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Kaliningrad 2004 - Day 1

April 29, 2004

Route: Braniewo PKP - Mamonovo - Golubievo - O.p. 5 km (Dzerzhinskaya) - Bagrationovsk - O.p. 5 km - Golubievo - Kaliningrad
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Diesel railcar in Mamonovo Kaliningrad Region

The trip started on Polish border station Braniewo. We boarded chartered „Marfusha“ railcar and set on the trip along the Ostbahn towards Kaliningrad. In a short while, we reached Russian station of Mamonovo (Heiligenbeil), beautifully rebuilt recently. They let us go without much bureaucracy and we continued to Golubievo (Seepothen). The line is double-track, trains can run both along a broad and a standard gauge. In Golubievo, the standard-gauge track turns East to station „O.p. 5 km“ (O.p. = ostanovochnyi punkt = train stop; some stations in the former USSR simply do not have any better name), where it merges with an unused standard-gauge track from G³omno, Poland. The train took us to Bagrationovsk (Pr Eylau), last station before Polish border. From there, we returned back through O.p. 5 km to Golubyevo and carried on to Kaliningrad. Accommodation was arranged in Hotel Deima in a suburb.

A Russian guide was with us all the way, answering our questions regarding the past and present of this region. Kaliningrad Region is both the most western and the smallest region of Russia. About a million people live here, of which about half in Kaliningrad. Wife of President Putin was also born here. The region is home to people from 107 ethnic groups from around the former USSR. There are also several thousand Germans - however, these are mainly relocated Germans from around the Volga and other areas of Russia. Only a few hundred original inhabitants remained here after the war. In most cases, these were women, who got married to Soviet soldiers. The economic situation is currently not easy. Most goods have to be imported through Lithuania and so the prices are higher than in the rest of Russia. Popular opinion is split regarding the entry of the neighbouring countries to the EU. Some are worried of isolation, others expect new economic opportunities from wealthier neighbours.

Railroad curiosities (historical map):

  • From Mamonovo, there used to be an eastbound track to Kornievo (Zinten) and further to Bagrationovsk. The trackbed was visible from the train, including one bridge, but there are no tracks any more.
  • Fork of the original line Pieniê¿no PKP (Mehlsack) – Kornievo (Zinten) – Svietloye (Kobbelbude) is difficult to spot, mainly because the landscape is flat. In the last few miles, the line was parallel with Ostbahn and the trackbed has been converted to an unpaved rural road.
  • Connecting line Golubievo (Seepothen) – O.p. 5 km was probably constructed only after the war, as it is not mentioned on maps from the 1930s. The standard and broad gauge tracks are on the same trackbed, using Y-shaped ties. There also used to be a connecting line allowing a direct connection from Golubievo to Bagrationovsk; however, it is already dismantled.
  • From Vladimirovo (Tharau), there used to branch a south-westbound local line to Slavskoye (Kreuzburg (Ostpr)). Only about 2 km are left to this day, which are used as a business track. Unfortunately, our train was not allowed to go there.
  • In Bagrationovsk (Pr Eylau), there used to be the other end of the already mentioned line from Mamonovo. It does not exist, either - it was dismantled recently. On official maps, we can still sometimes see a Bagrationovsk – Dolgorukovo (Domtau) line, however there are no tracks any longer.
  • In Shosseynoye (Schönbusch?), a long business track branches to a port. It looks it is in regular operation. There are many business tracks throughout the region, but usually not used.

Translated: 2005.08.20

© Jan Pešula, 2005