Daily Kaliningrad-Berlin rail connection announced

The Kaliningrad-Berlin passenger line, which starts service December 14, will operate daily. The information was provided to a Rosbalt reporter by Aleksandr Pershin, press secretary of the chief of the Kaliningrad Railway.

Earlier plans had called for three runs a week. But, first, German tourism agencies evinced strong interest in the route and declared their willingness to come to a long-term agreement with the railway to maintain a stable level of passenger use. Second, as Sergei Kozyrev, vice president of Russian Railways, said, he is 'not disturbed by the fact that only an insignificant percentage Kaliningrad residents now have visas for traveling to Europe.' Kozyrev has been following the progress of preparing the line.

'As a rule, rail connections stimulate business and tourism, but the planned 2004 opening of a German consulate in Kaliningrad changes the situation radically ,' he said. 'So, in view of the plan for the consulate and the outlook for relations between Kaliningrad Region and the European Union, Russian Railways is already working as if the future were here.'

Russian Railways has already invested USD 2.7 million in the Kaliningrad-Gdynia-Berlin route, much of it to repair the border station at Mamonovo and to rebuild the track from Kaliningrad to Mamonovo and thus cut an hour from the travel time to the Polish border.

At first, only one car of the Kaliningrad-Gdynia train, which proceeds to Prague, will go on to Berlin. As the number of passengers increases, the number of such cars will as well.

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