It is a standard gauge railway, 476 km long. Of this length, 301 km of the railway goes through Serbia, and 175 through Montenegro. It is electrified along the entire corridor (25 kV, 50 Hz AC). It passes through 254 tunnels of total length of 114 435 m and over 435 bridges (total length 14 593 m). The longest tunnels are "Sozina" (6.17 km) and "Zlatibor" (6.17 km). The biggest and the best known bridge is Mala Rijeka viaduct, 498 m long and 198 m above ground level.
When built, it took a train approximately 7 hours to go from Belgrade and Bar, while now it usually takes over 10 hours, due to speed restrictions, as the railway cannot safely sustain the projected speeds prior to thorough reconstruction.
The sections of the railway were completed as follows:
- Resnik - Vreoci in 1958
- Podgorica - Bar in 1959
- Vreoci - Valjevo in 1968
- Valjevo - Užice in 1972
- Užice - Podgorica in 1976
Maintenance of the Belgrade–Bar railway has suffered from chronic underfunding in 1990s, resulting in the railway deteriorating and becoming unsafe. This culminated in the Bioče train disaster, when a passenger train derailed, causing the deaths of 47 passengers. Efforts are being made to thoroughly reconstruct this railway.