Kosovo obtains EIB loan for rail modernisation

Kosovo Rail Route 10The European Investment Bank (EIB), through its EIB Global branch, has provided EUR 38 million for the modernisation of Kosovo Rail Route 10 which will increase travel speed and improve passenger and freight capacity. This is the second EIB loan tranche for this railway project, reaching the total amount of EUR 80 million for the modernisation of Kosovo’s railways.

“Rail route 10 is one of the most important railway lines connecting Kosovo to other countries and its rehabilitation remains a long-standing priority. The agreement that we are signing formally today is of great importance to ensuring that we are connected with our trading partners and guaranteeing mobility between our country and the region,” Kosovo Minister of Finance, Labour and Transfers Hekuran Murati said at the signing ceremony.

The EIB loan comes in addition to investment and technical assistance grants channelled through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), together with a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The modernisation of the Rail Route 10 in Kosovo is implemented into three phases. The first one includes the section between Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje to the border with North Macedonia, the second includes the Fushë Kosovë – Mitrovicë/Mitrovica section and the third one covers the modernisation of the Mitrovicë/Mitrovica – border with Serbia section.

The entire track is in a poor condition with serious structural constraints that limit traffic to 60km/h. The project concerns the rehabilitation of 139 km of single track railway from the northern border with Serbia to the southern border with North Macedonia.

In October 2021, WBIF has provided EUR 1.3 million for technical assistance covering the rehabilitation of the northern section of the Kosovo Rail Route 10 form Mitrovica to Leshak (third section) including track modernisation, electrification and installation of the signalling and telecommunication. This section represents the third phase of the modernisation of the line in Kosovo.

EUR 84.8 million was the total value of the modernisation of the first section (Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje – border with North Macedonia) for which EUR 43 million comes from grants, while EUR 40.8 million from loans. The project which has been launched in 2019 included the modernisation of 67 km of tracks and 13 stations and stops which increases passenger train speed to 120 km/h and to 100 km/h for freight trains allowing an axel load of 22.5 tonnes.

EUR 51.1 million was the financing obtained for the second phase covers the modernisation of the 35 km Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje – Mitrovicë / Mitrovica section including five stations to allow passenger and freight trains to run at 100 km/h and a freight axle load of 22.5 tonnes. This project section received EUR 18.58 million in grants and EUR 29.3 million in loans.

The third phase covers the modernisation of 47 km of tracks and the and associated railway stations between Mitrovicë/Mitrovica and the border with Serbia. The project received a total financing of EUR 100.9 million, of which EUR 1.3 million from grants (EBRD and WBIF) and EUR 25.1 million from loans (from EBRD and EIB).
As part of the Western Balkans core railway network and an extension of the TEN-T, the Kosovo rail route 10 will improve regional connectivity and integration on the Orient/East-Mediterranean Corridor. The route has a total length of 256 km and the European Commission’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans 2021-2027 has identified the route as a Flagship 2 providing connection on the north – south axis.

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