Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) - General Information

From EGTRE

Country Name

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.

Official Website

kzd.rzd.ru (totally in Russian, except that hovering over links reveals Roman text).

Language

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.

Currency

1 Rouble = 100 Kopeks.

UIC code

numeric: 20; alpha: RUS

Timetable

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 will henceforth be shown in local (Kaliningrad) time.

No public timetable is published; as far as is known details are simply posted at stations with tables for individual lines valid from different dates as opposed to a period covering them all. Train timings are also provided in Russian only on www.kzd.rzd.ru and in tabulated form by selecting Пассажирские перевозки from left hand boxes and then [as at January 2018] the fifth tab for Suburban or the third tab for International Services. Using Google Translate on the initial www.kzd.rzd.ru request translates the whole website for easier drill downs.

Maps

Printed Maps

  • 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)

Web-based Maps

Ticketing

See General Information

Gauge

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.

Electrification

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

Right.

Other Railways

None.

Tourist Lines

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.

Metro

None.

Trams

Kaliningrad. The network had reduced from ten to two routes by July 2013, and a visitor in May 2016 advised, and the wiki site for this system confirms this is reduced further to just one route number 5 from Улица Бассейная completing a large anti-clockwise circle around the city centre via Улица 9 Апреля. However the only Depot is now some distance off this remaining route so other lengthy parts must remain in use, but it is not known if these are run in service as no Timetables are published on the Operating Companies website. Up to date information on this tram system would be appreciated by the Compilers.

Recent and future changes

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.

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 have been both complete closures and service reductions in the last decade. However, there had 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 [Chernyakhovsk to Sovetsk] but these had obviously not been a success as both had been withdrawn again by a July 2013 visit. Elsewhere at that time, just weeks before that 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 there. The Kaliningrad - Sovetsk line was two pairs a day, one not running during peak summer, and the Kaliningard - Baltisyk service was three pairs, with the early morning inbound diverted via a curve to Kaliningrad North station with effect from 27.5.2013.

By November 2016 Kaliningrad - Sovetsk was only one SSuX commuter pair towards Kaliningrad, SO towards Kaliningrad and SuO to Sovetsk, and Kaliningrad - Baltisyk service was just one pair to/from Kaliningrad Main station. Other recent changes [November 2015?] had been the introduction of a four pair service direct from OP Kiev [Kievskaya in the Quail Kaliningrad insert] to Kaliningrad North [Severnyy on Quail] avoiding Kaliningrad main station, and a limited service again into the high level platforms at Kaliningrad Severnyy with details in the Obscure services section.

Other investment has seen the ambience and buildings at the main Kaliningrad station significantly improved in recent years, the International passenger services were now exclusively TEP70's and all non new DEMUs on local passenger services have been refurbished. However the ubiquitous variations of Soviet designed M62 diesels still work all freights, and the minimum of a transit visa required for any cross-border rail travel has perhaps impacted on International traffic as despite two or three a day 15 coach scheduled services through Lithuania and Belarus to the like of Moscow and St Peterburg continuing, the daily Berlin service using the standard gauge line to Braniewo which had been reinstated in December 2003 timetable change was withdrawn at the end of the summer season in 2012.

Special notes

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.

See also