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.
Kaliningrad local services are now operated by "Калининградская пригородная пассажирская компания" (the Kaliningrad Suburban Passenger Company) with its own web pages rather than part of the RZD website that can be accessed here. International service information should be obtained here.
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
Important note about times. The Russian Federation is divided into 11 time zones. Historically, arrival and departure times for both long-distance and local trains were always shown according to Moscow time, irrespective of which time zone the station was located in. From 1 August 2018 these are shown in local (Kaliningrad) time.
Tables for individual lines [valid from different dates as opposed to a period covering them all] are simply posted at stations as no public timetable is published as far as is known. On line details are provided in Russian only on NEW LINK from some time in 2020/21 for Suburban or here for International Services. If you need to query the main RZD website, use Google Translate on the initial www.kzd.rzd.ru request as it translates the whole website for easier drill downs.
- 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.
- European Railway Atlas by M.G. Ball (2008 onwards)
- Dmitry Zinoviev's "Supermap" of the railways of the former USSR (see hyperlinked English legend for key to colour-coding and types of line used).
- Pavel Kashin's map of Kaliningrad oblast
- Thorsten Büker's Map of the Baltic States Although this remains on-line, Mr Büker has advised they are not being updated so note this is dated 26 March 2018
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. The City tramway is metre 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. There are plans for the main line to Lithuania to be electrified.
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.
The city of Kaliningrad.
The network had reduced from ten to two routes by July 2013, and to one since 25 June 2015, route 5 from Улица Бассейная [Basseyna] anti-clockwise through the east side of the city centre to Ул. Дюнная [Dyunnaya] as shown officially here requiring up to 12 trams. But as the only Depot to the south west of South station is not on this route other lengthy sections must remain in use, but no details are known as Timetables have not been located on the Operating Companies website. A real time plotter is available here by selecting Kaliningrad and note there is also bus route 5... Then following delivery of 16 new low floor trams, a second route, line 3 between the South [Main] Station and Central Park resumed in August 2022, and this is shown running direct rather than via the eastern side of the city as per route 5 on the Urbanrail Kaliningrad map. .
Additional information on the system can be found on a wiki site. In January 2021 a Poland based website advised a new tram had passed tests on the system see here, and advised 16 new trams were planned to replace the current fleet, and if an additional 10 are confirmed they would reopen a route from the Main South station to "Central Park". Despite a Tram Tour in July 2013 using an route due north from South station to the main Square to join still existing route 5, the Urbanrail Kaliningrad map shows the only out of use line from South station running east. "Central Park" is believed to be stop Pos.TS BZ-Z at the west end of old route 1 from this Square near Kaliningrad-Severnyi [north station] that had closed in 2008, also shown as out of use on the Urbanrail map.
Recent and future changes
Tram route 3 was reinstated on 5 December 2022.
From 13 December 2020 a service re-commenced via the Zelenogradsk avoiding curve after a number of years without booked use.
With the introduction of new EMU's additional trains were scheduled with effect from 1 June 2018 increasing Zelenogradsk - Svetlogorsk 1 to four pairs, and use of the high level platforms at Kaliningrad North increasing from one pair to 10 unbalanced trains but the latter have subsequently been reduced.
Test trains bookable by the public were run between Kaliningrad and Gdynia via a change of train at Braniewo, and Kaliningrad and Klaipeda with a change of train at Sovetsk in January 2018. If they were related to running cross border trains during the Football World Cup in June 2018 nothing materialised.
With the break-up of the Soviet Union and the changing national political and economic framework plus road competition increasing significantly, there had been both complete closures and service reductions. However, there had also been investment and after the delivery of five new single railbuses services re-commenced from 15 July 2005 on a line previously closed in 2001, [Chernyakhovsk to Zheleznodorozhny] and another was increased from its previous one journey in one direction on one day a week [following a short period of complete withdrawal in 2004] between Chernyakhovsk and Sovetsk. These were obviously not a success as both had been withdrawn again by a July 2013 visit. Elsewhere at that time, just weeks before that 2013 visit the Kaliningrad - Bagrationovsk service was cut back 14km to Strelnya Novaya as a commercial decision, although the track remained in good condition as evidenced by a Charter being allowed to reach Bagrationovsk. At that time the Kaliningrad - Sovetsk line was two pairs a day, one not running during peak summer, and the Kaliningrad - Baltisyk service was three pairs, with the early morning inbound diverted via a curve to Kaliningrad North station for a period from 27.5.2013.
By November 2016 Kaliningrad - Sovetsk was only one SSuX commuter pair towards Kaliningrad, SO to Kaliningrad and SuO to Sovetsk, and Kaliningrad - Baltisyk was just one pair to/from Kaliningrad Main station. A service direct from OP Kiev [Kievskaya in the Quail Kaliningrad insert] to Kaliningrad North [Severnyy on Quail] avoiding Kaliningrad main station was in operation by April 2014, and following a period of no timetabled use, from an unknown date a limited service resumed into the high level platforms at Kaliningrad Severnyy.
Other recent investment has seen the ambience and buildings at the main Kaliningrad station significantly improved, the International passenger services allocated new TEP70 diesel locomotives and all non new EMUs on local passenger services refurbished. However the variations of Soviet designed M62 diesels still work all freights, and with a minimum of a transit visa required for any cross-border rail travel despite two or three a day 15 coach scheduled services through Lithuania and Belarus to Moscow and St Peterburg continuing, the daily Berlin service using the standard gauge line to Braniewo which had been reinstated at the December 2003 timetable change was withdrawn at the end of the summer season in 2012.
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.
It is impossible on all bar one day of the year 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. The exception [according to a Guide on a July 2013 visit to Baltiysk] is the Russian Naval Day on the last Sunday in July when all visitors are welcome and additional services are run.
Since April 2007 the restrictions on visits to other border areas have been tightened and travel to Sovetsk, Bagrationovsk and Mamonowo 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.