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Slovenia extends railway line to Koper port – Economy –

Slovenia extends railway line to Koper port – Economy –

The port of Koper is of particular importance for the Austrian economy.
©APA/Katharina Dolch

The Slovenian government plans to extend the new railway line to the port of Koper. According to the plans, the single-track line between the Adriatic port and the hinterland, which is still under construction and is due to be completed in 2026, will be extended to include a second track by 2030. According to the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure, the investment in the additional track is estimated at EUR 354.2 million. The port of Koper is of particular importance for the Austrian economy.

The new 27-kilometre-long road between the port and the junction in Devača, which will mostly run in tunnels due to the terrain, is the largest infrastructure project in Slovenia to be built with public funds, with an investment volume of EUR 1.1 billion. The project has so far been implemented as a single track, but the most important tunnels have already been dimensioned so that they are large enough for a double track.

The project changes must be specified in a similar law, which is expected to be amended in September. With this amendment, the government will rule out the possibility of other countries participating in the railway project. “Slovenia is a sovereign state capable of building its own infrastructure,” Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said at a news conference on Monday.

Previously, the law allowed minority participation by other countries in the state-owned project company 2TDK, which is responsible for building and subsequently operating the line, requiring an intergovernmental agreement ratified by parliament. This has now been removed.

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Under the previous government of right-wing conservative Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020-22), Hungary was seen as a potential partner. The left-leaning opposition at the time, now in government, opposed other countries’ participation in one of Slovenia’s most important infrastructure systems. Shortly after taking power, the left-liberal government of Robert Gollub announced that it would exclude other countries from financial participation.

According to the plans, the construction of the second track will start in 2026, when the first track of the new line will already be in operation. According to the Minister of Infrastructure, the work on the road is proceeding according to the schedule and financial plan. The project is financed from the Slovenian budget, infrastructure usage fees, the European Union Fund and loans from international financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank.

The old railway line will be closed after the new railway connection is completed and opened for tourism purposes and a bike path is planned. “If the new line is two-lane – according to our plans this will be in 2030 – the old line will be closed within a year and made available to people,” Bratusek said.

The former single-track railway line between Divača and the port of Koper, which has been in operation since 1968, is also a bottleneck on the important railway connection to the only Slovenian port. The new line will shorten the length of the section from the current 44 kilometres to 27 kilometres, thus significantly increasing not only the travel time but also the transport capacity. This is also important for Austria: Koper is an important port for Austria. A third of all the cargo handled in the only Slovenian seaport is cargo from or to Austria.

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