Lithuania is one of the three small Baltic countries which were invaded by Russia during the World War II and which for decades had to suffer under Soviet Russian command. Much of the national characters were under threat, many of the inhabitants were forcefully changed to Russians and also infrastructures such as the railroad networks, were forcefully russified. Tracks were renailed for 1524 / 1520 mm broad gauge and the rail lines were put together with the two other Baltic states to form what then was the Soviet Baltic railway. It takes a long time to recover from such behaviours. But compared with its neighbours Lithuania has been quick in getting its infrastructure in order. There are by far more modern western trains in Lithuania than in the two other neighbouring Baltic countries now. But still Lithuania needs to be "polite" also to its big eastern neighbour of Russia: a major part of the cargo traffic is Russian trade which needs to access the Baltic Sea ports of not only Lithuania, but also the two other Baltic countries. Therefore the rail traffic needs to be compliant with the Russian broad gauge 1520 mm and also needs to allow Russian type trains on Lithuanian ground. On the other hand, European Union is willing to create and pay a new European standard gauge 1435 mm connection all through Lithuania from the south, Poland, to the north, to connect Latvia and Estonia and eventually maybe also Finland to the common European 1435 mm normal gauge network. This is not easy for a small state which is just learning to be independent again.

In our title picture above we can see a new class 620M one car railbus made by the Polish company Pesa. This one is offering a nice connction between Vilnius city and the local airport. But similar trains can also often be seen on smaller lines especially in the western part of the small country. Picture from Vilnius 2.4.2017 by Ilkka Siissalo.

FUNET railway pictures archive - Lithuania

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This is a TEM-TMH locomotive in Sestokai close to the Polish border on 2.4.2017. These are totally refurbished locomotives of the Russian class TEM18. Only the undercarriage and parts of the frame are used from the original locomotive. The "TMH" in the name refers to the company Transmashholding, which is the key player in this project. Similar or almost similar locomotives have been sold also for example to Estonia (Sillamäe Sadam) and Finland (Fenniarail). Picture at Sestokai station 2.4.2017 by Ilkka Siissalo.

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