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Italian company to upgrade Albania’s main railway link

February 3, 2021 GMT

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania on Wednesday signed a 90-million-euro ($108 million) contract with Italian I.N.C. Spa for railway infrastructure work.

The Infrastructure Ministry signed a contract with the Turin-based company to upgrade the 34.2-kilometer (21 mile) rail link between Albania’s main port of Durres and the capital, Tirana. The company will also build a new 5.7-kilometer (3.4 mile) link with the Tirana International Airport Mother Teresa.

The work is planned to be completed in summer 2023, according to Minister Belinda Balluku.

The upgrade will be funded with a 36.6-million-euro ($44 million) European Union grant, a 36.8-million-euro loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is also providing a smaller grant, and the Albanian government.

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Trains will make the Durres-Tirana trip in 22 minutes and from Tirana to the airport in 12 minutes with a speed of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

Albania’s 420-kilometer (260-mile) rail network is in a dilapidated state using pre-1990 diesel-powered engines and wagons.