line to Timișoara, via Zrenjanin.
The new line would start just east of Vinkovci station: the town itself is not large (33 000 inhabitants), but this is a major railway junction. The line would follow the Beograd line through the exit curve, continue east, and then turn north-east toward Vukovar, about 17 km away.
The logical site for a station in Vukovar would be at the old station – near the river, on the main road into the town, and about 2 km from the centre. The town was almost destroyed during the Croatian War, and the population has not fully recovered (now 26 000).
The line would cross the River Danube immediately after the new station, which must be on a viaduct. After the bridge, the line would turn almost due east, for the long section across the plains. It would then join the HSL from Sombor: the simplest option is a junction south-east of Bački Petrovac. Both lines would then have a shared alignment, on the southwest bank of the Savino Selo Canal, part of the Vojvodina canal system.
The line from the Vukovar bridge to the junction would be about 55 km long: it is another 18 km into Novi Sad. Closer to Novi Sad, the new line would leave the canal alignment, to join the existing main line from Budapest (via Kelebia). At the edge of Novi Sad, this rail line turns east into the station, located northwest of the historic centre, at the end of a main axis road toward the Danube. (After the station, the rail line turns south-east again, to cross the Danube east of the centre).
New lines into Novi Sad…
The total length of the new line would be about 90 km. On a completely new line across flat plains, very high speeds are possible. A Vinkovci – Novi Sad journey time of under 30 minutes is feasible, even with one stop at Vukovar.