Kutina – Pakrac regional line

The railway line to Pakrac is a rural branch line, in the Slavonian hills of Croatia, between the Sava and Drava valleys. The 30-km line is a remnant of a more extensive network of local railways in the region. It branches from the main line along the Sava, and once continued to the Drava plain, and across the river into Hungary (Barcs – Pakrac railway, 1885). The line is numbered L205, including the currently closed sections beyond Pakrac.

Click to enlarge: The original railway geography, from an Austro-Hungarian military map of around 1910

Railway Banova Jaruga - Pakrac, circa 1910.

The region was a front line (1991-1995) during the Croatian War of Independence, and was badly damaged. However, it is not ‘remote’: Pakrac is about 120 km from Zagreb. Upgrading of the line (and the minimal services) would integrate it with the Zagreb urban region (population over one million). The proposed Sava high-speed line from Zagreb to Vinkovci, and the associated upgrading of the existing main line, would transform the regional rail infrastructure. The regional centre of Kutina (population 15 000), would then be about 45 minutes from Zagreb, and upgrading of the line to Pakrac is a logical complement.

The junction station for the branch is Banova Jaruga, 9 km from Kutina. During construction of a high-speed line (HSL), it would be easier to relocate the entire line alongside the motorway, bypassing Banova Jaruga. The old Kutina – Banova Jaruga section, would then be treated as part of the Pakrac branch. With an additional third track for about 3 km east of Kutina station, the entire 40-km branch can be kept operationally separate from the main line.

Click to enlarge…

Zagreb - Vinkovci HSL with bypass Banova Jaruga

The line to Pakrac follows the valleys, but is reasonably direct. It climbs slowly, about 70 m over the 30 km from Banova Jaruga. There is no need for major new infrastructure, such as the proposed Nova Gradiška – Požega tunnel, further east. However, the simple rural line should however be upgraded sufficiently, to allow a journey time of about 35 minutes. Four stations are enough: Ilova (population 850), Banova Jaruga (750), Poljana (600), and Lipik (2300). The total population served is about 20 000: the town of Pakrac itself has 8 000 inhabitants.

Click to enlarge: the line approaching Pakrac, along the valley floor, highlighted…

Rail line from Banova Jaruga, L205, approach to Pakrac.

There is no technical obstacle to upgrading and re-opening of the line to Daruvar, 23 km further. However, the extension would only serve about 15 000 people, 9000 in Daruvar itself. Restoration of the entire line to the Drava plain, is not a logical option (discussion at zeljeznice.net forum). The alignment is circuitous, and does not correspond to any regional structural axis. A better option is a new transit line, parallel to the 70-km main road from Kutina to Virovitica. More on that later.

Kutina – Pakrac regional line

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