Industrial Heritage of the Zagreb Railway Complex


The Zagreb railway complex was one of the first to be formed in the 1860's when the first railway facilities connected to the construction of the Zidani Most - Zagreb – Sisak line which was open to traffic in 1862, started to be built at the location of today's Zagreb West station (formerly Zagreb South station). At that time the Imperial Royal Privileged Southern Railway Company built the first reception building in Zagreb with accompanying maintenance shop with a workshop and locomotive turntable, warehouses, a block of flats for railway employees and then in 1920 a whole housing estate was built of houses along the right side of the tracks. The mentioned railway complex exists to this day and for the most part is still in use which has contributed to its preservation. The reception building was entered into the Register of Cultural Treasures of the Republic of Croatia while the other buildings have not yet been evaluated by experts.
The second oldest Zagreb railway complex is the one next to the Zagreb Main station, the former Zagreb State station. Its original part, which no longer exists today, was built by the Hungarian State Railways in 1870 in the scope of the construction of the Zakany - Koprivnica – Zagreb line. The complex was modest, composed of an unattractive reception building of the State Railway which until 1936 was located in the position of today's Post Office 2, three tracks and a small workshop. Twenty years later Zagreb Main station started to look the way it does today. Thus, on 18th August 1892, the newly constructed station building, the maintenance shop with workshop and water tower and the connecting line to Karlovac and   Rijeka were ceremoniously opened. All the mentioned facilities are in use today except the water tower which was unexpectedly demolished in 1989. The reception building has for the most part maintained its basic neoclassic palace characteristics and original usage and was entered in the Register of Cultural Treasures of the Republic of Croatia.
A valuable part of the historic characteristics of the Zagreb railway complex is the former MÁV engine-room, later to become TŽV Gredelj, built at the top of Trnjanska cesta. The engine-room was put into operation on 26th August 1894 and at that time was the largest industrial plant in Zagreb. Its basic purpose was to maintain and build railway vehicles and it did this as a workshop and later a factory at this location right up to 2010, therefore for 116 years. During that time the complex was upgraded and modernised several times but its originality in its architectural and constructional segment, as well as its equipment, have been maintained in the originally built facilities.
Through expert evaluation which was conducted in 2004, the Croatian Ministry of Culture issued a decision on the naming four plants cultural treasures, these being the workshops for locomotive equipment and for wagon equipment, as well as the turner’s workshop and forge and the water tower and entered them in the Register of Cultural Treasures of the Republic of Croatia. Two years later, prior to the sale of the mentioned complex, the same Ministry revised its previous decision and placed under protection only the workshop for wagon equipment. In 2008 u a group of 13 machines which are located in the protected complex in Trnjanska cesta were entered in the Register. From 2010 the factory complex is no longer in use and prior to its abandonment it was significantly devastated, thus its historical characteristics were considerably damaged. Not only this but the re-urbanisation of the complex is still unknown and therefore the planned conversion into a museum is questionable.