The Anonymous Widower

Amber Train Links The Baltic States To Western Europe

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

These paragraphs outline the freight link.

A trial Amber Train service between the Baltic States left the Estonian port of Muuga on September 13, arriving the following day at Kaunas in Lithuanian where its load of semi-trailers was transferred to 1 435 mm gauge wagons for onward transport to destinations including France and the Netherlands.

The 1 520 mm gauge wagons returned to Muuga with trailers for onward sea transport to Finland.

This Google Map shows the Estonian port of Muuga Harbour.

Note.

  1. Muuga Harbour is the largest cargo port in Estonia, located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of the capital Tallinn
  2. It is one of the few ice-free ports in northernmost Europe and one of the most modern ports in the Baltic Sea region.
  3. Enlarging the picture shows a lot of rail lines.

It looks like Muuga Harbour is an ideal Northern terminus for the Amber Train freight service.

This Google Map shows the area of the Kaunus Intermodal Terminal.

Note.

  1. The railway runs diagonally across the map.
  2. Estonia is to the North-East.
  3. Poland is to the South-West.

This map shows how the different gauges are used in the North-East of the previous map.

Note.

  1. Standard gauge tracks are shown in black.
  2. Russian gauge tracks are shown in red.
  3. The standard gauge track ends in the North-East corner of the map.

Trucks would probably moved between trains on parallel tracks in this freight terminal.

It appears to be a very simple way to run piggy-back trains of trucks between The Baltic States and Finland and Central and Western Europe.

Rail Baltica

According to Wikipedia, the location for the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal was chosen as it is compatible with the route of Rail Baltica, which will create a new standard gauge route between Kaunas and Tallinn in Estonia.

The Amber Train

The Amber Train has an impressive web site, where this is said on the home page.

Amber Train is a joint project of the national railways of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. It is an excellent example of cooperation, that offers road and railway clients convenient and efficient freight logistics.
Amber Train is an intermodal train, which runs on the route Šeštokai / Kaunas – Riga – Talinn, thus connecting the three Baltic States by railways and opening new business opportunities for freight shippers.
Exclusivity of the project is the connection of Western and North Europe, using the unique Šeštokai and Kaunas intermodal terminals, which enable the transshipment of freight from the European gauge to the 1520 mm gauge and vice versa.
The train is planned to run 2 times per week (with a future perspective to run up to 4 times per week), delivery time is 24 hours. Train length – up to 43 container wagons.
It is planned, that already in 2021 customers will be offered the opportunity to transport semi-trailers by railways via all three Baltic States. For this purpose, special “pocket” wagons are already in production.
Operations are managed by AB LTG Cargo (Part of Lithuanian Railways group), Latvia’s LDZ Loģistika and Estonia’s Operail.

It appears to be a well-thought out service.

A few years ago, I was on the roads of North-East Poland, about a hundred miles South of Kaunas.

These roads were crowded with large trucks going between The Baltic States and Finland and Central and Western Europe.

I suspect that once the Amber Train is fully established, a proportion of these trucks will go by rail.

 

 

September 26, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lithuania To Germany Intermodal Service To Launch In April

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Lithuanian national railway’s freight business LTG Cargo is to launch a service carrying containers and semi-trailers from the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal to Duisburg in Germany on April 4.

Trains with a capacity of up to 36 semi-trailers and containers will run thrice-weekly on the 1 500 km route. This will be LTG Cargo’s first westward service operating in three countries, with operations in Poland and Germany handled by its LTG Cargo Polska subsidiary.tail

These are more information and my thoughts.

The Route

The route appears to follow a route from Kaunas to Warsaw via

Note.

  1. The links on the names are to the town’s Wikipedia entry.
  2. The border between Lithuania and Poland is between Mockava ans Suwalki.
  3. There are freight yards and change of gauge facilities at Šeštokai and Mockava.

Some of these towns are probably worth a visit, especially if like me, you have Jewish ancestors from the area.

My father’s great-great-grandfather possibly came from Konigsberg in East Prussia and arrived in the UK around 1800.

The Russian And Standard Gauge Solution

Consider.

  • Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have Russian gauge railways which is 1520 mm.
  • Poland, Germany, France, Italy and the UK have standard gauge railways, which is 1435 mm.

The solution has been to build between Kaunus and Šeštokai, to build Russian gauge and standard gauge tracks side by side.

Kaunas Intermodal Terminal

This Google Map may show the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal.

Note the rail yards in the middle of the map, have both Russian and standard gauge tracks.

Rail Baltica

The route taken is the standard gauge route of Rail Baltica, which is an EU project.

  • It will run between Helsinki and Warsaw.
  • Intermediate stops will be Pärnu, Riga, Riga International Airport, Panevėžys, Kaunas and Bialystok
  • Vilnius will be served by a branch from Kaunus.
  • The line will be double track.
  • The line will be electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • Passenger trains will operate at up to 249 kph.
  • Freight trains will operate at up to 120 kph.
  • A tunnel will be built later between Helsinki and Tallinn.

Completion of the route between Warsaw and Tallinn is planned for 2026.

Rail Baltica I

Rail Baltica I is the first section of the route to be opened and is described like this in Wikipedia.

The name Rail Baltica is also sometimes used to mean the first phase of European gauge railway construction from the Poland-Lithuania border to Kaunas in Lithuania.

It opened in October 2016.

The new freight service will use this route to connect to Bialystok and Warsaw.

Conclusion

I have been on the roads in this area of Poland and rail freight services are needed to take the pressure off the roads.

March 31, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments