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54 years ago this week, the Kornat-ekspres train left Zagreb for Zadar for the first time.
The railways fell on hard times between 1965 and 1968, when the number of passengers fell from 71.4 to 58.7 million.
In 1968, the Railway Transport Company Zagreb launched a campaign called “Travel comfortably by train”.
That year, the Kvarner Express was launched, connecting Zagreb and Rijeka in three and a half hours. On June 15, 1968, the Marjan-ekspres left Zagreb for Split for the first time with car wagons.
A week later, on June 22, 1968, the Kornat-ekspres train first left Zagreb for Zadar. The trip from Zagreb to Zadar took six and a half hours, and on this route passengers traveled on the first European aluminum train manufactured in the Zagreb Janko Gredelj factory.
There were only first-class seats on the train (separate armchairs), 192 of them, and in the four-part composition there was also a “buffet” and a maid who looked after passengers.
Passengers could listen to music, news and information about the places and areas the train passed through. The Kornat-ekspres departed from Zagreb at 6:28 a.m. and arrived in Zadar at 12:59 p.m. It would return from Zadar at 4:28 p.m. and be in Zagreb at 11:10 p.m.
In 1963, the Janko Gredelj factory was manufacturing three prototypes of the J® 611 series electric diesel engine aluminum train. It was an advanced construction that caught the attention of industry worldwide. The trains were designed to run on standard gauge (1435 mm) and could reach a maximum speed of 120 km/h.
They had two 400 hp diesel engines for traction. The length of the train above the bumper was 82.12 meters, while the width was 3 meters. The train had 192 seats and ran on the Zagreb – Zadar and Zagreb – Belgrade lines.
These trains were only used for a few years, and as part of the use of aluminum to make the body, Gredelj also made three sets for the narrow-gauge line Zagreb – Samobor (so-called silver arrows) . Unfortunately, the idea has not been commercialized in the context that one would expect given the interest it has generated on a global scale.
Source: Nikola Tesla Technical Museum