Ebitda reached €9.7m in 2017, more than triple the €3.2m achieved in 2016, while operating revenues in the same period grew from €54.6m to €58m. Operating expenses dropped by €3.1m to €48.3m.

ŽFBiH general manager, Mr Enis Džafić, pointed out that Ebitda has been growing for three years in a row and last year’s result was triple that of 2016, while in an almost equal proportion revenues grew and expenses were reduced.

Key growth drivers include increasing revenues from freight and passenger traffic, maintenance of locomotives and wagons for other users, and the provision of services such as locomotives and rolling stock leasing.

Freight volumes remained virtually level with 2016 at 8.87 million tonnes, while passenger numbers rose from 258,000 to 255,000. Džafić says this is mainly due to the introduction of Talgo trains on Sarajevo - Čapljina and Sarajevo - Banja Luka services.

A reduction in the size of the workforce generated a €2m saving for ŽFBiH in 2017 as 115 jobs were lost, taking the total to 431 for the last three years.

Looking ahead Džafić expects the electrification of the 47km Blatno - Bihać line to be completed by the summer, enabling the reinstatement of passenger trains on this route after a 27-year hiatus, with a new Talgo service from Sarajevo to Bihać.

With the completion of this project, ŽFBiH will fulfill its commitment to reconnect all of the main regional centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina with passenger trains.