STA, 9 November 2020 - Works began Monday on a section of the Gorenjska railway leading from Ljubljana to the border with Austria. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said this was just the beginning and announced upgrades of other sections, new tracks, and a connection to Brnik airport.
This year marks 150 years since the official opening of the Gorenjska railway, and the tracks were last replaced 40 years ago. The entire route, which is important for the economy, is in dire need of renovation, the minister said.
After the modernisation, the tracks will be suitable for heavier trains and slightly higher speeds, he explained as works began on the Kranj-Lesce section.
"The ministry wants to strengthen railway transport in Slovenia both because of sustainable mobility and the awareness of how important this is for the Slovenian economy," the minister said.
He is convinced that people would use trains more often too if they were faster and more efficient.
Studies are under way to find new shorter routes and routes that will allow dual tracks, especially to Domžale, Kamnik and Kranj. A connection to Brnik airport is also planned.
The Škofja Loka railway station will be renovated along with the entire Gorenjska railway, Vrtovec noted. "This now is the first step and others will follow in the coming years," he said.
In the first phase, the most critical sections from Kranj to Podnart and from Podnart to Lesce will be renovated as part of a EUR 96 million project that will be under way while the Karavanke railway tunnel connecting Slovenia and Austria is closed for renovation.
The Kranj-Jesenice section has been closed since the beginning of the month and should reopen in June next year. "It is in our interest for the works to be finished as soon as possible," Vrtovec said, noting that this was an important section for the port of Koper.
According to Dejan Jurkovič, who is in charge of railway investments at the Infrastructure Agency, first the tracks will be repaired, so that they can be used again as soon as possible. In the second phase, railway stations and other sections will be renovated, from Ljubljana to Jesenice.
He said the second phase was planned immediately after 2022 and should be concluded in this decade.