This summer I read in the newspapers that the Montenegrin Railway Company (Željeznica Crne Gore) had purchased three modern trains in Spain and that they would be used on the line from Podgorica to Nikšić.  This railway, completed with 760 mm gauge in 1948, was upgraded to standard gauge in 1965. It has been used for freight traffic (bauxite) for some decades, but passenger service was reintroduced after reconstruction and electrification of the line in the 2006-2012 period.

The first new train, a 165-seats unit, was introduced on July 13th, 2013. The Spanish manufacturer, CAF, had planned that the train journey on this 56 km line would last 40 minutes only. All this information made us quite curious and we bought two return tickets (€ 5,60 p.p.) from Podgorica for the afternoon train that leaves at 4.10 PM, as this offered us the possibility to make a short walking tour through Nikšić and to get back in the evening. By the way, there are also two trains in the early morning.

The trip was a very pleasant surprise. The train was clean and the interior was beautiful and comfortable, but the number of passengers departing from Podgorica was disappointing – maybe 25 or 30. We slowly passed through the valley of Bjelopavlići, stopping at each village station, where people entered or left the train.

While climbing uphill to the Ostrog station, the views of the valley were magnificent. It was interesting to see the station buildings on our way: several of them had obviously been built in the period of the old narrow-gauge railway as we also saw such (dilapidated) stone buildings along the road to Trebinje, where such a railway used to run a long time ago.

We really admired the existing railway stations on this line. All of them were reconstructed and situated in an attractive environment with clean platforms, small gardens and wooden benches, although some buildings were obviously not in use. Listening to conversations of passengers, it turned out that many villagers use this line for a visit to the „big city“. This train makes it easy for them to visit family, to go to school or university or to do some shopping!

After one hour and ten minutes we arrived in Nikšić, where we had more than an hour for a walking tour and a cup of coffee. Nikšić is a planned city, still following the urban plan commissoned by King Nicholas (Nikola) in 1883 and designed by Croatian architect Josip Slade. The central roundabout is located behind the station and from there it is easy to see the Orthodox Church at the end of one of the radial streets. We visited the church and then took one of the circumferential streets to the left, with many colorful old single-storey houses among the residential buildings.

Finally we arrived in the central Njegoševa street and on the main square Trg Slobode (Freedom Square). The atmosphere was quite relaxed. The benches around the central fountain were occupied by elder people, while younger people were enojying their drink in one of the numerous pubs along the pedestrian zone. The Freedom Square is dominated by a big sculpture of King Nikola on his horse and I must say that I like this sculpture much better than the one in Podgorica!

We turned left, had a drink on one of the terraces in Njegoševa street (which ends at the roundabout) and got back in time to catch the 6.30 PM train to Podgorica. It was a nice and relaxing trip!

9 Comment

  1. Andika says: Reply

    Hi, this is a very great write-up. I am traveling to Montenegro in May and am planning to go to Ostrog Monastery. From what I have read, I can take the Podgorica-Niksic train to Ostrog, too. But what I’d like to know is the train schedule. Do you happen to know the train timetable for this rail line, especially in the morning?
    Thank you.

    1. Hello Andika,
      The train schedule is as follows (according to
      From Podgorica to Niksic
      08.18, 10.28, 12.13, 13.59, 15.08, 17.28, 21.29 h.
      From Niksic to Podgorica
      11.59, 13.43, 15.38, 19.13 h.
      Have a nice trip!
      Kind regards,

  2. Pim Scheres says: Reply

    Hello Marianne,
    We will take this train on the 4th of August (arrive then on Podgorica Airport), so Podgorica to Niksic.
    Could you tell us the schedules for this day? What are the costs of a one-way ticket?

    On the 5th of July we will visit the Ostrog Monastery depart from Niksic.
    So I think it’s a good idea to take the same train then?

    Thank you!

    1. Goedemorgen,

      Bedankt voor je mail. Ik ben op ‘t ogenblik nog op reis door Bulgarije, maar na 1 juli ben ik weer thuis in Montenegro en zal dan even je vragen beantwoorden. Ik heb alleen niet goed begrepen of je nu begin juli of augustus in Montenegro bent?
      Hartelijkevgroet, Marianne

      1. Hallo Marianne, wij zijn in Montenegro van 4 t/m 21 Augustus. We komen 4 augustus aan op Podgorica Airport en willen dan richting Niksic gaan.
        We willen vervolgens 05 augustus de Ostrog Monastery bezoeken.

        Vandaar de vraag wat dan het beste vervoer is? Aangezien ik jou verhaal van de trein heb gevonden.

        1. Hallo Pim,
          Ik ben weer thuis en wil je vragen even beantwoorden. Op je mailadres stuur ik je het “spoorboekje” voor de treinreis Podgorica – Niksic en terug met prijzen.
          Je kunt op het station Ostrog uitstappen, daar vandaan is het een wandeling van rond anderhalf uur naar het klooster (let wel, het pad gaat steil naar boven, geen grapje met die hoge temperaturen in augustus!)
          Een andere mogelijkheid is dat je bij het station van Niksic een taxi neemt. De prijs ligt waarschijnlijk tussen de 25 en 30 euro, inclusief een uur wachten. Maar daarover kun je onderhandelen, in het seizoen zijn de prijzen misschien wat hoger.
          Nog een mogelijkheid is de lijnbus Podgorica – Niksic tot de kruising waar de weg naar Ostrog afslaat. Daar staan praktisch altijd taxis te wachten. Bezoek het klooster niet op zondag, dan is het verschrikkelijk druk!
          Er zijn ook georganiseerde dagtrips met de bus, kijk maar eens op internet.
          Als je nog wat wilt weten, help ik je graag.
          Hartelijke groet, Marianne

  3. Pim Scheres says: Reply

    Daarnaast de vraag wat goede wandelgidsen zijn voor de gebieden in montenegro? We willen in verschillende gebieden gaan wandelen.
    Nog tips?

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