Hekurudha Shqiptare

Diesel-electric locomotive Enlarge HSH Class 56
Hekurudha Shqiptare
Hekurudha Shqiptare.svg
Albanian Railways T-669 Locomotive.JPG
Newly painted T-669 Locomotive at Kashar station serving Tirana
HeadquartersDurres Railway Station, Durrës, Albania
Dates of operation1945–
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Railway map of Albania.png

Hekurudha Shqiptare or HSH (Albanian Railways) is the state-owned operator of the Albanian railway system. The system's main passenger terminal is Durrës railway station in the port city of Durrës.

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 the capital 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 North Macedonia or Greece. Albanian Railways has been described by many travel guides as a tourist attraction and a de facto panoramic journey.

The HSH network is entirely unelectrified, and trains are hauled by Czechoslovak T-669 diesel electric locomotives. The system is basically single-track throughout, with passing loops at various points. Second-hand passenger rolling stock from Germany's DB, Italy's FS, Austria's ÖBB, and Poland's PKP is used. Trains have suffered internal and external damage from vandalism, including the stoning of locomotives and carriages. Periodically, some lines fail to run a full schedule following landslide damage to sections of the track or because lengths of rail have been stolen for iron scrap. Plans exist to upgrade the Durrës–Tiranë line linking it with Rinas Airport, a project currently in tendering phase.[1]

Passenger services

A refurbished carriage interior in 2015
Former Tirana Station, 1995

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 carriages 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 27 May 2015 until further notice, the following daily trains are in service:[2]

System Map

Hekurudha Shqiptare (HSH)
From Podgorica (freight only)
Border crossing with Montenegro
Han i Hotit
(freight only)
Port of Durrës
Durrës railway station
(freight only)
(freight only)
(freight only)
(freight only)
(freight only)
Gur i Kuq
(freight only)
(freight only)
HSH train in Albania, 2019

Rolling stock



Class Image Type Top speed Number Remarks Built
mph km/h
T-669 1000 02.10.13 Vorë T669.1057 (10101257713).jpg DE locomotive 90 61 (series 1001-1061) [3] 1978


Class Image Type Top speed Number Remarks Built
mph km/h
AB 39-78 Albania trains 4.jpg 11 (series 401-411) Former Italian coaches[4] >1959
B4ipü 458 HSH Tirana.JPG 45 Former Austria, built by Simmering-Graz-Pauker.[3] Former Austrian numbers 50 81 20-04 000-059. Arrived around 1999
Pafawag 8 (series 52-59) Former Poland typ Osshd Y. Not sure if new or secondhand[5] 1981
Pafawag Bwixd[4] 67 HSH Tirana.JPG 10 (series 61-70) Former Poland typ Halberstadt/120A. Not sure if new or secondhand[5] 67 still in service in 2009. 1981
HSH Silberlinge 2.JPG By, Byuu, ABy 12. Series 51 41 21-43 013 - 24[3] Halberstadt Mitteleinstiegswagen, bought secondhand from Germany. Original built for GDR railways. German numbers 51 80 21 43
FS HSH Tirana 2.JPG UIC-X 63 (series 301-?) Former Italian coaches series type B 29-38, B 29-40, B 29-70[4] 1992-1993
A 19-40 5 (series 501-505) Former Italian coaches[4]


Class Image Type Top speed Number Remarks Built
Class 56.3400 434.1 digital.jpeg 1'D h2 Steam locomotive 4 A gift from Sovjet Union, this former Austrian and Hungarian rolling stock was a trophy from the WOII.[5]
Class 20 Steam locomotive 2 19?
Class 31 Steam locomotive 1 (31) Steamless shunter 1940
Class 72 Steam locomotive 1 (72) 1941
Class 01 1'D1 ' 2-8-2 Steam locomotive 80 6 (TKt 48.01-48.06) New, built in Poland. Similar to Polish TKt48 class.[5] Possible in service until 1991.[4] 1951, 1952
Schnellzugwagen.jpg 5 Former German 'Schnellzugwagen' type AB4ü-28. Probably a gift from Sovjet Union, this rolling stock was a trophy from the WOII. Present during the 1949 opening of the first Albanian railway.[5]
Krauss-Maffei 2000 DB 221 125-8.JPG DE locomotive 140 5 (2001-2005) Former German locomotives DB Class 221, bought secondhand in 1989. Shipped in 1989-1990. Taken out of service around 1993. Most scrapped. 1956
T435 0500 720 1.jpg DE locomotive 60 10 Identical to Czech 720 class. In 2009, 0524, 0526, 0591 were found in Prrenjas. 1958
T211 0450 DE locomotive 40 4 Identical to Czech T211 class 1959
T458/459 1500 DE locomotive 80 8 Identical to Czech T458 class. In 2009, 1523, 1525, 1526, 1530, 1531 were found in Prrenjas 1963
D 10 (01-10) Chinese built bagage vans. Originally green, later brown colored.[4] Some were seen in 2011, out of service. 1966-1972
B 41 (70-110) Chinese built second class stock.[4] 1966-1972
4 (series 151-154) Second class coach. Built byu Shkodër Wagon Works[4] 1980s
4 (series 151-154) Second class coach. Built byu Shkodër Wagon Works[4] 1980s
B10t (type Bruhat) Voiture Bruhat.jpg 140 43 (series 201-243) (in France: 50 87 20-47 423, 491, 496-812) French stock, bought secondhand in 1980s. 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'[4] 1981-1982

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Tender for Tirana-Durres Rail Line Open; EBRD". Albanian Daily News. Retrieved 2020-01-31.
  2. ^ "HSH Official timetable" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  3. ^ a b c Focken, Heiki (2008), Lok Report: Albanien. Auf Schienen durch das Land der Skipetaren,
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Angelfire.com: HSH Passenger Stocklist
  5. ^ a b c d e Drehscheibe Online