HSH's infrastructure runs east to Pogradec (up to Librazhd as of 2012), south to Vlorë and north to Shkodër. There is also a branch line to capital city Tirana (up to Kashar, 10 km away as of 2015). The network was extended beyond Shkodër in the 1980s into what is now Montenegro, via the Albanian border town of Hani i Hotit. But this section of the system is for freight only. There is also no physical rail connection between Albania and neighbouring Macedonia or Greece. Albanian Railways has been described by many travel guides as a tourist attraction and a de facto panoramic journey.
HSH is totally non-electrified, and trains are hauled by CzechoslovakT-669 diesel electric locomotives. The entire system is normally single-track, with bypasses at various points throughout. Second-hand passenger rolling stock from Germany's DB, Italy's FS, Austria's ÖBB, or Poland's PKP is used on the system. Trains have suffered from vandalism such as damage from rocks thrown at carriages or damage to the interiors. Periodically, some lines do not run on a full schedule as parts of the rail track is damaged from landslides or stolen for iron scrap. Plans exist to upgrade the Durrës–Tiranë line linking it with Rinas Airport starting in 2013 although a similar previous plan was rejected by the Albanian government.
In 2015, some rail stations and rolling stock along the Durres-Tirane line were renovated and adopted a red and white livery. The scenic Librazhd-Pogradec line was closed for passenger traffic in 2012. The stored locomotives and wagons from Prrenjas are being moved to Elbasan. As a result, this section may be dismantled, as it doesn't link any major cities.
There are several freight-only branch lines. Regular freight trains run between Podgorica and Shkodër every weekday (with Albanian and Montenegrin locomotives alternating daily) and between Durrës and the oil refinery at Ballsh once a week. The Tirana-Shkodër and the Durrës-Elbasan lines are normally served by mixed trains.
As of May 27, 2015 until further notice, the following daily trains are in service:
French stock, bought secondhand in 1980's. Originally constructed between 1956 and 1962 in a serie of 318 coaches, reconstructed from 1900-1920 PLM coaches. In France called 'modernisées Sud Est' of 'Bruhat'