International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe

After 1946

After 1989

B2-4: Praha as a hub after


Balt Orient routes

Czechoslovakia lost its eastern province of Ruthenia to Russia and now had a common border with Russia between Košice and Čop and this also meant that the former border with Romania was lost.

The political status of central and eastern European states changed to their becoming members of the Soviet bloc. By 1948 Czechoslovakia had joined this bloc and its international connections reflected this political new priority. Connections to Western Europe became very sparse. Most of the capital cities in this bloc had been served directly from pre-war Praha with the exception of Moskva

Praha to Moskva

Not until 1949 did Praha have a direct service to Moskva. On 23 May 1950, a new service started from Praha to Moscow via Čop and Kyiv, thrice-weekly for the summer period,  The routing was provided via the Russian border in the Carpathian mountains at Čop. Service to Moskva from Praha was a regular feature until 1989. Praha lost its pre-war connections to Istanbul, Roma and Athenai.

Praha to other bloc capitals

In 1949, the Balt Orient Express linked Praha to the other Soviet bloc capital cities – Budapest, Beograd, Bucureşti and Sofia. The change in the position of Poland in relation to the Czechoslovak border opened up a new crossing at Międzylesie/Lichkov which connected Praha to Warszawa via Wrocław and Łódź.  Bohumin was the alternative crossing for Praha to Warszawa trains. With regard to Berlin, little changed.

Praha to western capitals

Praha suffered poor through service to Western Europe. After the war the Orient Express was the only service to carry through cars from Paris to Praha and Warszawa via Cheb and Bohumin. The Paris-Praha section of this train lasted until 1964 when it became a separate train. The service from Ostend to Karlovy Vary was also lost.

The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989-91 at first had little impact on services. The basic Balt Orient corridor was upgraded and used more extensively. In 1990 Praha still had direct services to St Peterburg, Moskva and Kyiv via Čop and Lviv. The independence of Slovakia in 1993 provided a new international frontier for the Czech Republic. The routes from Praha through Bohumin to Žilina and Košice survived as did that between Břeclav and Kúty for Praha-Budapest trains.

Paris-Praha trains continued to use the Cheb route until 1993 when the service was diverted through Saarbrücken, Frankfurt/Main, Leipzig and Dresden. Through trains from Paris to Praha had disappeared by 2002. The Fürth im Walde crossing which had supported the Praha-Nurnberg service now saw that service extended to Zürich.

Břeclav remained the chosen route for fast Berlin-Praha-Wien services and Gmünd serviced through trains from Wien to Plžen and Cheb. It is interesting to note that an occasional through service originating from Praha found its way to Thessaloniki via Bratislava, Budapest and Beograd twice weekly. Another like train linked Praha with Venezia and Rimini. For a time there was also a through working starting in Malmö to Praha and Budapest via Berlin and Praha.

Connections between Praha and West Germany continued via Fürth im Walde and Cheb to Nürnberg and München. Praha’s links with Wien maintained the same routing as prior to 1939 – Gmünd or Břeclav.

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