In 1991 Albania's 509 kilometers of standard-gauge rail lines linked Shkodėr with Durrės, Tiranė, Elbasan, Pogradec, Ballsh, and Vlorė. The country's only international rail link, opened in 1986, connected Shkodėr with Yugoslavia's rail system. Albania's communist government focused on developing new rail lines to serve mining regions and the coastal plain. According to official figures, Albania's railroad in 1987 and 1988 carried about 33 percent of the country's total freight tonnage for that period. The opening of the rail link with Yugoslavia facilitated the movement of goods to Europe, and Yugoslav railroads reportedly shipped 174,300 tons of Albanian goods in the first half of 1990, a 19.4 percent increase over the first half of 1989. None of Albania's railroads was electrified. In 1991 vandals and thieves caused so much damage to the tracks and rolling stock that the rail system's transport capacity was cut in half; operations later ceased altogether.
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