EIB Global, a branch of the European Investment Bank (EIB), has signed an agreement to provide a further €38m for the upgrade of 148km of Route 10 in Kosovo.

Work on the first 66km section from the border with North Macedonia to Fushë Kosovë started in August 2019 and should be completed by the end of 2023.

Work on Phase 2, covering the 34km from Fushë Kosovë to Mitrovicë, started in the fourth quarter of 2022. Completion is expected in 2026.

Preparations are ongoing for the upgrade of a third section from Mitrovicë.

The infrastructure of Route 10 is generally in poor condition, severely restricting operations and limiting train speeds to 60km/h.

The upgrade programme includes the replacement of life-expired rail, turnouts and sleepers, as well as the renovation of structures including tunnels and bridges. Station refurbishment is also being carried out.

Track renewals should increase capacity for passenger and freight services, encouraging modal shift from road to rail and contributing to more environmentally sustainable transport in the region.

In total, Route 10 runs for 256km from North Macedonia through Kosovo to Serbia. It forms part of the Extended Core Network of the European Union’s (EU) Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) programme, and the Western Balkans - Eastern Mediterranean Corridor.

The Route 10 upgrade project should also help to meet the objectives of the EU’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which aims to double the amount of freight moving by rail by 2050.

The EIB loan follows investment and technical assistance grants channelled through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), as well as a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

This is the second tranche of EIB loan funding for the Route 10 upgrade project, bringing to €80m the total provided by EIB to fund the modernisation of Kosovo’s railway network.

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