Slovenian Railways (Slovene: Slovenske železnice, SŽ) is the state railway company of Slovenia, created in 1991 from the Ljubljana division of the former Yugoslav Railways after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Slovenia received its first railway connection in the 1840s, when the Austrian Empire built a railway connection - Südliche Staatsbahn or Austrian Southern Railway - between its capital, Vienna, and its major commercial port, Trieste. Thus, Maribor was connected by railway to Graz in 1844. The stretch was extended via Pragersko to Celje in 1846, and further via Zidani Most to Ljubljana in 1849. A double-track line was continued via Postojna, Pivka, and Divača, finally reaching Trieste in 1857.
Before World War I, numerous other railways were built. In 1860, Pragersko was connected to Ormož and further to Čakovec, Croatia, thus connecting the Austrian and the Hungarian part of the empire. In 1862, a single-track railway (expanded into double-track in 1944) along the Sava river was built, connecting Zidani Most with Zagreb. In 1863, the "Carinthian railway" was built along the Drava river, connecting Maribor with Dravograd, Klagenfurt and Villach. In 1870, a railway along the upper Sava river valley was built, connecting Ljubljana with Kranj, Jesenice and Tarvisio, Italy. In 1873, a line from Pivka via Illirska Bistrica connected Rijeka, then the most important commercial port in the Hungarian part of the empire. In 1876, a line from Divača connected Pula, the Austrian naval base, via Prešnica. In 1906, Bohinj Railway was built, connecting Villach with Jesenice, along the Soča river valley to Gorizia and further to Trieste, with two over-6000 meter tunnels.
Few lines were opened after World War I. One of them connected Ormož with Ljutomer and Murska Sobota, and opened in 1924. After World War II, a single-track electrified line connecting Prešnica with Koper was built in 1967. In 1999, a single-track line between Murska Sobota and Hodoš was rebuilt, offering a direct connection with the Hungarian railway system. The line was originally built in 1907 and closed down in 1968 among numerous other lines closed down during the 1960s. In April 2016 the electrification of the Pragersko - Hodoš line was completed.
Slovenian Railways operates 1,229 km of standard gauge tracks, 331 km as double track, and reaches all regions of the country. It is remarkably well connected to all surrounding countries reflecting the fact that Slovenia used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later of Yugoslavia.
Electrification is provided by a 3 kV DC system and covers about 503 km, with electrification from Pragersko to Hodoš on the Corridor V completed in April 2016. The remainder of the former Yugoslavian railroads that have been electrified operate with 25 kV AC system, thus trains to Zagreb switch engines at Dobova until dual system engines become available. The system was inherited from the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato on the Sežana-Pivka-Ilirska Bistrica-Šapjane line. Further electrification was conducted with the same system to preserve compatibility.
Rail links to adjacent countries
- Same gauge
Crossroad of Pan-European corridors
Ljubljana is at the heart of the SŽ system. Here, the Pan-European corridors V and X intersect. These transportation corridors are being established to tie larger segments of Europe economically together: Corridor V links Venice - Trieste/Koper - Ljubljana - Maribor - Budapest - Kiev, while Corridor X connects Salzburg - Ljubljana - Zagreb - Belgrade - Skopje - Thessalonica. The freight system to Koper, a modern and growing port east of Trieste, represents the shortest connection to the Mediterranean for a large portion of the hinterland of Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2010, Slovenske železnice joined Cargo 10, a joint venture with other railways in the region.
InterCity Slovenija (ICS)
The ICS trains are modern, air-conditioned trains which provide fast speeds and comfort. They are equipped with disabled access and other facilities. The passengers can buy food on board (from Monday to Friday), the 1st class passengers are offered food free of charge. There are also electric sockets in the 1st class department. The train is a tilting EMU. The reservation of a seat is obligatory and is included in the price of the ticket. Also included in the price of the ticket is the obligatory ICS supplement.
The ICS trains run on the following line (note: the regular service runs between Maribor and Ljubljana. The Austria to Maribor part of the line is served by only one pair of trains a day. The section from Ljubljana to Koper runs only on summer Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.):
- Spielfeld-Straß (Austria)
- connection to Holmec and onwards to Austria
- Zidani Most
- connection to Dobova and onwards to Croatia
- connection to Ilirska Bistrica and onwards to Croatia
- connection to Sežana
- connection to Rakitovec and onwards to Croatia
The IC trains are quality trains serving longer distances in national and international traffic. They connect bigger towns, cities and tourist resorts. They consist of comfortable cars. They provide fast connection and call only at major stations. The train usually consists of open or compartment coaches (1st and 2nd class). Some of the trains may have a restaurant car. An IC supplement must be paid for this type of train.
The EC trains are high-quality trains serving important lines in international traffic. They connect important cities in Slovenia and the rest of Europe. The EC trains are even faster than the IC trains and they call at fewer stations. The majority of the EC trains include air-conditioned cars and have catering facilities on board. The train usually consists of open and compartment passenger coaches (1st and 2nd class). Some of the trains may have a restaurant car. An EC supplement must be paid for this type of train.
International trains (MV)
The MV trains (Slovene for mednarodni vlak, international train) are quality trains serving international lines. They do not call at minor stations. The train usually consists of open and compartment passenger coaches (1st and 2nd class). Some of the trains may have a restaurant car. An MV supplement must be paid for this type of train.
The EN trains are high-quality overnight international trains. They offer open or compartment passenger coaches (1st and 2nd class), couchette cars and sleeping cars. Some of the trains may have a restaurant car. The EC supplement must be paid for regular seats and an additional supplement must be paid for couchettes and sleeper cars. Some EN trains use "global" prices with an obligatory reservation.
Regional (RG) and local trains (LP)
The RG and LP (Slovene for lokalni potniški, local passenger train) trains are other trains, connecting all parts of Slovenia. They serve as commuter trains. On some lines, they are the only type of trains available, for example lines to Kamnik and Imeno. The trains offer 2nd class travel only. They are usually EMUs and DMUs on unelectrified lines.
In addition to the ICS, IC, EC and MV supplements, there is also the supplement for tickets bought on the train. Currently set at €2.50, it is payable if the ticket is bought on the train, rather than prior to boarding at the railway station ticket counters or any authorised point of sale. Furthermore, no discounts (children, senior, group travel...) are available in this case. This supplement and discount restriction do not apply, however, if the train is boarded at a station where no tickets can be purchased (many local stops are mere halts sometimes even without any shelter) or if the ticket counters are closed at the time of boarding (for example during the night).
- IC 502 / 503 "Pohorje"
- IC 518 / 519 "Ptuj"
- IC 516 / 517 "Mura"
- IC 508 / 509 "Dana"
- EC 210 / 211 "Sava"
- EC 150 / 151 "Emona"
- EC 158 / 159 "Croatia"
- EC 212 / 213 "Mimara"
- EC 246 / 247 "Citadella"
- MV 498 / 499 "Lisinski"
- MV 246 / 247 "Citadella"
- MV 414 / 415 "Alpine Pearls"
- MV 480 / 481 "Opatija"
- MV 482 / 483 "Ljubljana"
- MV 1472 / 1473 "Istra"
- RG 1604 / 1605 "Istra"
- RG 600 / 601 "Soča"
Former named trains
A noted train of the SŽ was the Casanova linking Ljubljana to Venice in a 4-hour ride, eliminated in April 2007. Last train connection with Italy, night train EN 440 / 441 "Venezia" from Budapest to Venice was eliminated in December 2011.
- Holding Slovenske Zeleznice
- List of steam locomotives in Slovenia
- Slovenian Railway Museum
- Transport in Slovenia
- Narrow gauge railways in Slovenia
- "Balkan railways: From Berlin to Beijing?". The Economist. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-26.