6 hours by bus, or 6 hours 45 minutes by train? I’d take the train every time. More space, more comfort, freedom to move around.

But were my route Zagreb to Beograd – two of the most significant cities in South East Europe – then I would be out of luck. Once a day a train plied the route between these two cities until the start of the COVID pandemic, was cancelled temporarily, and still has not been re-instated.

But that is not going to stop Jon Worth and some determined friends from Zagreb making the trip using the trains in both Croatia and Serbia, and on foot across the border, to demonstrate the absurdity of the situation. And we would like you to join us.

In one day (two if you continue to Sarajevo) you will see all the absurdities and joys of train travel in South East Europe. And there will be plenty of good conversation both on board and on the hike at the border.

This is the plan.

On 5 June we will travel by train from Zagreb Glavni kolodvor, change in Vinkovci, and arrive in Tovarnik, and then walk the 10km to Šid, and take the train from there towards Beograd.

Then 6-7 June is the Green Mobility Summit (registration here) for the region in Sarajevo, and some of us will go on from Šid via Zvornik to Sarajevo and will address the Ministers and officials about the problems with rail connections in the region, and press are welcome at that event (organised by Transport Community) as well. The route to Sarajevo will explore another missing railway connection at the border at Zvornik.

Timetable Zagreb-Beograd – 5 June
HŽPP train 741 Zagreb Glavni kolodvor 06:20 – 10:48 Vinkovci
HŽPP train 2511 Vinkovci 12:55 – 13:25 Tovarnik
Walk 10km Tovarnik c. 14:00 – c. 16:00 Šid
Srbija Voz train 2213 Šid 17:18 – 18:53 Beograd Centar

Timetable for those continuing to Sarajevo – 5 June, 6 June
Srbija Voz train 2213 Šid 17:18 – 17:58 Ruma
Srbija Voz train 621 Ruma 18:20 – 20:15 Zvornik
Overnight in Zvornik
Centrotrans bus Zvornik (BiH) 06:00 – 09:25 Sarajevo Bus Station

This is the map of the route – and you can find the high resolution zoomable version here.



I have only 1 day to cover this, and I am based in Zagreb – how can I do it?
Join us as far as Šid. Take a taxi from Šid back across the border to Vinkovci, and
then this train:
HŽPP train 748 Vinkovci 17:21 – 22:04 Zagreb Glavni kolodvor

I have only 1 day to cover this, and I am based in Beograd – how can I do it?
Take this train from Beograd:
Srbija Voz train 2200 Beograd Centar 07:05 – 09:39 Šid
Then take a taxi over the border to Tovarnik or Vinkovci, and wait for the group to arrive from Zagreb in either of those places

I want to cover this, but I am based somewhere other than Zagreb or Beograd – how do I do it?
You’re welcome to work out a route and join us somewhere (for example from Budapest you can route to Vinkovci via Pécs and Beli Manastir), or contact Jon and we will see what rail timetable magic he can conjure to help you out

Who covers the costs of tickets and, if necessary, accommodation?
You do. Sorry. We have no budget for this. We’re funding this from our own pockets, and in Jon’s case 1 day of #CrossBorderRail crowd funding. We have a cheap accommodation solution in Zvornik if you need it. Interrail tickets are also valid on all the trains we will use.

Can I come along if I am not a journalist?
Absolutely! Just please let us know if you will (using this form), don’t forget your passport or ID, and be aware you participate at your own risk and your own costs. But we assure you it wil be fun and a bit eccentric.

Can I come along with a bicycle as well?
Yes. Al the trains we plan to take also convey bicycles, but spaces for these might need to be reserved. The Zvornik-Sarajevo bus does not officially convey bikes, but might be able to convey bikes in the hold. Jon always has a folding bike with him (which classifies as a piece of luggage), and this means he can explore places you cannot discover on foot or in trains.

What about photos and video?
Jon will be photographing the trip, including with a drone, and will make all photos and video available to al participants for free.


Photo used in this post

Trainspotter LGs
HŽ 1142 009 on EN 415 ”Zuerichsee” (Zürich-Zagreb-Beograd) spotted in Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor
September 28, 2016
CC BY-ND 2.0

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