Technical Heritage of the Rijeka Railway Junction


The railway complex of the Rijeka railway junction, whose formation began in the 1870's, has preserved to this day facilities of great memorial value which are part of the national technical and cultural heritage. Thus, on the line between Sv. Petar, today's Pivka, and Rijeka, the Imperial Royal Privileged Southern Railway Company in 1873 built six stations, seven stops, five tunnels, four water stations and two maintenance shops, which are still standing today and which contain well preserved original equipment. The greatest historical value is the neoclassic reception building of the Opatija-Matulji station, which was designed in a very opulent manner in accordance with the establishment of Opatija as a fashionable resort to which European elite arrived exclusively by train. It is not surprising, therefore, that it is the only station in Croatia with a preserved royal waiting-room. Not far from the station there is a historically interesting sub-station at Matulji. The sub-station was built in 1936 in the scope of the electrification of the Trieste - Divača - Rijeka line and is the only such sub-station in Europe which is still in functioning order. Both complexes, the station building and the sub-station, were put under protection in 2008 as cultural treasures of the Republic of Croatia.
The station complex in Rijeka also has a rich historic connotation. The first facilities were built by the Society of Southern Railways in the scope of the construction of the St. Peter line, and MÁV merely upgraded them. After this in 1873, the Rijeka station complex had a temporary station building situated on the location of today's warehouse no. 33, a goods' warehouse with loading ramp, two locomotive depots for six or nine locomotives and two locomotive turntables. In the period up to 1914, MÁV built and equipped a further 22 warehouses with a total floor space of 147,761 m2, and in the period between the two World Wars another ten warehouses were built. After 1945 only eight warehouses remained of which the Ministry of Culture put three (marked 31, 32 i 33) under protection in 2005.
The reception building of the Rijeka station which was, as were most station buildings of the time, built according to the design of Ferenc Pfaff, and opened in 1891, was entered into the Register of Cultural Heritage. The same designer signed the blueprints for three railway warehouses, two blocks of flats on both sides of the station and the head office for the warehouses at Žabica. These buildings are also significant examples of the typical railway buildings with clearly expressed features of the time in which they were built.
A special place in the railway industrial heritage belongs to the locomotive depot with a turntable and a handy workshop complex at Mlaka. The facility was built at the beginning of the 20th Century in a modern style but with historic elements. The part where locomotives are stored was built in a half-circle shape with 22 tracks for parking locomotives. The entire facility is still in use today and for now this ensures its survival.
A valuable part of the moveable technical heritage are railway vehicles. In the first period of the history of the Rijeka line. from 1873 up to the electrification of the Rijeka lines, and this in 1930 between Pivka and Rijeka, and in 1966 between Rijeka and Zagreb, train traction was carried out by steam locomotive, then electric locomotive series E 626/JŽ 361, and afterwards JŽ 362/HŽ 1 061. Today, two locomotives from the Rijeka area which are part of the holdings of the Croatian Railway Museum have been entered in the Register of Cultural Treasures of the Republic of Croatia; these are steam locomotive MÁV 375.503/JŽ 51-032 and electric locomotive FS E 626.093/JŽ 361-201. In 2009, the Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture issued a decision to protect three electric locomotives series JŽ 362, four freight wagons and the central block equipment for regulating turnouts and signals mounted in the traffic office of the Rijeka station and their entry in the Register of Cultural Treasures of the Republic of Croatia