Rera of Sinj or Sinj rera (also called ferata) is a narrow-gauge railway that operated between the cities of Sinj and Split from September 12, 1903 until 1960s, and thus was an economic and social link between the Cetina region and the largest Croatian city at the coast. The name "rera" was given to the railway because of the passengers who rode it and sang rera, folk two-part songs characteristic of the Sinj area. In the beginning, because of its appearance and slowness, it was called šuljarica, then the Sinj railway, the Sinj train, the Sinj ferata.
The railway was planned in the middle of the 19th century as the first section of the future railway between Split and Sarajevo, two trade centers that at the time were connected by a five-day road. The second section was to be between Aržano and Bugojno. It was part of the then plan to connect the Adriatic ports - Dubrovnik, Metković, and later Ploče, with the hinterland and further towards the Central European railway centres.
The Lower Order Railways Act of December 21, 1898, began its realization, nearly 50 years after the decision. Due to the need to connect Split as a port with Bosnia, and especially due to political and military interests that were in the forefront in the construction of railways in Austro-Hungary, construction began with an auction announcement to take over the former Imperial-Royal Railway Ministry in June 1901. The advertisement also set deadlines for the completion of certain construction works. However, the ad did not mention the section between Dugopolje and Aržano. Later, due to the outbreak of the First World War, the railway never continued to be built.
The construction of the railway began at the end of October 1901. The most difficult physical work was performed mainly by local people, and they were accompanied by a large number of workers from places throughout the Monarchy, as well as 1,500 masons and miners from the Italian province of Apulia. The facilities on the line and all the station buildings were completed by the end of 1902, and the line was finally opened on September 2, 1903. During the construction of the railway, the prehistoric hillfort around the Sutikva hill was much damaged. Fearing unrest, due to trilingual signs at the stations (Croatian, German and Italian), the opening was accompanied by a strong police security. Like the first railway built in Dalmatia (Split - Siverić - Knin with a branch Perković - Šibenik), this railway was isolated until 1925, until the junction with the Lika railway was added.
Trains ran twice a day in each direction, the journey took two hours and 30 minutes from Sinj to Split, and in the opposite direction three hours due to the uphill of Klis. Due to frequent locomotive failures, as well as congestion and a small number of railway workers, trains were delayed by an average of half an hour. Due to the increased volume of passenger traffic after the Second World War II, the number of trains increased from two to four to five per day. Although the rolling stock rejuvenated 7 passenger wagons at the end of the 1950s, due to the development of road traffic and the reduction of the volume of traffic, the railway began to be considered for its closure.
The decline in passenger traffic was significantly visible in 1960 (a decline of 25% compared to 1959) and 1961 (51% compared to 1959). At the same time, the decline in freight traffic was 36% and 49%, respectively. Due to the losses and the need to overhaul the railway as well as the replacement of the vehicle fleet, which required large funds, the Croatian Parliament in April 1962 proposed the closure of the ferrata for public use and the dismantling of the plant. Before that, the road Split - Sinj should have been completed, and a dozen buses had to be procured.
The last passenger train number 3834 on the Split - Sinj line left Sinj on September 30, 1962. We bring you a touching memorial testimony of Mr. Marko Grbeša, a former train operator at the railway station in Sinj, after 37 years in service, he said:
Freight traffic was maintained for some time. The following year, the railway was dismantled, and locomotives and wagons were moved to Gornji Milanovac (Serbia), and according to some indicators, to the salt mines around Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Technical characteristics: The railway itself was 39,972 km long (although the distance from Split to the station in Sinj was 45,514 km at the time), it had the characteristics of a mountain railway with gradual changes of ascent, the largest track slope of 26.7 per mille (Jadro tunnel near Kosa) . The lowest altitude point on the railway was 2.43 m in Split, and the highest 386.19 m in the area of Kukuzovac near Sinj. Three tunnels were built on the railway (all near Klis): the tunnel in Gornja Rupotina (400 m long), the Tri kralja tunnel on the Reef (123 m long) and the Jadro tunnel (later called Mačkovac, 118 m long). The fourth tunnel was subsequently breached at the entrance to Split station.
This is the larger railway facilities which were built during the subsequent period of time:
A stone overpass (at Meterize, near the railway station Vranjic-Solin, 10 m long), a stone viaduct Vetmin most (in Klis, below Varoš, 76.81 m long), and an iron bridge site Grlo, spanning 8 m). There were 117 crossings and 20 drainage channels for rainwater along the route of the railway.
In addition to the previously built station in Split, five more stations were built and added (Vranjic-Solin, Klis, Dugopolje, Dicmo and Sinj) and a three stops (Mravinci, Klis-Kosa and Prosik). Afterwards the railway administration built three more stops: in Koprivno and Kukuzovac, and in the Split suburb of Kopilica. Like the ancillary facilities, the stations and stops were built typically and of stone material.
The rails were made in Graz in 1903. The track width was 760 mm. 47,143 wooden thresholds were laid, and the distance between them was 800 mm. The maximum permissible axle pressure was 4700 kg, and the maximum permitted rail speed was 30 km/h, but for safety reasons the train never ran over 20 km/h. The compositions of freight and passenger wagons were powered by steam locomotives of series 188 type C 1; 34.06, and series 186 type C 33.08 produced at the Krauss factory in Linz with a maximum traction power of up to 40 tons.
After World War II, there were six small steam locomotives built at the Krauss factory in Linz and at the Mavag factory in Budapest, Hungary. Seven Pulmann passenger cars of the Đuro Đaković company from Slavonski Brod were purchased as a part of the 1956 modernization strategy.
Shortly after the abolition of the railway and the very end of the ferata road, the people sang it once again with the famous Rera rhyme:
Sinjska rera is out of fashion, just like a fish from a cold water!