Albania - General Information

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Country Name

Albania (Shqipëri)

National railway system

Hekurudha Shqiptare (HSH) was the state-run system, which was restructured as a state-owned company Hekurudha Shqiptare sh.a in 2000. HSH sh.a has been financially constrained which has led to a steady decline in services as the infrastructure and assets degraded. In January 2018 legislation was passed to establish a European style structure of regulatory and licensing authorities. Further legislation was passed in 2021 to enable the split of HSH sh.a into separate companies to manage the infrastructure, passenger operations, etc. Meanwhile a concession was awarded to Albrail sh.p.k in 2016 to rehabilitate the lines south of Fier for the transport of crude oil, then in December 2018 Albrail was licensed as the Infrastructure Manager for those lines.

The compilers particularly welcome reports of railway operations from travellers to Albania.

National Railway Operator

Hekurudha Shqiptare sh.a (HSH), who are responsible for all lines other than those operated by Albrail. They also have a Facebook page but this is mostly concerned with administrative matters.

Albrail sh.p.k (Albrail) operates the lines south of Fier. They only operate freight trains at present but their network statement reveals that the concession agreement permits them to restore a passenger service.





UIC code

numeric 41; alpha AL.


Journey Planner


Downloadable Timetable

Timetables for the service between Plazh (Durrës) and Elbasan valid from 29 September 2023 and for the Tuesdays-only pilgrims service between Shkoder and Gjormë (Laç) from 19 March to 11 June 2024 can be found on the Home page of the HSH website.

An alternative source for timetable information is the TRAINSINALBANIA Facebook page.

Printed Timetable

No printed timetable is published by HSH.

The European Rail Timetable has timings for Albania but given the fluid situation these may be out of date.

Engineering Information



Printed Maps

There is no official HSH railway map.

Quail Map Company published the Albanian Railway Guide in 1997, which includes track diagrams, motive power details and other information, but this is now out of print, although available on the second-hand market. Modern general maps are available from respected publishing houses such as Freytag & Berndt which should be accurate - earlier maps may have been based on inaccurate information provided by the former communist government.

Web-based Maps


There is no railrover ticket covering Albania, but fares are extremely cheap and based on a zonal system. Tickets are not sold in advance, and are valid only on the first train following issue.


Infrastructure Authority

HSH sh.a is responsible for all lines other than those south of Fier

Albrail sh.p.k is responsible for the lines south of Fier, to Vlorë and Ballsh

Network Statement

No Network Statement is known to be publicly available for HSH.

The 2024 Albrail Network Statement (in English) is available here.





Rule of the road

There are no double track lines, except in the immediate vicinity of principal stations, and the track used depends on operating convenience.

Other Railways


Tourist lines






Recent and future changes

Recent changes

A lack of finance over the past 20 years or so means that very little maintenance has been carried out on the railway network which has led to a serious deterioration of the assets. The lack of finance has also led to periods of complete service suspension due to inability to purchase fuel. The situation remains fluid and travellers should be aware that further changes may be made at short notice.

Durrës station was temporarily closed in early 2023 to enable upgrade work to proceed on the Tiranë line rehabilitation project, with trains starting and terminating approximately 2km away at Shkozet. With the start of the summer 2023 timetable the terminating point was moved 1.5km further away to a new platform at Plazh, beyond the junction of the Tiranë and Elbasan lines. Durrës station is expected to reopen again in Spring 2024.

The 2022 winter timetable shows only a single pair of trains on SSuO, running from 19 September 2022 until 10 June 2023, over the Durrës to Elbasan line.

Services returned between Shkodër and Laç for 13 Tuesdays from March 15th 2022 for pilgrims attending the annual festival at the church at Laç. This was repeated 15 March to 13 June 2023, with the train extended by one station from Laç to Gjormë.

The 2021 winter timetable showed that passenger services consisted of one train in each direction only on the Durrës to Kashar and Durrës to Elbasan lines. However by February 2022 the service between Durrës and Kashar had been replaced by a bus due to the works to rehabilitate the line and construct the Airport branch.

All services were reported to have been suspended from 1 September 2020, again because of lack of fuel. A timetable, effective from 7 October 2020, was published, showing two trains each way between Durrës and Kashar/Elbasan. A summer timetable, published in June 2021 and effective until September, reduced that to one each way.

Services between Vorë and Shkodër failed to resume after another fuel related service suspension in November 2019. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the area at the same time and is also thought to have caused damage to the railway.

The April 2019 timetable showed two train pairs from Durrës to Elbasan, two to Shkodër and one to Kashar. The changes since the September 2018 timetable involved an extra train pair on the Shkodër line at the expense of the service to Fier, on the Vlorë line, which once again lost its service.

In 2016 the company Albrail won a 25 year concession to operate the lines from Fier (km 84.1) to Vlorë and Ballsh. After rehabilitating the Vlorë line they started operating trains of crude oil from the refinery in Fier in December 2018, however the line to Ballsh remains out of use.

The only freight-only line known to be in use in mid-2018 was the cross-border line to Montenegro. It was observed to be in use in August 2018.

The passenger service between Elbasan and Librazhd last ran in November 2016, having failed to be reinstated following a fuel hiatus.

Tiranë to Vorë was closed in September 2013 for redevelopment of the Tiranë station site. A rail service between Vorë and Kashar, about 8 km from Tiranë, was reinstated on 26 May 2015.

The once daily train from Rrogozhinë to Pogradec was 'temporarily' withdrawn beyond Librazhd (a short distance east of Elbasan) in summer 2012, apparently after damage from road construction work. According to the 2021 Network statement the line remains out of use.

The Durrës avoiding line linking the Tiranë and Elbasan/Vlorë lines, formerly used by passenger trains in summer, was out of use by 2006 and lifted by October 2012.

The line between Fier and Ballsh closed to passenger traffic in 2001.

The branch from Milot to Rrëshen closed to all traffic in November 1996 and the track was used to repair damage to the Shkodër line. A road has now been built on the trackbed.

Planned changes

In December 2023 it was announced that the EU had awarded a grant of EUR 62m towards the cost of upgrading the line between Durrës and Rrogozhinë, which forms part of Pan-European Corridor VIII. The total cost is expected to be around EUR 120m. The work is expected to be completed by 2028.

In order to boost the tourist potential of the area, the government is proposing to redevelop Durrës port (one of the biggest ports on the Adriatic) into an ocean liner terminal and marina. This in turn means that all commercial activities would be moved a few km up the coast to Porto Romano, almost certainly requiring a new rail access. A potential source of funding for this project has been identified. At the same time Kosovo is keen to obtain easier access to an Adriatic port and the two governments are working on a plan to build a new line between Shkodër and Gjakova (Kosovo) which will provide a link between Durrës / Porto Romano and a new “Dry Port” near Prishtinë.

Planning work is in hand for rehabilitating the line between Hani i Hotit (Montenegro border) and Vorë (junction with the Tiranë/Kashar to Durrës line). In February 2022 the European Commission announced a package of €267m in grants and loans to support the “Rail Route 2” project, described as a key project for the region linking the capitals of Tiranë and Podgorica. Work is expected to start in 2024 and will take several years.

Work started in November 2021 on the rehabilitation of the Durrës – Tiranë line and construction of a 7.4 km branch from a triangular junction at the 27 km point to serve Tiranë International Airport. This is being financed with the aid of a €36·9m loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development and up to €35·5m in grants from the European Commission and other institutions. The line was originally planned to terminate in Tiranë at the Public Transport Terminal, several km from the centre, however it seems likely now that it will be extended back into the city to a site close to the original station. Work to reopen the line as far as Tiranë PTT is scheduled to be completed in late 2024.

An October 2018 statement on the HSH website announced a European Union-financed feasibility study for the rehabilitation of the Durrës-Elbasan-Pogradec railway line and the construction of a new line from Lin to the border of North Macedonia. Although part of the EU Trans-European Corridor VIII it is not considered to be a Core route and as such is unlikely to receive any financial support this decade other than for studies / planning.

Special notes

By comparison with other European systems, HSH is a very primitive railway, using elderly rolling stock acquired second hand and now in very poor condition. It is common to find carriages in service with broken glass in the windows.

There are no international passenger trains to Albania, the one cross-border railway, that to Montenegro, being used only for freight traffic. Routes from Western Europe are by air or road, or by ferry from Bari (Italy). Coaches operate between Tiranë and various German and Eastern European cities.

Further information about Albanian Railways can be found at although this website has not been updated for several years.

See also