Siemens ER20 CF locomotive at the central station in Vilnius
Lithuanian Railways (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Geležinkeliai) is the national, state-owned railway company of Lithuania. It operates most railway lines in the country.
Lithuanian Railways' main network consists of 1749 km of 1,520 mm (4 ft 1127⁄32 in) broad gauge railway of which 122 km are electrified. They also operate 22 km of standard gauge line and a new ~100 km standard gauge line is under construction at the moment alongside the broad gauge from Šeštokai to Kaunas. A 179 km 750 mm (2 ft 51⁄2 in) narrow gauge network, is listed as an object of cultural heritage, was split into a separate company Aukštaitijos Siaurasis Geležinkelis in 2001. 68 km of narrow gauge, serving five stations, are regularly used, employing 12 locomotives.
In 2006 Lithuanian Railways transported 6.2 million passengers and 50 million tonnes of freight. Oil is the main freight item carried.
In 1851, the government of Russia made the decision to build the Warsaw – Saint Petersburg Railway. The line included a stretch from Daugavpils–Vilnius–Kaunas–Virbalis which was started in 1858 and finished in 1860. When the German army occupied Lithuania in 1915, the railway became the main supplier of food staff and ammunition for the German army. In 1918 Lithuanian independence was restored, and in 1919 the Lithuanian government concluded an agreement with Germany on the hand over of the railway assets to the Ministry of Transport.
During the years after World War I, Lithuanian Railways reconstructed the tracks, connecting them into a complete network. In 1923 the Klaipėda region was annexed by Lithuania and the port of Klaipėda became a part of the Lithuanian railway system. In 1940 the USSR occupied Lithuania, and railway activities were reorganized and all the agreements of Lithuania concluded with the neighbouring countries were terminated. In 1941, the Nazis occupying force changed most of the network from broad gauge to standard gauge. This was changed back by Soviets in 1944. During Soviet times all of the Baltic states railways were managed from Riga. In 1991, the railways of the Baltic region were once again divided into separate railway companies.