By train through Poland - extensive pictures trip report

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By train through Poland - extensive pictures trip report

Postby barciur » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:40 am

This trip report was posted on another rail forums, but I figure it won't hurt to repost it here for a wider audience. Hope you enjoy it!

I am a Pole living in the United States and I am currently spending my summer back home in Poland. I took a train trip to see a Bon Jovi concert in Gdańsk, and as I am based in Lublin, which is very close to the Ukrainian border in the east, I took a train. I decided to take a lot of pictures and just try to help you get a feel of taking a train in this country.

The first thing I'll explain is that in Poland, all of the railways that are used by passenger trains are state-owned and the carrier is also state-owned as well. The Regional railways operator is owned by the local governments, but it's still public, obviously, while the PKP Intercity corporation is a state corportation.

There are couple of "classes" of trains with PKP Intercity. TLK is a standard intercity train, which means Twoje Linie Kolejowe (Your Rail Lines). There is also a special class, Express Inter City (EIC) which is an express train. One must note, however, that currently, the maximum speed limit in Poland is 100 mph (this will soon change with the arrival of Pendolino trains).

So the trip I took I could have taken in one train, the one I started out with, but instead, I decided to take a 3,5 hour break in Warsaw for two reasons. One is that I was able to meet my friend there, but one more important reason is that for the price of a standard TLK train, I travelled in an Express Intercity class train, that was degraded for 2 years to a TLK price, due to construction etc. However, the standard remained the same. One big example is that compartments are for 8 people in a regular 2nd class car of the TLK trains while EIC has 6 and has an on-board restaurant, AIR conditioning in cars etc.

So I was scheduled to depart at 10:10 AM by TLK Wieniawski going to Bydgoszcz and some cars to Gdynia, but I would get off in Warsaw at 12:45 and get on TLK Kaszub at 4:20 PM. I would get off in Gdańsk at 9:25 PM.

So here is my ticket:

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and an additional seating reservation (all PKP Intercity trains have assigned seats)

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Unfortunately, I had to take a bus to the train station :(

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The main train station building in Lublin looks like this

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I entered by the side entrance, which is an underground pass directly to the platforms, bypassing the station building. Upon getting on the first platform, I saw an old style EN57 regional train to the Lublin airport.

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But I soon found out that my train would depart from platform 2, so I headed to an underground pass to platform 2.

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View on the platform 1 from platform 2 and the train station building.

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Another regional train departing from platform 3, but this time it's a newly built SA134 (an EMU no less), made by PESA Bydgoszcz, rather than an old soviet-style elektrichka EN57.

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Couple of minutes later, my train, carried by a diesel engine SU43 arrived, from Rzeszów. The train will depart in the same direction from which it came, so the engine change is simple - a new engine arrives and is attached to the back of the train which is the new front, and the old one gets left behind.

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There was actually quite a bit of people waiting on the platform, so there wasn't much time for more pictures unfortunately.

This is how the corridor of a standard car looks like. The compartments in 2nd class (economy) have 8 seats.

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Now for some views from the window of the corridor (open, of course, no air conditioning).

Arriving at Dęblin, which is about an hour later. We see a Mazovian Railways modernized EN57.

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Directional sign at Dęblin station.

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And leaving Dęblin, now we have a nice bridge, which is a typical old style rail bridge in Poland.

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I did not take any further pictures, as there were issues with my ticket, i.e. I am entitled to a 50% discount by national law by the virtue of being a Polish citizen and a student. The problem was, American ISIC has a different look than a European one, so the conductor was iffy about it and making trouble. First time it's happened to me, so I got a bit nervous and spent the rest of the way explaining and defending myself.. finally what happened was.. the conductor crew changed in Warsaw East, and I was getting off at Warsaw Central anyway, so nothing happened.

Now for some pictures from Warsaw Central station.. I got off about 12:55 with a 10 minute delay and proceeded to take a couple of pictures. This is a platform, view from the top.

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This isn't like New York or Philadelphia where there are gates and you are let in by an agent etc. You are totally free to walk around the station, platforms, take pictures etc. no problem at all. Great for train spotting.

This is an underground corridor which lets you get to the platforms downstairs, the main hall upstairs and a mall a bit further down the corridor.

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PKP Intercity train tickets, which also let you buy city transit tickets in Warsaw.

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I walked upstairs to take a glance at the hall. It has been renovated for Euro 2012 soccer championships. Upstairs there is a nice waiting lounge with TV's and - most importantly - electric outlets. It's closed off but you are free to go there, plenty of seating room and it's overall very nice.

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And now the view of the Warsaw Central station from the outside... it was seen as rather spectacular when it was built.. communist architecture, back in the 70's I believe. Nothing spectacular about it though ;)

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Couple of hours later, after a meeting with my friend, I have returned to the station. I wanted to see whether my train, IC Kaszub, was delayed.

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Luckily, IC Kaszub was not delayed, right on time, departing at 16:20 to Gdynia Główna. I will get off about 45 minutes earlier, in Gdańsk Oliwa, which is part of the tri-city in Poland (for history buffs, Gdansk used to be a free city between 1918 and 1939, Free City of Danzig, along with Zopot, while Gdynia used to be on Polish soil, so to get from Gdansk to Gdynia you had to cross an international border).

Remember, this is the EIC standard train with a TLK price.

Got to platform 3, track 4. Here at the capital city there are new electornic boards

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As I got to the platform a bit late, the train caught me off guard, so I have a really crappy picture..

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Here is how the compartment looks in 2nd class of EIC train.. 6 seats, comfortable, reclining. This is how 1st class of most TLK trains looks like, here it's 2nd class. :)

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Now.. it was fairly warm, about 28C degrees, which gives ~85F and this train is technically airconditioned, as it's EIC.. but the air conditioning barely worked, so we were boiling there. The compartment was filled with 6 people. Some air was coming out of the vents, but not much. So after about an hour, I was really sweaty and getting tired. I've decided to take my stuff and move out to the on board restaurant car....

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Here entering the on board restaurant..

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And a view towards the way I entered.

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I ordered a beer, a sandwich and hot tea. Total bill came to be 30 zł, which is $9, which is incidentally what I paid for my ticket with a 50% student discount...

Now some views from the window.

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Here is a PKP Cargo engine hauling some stuff..

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Here is our train on a curve at Bydgoszcz.. It was about 7:30 PM by the time we got to Bydgoszcz.

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Platform at Bydgoszcz station

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Bydgoszcz is where PESA has its headquarters, so this is where they put together locomotives, cars, engines and other stuff. Some nice views.

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Continuing on, some really really nice views from Northern Poland...

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And now we arrived at Tczew at about 8:10 PM, which is our last stop before Gdańsk Główny, (Gdańsk Main station).

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I didn't take any pictures further, as I had to move around, a lot of people were leaving and I had some luggage, but there wasn't that much to take pictures of any way and I thought this would be my first nice travelogue.


Cheers and hope at least somebody enjoyed some pictures from a more exotic trip.
barciur
 
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Re: By train through Poland - extensive pictures trip report

Postby David Benton » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:20 pm

Thanks for the trip report. Interesting to see Modern Polish trains.
I traveled across Poland by train in the 1990's , and found the trains clean and comfortable then.
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The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
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Re: By train through Poland - extensive pictures trip report

Postby lakeshoredave » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:16 pm

wow! interesting stuff. not exactly sitting at Berea, Fostoria, or santa fe jct, but still very different comparing it to north American operations.
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