The Anonymous Widower

Lithuanian Gas Pipeline Hit By Large Explosion

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the sub heading.

A large blast has hit a gas pipeline in the Pasvalys region of northern Lithuania, near the Latvian border.

This Google Map shows the location of the explosion.

Note.

  1. Country borders are marked as white lines.
  2. The site of the explosion at Pasvalis Vienkiemii, is marked with a red arrow.
  3. Pasvalis Vienkiemii is about a hundred miles from Vilnius.
  4. About a hundred miles to the East of Pasvalis Vienkiemii, is the point, where Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania meet.
  5. Russian territory is about a hundred miles further to the East.

I have experience of the quality of borders in that area.

South-West of Lithuania and lying between that country and Poland, there is the small Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

These pictures show the border between Poland and the Kaliningrad enclave of Russia.

If the borders between Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania are as secure as this, they are almost an open invitation to saboteurs to enter and do damage.

 

January 14, 2023 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Will Rail Baltica Annoy Putin?

Rail Baltica is described like this in Wikipedia.

Rail Baltica (also known as Rail Baltic in Estonia) is an ongoing greenfield railway infrastructure project to link Finland (via ferry or an undersea tunnel), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania with Poland and through this with the European standard gauge rail line network. Its purpose is to provide passenger and freight service between participating countries and improve rail connections between Central and Northern Europe, specifically the area in the Southeast of the Baltic sea. Furthermore, it is intended to be a catalyst for building the economic corridor in Northeastern Europe. The project envisages a continuous rail link from Tallinn (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland). It consists of links via Riga (Latvia), Kaunas and Vilnius (Lithuania). Rail Baltica is one of the priority projects of the European Union.

These are a few more details.

  • It will be a double-track railway or four tracks if it handles freight.
  • Passenger trains will run at up to 250 kph (155 mph)
  • Electrification will be either 25 KVAC or 3 KVDC overhead.
  • It will be a standard gauge line.
  • There will be no level crossings.
  • It is planned to open around 2026.

The biggest problem could be that some of the route is shared with the Russian gauge line, that connect Kaliningrad to Vilnius and then from there to the main part of Russia.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the railways between Kaliningrad and Vilnius.

Note.

  1. The orange lines are main lines.
  2. The yellow lines are secondary lines.
  3. The orange line going West goes to Kaliningrad.
  4. The dark grey line crossing the railway is the border of the Kaliningrad enclave, which was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1945.
  5. The orange line going South  goes to Bialystok, Warsaw and all places to the West.
  6. The loop in the line is at Kaunus, where there will be an interchange between the two lines.
  7. The orange lines going East go to Vilnius.
  8. The dotted red line in the North-East corner of the map, will be new track for Rail Baltica.

The new railway will effectively squeeze itself between Kaliningrad and Kaunus.

Railway Gauges In Poland and the Baltic States

Consider.

  • Most, if not all of the railways in the Baltic States are Russian gauge.
  • The line between Kaliningrad and Kaunus is Russian gauge.
  • Most of the railway lines in Poland are standard gauge.
  • The EU likes all new high speed lines like Rail Baltica to be built to standard gauge and have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Kaunus is in Lithuania, so NATO control access to Kaliningrad in sensitive times.

I can’t believe that Vlad likes the current situation and would probably prefer Rail Baltica to be built to Russian gauge, as it would enable the Russian Army to easily move tanks into the Baltic States.

Conclusion

There’s a chance that Vlad will make trouble.

March 6, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

DHL Targets 10-day China – Europe Transit Time

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

A few points from the article.

  • The route is 9,400 km long.
  • The train goes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.
  • Entry to the EU is at Braniewo in Poland.
  • The current terminals are Xi’an in China and Hamburg and Neuss in Germany.
  • Other proposed terminals include Budapest and Milan.
  • Estimated transit time is 10-12 days, as opposed to the current 15-plus days.

I’ve actually 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 wildlife.

We also got to see the Russian border.

The tag Poland In Winter shows all the posts from that trip.

 

 

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Purfleet Ro-Ro Terminal

This article on the BBC is entitled Essex Lorry Deaths: 39 Found Dead Were Chinese Nationals.

The tragedy has got me wondering, where did the lorry enter the UK.

So I drew this Google Map of Purfleet.

Note.

  1. The c2c rail line between Fenchurch Street and Southend via Grays, that runs West-East across the top of the map.
  2. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link runs diagonally across the corner of the map.
  3. The approach roads to the Dartford Crossing running North-South at the East of the map.

The Purfleet Ro-Ro Terminal lies to the South-west of these railways and road, with piers for the ships strewtching out into the River Thames.

If you enlarge the map by clickjing on it, you’ll see rows of trailers parked ready to cross the Channel or having just arrived.

You canm also see it from Eurostar and other high speed trains or when going South on the Dartford Bridge.

Immigration

Illegal or legal, there is always a lot of strong views about immgration.

  • In Did The Tailor Of Bexley Come From Koningsberg?, I discuss how my paternal great-great-great-grandfather came to the UK from Konigsberg in Germany, which is now Kaliningrad in Russia!!
  • On my mother’s side my family were French Huguenot and probably came over some decades earlier.

So I tend to have a variety of views about immigration depending on the point being discussed.

  • For instance, is it right to deny those who were persecuted like my ancestors for religious reasons, the right to come to the UK. I’d be a hypocrite.
  • On the other hand, those who want t come for criminal reasons should be turned away.

The Chinese, a number of whom perished in the Purfleet trgedy are a difficult group to think about. China is a place, where I would not want to live and if I had the money to get out, I would want to leave, as many have over the years. Twenty years ago, I met a Chinese lady of my age, who’d escaped by swimming into Hog Kong.

Darwin talked of natural selection and in some way immigration is natural selection at work.

The intelligent, ambitious and resourceful ones, are the immigrants who tend to get to their preferred destination. The ones who lack these character traits either stay put or don’t make it.

I often think of my Jewish great-great-grandfather, who at eighteen had just qualified as a tailor after serving his apprenticeship. The law in the City was that if you were a Jewish male of eighteen and not one of the privileged families you had to leave.

So he jumped on a ship and ended up Bexley. No doubt, being a tailor, he was able to find a small space for his tools.

I certainly, think I inherited some of his good genes along with those for coeliac disease.

But was my ancestor any different to the skilled Iraqis, Brazilians or Ethiopians today?

 

 

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

England In Kaliningrad

There is a good chance, that my great-great-great-grandfather; Robert Muller, came from East Prussia, the capital of which was Konigsberg East Prussia was annexed by the Soviet Union after the Second World |War and Konigsberg was renamed Kaliningrad.

My father was about fourteen, when his grandfather died and my father once told me, that his grandfather had told him, about meeting Robert, who would have been his grandfather’s grandfather.

Apparently, the elderly man didn’t speak any English and only spoke German. Knowing that my male line is Jewish, I wonder if it wasn’t German but Yiddish.

Konigsberg was an important city and the Prussian

Wikipedia has a section about the Jews in Konigsberg, where this is said.

The Jewish population of Königsberg in the 18th century was fairly low, although this changed as restrictions became relaxed over the course of the 19th century. In 1756 there were 29 families of “protected Jews” in Königsberg, which increased to 57 by 1789. The total number of Jewish inhabitants was less than 500 in the middle of the 18th century, and around 800 by the end of it, out of a total population of almost 60,000 people.

Speaking to someone at the German History Museum, a lot of Jewish men had to leave East Prussia, when they became adults, unless they were protected.

As Robert would have been a young adult,, when he turned up in Bexley, I suspect that soon after he qualified as a tailor, he left the area.

This keeping out of the way of trouble, is very much a family trait.

Konigsberg was at that time a port city and there was quite a lot of trade with London. So I suspect getting to London was not that great a problem.

I very much regret not asking my father for more details.

Like me my father was an atheist, although with a Jewish philosophy of life. He was also very much against fascists, communists and dictators of both the left and right. He was proud to have been at the Battle of Cable Street, when the East End of London stopped Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirts.

In some ways, I regret not being at the match tonight. But then I was advised that there would be trouble.

I have been to the Polish border with the Russian enclave. I wrote about it in At Poland’s Border With Russia.

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments