Industrial Heritage of the Karlovac Railway Complex


The railway complex of the Karlovac railway junction in Banija, on the left bank of the River Kupa, north-west of the city centre, contains all the characteristics of a plentiful source of industrial heritage. The first part of the complex was built by the Imperial Royal Privileged Southern Railway Company in the scope of the construction of the Zagreb – Karlovac line in the period from 1863 to 1865. This complex formed only the most necessary facilities, a temporary wooden station building and some storage buildings.
After the construction of the next line section between Karlovac and Rijeka in 1873 and the take over of the entire line by its owner, the Hungarian State Railways started to expand railway facilities in Karlovac. Thus, by the end of the first decade of the 20th Century, they had constructed a maintenance shop with turntable, a handy workshop for the technical maintenance of vehicles, a forge, a water station with two water tanks, a coal depot for fuelling locomotives, the so-called coal-yard with accompanying tracks and a coal lift, a block of flats and a goods warehouse.
In 1903, according to the designs of the main MÁV engineer, Ferenc Pfaff, the new reception building was constructed because the old one burnt down in a fire in 1900. A head office for the track maintenance district was built next to the station building in 1927. Both buildings were architecturally characterised and followed the style which was typical for railway buildings. Until today they have maintained their original function, they have been well maintained and their original appearance is intact.
This, however, is not the case with the other facilities of the Karlovac complex because many of the facilities are no longer in use and so have been poorly maintained. They do, however, still have preserved the specific architectural and construction characteristics of industrial facilities with preserved parts of equipment, machines and tools. Also preserved are the original characteristics of the façades of some warehouses which today have been turned into offices.
The entire complex of the Karlovac railway junction has been under protection since the beginning of 2010 and has been entered into the Register of Cultural Treasures of the Republic of Croatia - List of Treasures under Preventive Protection. The fact that the Karlovac railway junction has been protected as a cultural and historic whole partially contributes to the fact that the complex is safe-guarded to a certain degree and at least the facilities which are used or which threaten the safety of employees are maintained. At the same time, however, no investments are being made in repairing facilities which are no longer in use, and for this reason the building of the foundry has collapsed and the former forge is in ruins, as well as the facility with the so-called bogie-maintaining pit and the water supply facility.