Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) - General Information
Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) (Калининградская область)
National railway system
Part of RZD [Rossiyskiye Zheleznye Dorogi]. Kaliningrad Oblast [Region] is now isolated from the rest of the Russian Federation, even more so after the expansion of the European Union on 1 May 2004 as its only borders are with the EU countries of Lithuania and Poland.
www.klgzhd.narod.ru (totally in Russian, except that hovering over links reveals Roman text).
Russian [Cyrillic characters] with limited signs at main stations in German and English. The BGN/PCGN system (British Standard) is used here. Line numbers quoted in this guide are as shown on the 1995 Quail Railway map.
1 Rouble = 100 Kopeks.
numeric: 20; alpha: RUS
No public timetable is published; as far as is known details are simply posted at stations. Train timings are also provided in Russian only on www.klgzhd.narod.ru.
Sections of Dmitry Zinoviev's "Supermap" of the railways of the former USSR, for example parovoz.com/maps/supermap/supermap.php?X=E&Y=2&LANG=en (see hyperlinked English legend for key to colour-coding and types of line used).
Pavel Kashin's map of Kaliningrad oblast is available at: foto.mail.ru/mail/ngrw_paul/-?page=2#photo=/mail/ngrw_paul/-/102
An atlas of the Baltic States - including Kaliningrad with Roman and German place-names on it - was published in 1995 by the Quail Map Co. (ISBN 1 898319 10 3). Although the atlas is now out of print, it may be obtainable second-hand.
Broad (1520 mm), except for standard-gauge links in use [two], or disused [one] across the southern border with Poland. As the Oblast was historically part of Germany, lines built as standard gauge were subsequently converted to broad gauge. There were also German-style narrow-gauge lines: all closed some time ago although remains are visible.
3 kV dc for an isolated regional network to the north and west of the capital Kaliningrad, on two routes [Kaliningrad - Zelenogradsk - Pionerskiy and Kaliningrad - Pionerskiy - Svetlogorsk II], with all other lines unelectrified.
Rule of the road
None as far as is known, as the Oblast does not appear to have the usual “Pioneer” public narrow-gauge railway that combines a hobby activity for teenagers with practical training in railway operation. There is a small Railway Museum at the east end of the main passenger station at Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad (eight routes).
Recent and future changes
With the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the changing national political and economic framework, road competition has increased significantly, and there have been both complete closures and service reductions in the last decade. However, after the delivery of five new single railbuses, services re-commenced from 15 July 2005 on one line previously closed in 2001, and another was increased from its previous one journey in one direction on one day a week service that had followed a short period of complete withdrawal in 2004. The lines concerned are Chernyakhovsk to Zheleznodorozhny and Chernyakhovsk to Sovetsk respectively, now with two pairs on each.
However, there has also been investment, for example the ambience and buildings at the main Kaliningrad station have been significantly improved in recent years, and a few new railbuses have been delivered. The ubiquitous variations of Soviet designed M62 diesels still work many of the main line passenger services and freights, with dated wooden seated 4-car Ganz design DEMUs on local passenger services.
With a minimum of a transit visa required for any cross-border rail travel, this could impact in due course on International traffic, but in 2004 there are scheduled services as far as Berlin, Moscow and Odesa.
The daily Berlin service was only reinstated at the December 2003 timetable change and this uses the standard gauge line to Braniewo and this is an extension of the service to Gdynia in Poland. It uses high quality refurbished RZD couchettes and day coaches, detached/attached to other services at Gdynia and Poznań.
Passenger services on the RZD railway network are either local or long distance; in principle,
“platskarts”: equivalent to 3rd class; open carriages
“kupe”: equivalent to 2nd class; compartments for 4 people
“spalny vagon”: equivalent to 1st class; compartments for 2 people.
Local services stopping at most or all stations and halts en route do not require reservations, so they have separate ticket office windows.
Long-distance services within the broad-gauge area consist of several coaches divided into compartments, which can be converted into sleeping accommodation for use overnight, and hauled by locomotives. Advance reservation is required for all travel by these trains; intending travellers must present an identity card/passport when making reservations (this is a precaution against 'ticket touts').
It is impossible to travel to Baltiysk on the scheduled passenger service without a permit, as it remains the base for the Russian Navy Baltic fleet and is a restricted area. Trains are stopped at an isolated platform for passes and permits to be examined, and enthusiasts attempting to travel without suitable authority have been ejected.
Since April 2007 the restrictions on visits to other border areas have been tightened and travel to the Sovetsk and Bagrationovsk area is also only allowed with special permission. See www.kaliningrad.aktuell.ru/kaliningrad/im_gebiet/kaliningrad_grenzschutz_weitet_sperrzonen_aus_102.html (in German).
Passenger train numbering
Throughout the broad-gauge network of the former Soviet Union, long-distance passenger trains are numbered in the range below 1000, in many cases followed by a letter. The most important trains are numbered below 100. In principle, each train whose destination is to the south and/or west of its origin bears an odd number; the corresponding return working bears the following even number. Note that some run only on alternate days (always odd or even dates at a particular station en route). The schedule for each can be consulted on-line by entering the train number. Local passenger trains are generally numbered in the 6xxx range.