The need of constructing a railroad in Istria was born at the time of the beginning of the development of various industrial activities; shipbuilding, construction material, machine and electric industries, and also at the time of strong Austrian military interests. The continuation of the railway Vienna-Trieste in 1876 was the officially opened railway Divača - Pula (122 km long) with the branch Kanfanar - Rovinj (21,0 km).
West part of Istria, despite numerous initiatives, was connected with Trieste only at the beginning of the 20th century (1902), which was the year of the construction and the opening of the narrow-gauge track Poreč - Trieste (123,1 km), the famous "Parenzana", or Parenzaner Bahn, which was cancelled in 1935.
Almost 50 years had to pass to the continuation of the construction of new railroads in Istria. Towards the end of 1951, the new railroad Lupoglav - Štalije was constructed and opened for traffic (52,4 km). Its primary purpose was the transportation of the very important fuel at the time, the Raša coal. The connection of this railroad with Rijeka and Zagreb was also planned, but it was never realised.
Istrian railroads, Pula's and Raša's railroad, were thoroughly renovated in the mid-1980s. The cargo port Bršica was linked up in 1979 as an important industrial destination.
The beginning of the 1990s witnessed significant changes in the role of the Istrian railroads, when they were taken over by the Croatian Railways in the Croatian part of Istria. With the total length of 152,5 km, including the 2,7 km of industrial gauges, railroads were practically "cut off" from Croatian railroads (except for the indirect connection through Slovenian railroads) and they became railroads with local significance. Passenger traffic and cargo traffic are minor in relation to the existing capacities and possibilities, and thus unprofitable.
The future of the Istrian railroads, their survival and development, are conditioned by a direct connection with the Croatian railroads and their inclusion in the Slovenian and the European railway systems.