Trains from Kaliningrad to Berlin may start running again next year

The Russian Railways Ministry is planning to reopen the railway line between Kaliningrad and Berlin next year. This was announced by Deputy Railways Minister Yuri Diakonov at a press conference in Kaliningrad today, where he has gone to inspect the railway line.

Preparations should be complete by December 19 this year when the 2004 schedule for international trains will be confirmed. At the same time, however, negotiations are still going on with Poland. The Russian ministry insists that the train should take the shortest route, which is via Shetsin, but Poland says it will be necessary to send an express train through Warsaw.

'We disagree with this entirely as the proposed route would make the journey considerably longer and it would make ticket prices too high for ordinary Russian people,' Mr Diakonov stressed. He added that the given project is of both economic and political significance as the establishment of an international railway line 'will be one more step towards the integration of Russia and the Kaliningrad Region with a united Europe.'

There is already a railway track from Kaliningrad to Europe in place. The Kaliningrad-Berlin train traveled along this line between 1994 and 1999. The line was closed by Poland for being unprofitable. Now Germany has expressed its willingness to compensate Poland for its losses and this has paved the way for trilateral negotiations about reopening the line.

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