Hekurudha Shqiptare
Hekurudha Shqiptare.svg
Railway map of Albania.png
Historic map of Albanian railways. Most lines now closed.
Albanian Railways T-669 Locomotive.JPG
T-669 Locomotive at Kashar station in 2015 serving Tirana (now closed)
HeadquartersDurres Railway Station, Durrës, Albania
Dates of operation1945–
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)

Hekurudha Shqiptare or HSH (Albanian Railways) was the state-owned operator of the Albanian railway system and became a private company in 2005. The system's main passenger terminal was Durrës railway station in the port city of Durrës.

HSH's infrastructure used to run east to Pogradec (up to Librazhd as of 2012), south to Vlorë and north to Shkodër. There was 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.

The HSH network was entirely unelectrified, and trains were hauled by Czechoslovak T-669 diesel-electric locomotives. The system was basically single-track throughout, with passing loops at various points. Second-hand passenger rolling stock from Germany's DB and former DR, Italy's FS, Austria's ÖBB, and Poland's PKP was used. Trains suffered internal and external damage from vandalism, including the stoning of locomotives and carriages. Further problems arose from landslide damage to sections of the track or because lengths of rail were stolen for iron scrap. As of 2022 the system is barely surviving with an Elbasan Durrës train and a Shkoder Lac train that lasts until June 13, although there are some plans to rehabilitate parts of the network in the future.

New Tirana-Rinas-Durres Railway Line

Construction work to upgrade the Durrës–Tiranë line and linking it with Rinas Airport with Electric -powered trains started in 2021 with a loan from EBRD.[1]

Passenger services

Former Tirana Station, 1995
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. Occasional freight trains may run between Podgorica and Shkodër and between Durrës and the oil refinery at Ballsh. The Tirana-Shkodër line is closed, except for the Durrës Elbasan train and a section between Shkodër and Lac.

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
HSH train in Albania, 2019

Rolling stock


Class Image Type Number Remarks Built
BB II 98.713
98 727 2.jpg
B'B n4vt 1 Former 98.713 (factory number 2178) built by Maffei. Arrived in 1943, after being used as a factoy work locomotive at Messerschmitt in Regensburg. Travelled to Albania with the Wehrmacht. Out of service since 1950. Maximum speed 45 km/h, length 10.010 mm.[2] Status: scrapped 1901
Class 56.3400
434.1 digital.jpeg
1'D h2 Steam locomotive 5 A gift from Sovjet Union, this former Austrian rolling stock was a trophy from the WOII and arrived from Hungary in Albania in 1946. Former kkStB classs 270, later BBÖ 270.110/56.3408 (factory number 2602), 270.117/56.3415(2609), 270.227/56.3457 (2723) & 270.308/56.3496 (2826) built by WLF Floridsdorf. In 1952, a fifth locomotive arrived (ex 270.180/56.3445, factory number 2672)[3][2]

[4] Status: scrapped

Class 20
Trebnje-steam locomotive 20-183.jpg
Steam locomotive 2 A gift from Sovjet Union, this former Yugoslavian/Serbian rolling stock was a trophy from the WOII and arrived from Skopje (Bulgaria during WW2) to Albania in 1946. Former Serbian State Railways SDŽ 20.132 (BDŽ 15.18) and possible 20.136 (BDŽ 15.19). Originally built by Hanomag with factory number 10028 and 10032[2][4] Status: scrapped 1932
Class 31 Steam locomotive 1 (31) Steamless shunter Status: scrapped 1940, to Albania in 1956
Hungarian Railways 324 Class 2-6-2.jpg
Steam locomotive 1 Locomotive built by MÁVAG in 1915 with factory number 3678 for MÁV, part of around 895 locomotives in the IIIu-series, number MÁV 324.504. After the Great War the locomotive ended in Romania. In 1951 it was exported to Albania and was in 1960 in service.[2] Seen in 1985; Status: scrapped 1915, to Albania in 1951
Class 72 Steam locomotive 1 (2/3) This industrial locomotive was built by ME in 1941 for Dynamit Nobel in Troisdorf with factory number 4472. Via Poland it was exported to Albania. It was used for rail construction and shunting later. In 1989, it was taken out of service. One or two other locomotives did also exist, but more details are unavailable.[2] Status: scrapped 1941, to Albania in 1951
Class 48
TKt48-191 Wolsztyn 05.16 085.JPG
1'D1 ' 2-8-2 Steam locomotive 6 New, built in Poland with a top speed of 80 km/h and built in the same series as TKt48 class. Fleet number TKt 48.01-48.06[3] In service until 1991. One locomotive is a monument in Tirana.[2]Status: scrapped, but one 1951, 1952
354.7152 in Railway museum Luzna u Rakovnika.jpg
Steam locomotive 2 Former Austrian locomotives, part of the large series kkStB class 429 for kkStB. These. 106-002 built in 1912 by StEG Vienna with factory number 3844. Original fleet number 429.190. In second world war renumbered to DR 35.391. After second world war to JDŽ as 106-002. 106-003 built by WLF Floridsdorf in 1915 with factory number 2272. In second world war renumbered to DR 35.389. After second world war to JDŽ as 106-002 gift from Sovjet Union.[2][4] Status: scrapped 1932
Krauss-Maffei 2000
DB 221 125-8.JPG
DE locomotive 5 (2001-2005) Former German locomotives DB Class 221, bought secondhand in 1988. Shipped in 1989-1990. 2001: 221.118, 2002: 221.140, 2003: 221.125, 2004: 221.131, 2005: 221.109. Taken out of service in 1992 (2003: 1993), after technical problems. A second order for 20 locomotives was cancelled due to this. Most scrapped and burned after the 1997 riots. Then, all but 2003 were in Memelisht. 2003 was in Prrenjas.[2]Status: scrapped, 2003 still off duty in 2018 1956
V36 453
German locomotive class V36.JPG
Diesel hydraulic locomotive 1 German shunting locomotive built in 1940 or 1941 by BMAG (factory number 11461) for German Wehrmacht. Used in Freilassing at the Heeres-Munitionsanstalt. In 1956 it was taken out of service after a damage beyond repair[2]Status: scrapped 1941
T435 0500
720 1.jpg
DE locomotive 10 Identical to Czech 720 class. In 2009, 0524, 0526, 0591 were found in Prrenjas. Status: most out of service 1958
T211 0450 DE locomotive 4 Identical to Czech T211 class 1959
T458/459 1500 DE locomotive 8 Identical to Czech T458 class. In 2009, 1523, 1525, 1526, 1530, 1531 were found in Prrenjas 1963
T-669 1000
02.10.13 Vorë T669.1057 (10101257713).jpg
DE locomotive[2] 61 (series 1001-1061) [5]Status: partially in service 1978


Class Image Type Number Remarks Built
01 - 10, 21-69 59 Two axle cars second hand from several countries i.e. DDR, Hungary, Yugoslavia and war trophy not usable in these countries. According to sources these were quickly scrapped after delivery of newer stock [3]Status: scrapped 1947 >
10 Former Polish 'Schnellzugwagen' Type PKP 8A, or new built for Albania. Present during the 1949 opening of the first Albanian railway. 11, 12 and 13 were rebuilt to vans with a large door in de center of te carriage.[2][3]Status: ?
Durrës 001.jpg
Bagage Van 10 (01-10) Chinese built. Originally green, later brown colored.[6][2] Some were seen in 2011, out of service. Status: scrapped 1966-1972
YZ22 337445 20110901.jpg
YZ22 Passenger Car 40 (71-110) Chinese built second class stock, built between 1966 and 1972 by Changchun Car Company. Total length 24.696 mm. Regular Type 22/YZ22 (硬座 = yìng zuò = YZ = Hard-seat) model that is mass produced for Chinese railways. Although mass produced, very uncommon in Europe. Fitted with both Chinese automatic chains as European chains. First color was blue, later green and more brown-iss on the end. Last cars were taken out of service around 2000. p[6][2] Status: scrapped 1966-1972
4 (series 151-154) Second class coach. Built by Shkodër Wagon Works[6] Status: scrapped 1980s
4 (series 151-154) Second class coach. Built by Shkodër Wagon Works[6] Status: scrapped 1980s
B10t (type Bruhat)
Voiture Bruhat.jpg
43 (series 201-243) (in France: 50 87 20-47 423, 491, 496-812) French stock, bought secondhand in the 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'[6] Status: scrapped 1981-1982
AB 39-78
Albania trains 4.jpg
11 (series 401-411) Former Italian coaches[6] Status: partially active >1959
458 HSH Tirana.JPG
45 Former Austria, built by Simmering-Graz-Pauker.[5] Former Austrian numbers 50 81 20-04 000-059. Status: uncertain/ mostly scrapped Arrived around 1999
Pafawag 8 (series 52-59) Former Poland typ Osshd Y. Not sure if new or secondhand[3] Status: uncertain 1981
Pafawag Bwixd[6]
67 HSH Tirana.JPG
10 (series 61-70) Former Poland typ Halberstadt/120A. Not sure if new or secondhand[3] Status: 67 still in service in 2009. 1981
HSH Silberlinge 2.JPG

Albanian Train Wagon Interior.JPG

By, Byuu, ABy 12. Series 51 41 21-43 013 - 24[5] Halberstadt Mitteleinstiegswagen, bought secondhand from Germany. Original built for GDR railways. German numbers 51 80 21 43 Status: most in service
FS HSH Tirana 2.JPG
UIC-X 63 (series 301-?) Former Italian coaches series type B 29-38, B 29-40, B 29-70[6] Status: partially active 1992-1993
A 19-40 5 (series 501-505) Former Italian coaches[6] Status: partially active

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Work starts for new Tirana-Durres railway; EBRD". Albanian Daily News. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Molter, Romano (2020). Die vergessene Eisenbahn: Eine Reise in die Geschichte der albanischen Eisenbahnen 1916-2020 (in German). Railway-Media-Group. ISBN 9783902894878.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Drehscheibe Online
  4. ^ a b c Lokstatistik Josef Pospichal
  5. ^ a b c Focken, Heiki (2008), Lok Report: Albanien. Auf Schienen durch das Land der Skipetaren,
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Angelfire.com: HSH Passenger Stocklist