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SUSTANCE Project: inaugural run of new direct train service between Villa Opicina and Rijeka. A step forward towards a more sustainable mobility

24 April 2024 marks a historic moment in the promotion of cross-border mobility with the launch of the first direct train service between Villa Opicina and Rijeka after over 50 years. This experimental service, realised within the framework of the Interreg Central Europe SUSTANCE project, is one of the six pilot actions within the project, which aims at improving public transport connections in peripheral and cross-border areas of Central Europe, ensuring better mobility of citizens and promoting the use of sustainable transport solutions.

The inaugural event - presided over by the CEI - Executive Secretariat – took place at Villa Opicina with a ribbon cutting ceremony and in Rijeka, where a press conference was held which saw the participation of Secretary General, Roberto Antonione, and the Regional Councillor for Infrastructure and Territory of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Cristina Amirante, Representatives from Slovenian and Croatian Ministries for Infrastructure, Mayors of Trieste and Ilirska Bistrica and of course the directives of Slovenian and Croatian Railways.

The new service will be operated with a Stadler train provided by the Slovenian railway company, equipped with modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, space for bicycles, and strollers. Departing from Villa Opicina at 7:50 am and arriving in Rijeka at 9:54 am, the service will offer a convenient and sustainable alternative for travelers between the two destinations. The return from Rijeka is scheduled for 6:25 pm, with arrival in Villa Opicina at 8:40 pm.

The train will be operated by Slovenian and Croatian operators in their respective countries, representing therefore a very tangible example of technical cooperation.

The service will not only enhance connectivity between the regions involved but will also contribute to reducing emissions caused by the predominant use of cars along this route, promoting a more sustainable approach to mobility. The SUSTANCE project is committed to improving the connection of rural, peripheral, and transboundary areas with the main urban areas of Central Europe, and this new service represents a significant step towards this goal.

Improving connections between Villa Opicina and Rijeka also symbolises a significant step towards greater cooperation and integration among European nations.

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