The only railway line through the so-called “Suwałki Gap” – the small stretch of EU border between Poland and Lithuania, with Belarus to the east and Kaliningrad (Russia) to the west.
When I travelled here in 2022 there were only 2 trains a week in each direction, small basic DMUs Kaunas-Białystok. In December 2022 this was improved – to a daily train InterCity train with buffet car Kraków-Warszawa-Białystok-Suwałki-Mockava, with a guaranteed change there for Vilnius, via Marijampolė and Kaunas.
There are of course some things that need to be changed still. North of Białystok the infrastructure is in a poor state, so speeds are low. Running the Polish InterCity all the way to Kaunas, rather than Mockava, would make a lot of sense – but for some reason the Pesa-built PKP IC diesel locomotives have not been approved to run as far as Kaunas yet.
But overall the news here is positive. With the first parts of Rail Baltica due to open by the end of the decade, there are grounds for optimism here!
European Commission Analysis
In 2018 the European Commission published its “Comprehensive analysis of the existing cross-border rail transport connections and missing links on the internal EU borders”. The main report (74 pages, PDF) summarises the issues, and Annex 3 of the report (384 pages, PDF) analysed every single border.
For the sake of simplicity, I have made a PDF just of the relevant pages of Annex 3 that cover Marijampolė-Suwałki – you can find that PDF here.
Photos from this location