At the beginning of the summer season, the FB&H Railways introduced a seasonal high-speed train to the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or to Čapljina, and then by bus to the Adriatic Sea. The train from Zenica to Sarajevo leaves at 4:54 pm, from Sarajevo to Čapljina at 7:01, while from the station in Čapljina, transportation for Neum and Makarska is provided by buses.
On this line, modern, talgo trains of 7th generation, with air conditioning and wireless internet, have been introduced, and the railway has been renovated, so to all train enthusiasts this provides complete comfort. Recalling earlier, romantic journeys by train to the south, the team of Visit B&H magazine went on one such journey.
SOUND OF INDEXI
We arrived at the station 15 minutes earlier and many tourists, mostly young people, pushed their bags and waited for the departure of the train with impatience. Although it was early in the morning, the July sun was already making the air hot, so entering the wagons was a real refreshment. The sound of Indexi (Bosnian and former Yugoslav rock band) was coming from the speakers, so one of the few older travelers commented:
“For a moment, this song put me back in 1983 when I went to the sea for my first vacation by train. That was life.”
Immediately after the train departed, we went to the buffet for our first morning coffee. The passengers waited in line, and the waiter smiled while serving coffee. While we were drinking our hot drink, we talked with staff in a train, and they said they were more than satisfied with the wagons, but also the number of passengers.
– The wagons are full of passengers. Most of them are young people traveling to Mostar and further to the sea. On average, we have about 350 passengers. It is expectable due to very favorable travel prices, and wagons are extremely modern and comfortable – says the waiter.
The passengers are satisfied too. They say that they cannot wait for the ascent to Bradina and descent into Konjic in order to enjoy the beautiful landscapes through which the train passes. Indeed, after half an hour of traveling, the train started to climb. Passengers no longer sat in comfortable seats; they all ran left-right with cell phones and photographed beautiful mountain scenery through windows.
The section to Konjic is connected by numerous bridges and tens of meters high viaducts, which gives additional glamor, but some travelers could not look at the depths of these canyons. At the station in Konjic, train driver Nermin Ramić invited us to move to a locomotive. We accepted with pleasure.
Now we were able to enjoy the journey from a completely different perspective. Although there was no ascent like on our way to Konjic, the view of the mountains Čvrsnica and Prenj left us breathless. Frequent tunnels somewhat spoiled the atmosphere, but we knew that after that we would enjoy the journey through the valley of the Neretva river. We’re talking to Nermin about everything. He says that the trains have not been so full for a long time, and the journey to Čapljina was never faster.
THROUH THE VALLEY OF THE NERETVA RIVER
– If there are no delays, we are in Čapljina in two and a half hours. After the overhaul, the train can achieve a speed of 100 km/h. Not even a car can reach the destination faster – says Ramić and explains the benefits of traveling by train in relation to the bus.
The fox who crosses the track and runs into the forest interrupts a pleasant conversation. Nermin says he’s been a train driver for 20 years and almost every day he meets an animal on the railway. We pass over the Jablanica lake, and after Ostrožac we descend to the river Neretva. The view of the green river is breathtaking and peaceful, as if it does not run through the rocky canyons, traces us all the way to Mostar, where we arrived with a delay of 10 minutes.
Tourists who want to visit the sights of Mostar got out of the train, and we continued to follow Neretva, towards Čapljina. There were no more ascents or bridges, but we could enjoy the beauties of the stone of Herzegovina, the Neretva, and the green oasis around it. At the station in Čapljina, buses were already waiting for passengers who headed towards Neum and Makarska.