Good Practices - Montenegro
Rehabilitation of the existing railway network in Montenegro

The railway network of Montenegro has a length of 326 km and consists of the railway line Bar-Vrbnica-border with Serbia (167 km electrified), the railway line Podgorica – Tuzi - border with Albania, (24km, non-electrified), and the railway line Nikšić - Podgorica, (56km, electrified).

The railway line Bar-Vrbnica (a part of railway line Bar – Belgrade (Serbia)) is a single-track line, it is intended for mixed transport and its length on the territory of Montenegro is 167,1 km. Due to extremely complex configuration of the terrain and the fact that 254 tunnels, with a total length of 114,437 m, were built on the complete line (Belgrade – Bar), which is almost ¼ of its total length, the railway line is very demanding for maintenance, which requires significant financial resources.

When it was built, a train took approximately 7 hours to go from Belgrade and Bar, while now it takes 11-12 hours, due to speed restrictions, as the railway cannot safely sustain the projected speeds prior to thorough reconstruction. Bar – Vrbnica (the latter at the Montenegro – Serbia border) is the most important section of the Montenegrin rail network. It runs through Montenegro from Vrbnica on the north to Bar on the south thus connecting economical and administrative centres and having direct link to Nikšić. As a whole, rail is an important part of the Montenegrin economy, accounting for almost 60% of all freight and 10% of passenger travel (source: WBIF - Orient/East-Med Corridor (R4): Montenegro – Serbia Rail Interconnection). At present, Bar-Belgrade railway does not meet modern rail transport requirements with regard to railway transport, speed, service level and reliability. This situation has led to efforts to start rehabilitation of the railway infrastructure (the main priority regarding transport in Montenegro is reconstruction and upgrade of railway infrastructure).

The Bar-Vrbnica railway line connects the port of Bar with trans-European corridors VII and X and is the most important transportation route for the economy of Montenegro.

Infrastructure Management Plan “IAMP”, developed by the Railway Infrastructure of Montenegro in May 2011, includes the reconstruction of the main railway line “Vrbnica – Bijelo Polje – Podgorica - Bar” (167,4 km). The realization of the following projects is expected by the end of 2020:

  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Kos – Trebješica
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Trebješica – Lutovo
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Lutovo – Bratonožići
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Bratonožići - Bioče
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Bioče – Podgorica
  • Rehabilitation of railway tracks at the railway station Podgorica
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Podgorica – Golubovci
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Golubovci - Zeta
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Zeta - Virpazar
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Virpazar - Sutomore
  • Reconstruction of the line on the part Sutomore - Bar
  • Rehabilitation of railway tracks at the railway station Bar

The railway system of Montenegro comprises:

  • Railway Transport of Montenegro JSC (passenger transport company)
  • Railway Infrastructure of Montenegro JSC (company in charge for management and infrastructure of the railway system)
  • Montecargo JSC (freight transport company)
  • Maintenance of railway rolling stock JSC (company in charge for maintenance of trains and railway vehicles).

Railway system in Montenegro and reconstruction of railway lines (source Montecargo)
3. Challenges and barriers in implementing /introducing selected good practice and respective ways used in order to overcome or limit risks

After more than 30 years of exploitation of railway infrastructure, without significant investments in its maintenance in the last decade the rehabilitation of the railway network in Montenegro became one of the most important priority in field of the transport system in Montenegro. Accordingly, reconstructed infrastructure should contribute to the development of economy, in particular transport infrastructure, reconstruction of the railway infrastructure will help to the better utilization of railway capacities and the Port of Bar as well. In line with development plans in the forthcoming period, it is expected that Railway Infrastructure of Montenegro will continuously dedicate its work to modernization and rehabilitation of the railway network in Montenegro, with a clear objective of better positioning of our country as an intermodal transport center and integration into the Trans-European transport network.

4. Funding mechanism, cooperation schemes developed and institutional reforms made

In previous period, railway infrastructure was financed through 3 type of the funding mechanism:

  • loan arrangements of an international financial institution (e.g. EIB – 14 mill.€, EBRD – 15 mill.€, Czech Export Bank 49 mill.€, etc.);
  • Funding sources from the EU assistance program (e.g. IPA 07 – 1 mill.€, IPA 09 – 5 mill.€, IPA 10 – 5 mill.€, etc.);
  • Contribution by Railway Infrastructure of Montenegro.

Objectives of investing in railway infrastructure of Montenegro are the following:

  • to increase the capacity of railway track Vrbnica – Bar
  • to valorise the capacities of Port of Bar
  • to stimulate development of transport corridor SEETO 4b and its integration into Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T)
  • to stimulate and encourage economic activities within Montenegro and in the region
  • to protect the environment and road infrastructure
  • to attract new operators to the network
  • to enable more modern technologies and services on Montenegrin railway tracks
  • to reach transport efficiency through a principle of competitiveness, fair prices, multimodality and integrity of the transport chain, etc.
  • to increase the speed of trains to the planned speed
5. Factors of success

The opportunity to use IPA funds/grants, as reconstruction of the railway infrastructure is one of the main priorities set by the EU commission and government of Montenegro.

6. Recommendations, transferability

In order for the Project to be financed from the EU funds (in particular IPA funds), it must contribute to the realization of priorities set out in the EU strategic documents and in addition financial resources are allocated exclusively for pre-planned and elaborated Projects, based on the defined tender procedures.

Intermodality Promotion and Rail Renaissance in Adriatic - Ionian Region

This project is supported by the Interreg ADRION Programme funded under the European Regional Development Fund and IPA II fund.

Inter-Connect aims at promoting intermodal passengers transportation and revitalising rail …



Technical Coordinator - Toolkit

Hellenic Institute of Transport
Dr. Maria Morfoulaki
Glykeria Myrovali