International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe

Beyond Berlin


Warszawa as a hub Moskva as a hub Baltic States 1914 to 90 Baltic states from 1990 Paris to Moskva

Berlin eastward, the Paris-Moskva route was affected by border changes. In 1914, Germany  abutted the Russian Empire to the east.   After the cessation of the First World War, the peace treaties  held at Paris and Riga from 1918-21 laid down the new boundaries of a new state called Poland. The new German-Polish boundary split Prussia from Germany by a wedge of territory called the Polish Corridor. This disrupted the former main line from Berlin to Kaliningrad and Russia.

In the north eastern part of Germany there was one main border crossing in 1914 - Toruń/Alexandrów Kujawski   This route had been built to standard gauge in 1862 connecting Toruń with Warszawa by joining the Warszawa-Wien line at Skierniewice which was also standard gauge.

By 1921, the Berlin-Moskva line and Berlin-Sankt Peterburg line now crossed into Poland at Zbąszyń. A new line from Poznan to Kutno was opened in 1920 reducing the distance via Toruń by 73km.

Some trains from Berlin to Warszawa diverged at Poznan and

headed for Warszawa via Ostrów and Łódź. The Baltic States boundaries were determined at Riga. The Russians were preoccupied by the Revolution of 1918 onwards and took little part in the boundary delimitation.

The Warszawa-St Peterburg line connected with the Berlin-St Peterburg line through Vilnius and Daugavpils. This had arrived in Warszawa in 1866.  An important alternative from Berlin to Riga was routed through Kaliningrad to Vilnius and Daugavpils where it could cross into Russia at Indra.  The main traffic from Warszawa and Berlin for Russia used the Warszawa/Białystok/Niegoreloje route. Due to gauge changes at Niegoreloje and Indra passengers for Russia had to change trains.  These arrangements remained in place until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

In 1914, there were three through trains in each direction between Warszawa and St Peterburg but after 1918 through trains ceased and the main use of this route was between Riga and St Peterburg and between Warszawa and Riga via Daugavpils. Some Warszawa-Moskva traffic used this route between Warszawa and Białystok, diverging eastward at this point via Baranovichi to the Russian frontier at Stołpce.

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