The Anonymous Widower

Railways In North East Poland

Look at this Google Map of the Polish town of Goldap, where we stopped for supplies on our holiday.



Just to the North of the main road, it appears that there is the recognisable scar of a multiple-track railway.

Our Polish guide confirmed that Goldap had a large station with several platforms, and that it is still there.

Until the end of the Second World War, this area was East Prussia and was part of Germany. The railways were connected to the Prussian Eastern Railway, which connected Berlin to the major East Prussian city of Koningsberg. The Prussian Eastern Railway still exists as far as Braniewo on the Polish side of the Border, but there doesn’t appear to be a rail connection onward to Kaliningrad as Koningsberg is now called. This Google Map shows the area from Braniewo in Poland to Mamonova in Russia.

Braniewo To Mamonova

Braniewo To Mamonova

The white line across the map is the border.

You can pick out the old railway from Braniewo to Mamonova.

If we lived in a sane and reasonable world, which I’m afraid that President Putin doesn’t, it would appear that some form of direct rail connection could be created, which would connect Russia and the Baltic States to Poland.

There is the problem of gauge as like Spain, Ireland and India, Russian railways don’t use the same gauge as everybody else. At one time the platforms in Kaliningrad-Passazhirsky station, were arranged so that those facing Poland were standard gauge and the others were Russian gauge.

As a train enthusiast, wouldn’t it be nice to travel from Berlin to Kaliningrad by luxury train, spend some hours in the city, before taking a train on to St. Petersburg.

It would sadly appear that Putin doesn’t have the commercial nous to run the Russian equivalent of a whelk stall.

It is a long term ambition of the European Union to connect the Baltic States and Finland to the rest of the European Union by rail, they have funded the creation of Rail Baltica. This map shows the route.

Rail Baltica

Rail Baltica


The objectives are broadly as follows.

  • Build a 200 kph double-track standard gauge railway all the way.
  • By-pass Russia and Belarus.
  • Put a lot of the extensive freight traffic in the area on the railway rather than the roads.

The overall aim is to finish by 2025, although rumours persist that the section from Warsaw to Kaunas in Lithuania could open this year.

An interesting take on the project is given by this article on the Latvia Public Broadcasting web site, which is entitled Rail Baltica hits buffers at Polish border. This is said.

Even though Poland has allotted €16 billion to modernizing its railroads by 2023, not a single zloty has been earmarked to be spent on developing the connection to Rail Baltica at the Polish side of the border with Lithuania. Without this 200-kilometer section, the planned high-speed European gauge rail from Tallinn through Rīga through Kaunas won’t be connected with the rest of Europe, reported LSM’s Russian-language site on Friday.

It does appear that the section between Bialystok and Trakiszki isn’t up to scratch.

There is an interesting take on Rail Baltica in this article on a blog, which is entitled Rail Baltica Project Directed against Russia’s Security, Pavlovsky Says. This is said.

The Rail Baltica project, eventually intended to link Berlin with Helsinki via Poland and the three Baltic countries is “extremely doubtful from an economic point of view” but has obvious security implications for the region and Russia’s interests there, according to Moscow commentator Igor Pavlovsky.

            The project, which will allow trains to pass from one end of the line to the other without changing from Western to Russian gage track, may never carry as many passengers or as much freight as its boosters claim, he writes on; but it can carry troops and materiel from the West to the border of Russia.

Ever since I first heard of Rail Baltica, I’ve been rather surprised on the silence from Putin and his merry thugs!





January 30, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] been to the area around Braniewo, which before the Second World War was partly in Germany. I wrote Railways In North East Poland about my trip, which was mainly to see […]

    Pingback by DHL Targets 10-day China – Europe Transit Time « The Anonymous Widower | April 24, 2020 | Reply

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