Hill International and GCF win “vital” Kosovo rail contract

A diesel/electric locomotive in Kosovo (ShkelzenKR /CC BY-SA 3.0)
A consortium including US consultant Hill International and Italian engineer Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie (GCF) has been awarded a €50m contract by Kosovo Railways to supervise the rehabilitation and upgrade of the line that connects the country’s railway network with the rest of the region.

The team was appointed to the second phase of the project by Infrakos, Kosovo’s rail operator. It will cover a 34km stretch from Fushë Kosovë, just outside of the capital Pristina, north to Mitrovicë. This line was last overhauled 40 years ago.

Edoardo Rossi, president of GCF, said the team won the contract against fierce competition. He added: “This is a project that the Kosovo authorities consider vital, a keystone for the development of the county.”

Hill and GCF are also working on the first phase of the scheme, from Fushë Kosovë south to the border with North Macedonia. About half of this contract has now been completed.

GCF’s graphic showing the strategic importance of Rail Route 10

The 15-month project aims to increase the maximum speed on the line – damage sustained in the 1998-99 war has reduced speed on the line to 60km/h on average, and 20km/h on many bridges and tunnels. It also involves the construction of a freight station, maintenance workshops and a locomotive depot. Some 16 bridges on the line will have to be reinforced, or else demolished and rebuilt to bring them up to European standards.

Five stations will also be refurbished, at Mitrovice, Vushtri, Druar, Prelluzhe and Obiliq-Kastriota.

Hill will provide construction management technical and financial supervision of the works.

Panagiotis Methenitis, Hill’s managing director for the Balkans, commented: “With phase 2 of Rail Route 10, our teams in Kosovo are currently supervising more than 100 km of railway rehabilitation in the country. Once executed, these rail projects will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Kosovars.”

Rail Route 10 runs north to south across Kosovo. It is part of the EU’s Corridor X, which connects eastern European with the eastern Mediterranean. About half the cost of the project is being met by the EU.

Top image: A diesel/electric locomotive in Kosovo (ShkelzenKR/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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