Kosovo Railways J.S.C (Albanian: Hekurudhat e Kosovës Sh.A; Serbian: Kocoвcкe Жeлeзницe Д.Д., Kosovske Železnice D.D.) is the railway carrier of Kosovo[a]. It was originally formed as the UNMIK Railways from the lines of the former Yugoslav Railways that lie on Kosovan territory, and is centrally owned.
- 1 History
- 2 Rail network
- 3 Operations
- 4 Rolling stock
- 5 Pictures
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The first railway line was built under Turkish guidance for the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer Orientaux (CO), led by Maurice de Hirsch. It started in Thessaloniki, went on north to Skopje and reached Kosovska Mitrovica in 1873.
Before the First World War it was used by the Serbian Railways which operated as Yugoslav Railways between 1918 and 1992, and stopped their operations in Kosovo after the NATO intervention in 1999. In 2008 Serbian Railways restored some of its routes in Northern Kosovo region.
Kosovo Railways operate 430 km (267 mi) of railway in Kosovo, of which 333 km (207 mi) serve both freight and passenger and 97 km (60 mi) only serve freight traffic. The non-electrified network originally consisted of two lines crossing in Kosovo Polje: A main line going from Kraljevo in western Serbia via Kosovska Mitrovica and Kosovo Polje to Skopje in Macedonia, and a branch line in east-west direction from Niš in southern Serbia via the capital Pristina and Kosovo Polje with one branche leading to Peć and the other one to Prizren. Of these lines, the one from Pristina to Peć and the one from Kosovo Polje to Macedonia are still served by passenger trains. Some more parts of the network are occasionally served by freight trains, like Kosovo Polje - Obilić; the other parts of the network are currently unused. For years, there have been plans to extend the branch to Prizren across the border to Albania, to create a link to the network of the Hekurudha Shqiptare. However, these projects are no more than letters of intent.
Kosovo Railways operate three services: Local train, Freedom of Movement and InterCity. Usually, the trains consist of either two former SJ Y1 DMUs or a former NSB Di 3 with former SJ coaches. The InterCity trains usually consist of a Di 3 locomotive, one former SJ coach of Kosovo Railways and one Macedonian coach.
Between Pristina and Peć there are two daily local train pairs, with the train staying in Peć overnight. One trip takes close to two hours.
Between Kosovo Polje and Đeneral Janković (border to Macedonia), there are two Freedom of Movement train pairs and one local train pair. As the only international train connection there is also the InterCity train pair (IC 891/892) from Pristina via Kosovo Polje to Skopje and back. In direction of Kosovo Polje, all trains stop at all stations; in the other direction the trains skip various stations, only the local train in the evening stops everywhere. The trains need close to one and a half hours for the trip from Kosovo Polje to Đeneral Janković.
Until March 2008 there were two more Freedom of Movement train pairs from Kosovo Polje to Leshak, but this traffic had to be discontinued until further notice due to ongoing tensions with Serbia.
National freight traffic is of importance, as it serves various plants like Calcium Carbonate plants and others all over the country. International freight traffic is handled via Đeneral Janković, and the container terminal is close to Pristina airport, near the Miradi station.
Incomplete list of regular freight services:
- Coal from Obilić (Kastriot) to the NewCoFerronikeli plant near Glogovac. The coal cars are pulled to Obilić station by a steam locomotive operated by the coal mine. Usually runs every second day.
- Ore trains from the Golesh mine (south-west of Pristina airport) to the NewCoFerronikeli plant. Usually daily.
- Several types of freight (containers, cisterns, bulk goods) between Đeneral Janković (from/to Macedonia) and Miradi, serving several private sidings en route. Usually daily.
On 3 March 2008 (three weeks after the declaration of independence of Kosovo), the Serbian railways ŽS announced that they will seize control over the railway infrastructure lying in the Serbian part of Kosovo, including all personnel, and will resume traffic after having assured compliance to Serbian safety standards.
As of 2009, ŽS runs trains between Lešak (border station to Serbia) and Zvečan near Kosovska Mitrovica. There is both freight and passenger traffic, but without border control, since Serbia considers Kosovo to be part of its own territory. This leads to the situation that, for instance, fuel is transported into Kosovo territory, without toll being paid to the Kosovarian state. The political situation prevents any train traffic between Zvečan and Mitrovica (the line would be in operating condition). From Kosovska Mitrovica, the line is, in principle, served by Kosovo Railways, but there is no regular freight or passenger traffic until Obilić (freight) respectively Kosovo Polje (passengers).
The rolling stock partly stems from the former Yugoslav Railways, and was partly imported from various European countries.
Three types of locomotives are in use. There are former Yugoslav diesel-electric class 661 locomotives built by General Motors, former NSB Di 3 locomotives ("NOHABs") imported from Norway (also a construction by General Motors, but build in Sweden by the NoHAB works), and a single Vossloh G1700-2 BB. While all types of locomotives are used for freight trains, only the NoHABs are used to pull passenger trains, usually all trains between Kosovo Polje and Đeneral Janković, and rarely trains between Kosovo Polje and Peć.
|001||Former JŽ 661 128||De facto retired, used for spares|
|002||Former JŽ 661 132||Operational, freight traffic|
|003||Former JŽ 661 228||Operational, freight traffic|
|004||Former JŽ 661 231||Operational, freight traffic|
|005||Former NSB Di3a 619||Operational, passenger and freight traffic|
|006||Former NSB Di3a 633||Broken electrical generator, in repair (July 2009)|
|007||Former NSB Di3b 641||Operational, passenger and freight traffic|
|008||Former NSB Di3b 643 (VR KDs1 2402)||Operational, passenger and freight traffic|
|009||Vossloh G 1700-2 BB||Operational, freight traffic|
Normally, all trains between Kosovo Polje and Peć are run with former SJ class Y1 diesel railcars built by Fiat. Sometimes, the Y1 are also used on the line to Đeneral Janković. There are also some former FS class ALn 668 railcars available, but these are not needed any more since the delivery of the Y1 and are currently parked at Kosovo Polje.
|1528, 1531, 1534||Former FS ALn 668||In principle operational, small defects, currently not needed|
|01, 02, 03, 04||Former SJ Y1 1281, 1304, 1306, 1313||01, 02, 04 operational, 03 unknown|
Both carriages from the former Yugoslav Railways as well as second-hand carriages from all over Europe are available, however many of them not in operating condition. At the moment, all locomotive hauled passenger trains use former SJ coaches and, in the case of the InterCity, one carriage of Makedonski Železnici.
Notes and references
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 107 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kosovo Railways.|