A new train route in Europe is opening up that will connect Milan, Italy to Ljubljana, Slovenia in what is believed to be the first connecting the two nations, in this way, in over 100 years; the last time there was a train route between the two is thought to have been during the Habsburg Empire before it dissolved.
Milan, Italy and capital of Slovenia Ljubljana will have a train route connecting the two cities for the first time in 100 years after an agreement was signed between state operators Trenitalia and Slovenian Railways.
According to reports on the up and coming operation, the train itself will be a Frecciarossa, a high-speed train run through Trenitalia, and will run eastwards from Milan to Slovenia’s capitol of Ljubljana on a seven hour long journey. This will be the first direct route between the two allegedly since the Habsburg empire.
“It was about time that a serious rail connection was restored between Trieste and Ljubljana – It sounds like a joke, but it is often the case in the region that the railway connections were better a century ago than they are today,” says journalist Giovanni Vale, founder of the Extinguished Countries project. The Extinguished Countries project is known for publishing guidebooks to countries and empires that no longer exist, and is currently working on one revolving around the Habsburg Empire.
“Trieste and Ljubljana were first connected by train in 1857, when both cities were part of the Habsburg Empire. The South Railway Company, which ran from Vienna to Trieste via Ljubljana, was one of the flagships of the Empire’s infrastructure. Trieste was one of the most important ports in the world.”
Between the route of Milan to Ljubljana, the train will also pass through Venice and Trieste, while making stops at the Postojna and Skocjan Caves in Slovenia. The train will also ride though Lipica, which is famous for its breeding of the Lipizzaner horses, a practice the area has been doing since 1580.
The train itself will also be designed to have an old-fashioned feel to it to give riders a sense of a time that’s been lost.
Vale continued to discuss the historical significance of this new route, explaining that there hasn’t been a direct line between these two cities, let alone two nations, since 1918 when the Habsburg Empire was dissolved.
“With the end of the First World War, Trieste became a city in the far northeast of Italy, in an almost peripheral position and rail connections to the east with Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade or Budapest were often lacking. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a new season for rail connections between Trieste and the Balkans.”
There has been a regional train from Trieste to Ljubljana since 2018 with staffers switching at the border of the Villa Opicina station.
A Trenitalia representative recently spoke to CNN, stating that there is no concrete set date for the launch of this new train ride, however, Slovenian Railways have stated to the media that the project “will start as soon as possible.” It’s currently projected that the train will operate with one journey a day, and eventually expand to two trips.
The specific Frecciarossa trains from Trenitalia can reach speeds up to 284 mph on the Italian network, however, it’s not likely that this route will reach those speeds, as the train speeds east of Venice tend to be slower.
In March of 2023 the Italian government also pledged nearly $2 billion USD to upgrade the Venice-Trieste line to fully high speed, and Slovenian lines are currently being tested to see if they could handle the same upgrades.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.