Exhibition on Istrian railway history
Building of the Istrian National Railway (in German, Istrianer Staatsbahn) Divača – Pula with the extension Kanfanar – Rovinj has fundamentally changed the lives of the people of Istria. Its building enabled faster, safer and more enjoyable travels and transport on the territory of Istria, as well as to more distant centres of the Habsburg Monarchy. The building was induced by both military and civil interests regarding the connection of Pula, i. e. Istria with the railway network of the Monarchy.
Construction works of the Istrian Railway lasted from 1874 to 1876. It was built by Fröhlich Company from Graz while Pazin was the centre of the architectural leadership lead by Gustav Gestel. The first celebratory train decorated with Emperor's and Istrian flags rode on the day of birth of Emperor Franz Joseph the First, August 18th, 1876. It was an extraordinary event for Istria, as stated in the journal Naša Sloga from September 1st, 1876: …By this most eminent event here we see our beautiful Istria, coming in the closest contact with other kingdoms and provinces of our spacious Monarchy, thus taking that most important place which it deserves by virtue of its position. Every true resident of Istria must celebrate and rejoice this event because daily contact with more advanced provinces of the Empire could not influence our province in any other way than beneficial and, with God's will, it could speed up and improve its development and progress...
The railway was released in regular traffic on September 20th, 1876. During the first year it was managed by the Istrian National Railways, from 1918 by the Directorate of the Souther Railway Company with its centre in Trieste while after the First World War, during the Italian rule from 1918 to 1945, it was managed by the Compartimento in Trieste. Administrative structures of the Istrian railways have also changed multiple times during the period after the Second World War: from 1945 to 1947 it was managed by the Inspectorate which acted a part of the Military Administration of the Yugoslav Army, from 1947 to 1952 by the Railway Administration Sv. Petar na Krasu, from 1952 to 1960 by the Railway Transport Company in Ljubljana, from 1960 to 1973 by the Transport Company Postojna and from 1979 to 1989 by the Railway Transport Organization Postojna which acted as a part of the Railway Enterprise Ljubljana. In 1990 the Croatian Parliament passed the Law on Croatian Railways stating that all railways within Croatian boundaries are an integral part of the Croatian Railways, including the Istrian Railway. Afterwards, by the act of division between the Railway Enterprise Ljubljana and Croatian Railway Transport, on October 1st, 1991 the part of the railway Pula – Divača, from the 31,2 kilometre (borderline Buzet) became a part of the Croatian Railways.
Changes of states caused the changes of the names of the railway stations, for example in the Pazin area: Pazin station was called Mitterburg – Pisino during the Austrian period, while during the Italian reign it carried the name Pisino; Lupoglav – Lupoglava – Castel Lupogliano, Cerovlje – Cerovglie – Cereto Istriano. In the same period, two station carried their unchanged Italian names: Borut – Borutto and Sv. Petar u Šumi – San Pietro in Selve.
Locomotives rode on the Istrian railroad until the 1970s. The first diesel locomotive was the Arena, also known as the Green Train from 1980 onwards, which plied en route Pula – Ljubljana – Zagreb from April 15th, 1970. This train, with its annual traffic of about 150 000 passengers, was canceled in 1991.
From 1946 to 1980, on its way to Pula, which was connected by boat with the Brijuni Residence, the Blue Train plied especially for the purpose of transport of the President of the SFR Yugoslavia, high state and foreign officials.
The importance of the Istrian railroad in terms of passenger and freight transport, from its opening until the last decade of the 20th century, can be supported by the data on traffic of certain railway stations. For example, in 1928 Pazin Railway Station recorded the traffic of 34 232 passengers and 31 040 tons of cargo and in 1990 the traffic of 108 632 passengers and 161 966 tons of cargo.
Pazin Railway Station is also a witness of the history of Pazin of the 20th century. During the long and hungry years of the First World War numerous children were taken from this station from Istria to other parts of our land to feed in order to survive. Numerous soldiers travelled to their detention camps from where battlefields of Galicia and Poland followed. Mothers, wives and sisters escorted their sons, husbands and brothers to the battlefields of the Second World War.
During the post-war period, from the sixth decade of the 20th century, the strongly developed Pazin economy used this Station, i. e. the Istrian railroad for transport of raw materials as well as finished products, for example: the industrial giant Pazinka, successful and important Istraplastika, the Wine Cellar, the Provender Factory, distribution business Istracommerce and other economic agents of Pazin and the surrounding area, which included the transport of bauxite with its loading station in Heki.
On a daily basis, workers arrived to Pazin from the surrounding area, both from the settlements near the railway stations as well as from those more distant, which reached the stations by car. Also, students of several Pazin Highschools arrived every day by train, while college students travelled from this very station to Pula, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Maribor.
Today, both freight and passenger traffic is continuously decaying. The decay is caused by reasons such as demarcation of the railway between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia, economic crisis and the lack of investments in the modernization of the railroad and the rail infrastructure. Only 139 years have passed since the ancient, most eminent year of 1876, from relevance to the lack of significance of the Istrian railroad. Numerous changes in every field of social and private milieu overpowered its value of the most important mean of transportation. Also, other railroads built in the Pazin Area, the Parenzana and railroad Lupoglav – Štalije stopped plying long ago.
Muzej grada Pazina
Trg Istarskog razvoda 1, Pazin