The first railway in present day Kosovo was opened in 1874 from Mitrovica to Skopje (in present day North Macedonia), when both countries were part of the Ottoman Empire. It was constructed to standard (1435mm) gauge, as were most later railways in the country.
Subsequent expansion, mostly during the period when the region formed part of Yugoslavia, resulted in a network of some 334km. On the breakup of Yugoslavia, railways in Kosovo were operated by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), transferred to Kosovo Railways following the declaration of independence in 2008 and later renamed Trainkos.
Local passenger services operate from the capital, Prishtina, via Fushë Kosovë to Pejë; from Fushë Kosovë to Hani i Elezit near the southern border of Kosovo; and an intercity service from Prishtina via Fushë Kosovë to Skopje in North Macedonia. Freight traffic operates on the same routes and a few other lines. The international link with Serbia was severed following the declaration of independence, and no trains, passenger or freight, are operated by Trainkos north of Obilić. In 2009, Serbian Railways resumed a service from the border as far as the city of Mitrovica; this is operated effectively as a domestic service of Serbia as the latter goverment does not recognise Kosovo’s independence.
As well as the main line, there were a number of independent industrial railways. One of these, a short railway in Obilić (also known as Kastriot) transporting lignite coal to a power station, operated using steam locomotives until 2014, when the power station closed.
Photo image by David Gubler from bahnbilder.ch