On 24 January this year, the government agreed with the proposal of the most appropriate version of the National Spatial Plan (NSP) for the second railway line on the Divača-Koper section, called Variant 2. The preparation and adoption of the spatial document that will follow will enable the obtaining of a construction permit. According to the government, the aim of the proposal is to reduce freight traffic on motorways by diverting freight from the road to a modern and permeable rail link.
Three possible variants
According to the study elaborated by the company in charge of developing the second railway line project, presented in 2021, three variants were possible. According to Variant 1, double-tracking would be ensured by a new (single-track) second railway line and an upgrade of the existing line between Koper and Prešnica. The Glinščica valley would not be further encroached upon and investment costs would be lower. However, the risk of water pollution would remain high.
Under Variant 2, which has now been approved by the government, an additional left-hand track would be built alongside the second railway line and the existing line between Koper and Prešnica would be cancelled. This option presents significantly lower environmental risks and fire hazards, as well as a significant reduction in noise pollution. In addition, the construction of the additional track could be carried out smoothly on the new line and, with shorter running times and increased capacity, would also result more convenient from an economic point of view. The only negative aspects, according to the authors of the study, are the additional encroachment on the Glinščica valley and the slightly higher initial investment.
Variant 3 would build a double-track line, i.e. a second railway line and an additional left-hand track, while maintaining the existing Koper-Prešnica line. In terms of environmental impacts, this would be the worst option, according to the authors of the study.
Old route to be converted to a bicycle path
As traffic will be diverted to the second railway line, the plan foresees the dismantling of the existing line between Prešnica and Koper, where a bicycle path will be built.
Safer Rižana water source
The route of the second Divača-Koper railway line is planned in such a way that it avoids as much as possible the water protection area of the Rižana water source, which is the main source of drinking water for the entire Slovenian coastal region (drinking water for household, tourism, economic and agricultural needs), the government’s Office for Communication further explained.