Rail Journeys

The Reagan Reunion (Enthusiast)

Tour Date: 26 to 30 May 2023
Location: Slovenia, Croatia

We have travelled Slovenia and Croatia comprehensively over the years, so this may be a final visit to pick off a few reopened lines and freight lines as well as enjoy the sight and sounds of the classic Yugoslavian era diesels still operating in both countries.

Highlights should include street running on the Rijeka docks line, the north side of the vast Zagreb freight yard, the reopened through line from Banova Jaruga to Pčelić, the new cut-off from Sveti Ivan Žabno to Gradec, and a freight branch in Celje. Add to this the ‘thrash’ from class 644 and 2062 diesels and haulage by some interesting small diesel types and you have the recipe for another amazing circular tour in these two friendly and welcoming countries.

On our private charter train is formed of compartment carriages with large opening windows. You will be given a reserved compartment for the whole trip. Maximum 4 people per compartment.

Tour Highlights

  • Lovely unspoilt and scenic lines
  • Private loco hauled charter train
  • Class 644 and 2062 diesels
  • Recently reopened Grosupolje to Kocevje line
  • Huge yards at Zagreb Ranžirni kolodvor
  • The ‘difficult to do’ line to Pcelic,
  • Rijeka docks line
  • Other rare freight curves and branches

Tour Itinerary

Day 1, Friday 26 May 2023

Flights from London Heathrow (17:20) or Gatwick (13:20) for our two hour flight to Ljubljana. It is also possible to fly from other UK airports, or overland by rail, via Munich (see footnotes). There are also Luton flights, direct to Ljubljana, but outward on Thursday (so pre-tour night in Ljubljana).

Landing at Ljubljana airport you are immediately struck by spectacular views of mountains. Our coach will meet us and transfer us to our hotel in Ljubljana. Overnight in a central hotel in Ljubljana.

Day 2, Saturday 27 May (B)

On our private charter train we leave Ljubljana with class 664 power (664-115 requested) and head directly for a line that will be needed by many. The 48 km branch from Grosupolje to Kocevje finally reopened to passenger traffic, after years of gradual rebuilding, in January 2021, services having been withdrawn in July 1968. The station platform is a dead end, but track continues from the adjacent freight sidings for another half kilometre, so we will try to get to the buffer stops. Returning to Ljubljana, we continue along the winding line towards Koper and Sežana as far as Pivka where we head south on the single-track line to Ilirska Bistrica and arrive at Šapjane in Croatia where we change locomotives with a Rail Cargo Austria class 2062/2 taking over for the short run to Rijeka, the third city of Croatia and an important port and shipbuilding centre. Notable sights are the St. Vitus’ Cathedral and Our Lady of Trsat Church, a pilgrimage centre reached by the Petar Kružic Stairway, sometimes called the Stairway to Heaven. Overnight in Rijeka.

Day 3, Sunday 28 May (B)

Our class 2062/2 will need to shunt back from the station to access a highlight of the tour – the two km line through the streets of Rijeka that serves the old port area as far as the Brajdica container terminal. From here the Brajdica tunnel rises through a 360 degree loop to join the main line to Zagreb. Steep gradients will make our loco work hard as we pass through Skrljevo and Moravice to reach the junction station of Ogulin. We shall have to forego the delights of the Split line and continue to the capital and major city of Croatia, Zagreb where we plan to make a further visit to the huge yards at Zagreb Ranžirni kolodvor to travel the northernmost line possible before heading south east to Sunja and the single track line to Novska. Reversals are required here and at Banova Jaruga where a HŽ class 2041 diesel is needed to work the low axle weight line north via Daruvar, continuing on the ‘difficult to do’ line to Pcelic, reopened in February 2018.

A different Rail Cargo Austria class 2062/2 should be waiting to take over for the journey through Kloštar and Bjelovar to Sveti Ivan Žabno. Here we will take the new 12.2km cut-off line, opened December 2019 which goes directly to Gradec. Soon we are on the suburban lines leading to Zagreb Glavni kolodvor, the impressive main station near which our hotel will be waiting for us. Overnight in Zagreb.

Zagreb is distinguished by its 18th and 19th-century Austro-Hungarian architecture. At its centre, Upper Town is the site of the Gothic, twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral and 13th-century St. Mark’s Church. Nearby is pedestrian Tkalciceva Street, lined with outdoor cafes. Lower Town has the main square, Ban Jelacic, around which are more places to find an evening meal.

Day 4, Monday 29 May (B)

Today sees us depart Zagreb with a Sž 664, initially towards Dobova, then north up the infamous ‘timetable 12’ renowned for class 2044 diesels on passenger trains, now sadly much reduced. We leave ‘timetable 12’ at Zabok and head for the border, re-entering Slovenia at Sveti Rok ob Sotli. A sparse and little used passenger service makes this international crossing. We are aiming for the important town of Celje where there is a 3.5km freight line to Merkur Celje Hudinja which has a number of short stubs. We will try and travel this line top and tail with an Sž 642 or 643 shunting locomotive. From Celje we follow the route of international trains from Wien to Ljubljana, but with a twist, as we will take the sparsely served north to east curve at Zidani Most and reverse at Sevnica. Our route now passes through Zidani Most station and along the spectacular Sava River gorge. All too soon we will pass the yards and sidings east of Ljubljana to enter the station and complete our three day circular of Slovenia and Croatia. Overnight in a central hotel in Ljubljana.

Day 5, Tuesday 30 May (B)

Return flights to the UK (or your home country). If you have not visited Slovenia before please get in touch as, if enough people are interested, we will offer a three day extension to visit Lake Bled and other Slovenian attractions.

From St.Pancras by Rail, or Birmingham or Manchester by air, via Munich

Day 0, Thursday

Option 1: By rail: Leaving London St Pancras as 09:31 we travel to Paris, then onward to Munich, changing trains in Stuttgart. Arrival into Munich is at 19:27 local time (1 hour ahead of the UK). Option 2: Direct flights from Birmingham at 11:00 (Lufthansa); from Manchester at 13:30 (Easyjet); or from most London airports. Overnight in a central hotel in Munich.

Day 1, Friday (B)

Eurocity train at 12:26 from Munich Ost to Ljubljana (arr 18:31)

Return Via Munich Option

Day 5, Tuesday (B)

Eurocity train at 09:23 from Ljubljana to Munich Hbf (arr 15:41). Overnight in a central hotel in Munich.

Day 6, Wednesday (B)

Flights back to Birmingham at 16:00 (Lufthansa); to Mancester at 16:00 (Lufthansa). By rail we leave Munich at 10:51 and travel via Frankfurt and Brussels to arrive back into London St Pancras at 19:57.

Prices & Options

Prices (per person)

  • Full 5 day trip from London Heathrow or Gatwick: £1,275 (single add £125)
  • Full 5 day trip joining in Ljubljana: £1,045 (single add £125)
  • Full 7-day trip from Birmingham, with nights in Munich: £1,425 (single add £220)
  • Full 7-day trip from Manchester, with nights in Munich: £1,425 (single add £220)
  • Full 7 day trip, overland by rail from London St Pancras: £1,545 (single add £220)
  • 3 day Special Train only: £850

Transport & Accommodation


Ljubljana – TBC
Rijeka – TBC
Zagreb – TBC


EZ8421 13:20 London Gatwick to Ljubljana

BA0690 17:20 London Heathrow to Ljubljana

LH2509 11:00 Birmingham to Munich

EZ1887 13:30 Manchester to Munich