International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe

C:1 Warszawa-Roma services  

Services to 1939

During the 20th Century there ws a fairly consistent service from Warszawa to Roma. For a short time before 1914 St Peterburg was connected to the French Riviera once weekly via Warszawa, Wien, Milano and Genova. This carried the Russian aristocracy to their winter  resort. Other than that this was a line of two portions-Warszawa-Wien and Wien-Trieste.

In the interwar years, services from Wien to Roma were routed through Graz and Pragersko where they often merged with a portion from Budapest.

In 1914 there were no through trains from Warszawa-Praha.  Between 1920-39, trains used the Warszawa-Wien-Roma spine route to Bohumin and then served Přerov on the way to Praha. When the boundary of Poland and Czechoslovakia moved westwards in 1946 an additional frontier crossing between Czechoslovakia and Poland at Lichkov was used with trains routed via Hradec Králové, Lichkov and Łódz. Otherwise the standard route was the main line from Praha to Přerov and Bohumin crossing the Polish frontier at Petrovice. The route after that took in Katowice and in the later years of the 20th Century, the new CMK high speed line to Warszawa.

Aristocracy besides the sea side

In the 19th century, St Peterburg was the seat of the Russian monarchy and aristocracy. In 1898 a service was started linking St Peterburg with the French Riviera twice weekly during the winter season. This was the northern extension of a similar train which originated in Wien. The route lay through Wien, Venezia, Milano and Genova to Nice.

Warszawa-Roma in 1939 & 1970

Services after 1946

After 1945, this picture changed in that the Wien-Warszawa route lost the traffic to Berlin and Romania and Russia it had enjoyed up to the Second World War. Russian traffic from Austria was routed this way. This culminated in the Chopin Express from Moskva to Wien via Warszawa.  Service from Roma via Wien survived until 1970 but the service had declined to one service a week and was provided by a Moskva-Roma sleeping car. After a period of thirteen years, the Warszawa-Roma service was resumed via Zagreb and Budapest on a thrice-weekly basis during summer only omitting Wien.

The service patterns contained little through working between locations north of Wien and those to the south. The Warszawa-Roma service was the main exception to this.  By 1997, this spine consisted of two sectors (Roma-Wien, Wien-Warszawa) which saw no through working.

The Wien-Warszawa sector carried through trains from Warszawa to Budapest. For most of the 20th Century Hungarian passengers for Warszawa were taken by a number of different routes.  In the inter-war period, the main route was either via Galanta to Bohumin, or via Filakovo and Vrutky to Bohumin. From there, the Polish boundary was crossed at Petrovice and trains travelled via Katowice to Warszawa. After 1946, Bratislava was served by some of these trains.  Sometimes, these trains avoided Bratislava by using the route from Galanta to Leopoldov, thence Žilina. With the independence of Slovakia in 1993, the Budapest-Warszawa trains were diverted through a re-opened crossing into Poland at Skalité. This avoided crossing Czech territory. By 2007 this was the route of the sole return working between the two capitals.


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