Kosovo halts rail services as operator runs out of money

Kosovo halts rail services as operator runs out of money
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje August 1, 2017

Kosovo’s train operation Trainkos said that it will halt operations of two of its three passenger lines as of August 3 due to the lack of funds from the government.

Halting the services will affect passengers who used the affected lines. According to latest statistics data, the number of passengers travelling by rail in Kosovo increased by 9.2% q/q to 57,000 in the second quarter of 2017. 

Passenger services on the Prishtina - Peja and Fushe Kosove - Hani i Elezit on the Macedonian border, will be out of operation due to the absence of financial means, Trainkos said in a statement on July 31.

The only route that will remain operational will be the line from Pristina to the Macedonian capital Skopje.

"The funds allocated for this transport from the government were spent in June and until now the trains have been kept in operation by our own means. However, keeping them in operation is no longer possible," Trainkos explained

Under the law, the ministry of infrastructure must cover the full expenses for the railway services to allow the operator a modest profit margin.

Trainkos added that unfortunately, following the restructuring of the Kosovo Railways in 2011 these expenditures were not covered by the government, but the company’s own funds. Since September 2011, Trainkos has spent around €5mn from its own budget to continue the full operations.

“We have addressed the issue to the competent authorities, but we have not yet solved this problem,” Trainkos said, adding that it expects the government to find a suitable solution to the issue.

There are 333km of railway in Kosovo, with the main route in the country running from Hani-i-Elezit on the border with Macedonia to the Serbian border at Leshak. Of the total, 110 km are operated by private operators.