Durrës–Tiranë railway

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Durrës–Vorë railway (since 2013)
Tirana Railway Station.jpg
Tirana Rail Station (defunct as of September 2013)
Overview
Type Commuter rail
Termini Durrës
Tiranë (Vorë as of September 2013)
Stations 6 (3 in use)
Operation
Opening 27 January 1949
Technical
Line length 38 km (23.61 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Operating speed 41 mph (66 km/h)

The Durrës–Tiranë railway was a 38 km railway line which joined the two biggest cities in Albania: Durrës and Tirana. The line connects to the Shkodër–Vorë railway halfway in Vorë, and to the Durrës-Vlorë railway in Durrës. As of September 2013, the line became defunct as the Tirana Station is being dismantled to make way for the lengthening of the Tirana main boulevard. As a result, the Tirana station was moved to Vorë, and the current Vorë-Tiranë line replaced with a bus service. The original line was built during 1948-1949 based exclusively on work of volunteers and was the second passenger railway in Albania after the Durrës-Peqin railway which had been completed a year earlier. It is operated by Hekurudha Shqiptare.

History[edit]

The railway was 38 km long connecting the two most important cities of Albania, Durrës and Tirana. It was built during 1948-1949 and was the second standard gauge passenger railway in Albania after that of Durrës-Peqin, which had started in 1940, and was completed in 1948.[1]

The works started from the Shkozet station (near Durrës) on April 11, 1948. Overall 29,000 young people of the Labour Youth Union of Albania and 1400 qualified technicians from all Albania participated to the building of the railway. In addition, young volunteers sent from the Youth sections of the Communist parties of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia participated in the construction. During the Albanian-Yugoslavian split in 1948 the Yugoslavian volunteers were accused of sabotage, especially the engineers. The works continued under the supervision of Soviet engineer Valeri Gaydarov. Rails were imported from the Soviet Union through the port of Durrës. The volunteering brigades had as a goal to finish the railway by the 31st anniversary of the Red Army, on 23 February 1949, and the goal was successfully achieved.[1]

Two of the most important works during construction were the Rrashbull Tunnel (212 m) and the Erzen Bridge (91 m long). The bridge was finished on October 16, 1948, the 40th birthday of then Prime Minister, Enver Hoxha. The tunnel was dug by the Bulgarian youth group Georgi Dimitrov, which was eventually given the Flag of the Brigades award (Albanian: Flamuri i Brigadave).[1] The brigade of the Albanian Police was instead awarded five times the Attacking Award (Albanian: Sulmues).[1] The inauguration was made by future would be Politburo member Spiro Koleka.[1]

In 2003 Fatos Nano, then prime minister of Albania, signed a contract worth $95m with General Electric to modernize the stretch of railway by electrifying it and also by building an 8 km spur to link the Rinas airport to Tirana.[2] Deemed far too expensive, the contract was canceled by the incoming government of Sali Berisha, and became the subject of a litigation. In March 2010 a US court ordered the Albanian government to pay $20.6m in compensation to General Electric and, in May 2010, the Albanian authorities announced they would sue the minister of transport on the charge of abuse of power.[2]

2010 Accident[edit]

An accident occurred on the railway on July 25, 2010. A police SUV was on the rail and the train could not avoid the collision with it. As a result the police car was pushed for a certain distance until the train went to a complete stop. Not only were the three Albanian policemen not injured, but they also went to argue with the machinist to accuse him that he had to stop earlier and pay more attention.[3]

Future[edit]

Tirana station upgrade[edit]

Tirana rail station is being upgraded and moved from its original position. It is believed that the planned multimodal station at Kamez Overpass will accommodate the defunct station, enabling additional trains to terminate there instead of its current position. The new station will also improve the terminating capacity of passengers.

Stations[edit]

Durrës–Tiranë railway
0.0 Durrës
from Durrës Port
to Vlorë
Sukth
32.2 Vorë
Line to Shkodër
Kashar
Kamëz
42.2 Tirana
Station Image Opened Additional information
Durrës
Sukth Summer only
Vorë
Kashar defunct as of Sep 2013
Kamëz defunct as of Sep 2013
Tirana 27 January 1949 defunct as of Sep 2013

Timetable[edit]

During tourist season, an extra train engine was used to ensure a good connection between Tirana and Durrës.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Gjika, Alqi (2009). "Hekurudha Shqiptare "Si u ndertua ne menyre vullnetare"" (in Albanian). Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Metropol (2010-05-18). "Treni elektrik, Olldashi padit Spartak Poçin" (in Albanian). Metropol. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Gazeta Shqip. "Treni i linjës Durrës-Tiranë përplas fuoristradën e policisë" (in Albanian). Retrieved 13 September 2010. 

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]