International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe



Western Europe Links Eastern Europe Links Paris to Moskva

The Berlin hub was and remains a dominant node in German affairs with differing fortune in the 20th Century. Its importance is mirrored by the rail  routes it commanded of which the Paris-Moskva line had widespread European significance.

 Up to 1939, Berlin's radial role saw it  strongly connected with Western and Central Europe by a variety of routes. Major routes to the south and south east connected Berlin with Praha, Wien, Budapest and București. These also carried traffic spasmodically to Athenai and Istanbul.


Before the Second World War, an important main route existed linking Berlin with București via Kraków – the Berlin-Bucuresti route This route ceased owing to the political upheaval of 1946 and was not resumed as a link between Berlin and București. To the south Berlin-Italy traffic found a variety of routes often via Switzerland or Munchen-Brennero.

The coming of the German Democratic Republic in 1950 put a political stranglehold on access to Berlin from Central and Western Europe. Main lines which lead to the capital cities of the Soviet bloc states enjoyed a more substantial service than in 1939. Berlin re-emerged as capital of a united Germany in 1991 and the radial nature of routes began to re-emerge. St Peterburg traffic was re-routed through Warszawa as Kaliningrad was now a terminus for Russian traffic. Riga was no longer served directly from Berlin as in 1939.

 The major event for Berlin's railways in the 21st Century was the construction of the new Berlin Hauptbahnhof in 2006 on the site of the former Lehrterbahnhof and the driving of a new north-south main line to complement the upgraded Stadtbahn which runs east-west through the city. The ICE network serves western destinations- München and Köln and also is linked to Praha and beyond. Poland is an important target and through services from Berlin find themselves in Szczecin, Gdansk, Warszawa and Kraków  

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