International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe

Service Development


Nord Express Ost West Express Scandinavia to Russia Service Performance Paris to Moskva

  Up to 1914, the Paris-Moskva route hosted the Nord Express, a once-weekly de-luxe service from Paris to Warszawa and Moskva. It was not the sole such service.


 After 1919  Warszawa gained its first post-war connection from Western Europe on 18 February 1919 albeit via Nürnberg and Praha. This train was for the use of military and diplomatic personnel only and avoided German territory. It was referred to as the Ententezug. In 1920 a through service to Warszawa was initiated starting at Calais and Ostend to Praha with an onward extension to Warszawa via Bohumin. By 1921 the Nord Express had restarted with Warszawa as its eastern terminus.

  Paris-Warszawa trains ran for most of the inter-war years. Moskva was served by an onward change of train at Warszawa. In the late 1930s a through service connected Paris with the Russian-Polish border at Niegoreloje/Stołpce where passengers transhipped due to the gauge change for their onward travel to Moskva. Trains from Warszawa to the Russian border were routed through Białystok between the wars. Afterwards this traffic took the present route through Brest.

 The year 1946 saw the restablishment of services from Paris to Warszawa as part of the Orient Express via Nürnberg, Praha and Bohumin. As with the service in 1920, the aim was to avoid crossing German territory. An interesting observation is that the this new Orient Express carried through cars from Paris to Gdynia via Warszawa but this facility had been discontinued by 1949. It was 1950 before service recommenced from Paris through Berlin to Warszawa. This pattern of service from Paris either via Berlin or via Praha, survived until 1961 when the Praha-Warszawa section of the Orient Express was withdrawn. This lead to the creation of a Paris-Warszawa train which ran via Forbach, Bebra and Berlin and often carried through cars from Paris to Kraków but these were routed from Bebra to Leipzig and Wrocław in southern Poland.

 After 1945, Paris ceased to provide through cars to Moskva until 1960 when a new unnamed service was provided using Russian sleeping cars which continued until this service became the Ost-West Express in 1969 (Follow the link above).  

 Hoek of Holland gained its first service to Moskva in 1960 and this arrangement lasted until 1993. Often in the Summer service cars for Moskva travelled as the Hoek Warsaw Express but in winter were amalgamated with the Nord West Express to København. Of note here is a working from Hoek to Leipzig and Kraków in 1972. Ostend was served by the Nord Express and the Ost West Express.

 Finally, an odd working on this route - Berlin-Siberia . A weekly service was started in 1997 connecting Berlin with Siberian destinations by avoiding Moskva.

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