Kosovo - General Information
National railway system
Hekurudhat e Kosovës (HK) took over operations previously managed by the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) in 2008, except those north of Mitrovica. In 2011 HK was divided into a Train Operating Company (Trainkos) and an Infrasructure Company (Infrakos), both State-owned.
National Railway Operator
Trainkos is the National Railway Operator in the Albanian-speaking area. In spite of having an English option, its website is almost entirely in Albanian or Serbian.
Albanian. Serbian in a number of areas including Mitrovica.
Information for trains in the Albanian-speaking areas is available at www.trainkos.com. Change the language to Albanian (Shqip). With the service between Prishtinë and Hani i Elezit / Skopje suspended due to track rehabilitation work (see below), the only line on which a service is currently running is between Prishtinë and Pejë. For trains in the Serb-speaking area north of Mitrovica, use the Serbian Railways website and enter KRALJEVO to KOSOVSKA MITROVICA SEVER.
A timetable leaflet in English is available sporadically.
A useful site is BalkanViator
- European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball.
- European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - The Balkans) by M.G. Ball.
- Mapa Kolejowa Serbii, Kosowa, Czarnogóry (Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro) by W. Kolondra.
- Thorsten Büker's Map of Serbia and Montenegro.
- There is also a good map on the Kosrail website. Clicking on a route on the map brings up a page all about that line (in German).
Infrakos is the Infrastructure Authority. In spite of having an English option, its website is almost entirely in Albanian or Serbian.
Publishing > NETWORK STATEMENT provides an English language Network Statement.
Rule of the road
There are no multiple track routes.
Detailed distances are given in Appendix 1.1 of the Network Statement.
A one page diagram giving the kilometerage of every location is available on the Kosrail website.
Recent and future changes
The ŽS timetable for 2022/23 does not show any service on the line between Mitrovicë and Lešak.
A progress report for the Railway Route 10 Rehabilitation Project posted on the Trainkos website in November 2022 states that phase 1 work is behind schedule, for a number of reasons including collapses at two tunnels which are being enlarged. A WBIF press release in December 2022 stated a revised completion estimate of Q4 2023. Barring any last minute issues, phase 2 of the project was due to be formally started on 10 October 2022 with a planned duration of 15 months. A separate project covering signalling and telecommunications upgrades for phases 1 & 2 was in the advanced stages of preparation.
After several delays, work started in May 2020 on upgrading the line between Fushë Kosovë and Hani I Elezit. This is phase 1 of the Route 10 Rehabilitation Project (see below) and the work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, until when the line is closed to traffic. Phase 2 of the project covers the section between Fushë Kosovë and Mitrovicë and contracts for this work were signed in December 2021. Phase 3 covers the line northwards from Mitrovicë to Lešak and the Serbian border and design work is in progress for this section. Completion of the entire project is currently (in late 2021) anticipated for 2024/25. Also part of the EU Western Balkans strategy is the possible reopening of the line between Prishtinë and the Serbian border at Podujevë, for which a preliminary design and environmental impact assessment was started in early 2021.
According to the Trainkos (Kosovo) Facebook page, the (Prishtinë -) Hani-i-Elezit <=> Skopje service resumed regular operation on 9 March 2020. However, passenger transport was interrupted from 13.03.2020 (Prishtinë - Hani i Elezit - Prishtinë) and 14.03.2020 (Prishtinë - Peja - Prishtinë) due to Covid travel restrictions but gradually resumed on 18.05.2020.
The timetables from December 2019 showed no locals from Prishtinë to Hani i Elezit, the only service on the line being the daily IC pair through to Skopje in North Macedonia. It should be noted that operation of the cross border section beyond Hani i Elezit was very unreliable due to locomotive availability issues on North Macedonia Railways.
As part of the European Commission strategy to improve rail connections in the Western Balkans, the EBRD and WBIF will make €209m of grants and loans available towards a project to rehabilitate the 149 km of line between Hani i Elezit (North Macedonian border) and Lešak (Serbian border) via Fushë Kosovë. Referred to as the Railway Route 10 Rehabilitation Project, this would be an extension to Orient/East-Med Corridor of the EU TEN-T network. At the time the strategy was agreed in 2015 it was hoped that the works would be completed by 2022.
A single train pair resumed passenger operations between Prishtinë/Priština and Pejë/Peć on 9 October 2017, increased to two pairs on 23 April 2018.
All services operated by HK, other than that between Prishtinë/Priština and Hani i Elezit/Đeneral Janković (for a connection to Skopje), were withdrawn on 3 August 2017 until further notice owing to lack of finance.
The railways in Kosovo have suffered from the political problems in the area since the war in the late 1990s. The routes were:
- Fushë-Kosovë/Kosovo Polje - Hani i Elezit/Đeneral Janković (and across the border to Skopje in North Macedonia)
- Fushë-Kosovë/Kosovo Polje - Mitrovicë/Mitrovica - Zvečan - Lešak (and across the border to Rudnica and Kraljevo in Serbia)
- Fushë-Kosovë/Kosovo Polje - Prishtinë/Priština (and across the border to Merdare in Serbia)
- Fushë-Kosovë/Kosovo Polje - Gračanica
- Fushë-Kosovë/Kosovo Polje - Klinë/Klina - Pejë/Peć and Klinë/Klina - Prizren (closed)
In December(?) 2013 Serbian Railways extended their Kraljevo - Zvečan service to a new station at Mitrovica North (Kosovska Mitrovica Sever). Fushë-Kosovë/Kosovo Polje - Zvečan ceased operating in early 2008 following Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence, when the line between Mitrovicë/Mitrovica and Lešak was taken over by Serbian Railways. HK reintroduced the service between Pristina and Pejë/Peć in 2006. The so-called “Freedom of Movement” train operated by UNMIK ran from 2004 between Hani i Elezit/General Jankovic and Lešak via Fushë-Kosovë/Kosovo Polje, Mitrovicë/Mitrovica and Zvečan. However, the There was an UNMIK service to Gračanica for a few years in the mid 2000s.
For train services currently advertised, see Kosovo - Other Sparse services.
From June 1999, Kosovo was a province of Serbia and was under the administrative control of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is now considered independent following the conclusion of the political process to determine Kosovo’s final status envisaged in UN Security Council resolution 1244 and a period of “supervised independence” from 2008 to 2012. However, this has not been formally recognised by all countries, especially Serbia, which still considers Kosovo to be part of its sovereign territory. As at 2022 the following EU countries do not recognise Kosovo as an independent state: Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
Travellers entering Serbia from Kosovo may well encounter problems, including possibly being refused entry, if they do not have a Serbian entrance stamp in their passport. It is therefore recommended one should travel only from Serbia to Kosovo and not in the other direction.