When the long-awaited Istrian railway, which was supposed to provide an efficient connection of the military port of Pula with the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire, was opened on 20 September 1876, disappointed Istrian people were disapprovingly shaking their heads.
This railroad, built mostly for the benefit of the army, with no direct impact on the ordinary people in terms of economy or trade, along the route that passed through the centre of the peninsula without reaching its most densely populated northwestern end, only slightly improved the growth of local trade or not at all. Although the coastal towns still enjoyed the benefits of cheap and frequent maritime routes, communication between small towns in the hinterland was, however, minimised. Since there was simply no way to place them on the market adequately, the best Istrian products such as wine and olive oil from the fertile hills of the surroundings of Vižinada, Grožnjan and Motovun, together with salt, fruits, vegetables, cattle and well-known stone from Momjan, Triban, Sv. Stjepan or Višnjan had to wait in the shadows for an unjustly long time. In other words, the Parenzana route as a railway line was essential for reviving a number of activities within its scope, since it linked the economic activities of the area (agriculture, industry and trade), and also enabled the transportation of people and goods.
Proposal for construction
As early as 1880, the representatives of the municipalities from the River Mirna valley, aware of the importance of linking their municipalities with Trieste and the Istrian railway, referred a petition to the Minister of Trade, seeking serious consideration of this problem.
Despite the fact that Vienna, skilfully avoiding a direct response, generally expressed a positive opinion and called a meeting of all the municipalities in question in order to reach a final agreement, with a great support of Count Pieter Walderstein (who then made the first complete study and all the necessary preliminary activities), it was only eighteen years later, on 16 December 1898, that the Government submitted to the Parliament the proposal for construction of the Poreč-Trieste railway line.
Months passed after the Local Railway Company Trieste-Poreč was established and the works on the construction of the new railway line still did not commence. But, in March 1900, a legal committee for granting compensation to owners of alienated land was set up, consisting of almost exclusively foreign officials. The committee functioned based on very strict rules.
Finally, in Eisenblatt, on 18 April 1900, one year after the official concession had been granted, a call for public tender was issued regarding the works on the Trieste-Buje section. The public tender was held in Vienna on 10 May 1900. A total of 15 companies responded to the tender that was won by the company Buttoraz & Ziffer from Trieste for the Trieste-Portorož section and by the company Filippo Suppanich from Ljubljana for the Portorož-Buje section.
Start of works
The works began in several places the following July and it was expected that the Trieste-Buje section would be completed on 15 November 1901 and put into operation on 01 December of the same year. A call for public tender for works on the Buje-Poreč section was published in Osservatore Triestino in the first days of January 1901.
In March, the works on the Buje-Vižinada section were awarded to the company Brunetti, List & Radl, while the Vižinada-Poreč section was awarded to the company Antonio Pellegrini and Giorgio Strohmaier from Vienna. The works were supposed to be completed by 01 September 1902 in order for the railway to be put into operation on 15 October 1902. At that time the works were in full swing.
In November 1901, the first news broke about the Government's intention to put up bilingual timetables on the stations along the new route. On 09 February 1902, in the sixth edition of Amtsblatt, the official gazette of the State Railway Administration of Trieste, a circular no. 23 was published containing the official rulebook of the Trieste-Buje section. In this circular the name Parenzana was used for the first time for the Trieste-Poreč railway line.
Works were under way on the Buje-Poreč section as well. In April 1901, the construction of the Motovun tunnel began as well as of the railway station and the access road. In August, the same year, the draft of a water supply station in Livade was approved. In the autumn of 1902, the works on the internal section of Buje-Poreč were completed. Inspections and acceptance tests were carried out from the beginning of November to the first ten days of December. The inspections of train traffic and fire-fighting measures took place, as well as of bridges and other facilities. Finally, from 9 to 11 December, the committee in charge of the inspection of the Trieste-Buje section put into operation the Buje-Poreč section.
There were serious intentions of extending the railway line from Poreč to Kanfanar. In this case, the Parenzana line would be named Trieste-Poreč-Kanfanar. This is why all the boundary pillars surrounding the land purchased by the local railway company Trieste-Poreč-Kanfanar bore the mark TPC. Also, the design of the station in Poreč suited the needs and functions of a transit station. However, the route foreseen in the original design was substantially altered before acquiring its final form.