The International Steam Pages

Steam in Kosovo, 2007

Torsten Schneider has been to Kosovo and reports on the railways and potential steam activity. Click here for a report of the 2003 position.

The railways in the Kosovo are nowadays operated by Kosovske Želesnice / Hekurudhat e Kosovës / Kosovo Railways. Passenger services are limited to two intercity services each way Pristina - Kosovo Polje - Skopje (Macedonia), plus two “Freedom“ trains per day each way from Kosovo Polje south to the Macedonian border, and north via Mitrovica to Lešak at the demarcation line with the rest of Serbia. For these passenger services usually 2 or 3 of the 4 Nohab diesels are needed each day, which had been donated by Norvegian State Railways (formerly class Di3). There also is a Monday and Friday only shuttle from Kosovo Polje to Gravanice, operated by formerly Italian ALn 668 railcars. However, the Monday evening I was in Kosovo Polje I did not see that shuttle service. There are regular (once or twice daily) freight trains from Kosovo Polje south to the Macedonian border. These trains are hauled by one of the four operational ex JŽ class 661 diesels. Also, on two of my three
days in Kosovo Polje I saw empty freight wagons added to the north bound afternoon “Freedom“ train. I presumed they would go to Obilic coal mine, but was told they were bound for Mitrovica. I did not see the new Vossloh diesel locomotive. The near-by depot harbours many more inoperational diesel locomotives of Yugoslavian, German, French and Swedish origin. Most still carry their original numbers and railway company logos, some are marked “KFOR“. On several occasions I was asked for authorization to take pictures. In the depot in Kosovo Polje I got one after a friendly conversation and was able to continue with my activities, for the station and its surroundings I had obtained one beforehand from the administration in the station. 

In the literature, the coal mine Obilic, about 5 km north of Kosovo Polje, has been reported to have three steam locomotives of Yugoslavian class 62, of which 1 or 2 were in daily use in 203. During my visit, in the middle of the heating period with increased demand for coal, I considered the coal line to be at best in sporadic use. During the two days of my visit all three locomotives were parked in the yard. 62-636 is withdrawn, 62-670 was operational but cold, and 62-676 was under repair. The depot is easily accessible. It is located outside to the south of the coal processing plant, about 500 metres to the right after level-crossing the road from Dardhistë station (first stop from Kosovo Polje). 

At least one more steam locomotive exists in the Kosovo: plinthed 01-043 outside Kosovo Polje station. To complete my observations, from a train I saw a small industrial diesel shunter at Zvecan steel plant in the Serb-inhabited sector of Kosovo just north of Mitrovica. 

Finally, a wonderful locomobile (portable engine), made by Ruston, Proctor & Co. Ltd., Lincoln (no numbers or dates on the plate) can be admired outside a restaurant about 300 metres from Kosovo Polje station. The owner told me that it appeared to belong to nobody when he found it and the authorities allowed him to take and restore it. 

Kosovo Polje is dotted with ruined houses, even along entire roads, formerly Serb owned. UN police told me the last executions of Serbs by Albanians had taken place as short ago as 2004, in the near slaughter house (how convenient). I left Kosovo with rather mixed feelings. 

Rob Dickinson