A Brief Baltic Visit 2010 - 2: Tallinn, August 18 (50 p.)

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


Proud Earthling

We continue with our report on the day before the previous part, August 18 2010. I still was quite tired from the day before (coming up in the next travelogues), so I was content with grey weather and slept a little longer. Also, I was interested in visiting the old town, so perfect sightseeing weather! An absolute jewel of old Hanseatic League town can be found here, almost nowhere else so much has been preserved. The name "Tallinn" refers to a "Danish castle/town" after a conquest by the Danes in the early 13th century, the official German name of the town until 1918 was "Reval". The once numerous German population had been resettled during WWII.

I left my hotel south of the old city center shortly before 8 a.m., just in time to catch the arrival of the daily express from Moscow at the main station. I also stayed close to the "Bussiterminal"... ;-)

Near my hotel a few tram lines could be found as well, the operator was called "Tallinna Trammi- ja Trollibussikoondise AS".

A view down the Pärnu maantee, "tee" means "road" and will still turn up in various contexts.

Here you can see the northwest corner of the old town with the upper town Toompea ("Cathedral Hill") and Baltic Station (Balti Jaam), to get there I was about to cross the lower town, once administratively a completely separate city from the Toompea. With that many nicely preserved buildings sadly it had become very touristy, almost every house was boasting a pub on the street in front.

After arrival at the station, a suburban 3 kV DC electric network is being operated by "Elektriraudtee" using ER2 EMUs. However, it’s an absolute island operation, only diesel traction will get you further away from Tallinn.

"Moskva-Ekspress" D 34RJ, privately operated by GORail (formerly EVR Ekspress), railroad workers merrily greeted the crew of the TEP70-0238 diesel hauling the train. EVR is an abbreviation for "Eesti Raudtee", once the state railroad, then privatized for a few years in the mid-2000s and now nationalized again, split into an infrastructure company and EVR Cargo.

Shortly after the arrival a ChME3 of "Edelaraudtee", operator of the long distance DMUs, coupled to the rear of the train for shunting, in the meantime an ER2 EMU was arriving.

At the home platform of the station, to the right the electric tracks were terminating, a few more unelectrified tracks could be found to the left.

The Provodnikas were standing nicely in front of their respective coaches to say goodbye to the passengers.

The train from Moscow was well used, about 35% ethnic Russians are living in Tallinn. You could hardly notice that on signs or with announcements, however, only at the station I had heard some in Russian, inside trains they were all Estonian. In the streets Russian was spoken frequently.

Now even the last passengers had left the train.

Who thought Baltic railroad operations would be monotonous: you can spot all traction modes in this picture! ChME3-5194 was about to pull the rake out of the terminal, to the right "Edelaraudtee" DR1A with driving trailer can be seen before departure towards Rapla, versions with power units on both ends were in use, too.

A view of the electric suburban tracks, there was a lot of railroad construction going on in Estonia during the summer, also the corridor towards the east and Russia was being improved as part of the "Rail Baltica" project, if only the old broad gauge tracks.

Same base class, different faces and degrees of modernization.

Originally I had only wanted to take a few photos of trams, but these picturesque catenary masts conviced me otherwise, and so I had my morning work cut out for me. In the background the Oleviste kirik (St. Olaf's Church) can be seen, a constant companion and later viewpoint.

I was already some distance away from the station when I noticed the ChME3 loudly sounding its horn behind the station. A blue pullman coach had been part of the Moskva-Ekspress, but I had paid little attention to it. It turned out to be the "Imperaatori Salong" which was being returned to its depot. In order to achieve that the shunter first pushed it on a track which led further to the harbor in former times – we will explore this direction later in detail – on to the parking lot next to the station supermarket. Afterwards it reversed and by sprinting I was able to catch this scene at one of the "easternmost" corners of Tallinn with street vendors. The left track leads to the Kopli peninsula where I was about to go as well. I just noticed something: I am not sure the Estonian railroad operation rules include pedestrian street crossings! ;-)

I followed the tramline along Kopli street and with some luck found the ChME3 again shunting the pullman coach into a remote workshop. The rightmost track was the one back to the station, probably rarely frequented.

An old watertower was to be found, too, the tracks were leading further out onto the peninsula. The street, Telliskivi, had to be manually secured during the shunting maneuver.

After the ChME3 had disappeared, the trams over at Kopli street got my full attention.

The street had a very Scandinavian touch with lots of wonderful wooden houses.

A lot of them were well preserved and showed relative wealth, but there were a few different corners as well.

There were only 4 tram lines in Tallinn, on two routes, here numbers 1 and 2 were terminating. 73 KT4(SU) units (up to #123) had already been in use since Soviet times when 46 more were imported from Eastern Germany as KT4D.

A former Erfurt KT4D was passing this nice wooden house in mint condition.

Home with own railroad crossing near Kopli loop – you hardly can spot Soviet era cars in Tallinn anymore, I could literally count the ones I saw on one hand – 5!

Back near the station, this had to be one of the sharpest railroad turns I had ever seen, even for a tram.

A Cottbus tram with the omnipresent Toompea in the background.

The main station stop, to the right you can discover the already mentioned track leading away from the station, this section was abandoned.

Trolleybusses were reaching the station as well, here a Skoda Tr14, a network of 8 lines was operating in the western part of the city.

The abandoned tracks behind the station led me to another, former station with more preserved sidings.

A construction site at the tram line, all other tracks to the right were 1520 mm Russian broad gauge and belonged to the old station. Tallinn trams are relatively unique with 1067 mm Cape gauge.

The abandoned and locked off station with the old town in the background, I found an old picture from the late 19th century showing the former track layout here. The double tracks probably connected to the harbour.

Tramways used this nice tree-lined park tracks.

I was lucky again with the weather, no drop of rain had fallen until now. A Cottbus reflection was possible nonetheless.

Twelve KT4 had been converted 2001-05 into KTNF6 by adding a low floor middle section.

Now I had reached the northern gate of the old town, including the fortified tower "Fat Margaret". 1,85 of formerly 2,35 town wall kilometers and 26 of 40 towers were still standing.

I climbed the tower of St. Olaf's Church, which had been the tallest building in the world with 159 m from 1549 to 1625. However, after a fire it was only rebuilt up to 123 m. The station quarter and part of the city fortifications can be seen here.

Next to Niguliste kirik (St. Nicolas' Curch) the Toompea was rising with Tallinn castle.

A view north shows us the harbour, where cruise ships MSC "Poesia" and Celebrity Cruises "Constellation" were moored. In the foreground you can spot "Fat Margaret".

A more detailed shot of the station with an ER2 EMU just arriving, a tram and a trolleybus. You can also recognize the water tower of the coach workshop and the track leading there.

For a complete overview you can take a look at this 360° panorama I took:

The trams traversing the park came that close to the Baltic Sea, a Tallink ferry was just disappearing into the haze towards Helsinki, only 80 km to the north across the Gulf of Finland.

Back on the ground I passed the Estonia-disaster-memorial "Disrupted Line", which played cleverly with the point of view. The ends of the two arches were far apart, only from certain perspectives they seemed near.

At the ferry harbour ("sadam" means "harbour" in Estonian ;-) )

When calling a taxi in Estonia, remember to expect a "takso"! ;-)

Now I followed the Mere puistee back towards the hotel to the Narva maantee.

This was the tramway section where all lines converged.

In front of my hotel "G9" (from the address Gonsiori 9), I had the feeling it was the only run-down building of the area. The concept of the hotel is quite interesting, it was only occupying the 3rd floor and you had to ring three times to be personally let in (understandble, since I had to step over a junkie in the staircase the first night I arrived, later I had no more such encounters). The rooms were quite big and modern with most accessories (except for a shower receptor, which I hate when it is missing in a hotel), and the receptionists were very helpful.
I procured tasty lunch in a nearby bakery (fish pirogi) and had a few hours to relax.

Later in the afternoon I stepped outside again for the departure of the Moskva Ekspress. In the meantime it had rained, in Narva maantee I was welcomed by an ex-Erfurt tram. While walking through the center I also changed a few more Estonian crowns, which will soon be redundant with the introduction of the Euro. "Alko"-shops were very prominent, I especially liked the combination "Alko/Euro" - alcohol and currency exchange (didn't change there)! ;-)

The train was already standing at the platform, meanwhile a class ER2 left to Riisipere southwest of Tallinn.

Smoking DR1A-312 with two power units.

The engine of the class TEP70 was started.

And it departed punctually at 17:40 on the eastern mainline - which we will visit in the next parts!

RailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.