Sometimes during the week the train is used by only around 15 passengers, but at the weekends the compartments are almost fully occupied; last weekend 250 passengers boarded the train, said Miloš Rovšnik, deputy director of the Slovenian Railways Company.
Officials wish that the rail connection stays open even after the end of the Crossmoby project and for it to become a regular international rail route between Slovenia and Italy.
"Of course, we will have to upgrade it, but it is a start. For example, we’re talking about having the train from Ljubljana towards Trieste depart a bit later, or perhaps establishing more daily trains on the route. In any case, it will have to be done before the start of the tourist season, as we expect great interest for this rail connection," added Rovšnik.
Elisa Nannetti from the Italian train operator, Trenitalia, said that prior to the launching of this international railway connection, they first had to adapt their trains which had been initially used only in local areas. She said it presented a big challenge, in addition to preparing for the new tourist season. "The railway link, although not advertised, is achieving enviably good results. Upgrading it will make it only better," added Nannetti.
Until the 1990s Slovenia and Italy were connected with up to 14 trains per day, said the representative of the Municipality of Divača and employee at the Slovenian Railways Company Dobrivoj Subič. After the year 2006 there were no more train connections, but railway officials did work on reinstating train links between Ljubljana and Trieste. "We missed this connection, which was very important for the locals and was non-existent for a long time. That is why we are happy about it and even want to upgrade it," said Subič.
The train connection is only one of the Crossmoby project activities within the Slovenia-Italy program, which started in September and will run for 36 months. The value of the whole project is four million euros, and each country has four partners cooperating in the project.