DIVAČA INFORMATION POINT
Divača is a small yet lively town and municipality that invites visitors with its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and friendly people. It’s a location where two worlds meet – the amazing Mediterranean and the astounding Karst. Its unique geographical location offers exceptional natural attractions such as the Divača Cave, the Škocjan Caves (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Big Valley (Slovenian: Velika Dolina). Visitors have the opportunity to explore underground wonders, walk along picturesque paths, and enjoy unspoiled nature. In addition to its natural beauty, Divača also offers a varied cultural and technical heritage.
The Divača Information Point, which presents the Second Track project, is designed as an outdoor exhibition in front of a water storage facility (a water reservoir for steam locomotives), which is a technical monument of local importance, built in the early 20th century; its main function was to collect and store water and to provide water to steam locomotives travelling on Slovenian territory, from the first train in 1846 until the last steam locomotive on Slovenian territory in 1978.
The carefully preserved structure, which was constructed in the style of neoclassicism, testifies to Divača’s rich history and is an important part of the area’s identity. Thus, the Divača water tank represents historical and technical progress and testifies to the municipality’s past and development.
The Divača Information Point, which is located in front of the water storage facility, offers free access to individuals and groups.
In the following, you can find out more about the information presented at the 2TDK company’s exhibition space. We also recommend that you put the Divača Information Point and its presentation of the Second Track on your list of places to see during one of your next visits to Divača.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RAILWAY FOR SLOVENIA
Due to its very favourable geographical location, Slovenia is firmly embedded in the European land transport network. This represents one of the main advantages and opportunities for Slovenia’s economic, tourist and sustainable development, wherein the railway has always had a significant role.
Until the second half of the 20th century, rail transport was deemed the main mode of land transport, then its importance began declining for a while. Nevertheless, today it’s growing again as the most sustainable form of traffic, which will contribute to the climate neutrality of Slovenia and the European Union in the near future.
The second track of the Divača-Koper railway line represents a part of both the Mediterranean and the Baltic-Adriatic TEN-T corridor and is essential for the Port of Koper’s operations, as it’s an urgently necessary high-performance port connection with other European countries.
DIVAČA – A LOCATION WITH A SIGNIFICANT RAILWAY INTERSECTION
Divača has developed and gained importance simultaneously with the development of traffic flowing from the Port of Trieste to the interior of Slovenia. With the construction of the Southern Railway in the mid-19th century that connected Vienna and Trieste through Ljubljana, and later with the Istrian railway line that splits into two directions in Divača, it developed from a hamlet of sheep breeders in the 16th century into an important traffic intersection. Today, the museum steam locomotive at the nearby train station and the water storage facility at the top of the slope testify to the importance of railway. The water storage facility provided water to steam locomotives travelling on Slovenian territory – from the first train in 1846 to the last steam locomotive on Slovenian territory in 1978.
THE RAILWAY ON SLOVENIAN TERRITORY IN THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY
The earliest times of railway development on Slovenian territory testify to the importance of our territory, as the first construction works for the Vienna-Trieste railway on Slovenian territory began approx. 10 years after the construction of the first railway in the world (1825). On 2 June 1846, the Graz-Celje railway line was officially launched, and the train drove through our territory for the first time. During this period, steam locomotives reigned on railway tracks that branched off on our territory and were supplied with water by the Divača water storage facility, which is still preserved today.
From the first train until 1857, we became part of the Vienna-Trieste connection which ran from Graz to Trieste via Maribor, Celje, Zidani Most, Ljubljana, Divača and Aurisina (Slovenian: Nabrežina). The 561-metre-long and 38-metre-high Borovnica viaduct was deemed to be the most beautiful structure on the entire track.
Other significant projects included the construction of the Pragersko-Čakovec line (1860) which continued to Budapest, as well as the Zidani Most-Zagreb (1862), Maribor-Villach (1864), Kranj-Jesenice-Tarvisio (1870), Pivka-Rijeka (1873) and Divača-Pula (1876) lines.
By the end of the 19th century, we acquired the Kamnik, Savinja, Dolenjska, Vrhnika and Mislinja lines.
In the 20th century, numerous changes in borders took place in our territory, so tracks were not only constructed but also discontinued. In the early 20th century, we acquired the Vipava line (Gorizia-Šempeter-Prvačina-Dornberk-Ajdovščina), the coastal line (from Trieste to Poreč), the Rogaška line (connecting Grobelno with Rogatec), the Karavanke-Bohinj line (from Klagenfurt to Trieste), the Prekmurje line (Hodoš-Murska Sobota) and the Bela Krajina line (from Novo mesto to Metlika or Rosalnice). At that time, the Karavanke-Bohinj line was deemed an exceptional feat, as it runs across extremely challenging terrain with numerous bridges and tunnels.
In the period between the two World Wars, it was very typical for many railway lines to be discontinued as borders were significantly changing, particularly upon the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the emergence of new countries. Nevertheless, during this period, we acquired the Ormož-Ljutomer-Murska Sobota, Krapina-Rogatec and Sevnica-Tržišče lines. Repeated border-related changes after World War II were followed by repeated changes in certain railway routes, while road traffic began to bloom and the railway began to somewhat decline. Soon the situation changed again and railways began to regain their reputation and interest; this led to the construction of new routes such as the Ljubljana-Kamnik line (1978), the Prvačina-Ajdovščina line (1981) and the “divaški lok” (1987), a cargo train deviation in Divača connecting Koper with Sežana and the Port of Koper with Austria.
After Slovenia had gained independence in 1991, the Istrian lines were discontinued, and some other lines were again continued with particular intervals.
THE RAILWAY TODAY
Today, Slovenian lines measured over 1,200 kilometres, whereby all the main railway lines are electrified with a length of over 600 kilometres. A major strategic opportunity in the railway infrastructure is the inclusion of Slovenia into pan-European transport flows, enabling Slovenia’s economic, tourist and sustainable development. Our country represents the shortest connection with the Mediterranean and countries of the Near and Far East. A particularly important feature is Corridor V, the 5th Pan-European transport corridor, which connects the Port of Koper on Slovenian territory with countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
In addition to effective economic development, railway developments also bring sustainable advantages for Slovenia, as it’s deemed as the most sustainable form of land transport, which is characterized by 3.5 times less specific energy consumption in comparison with road traffic, and as much as 8.7 times less specific energy consumption for freight rail transport. So, with proper development, it’s enabling Slovenia to achieve climate neutrality.
RAILWAY LINE FROM DIVAČA TO KOPER
The Divača-Koper line was constructed in 1967 and represents the only railway connection between the Port of Koper and the inland railway network. Ever since July 2018, the line has become officially saturated, with traffic flowing increasingly slowly and with frequent delays. This is one of the reasons for the construction of the Second Track.
The Second Track of the Divača-Koper line represents section V of the Pan-European core corridor and is essential for the Port of Koper’s operations, as it’s an urgently necessary high-performance port connection with other European countries. The official launch of the project dates back to 2001 when the national location plan was drafted. It’s an extremely challenging and well-considered project, which required as many as 17 variants of the route due to the demanding terrain and environmental sensitivity. The most suitable variant, which runs outside the existing route, was only selected after detailed analyses.
A total of 150 engineers and technicians from nine companies participated in the preparation of project documentation, investing 220,000 work hours.
The route stretches across a distance of 27 kilometres and achieves a difference of 430 meters in altitude. 75% of the route runs through tunnels with a total length of 37 kilometres of tunnel pipes, as the longest tunnels are built in a two-pipe version for safety and maintenance purposes. The main construction work began on 5 May 2021.
The main construction work on the Second Track is being carried out in several stages. Stage 1 partly involves the construction of the Lokev and Beka tunnels. Stage 2 involves the construction of the Stepani, Tinjan, OSP, Mlinarji and Škofije tunnels and the Gabrovica and Vinjan viaducts. Stage 3 involves the setup of the railway and tunnel systems. The scope of work at this stage involves initially creating a deviation of the existing line in Divača, followed by setting up the railway transmission grid, signalling devices, telecommunications devices …
A DEVIATION IN DIVAČA
The Second Track’s route crosses a section of the existing line in Divača, so it’s necessary to move a part of the existing track or to create a deviation and construct a new 800-metre-long line. This will ensure the smooth flow of daily rail traffic on the existing Divača-Koper line, even during the construction of the Second Track. Only after completing the deviation and after diverting all traffic to the new part of the line will it be possible to remove approx. 1.1 kilometres of the existing line and thus make space for the construction of the Second Track.
An electrical substation is an electricity generating plant in which the alternating voltage from the electricity network is transformed to a lower voltage and directed into a one-way voltage and then supplied via switches to the railway transmission grid. Three electrical substations are planned for the electrification of the Second Track. In addition to the two existing ones in Divača and Dekani, which need some refurbishing and upgrading, a new electrical substation will be constructed in Črni Kal, which will have the same characteristics as the existing ones.
THE SECOND TRACK WILL BE AN ELECTRIFIED LINE
The Second Track will be fully electrified. In addition to three electrical substations for the electrification of the Second Track, a transmission grid will be set up from the end of the Divača station to the beginning of the siding rail. Electrification is envisaged by a one-way voltage system of 3 kV (3 kV DC), just as other main lines are electrified in Slovenia’s public railway infrastructure. The 3 kV DC system is one of four globally dominant and standardized railway electrification systems; it was launched in the first half of the 20th century and is used in many European countries (i.e. Spain, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia and others).
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH AND GEORADAR
Since the Second Track is being constructed on challenging Karst terrain where a variety of karst phenomena can be expected, it involves conducting geophysical research in preparation for the construction of two tunnels (the Lokev and Beka tunnels) going through the Karst underground. The geophysical research involves using georadar (ground penetrating radar) to determine the composition of the hills and possible anomalies in the composition of the soil.
The purpose of the geophysical research is to detect any karst phenomena on the construction route before it appears while digging, thus reducing the unpredictability of karst phenomena in the excavation area. Such research enables us to determine the geometry of karst phenomena, their location in relation to the tunnel, potential water resistance, and other characteristics, thus ensuring safety during the Second Track’s construction stage and operational stage.