Narrow-gauge railways in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Railcar type JDŽ 802

Most Bosnian-gauge railway lines were built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Several 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge railways were planned in order to link the extensive narrow-gauge railways in the Austro-Hungarian Empire with those in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until the outbreak of the Balkan Wars in 1912 several were constructed.

Between World War I and World War II the network was extended significantly, at the end connecting the Adriatic Coast with Belgrade, with the network growing to around 1500 km in length.

Construction of a new standard-gauge line from Sarajevo to Ploče on the Adriatic in 1966 replaced the 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) Narentabahn from Sarajevo to the coast and had the effect of isolating the south-western narrow-gauge system from the 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) railways starting at Sarajevo. With the demise of a connecting network all the other remaining narrow-gauge lines were then at risk and restricted to local traffic.

The system based on the Adriatic closed in 1975. By 1979 the rest of the Bosnian lines had closed. In Serbia the last 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) line closed in 1983. The most modern diesel railcars were sold to the Portuguese Railways (where they regauged to metre gauge for use on the Douro Valley metre-gauge lines, such as the Tua line), becoming Portuguese train type 9700.

Central 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge network[edit]

Steinbeis railway[edit]

Approximately 400 km, 1902–75.

Built as a forest railway of the "Bosnische Forstindustrie AG Otto Steinbeis".[1]

The Lička Kaldrma–Knin line was converted to standard gauge and incorporated in the "Unska pruga" route in 1948.

With connecting forest railways near Grmeč, Klekovača, Oštrelj, Manjača and Glamoč.[3]

Spalato railway[edit]

Spalato Bahn (Splitska pruga); 104.5 km, built 1893–95, Connecting the Steinbeis railway with the Bosna railway to Sarajevo.[4]

Bosna railway[edit]

Bosnabahn (BHStB), 355.2 km

Narenta railway[edit]

Sarajevo railway station

Narentabahn (Neretvanska pruga); 178.4 km, constructed 1885 – 1891.

Dalmatian and Zelenika railway[edit]

Dalmatiner Bahn (Dalmatinska pruga); 188,6 km, built 1901.[6]

East Bosnian railway[edit]

Map of the Bosnian Eastern Railway, from the 1908 book by Milena Mrazović
A freight train in 1970.

Bosnische Ostbahn (Bosanska istočna pruga) 166.4 km, built 1906.[8]

In the 1960s, plans were made to regauge the lines to standard gauge. However, this was not realised. On 28 May 1978 the line was closed for commercial traffic.

The track bed is currently quite well visible in the landscape, with several stations, tunnels still visible. A small part of the track is still in service as a heritage railway rebuilt between 1999 and 2003, Šargan Eight.


Bosanska Mezgraja–Bijeljina railway[edit]

Bosanska MezgrajaUgljevikModranBijeljina

An isolated 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge railway.

Sinj railway[edit]

SplitSinj (completed in Croatia); 40 km, 1903–62. A planned extension via Aržano to Bugojno (and further on existing tracks to Sarajevo) never materialized because of World War II and the line remained isolated from the Bosnian 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) network.[10]

Banovici coal-mine railway[edit]

A 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) gauge industrial line opened in 1947 near Tuzla.[11] Still in commercial operation.


GračanicaKaranovac; 4 km, 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in), 1898–1967[12]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Steinbeis-Bahn
  2. ^ The Steinbeis railway in 1965 by Charlie Lewis
  3. ^ Die Steinbeisbahn
  4. ^ Spalato bahn
  5. ^ Bosna Bahn
  6. ^ Zelenika Bahn
  7. ^ Zur Eisenbahngeschichte von Montenegro
  8. ^ Bosnische Ostbahn
  9. ^ "Uskotračne željeznice - Grafikoni" [Narrow-gauge railways - Graphs]. (in Croatian). Retrieved 16 September 2016. (Registration required (help)).
  10. ^ Sinj Bahn
  11. ^ Banovici coal mine
  12. ^ Ukinuta željeznička pruga Karanovac – Gračanica