Archive for the ‘Lodz’ Category

Tram skateboard

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Sustainable transport in Bratislava. Video © Tomáš Moravec

With tram frequency only a fraction of what it was 10 years ago, is this DIY approach the solution to the problem of providing a decent public transport service in Lodz?

A hat tip to Tomasz Adamkiewicz for the link.

Flirting in Lodz

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The first Stadler FLIRT EMUs have arrived in Lodz. They are part of an 110 million euro project grandly called “The Building of the Lodz Urban Area Railway system” (Budowa  systemu Lodzkiej Kolei Aglomeracyjnej). The project is actually nothing of the sort – no new railway lines, urban or otherwise, are being built – but does include the purchase of 20 two-car FLIRT EMUs, the construction of a maintenance depot on the site of the erstwhile Lodz Widzew marshalling yard and a 15 year maintenance contract for the EMUs.

The EMUs will operate services from Lodz to Sieradz, Kutno, Lowicz and Koluszki. The first of these, Lodz-Sieradz is due to start on June 15.

A number of old stations have been refurbished and a a few entirely new stations have been built. On 30 April, 6 units were displayed to the inspection of the public and press at Lodz Kaliska Station.

Inspired by the name FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) Questia, the PR company which managed the event, decided to give the ceremony a wedding theme. And so, in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, here is our slightly tongue-in-cheek report of the proceedings.

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The celebrant anxiously awaits the arrival of the bride and groom – Witold Stepien, the Chief Executive of Lodz Province gets ready for his speech. Photo BTWT.

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The best man frets – Andrzej Wasilewski, Chairman of the Lodzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna, delivered the second speech. Photo BTWT.

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Here comes the bride! Security guards and a railway man spoil the view as the first train consisting of 3 two-car EMUs arrives at platform 2 of Lodz Kaliska station. Photo BTWT.

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Followed by the groom! The second train arrives on the other track. Photo BTWT.

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The groom is relaxed – Christian Spichiger, Chairman of Stadler Polska and Vice Chairman Stadler Central Europe, talks to the media. Photo BTWT.

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The happy couple – Christian Spichiger and an unknown admirer. Photo BTWT.

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Everybody wishes the couple a long and happy future – another bright idea from the PR company. Photo BTWT.

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The 1970 – 90s re-building of Lodz Kaliska left the station with low platforms. Photo BTWT.

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Getting on board is much easier when the step is extended. Photo BTWT.

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Stadler are to be congratulated in meeting the provincial government’s requirement of squeezing in the maximum number of seats and, at the same time making them very comfortable. Photo BTWT.

New municipal transport museum for Lodz

Sunday, 24 November 2013

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Open day at the former Tramwaje Podmiejskie depot, Zajezdnia Brus, on 22.9.2013. Photo BTWT.

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on the image.)

Thanks to the initiative of Thomas Adamkiewicz and a group of tram enthusiasts the former Tramwaje Podmiejskie Brus tram depot on the Lodz-Konstantinow-Lutomiersk interurban line has been earmarked by the city of Lodz for a new municipal transport museum.

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‘Sanok’ built in 1928 was withdrawn from service and served as a garden shed until it was rescued by Tomasz Adamkiewicz, After an 11-year restoration to working order it is back on the tracks. Photo BTWT.

The depot is already home to a growing collection of withdrawn trams. Some of these were previously stored at the now closed Helenowek tram depot which serviced the Międzygminna Komunikacja Tramwajowa trams serving Zgierz and Ozorkow.

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Tramway freight vehicles! Photo BTWT.

Goods vans dating back to the days when the Łódzkie Wąskotorowe Elektryczne Koleje Dojazdowe (Lodz Electric Narrow Gauge District Railways) carried freight as well as passengers.

The vans were the subject of our last competition. Congratulations once again to Eric Binamé for getting the answer absolutely correct. John Schøler Nielsen was also a close runner up – he had identified the wagons correctly, but had not realised that they had been moved from the Helenowek depot since he had last seen and photographed them.

The bogie flat wagon in the foreground has a colourful past. Built by the Gregg Company Ltd in Belgium for export to a sugar cane railway. It was seized by the Germans together with the factory in which it had been built during WWI and sent to Poland.

More:

Black hole

Friday, 22 November 2013

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Lodz Fabryczna construction site, 22 November 2013. Photo by BTWT.

(Click picture to see full-size.)

Łódź Fabryczna – white elephant?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

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Lodz Fabryczna construction site, summer 2013. Photo by Zorro2212.

(Click picture to see original photo on Wikipedia Commons.)

Behind The Water Tower has been ‘down’ for much longer than usual. I have not been well – nothing terribly alarming, rather a combination of ‘wear and tear’ and an old back problem has taken its toll, and much of my ‘get up and go’ seems to have got up and gone. I have decided on a few simple steps which should at least improve the frequency of postings, if not their quality.

BTWT readers may remember my dislike of the new Lodz Fabryczna project. Currently, the centre of Lodz is cut off for visitors by train and there is no firm date in sight for when the rail link will be restored. Lodzians commuting to Warsaw or further afield are better off – they simply park at one of the many stations on Lodz’s periphery: Zabienec, Kaliska, Chojny or Widzew and enjoy reasonably comfortable(1) – if not very fast train journeys.

There is currently no money nor end date for the completion of the 2,000 million PLN project, 1,500 million of which is being put up by PKP and 500 million by the City of Lodz. The project will not add a single new train path between Lodz and Warsaw.  Just think what 2,000 million PLN could have done in removing speed restriction and bottlenecks in key places around the Polish railway network.

For those readers admiring the progress on the new station in the photo above, perhaps I should explain that the concrete deck in the picture is not intended to be the track bed level of the new station, merely its ceiling. The actual station level remains to be excavated, under the newly cast concrete deck in the picture.

(1) Apart from certain Lodz-Krakow services worked by the PESA ED74 EMUs with their back-breaking seats.

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More: Wikipedia – Łódź Fabryczna railway station

Łódź bridge heave

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The site of the new bridge on April 18 2013. Video BTWT.

Lodz is investing heavily in new roads in anticipation of many more motor vehicles coming into town when the new A1 motorway is completed.

If the same pattern is repeated in Lodz as has happened elsewhere the new roads will persuade even more people to abandon public transport and take to their cars adding yet another twist to the spiral: new roads –> more cars –> more road congestion and air pollution.

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The Gorna area of Lodz. Map OpenStreetMap.

(Click on map to see a larger area of Lodz to a larger scale.)

One of the roads being built is the missing piece of the southern end of Lodz’s inner by-pass, between al. Jana Pawła II and ul. Szeroka, straightening out a kink at the point where the (1) trunk road reaches the city’s road grid.

This communist-era project was postponed for many years because of the cost of constructing a long railway viaduct so that the new road could dive under the railway line at an acute angle.

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Approaching the new bridge on 26 April. Photo BTWT.

While several new roads at the southern end of the city will tempt motorists and HGV drivers to take the al. Wlokniarzy inner by-pass, the road building budget did not stretch to putting in corresponding improvements at the northern end of the city where the inner by-pass stops near Helenowek, a heavily built up area. Residents here already suffer from appalling congestion all along the (1) road to Zgierz.

Sadly the ‘Lodz Regional Tramway’, which was supposed to run all the way to Zgierz and could have helpd to cut motor traffic, stops at Helenowek as well.

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Next to the bridge, the temporary bases are being demolished.

The biggest civil engineering work on the new road was the construction of a 141 m long steel viaduct to take the existing railway line across the new road. During the last eight months trains crept past the construction site while the abutments for the new bridge were constructed under the operational railway track. In addition temporary concrete supports were built to the north of the railway track and the new bridge – which had arrived as a kit of parts – was welded together on these supports.

When the bridge was ready, the track bed was ballasted and railway track laid. Then during a 68 hour possession from Friday 19 April to Sunday 21 April the old railway track was dismantled and sufficient earthworks removed to enable the new bridge to be slid into place. Technical inspections were held on the Sunday evening and trains began running again on Monday 22 April.

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Heavy concrete breaking tractors. All photos BTWT.

On Saturday afternoon,  the Mayor of Lodz, Hanna Zdanowska called a press conference at the building site to enable the media to photograph the new bridge being slid into place. Given the importance of the event Wojciech Pater, the chairman of Mosty Lodz was leaving nothing to chance and arranged for his men to start the move at 07:00 hrs on Saturday morning.

When all was ready the hydraulic rams were pressurised, one failed, but the others were more than sufficient to keep the bridge moving. When you have 7,000 tons of bridge, ballast and railway track moving in the right direction you do not stop for anyone, not even the Mayor of Lodz. Four hours later the move was finished.

So it happened that when the mayor, her followers and the press gathered to photograph the historic event, the new bridge was already sitting proudly in place. It had been positioned to an accuracy of ± 0.2mm, whereas the design tolerance allowed for ± 10.0mm. One hopes that after the appropriate hydraulic fluids were dispensed the media displayed the same degree of tolerance as well.

More:

Photography:

  • The photos and video were filmed on an iPhone 4; the video was edited and rendered using Final Cut Pro 7 running on an ancient quad core G5 Power Mac. The two minutes of film took 4 hours to render!

Music:

  • The music used for the video is from the track How Long has the Train Been Gone on the Album To Forget An Actor by the London-based band Tranquilizers. If you liked what you hear, why not buy the track or even the whole album from here!

Tram/van crash in Lodz

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The accident site looking west. Only one eastbound lane of ul. Limanowskiego was closed and westbound trams continued to run past the accident site, a yellow recovery van is just arriving at the scene. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

At around 09:30 this morning, just as the rush hour traffic was starting to ease off, a No.2 tram, comprising Konstal 105Na driving car and trailer, was running westwards along Ul. Limanowskiego towards Lodz town centre. The tram had crossed the pointwork and dual carriageway road crossing with al. Wlokniarzy and had accelerated away along the recently relaid track towards its next stop at ul. Mokra.

The driver of a Fiat Ducato van in UPS livery attempted to turn in front of the tram into a private road belonging to a motor dealership. The tram hit the side of the van and propelled the van sideways some 14 metres before the both vehicles stopped.

A MPK (Municipal Transport Department) breakdown truck and one of three fire department trucks that were despatched to the scene. Photo BTWT.

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Both drivers were taken to hospital. The tram driver is not believed to be seriously hurt. The condition of the van driver is not known at the moment. According to local residents, ince the tram tracks were relaid along ul. Limanowskiego, trams are running much faster than they did before and the area around the crossings with al. Wlokniarzy and ul. Mokra has become an notorious accident black spot.

On 23 October, an articulated truck collided with a tram injuring one person, on 27 March, an 18 year-old girl was killed when she walked in front of a tram on the pedestrian crossing by ul. Mokra while talking on her mobile telephone, and on 19 January, a 32 year old cyclist died after being run over by a tram near the spot where today’s accident took place.

The level crossing that was the site of the collision. The long scratch on the concrete blocks is the result of an earlier accident. Photo BTWT.

Local residents had got used to trams creeping slowly along ul. Limanowskiego over many years  and when the track got too bad tram services were suspended for a couple of years.  The speeded up trams have become an unexpected hazard at all the various road, pedestrian and cycle crossings in the area. The problem is compounded by poor visibility at some of the crossings.

Given all the circumstances, it seems extraordinary that when the track was improved, and tram speeds were raised, no warning were lights installed. Apparently minor collisions occur every week on the crossing where today’s accident took place!

The site of the collision. The No.2 tram was running westwards and accelerating away from the junction and crossroads with al. Wlokniarzy. The van driver was proceeding across the level crossing (red dot). Map OpenStreetMap.

What was impressive about today’s incident was the minimum amount of fuss made by the police and emergency services. Ul. Limanowskiego remained open to road traffic albeit with only one lane in operation, and westbound trams continued to operate, while trams running towards the city centre were re-routed down ul. Wlokniarzy.

Farewell TP and MKT

Friday, 20 July 2012

Farewell to Tramwaje Podmiesjie. PVideo by .

On 1 April 2012 (a very apposite date) The interurban tram services operated by Tramwaje Podmiejskie (services 43 and 43bis to Lutomiersk and Konstantynow) and Miedzygminna Komunikacja Tramwajowa (service 46 and 46A to Ozorkow) were taken over by Miejskie Przedsiebiorstwo Komunikacyjne, the the Lodz municipal transport company.

TP and MKT were run on a shoestring by TP and MKT, and actually cost the city of Lodz LESS to carry passengers within the city’s boundary than did MPK. Many interested observers of the Lodz tram scene, BTWT included, fear that the takeover is but the first step to the cut back or abolition of the interurban services.

These two fine videos by Piotr Pter19 are a fitting memorial to both TP and MKT and to the Konstal 803N articulated units which were decommissioned when MPK took over.

Miedzygminna Komunikacja Tramwajowa. PVideo by .

Congratulations to Piotr for his excellent work on board some shaky trams running over some very dodgy track!

Car vs. Tram dilemma

Monday, 4 June 2012

Dyspozytor suffers from a pang of conscience

Poor public transport integration at Lodz Kaliska. Walking distances to the station booking office from the nearest tram stops are: bkp. Bandurskiego – 250m; Lodz Kaliska Estakada – 500m. Before the station was rebuilt a tram service ran right up to the front steps of the booking office. Map courtesy OpenStreetMap.

(Click map to enlarge.)

I’m sitting in my car in a traffic jam on the inner ring road in Lodz, thinking to myself, Why am I here? It’s not far to the tram stop from the flat where I’ve been staying. It’s the morning rush hour, so the journey to Lodz Kaliska would probably take no longer by tram and might actually take a few minutes less. I actually like travelling by tram! So, what on earth am I doing here?

I think about this for a while and draw up a list of reasons.

  1. It’s a 500 yard walk from the tram stop to the station booking office. The tunnel that would have provided a much shorter route walking route to the station is blocked off and the tram service that used to run right up to the steps of the station is just a nostalgic memory.
  2. Because of my bad back, travelling with a heavy suitcase is always difficult; lugging it on and off the high-floored 7N trams is an extra challenge I can do without.
  3. I’m dressed in my jacket and smart trousers, it’s rush hour and quite hot. If I go by tram I’m likely to end up smelling like cabbage soup.
  4. Given the problems encountered when I explored the Lodz tram network with Chris White, I’m not sure that the tram would have got me to the station on time.

I feel better. I find a fortuitous parking slot and after two attempts at reverse parking (my back is making it difficult to look behind me) I dock the car. I deduce that the Warsaw train leaves from platform 3, and climb up the appropriate steps (there are no train indicators).

There’s no train either. It’s sitting across the tracks next to platform 2. I cross the tracks by the barrow crossing, the guard whistles. I call out, Prosze czekac! (Please wait!). He waits.

Fast forward to the evening of the same day. I’m outside the Sobieski Hotel. The Minister emerges from a VIP reception, recognizes me, and we make small talk. He’s waiting for his official car. It approaches after a couple of minutes. He makes a dash for it, interrupting our conversation in mid-sentence.

My conscience feels better. Now if only official cars were banned and the Minister and all those responsible for Poland’s railways had to travel by rail, how long would it take for Poland to have the best trains and trams integration in Europe?

Polish diary

Sunday, 27 May 2012

by Chris White

Chris White in an ex Duisberg articulated tram on inter-urban line 46 from Lodz to Ozorkow. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to expand.)

Chris White has been involved in the Talyllyn Railway in North Wales since the 1950s. He started as volunteer guard and rose through the ranks to become the TR’s chairman. In the 1960s, he organised the Traffic and Operating Committee working parties some which were attended by Dyspozytor during his school holidays. Today, he is still actively involved in the operation of the TR and The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum in Tywyn. Between 9 and 16 May he came to Poland to explore some of Poland’s cities and their tramways, main line and tourist railways. This is his diary.

Wed 9 May

A Ryanair flight from East Midlands airport to Wroclaw landed me just after 18:00 by the new airport terminal which is largely finished and very impressive. What a change from my first visit in 2006, when the city was approached from the small terminal by what a seemed to be a country lane lined with allotment gardens. Now the whole area is transformed with new roads and developments of all kinds.

Bus 406 was waiting to take people to the city but there was no ticket machine at the stop, the one on the bus, which only takes plastic, was not working and the driver uninterested. So I just took a seat and relaxed. Soon the bus was packed to the doors and eventually set off and reached the city in good time. I stayed at Sifor Premium Europejski, as it was near to the station and not far from the city centre.

Thurs 10 May

In Wroclaw, I bought a 24 hour tram ticket and obtained train tickets for the next day from one of the various ticket outlets near but not at the Dworzec Tymczasowy (Temporary Station). A useful tram map showed two new lines, built since my last visit a year ago, to serve the newly complete Stadion Wroclaw and nearby Dokerska. I visited the city centre with its many monuments, botanical gardens and Szczytnicki Park with its musical fountain, the Centennial Hall built in 1913 to celebrate the liberation of the city from Napoleon and the 1948 steel needle erected to celebrate the regained territories.
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The light and airy interior of the restored station contrasts with this EN57 unit complete with the plastic seats ready to form the 10:30 Wroclaw Gl to Poznan Gl. Photo Chris White.

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Fri 11 May

Allowing myself plenty of time, I approached the station by a circuitous route and found the subway mentioned in the post Wroclaw Worries. When complete, the station will be modern and functional but whether there will be any passengers left to travel on the slow and, all too often, appalling trains, is another matter. Cheap and frequent local and regional bus services and a growing number of internal flights are alluring alternatives to those without a car.

SA132 railcar making up the Koleje Wielkopolskie 12:35 Leszno to Wolstzyn and Zbaszynek. Photo Chris White.

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Clearly major improvements will be needed to re-gain and grow the passenger traffic and sort out the labyrinthine ticketing systems. I took the 10.30 (Regio 67931) as far as Leszno and changed onto the 12.35 Leszno to Wolstzyn arr 13.34 (KW 79427), a modern diesel railcar. It was staffed by four people, one to drive, one to issue tickets, one to operate the doors and one who appeared to be a trainee.

Ol49-59 about to depart with the regular steam-hauled passenger working from Wolsztyn to Poznan. Photo Chris White.

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At Wolstzyn there was time to take a few photos before boarding (KW 77331) a steam train headed by OL49-59 departing at 13.40 for Poznan Głowny: a two hour run arriving at 15.47 . The filthy and dilapidated double deck carriages experienced on my previous trip last year had been replaced by two regular carriages but their interior and outside cleanliness left a lot to be desired. Both of these Koleje Wielkopolskie trains seemed to be enjoying a reasonable level of business. I was very interested to note the re-building of the traditional Prussian style signalling system in the Wolstzyn area.

The new station building under construction at Poznan. Fortunately the old station was still in business. Photo Chris White.

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The station facilities at Poznan, although also being re-built were much more inviting than those Wroclaw and, it being Friday afternoon, were very busy.

The tram system in the area is also undergoing major investment but no tram map was available even on the Internet, which made exploring the city a bit hit and miss. (The map was uploaded on 15 May!) There was a massive thunderstorm just after my return to the Hotel Topaz and the temperature dropped from over 30°C to around 15°C where it remained for most of my stay.

Ol49-69 and TurKol special at Poznan Franowo. Photo Chris White.

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Sat 12 May

Armed with a written list I went to the International Booking Office and bought tickets for the remainder of my stay. I had booked on the steam train trip from Poznan Glowny to Gniezno and received a warm welcome on introducing myself. TL49-69 headed four vintage carriages with frequent photo stops to Gniezno where the train was greeted by a fanfare of trumpets and a large crowd, many of whom opted to take a short trip on the steam train to Wrzesnia and back. Details and pictures on the TurKol website.

It was a big disappointment that there was no train provided on the Gniezno narrow gauge line; although Px48-1919 was posed with TL49-69, it was not in steam. I spent the time looking round this historic little town and even made it to the top of the Cathedral tower, before returning to Poznan on the steam special, which was looped twice for overtaking trains.

Sun 13 May

Back to Gneizno by TLK 65101, then on an ancient bus to Znin.

Work has taken place to renew drainage culverts on the Znin Narrow Gauge Railway. Photo Chris White.

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A sudden rain storm meant that the shelter of the Znin Narrow Gauge Railway’s refreshment room was very welcome before it was time for the train to leave. There were a lot of people around in the Biskupin area but very few on the two trains operating and I visited the iron age fort as well as enjoying the train ride.

A strategic retreat to one of the closed carriages was just as well as more heavy showers of cold rain developed during the afternoon. The station area at Gasawa has been improved recently by the construction of a new footpath to the centre of the village.

I took the 16.10 bus from Znin bus station and, although it was going through to Poznan, I changed at Gneizno and took a Regio train back to base. The Znin Narrow Gauge Railway is to be congratulated on operating a daily train service and deserves every success in this area which is obviously popular with visitors. The town centre is quite attractive but the area around the now closed standard gauge line and station is looking very sorry for itself. Hopefully it will not be too long before this part of town can be re-developed.

Wls40 built in Poznan in 1956 at work on the Maltanka Park Railway. Photo Chris White.

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Mon 14 May

Emil, one of my Polish friends, had recommended a visit to the 60cm gauge Kolej Parkowa Maltanka and I arrived there in time for the second round trip of the day. Being a Monday. a diesel loco was in operation. and I took a return trip before returning to explore some more of the long distance tram lines, or more properly, light rail lines. Then it was time to take TLK 83106 from Poznan to Lodz Kaliska (250km in 3½ hours).

Poznan light rail – route 12 tram heading towards the city at Aleja Solidarnosci. Photo Chris White.

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Tues 15 May

The day was spent exploring two of the three surviving Lodz inter-urban lines with Dyspozytor. Our first run was on line 46 out to Ozokow. This trip was delayed in both directions by a total of 30 minutes by cars crashing into the trams almost as if the local competing bus companies promote this kind of activity.

A very friendly driver on the outward trip spoke with us for a long time at the terminus about hopes and fears for the remaining long inter-urban routes out of Lodz and told us that the tram company staff had been encouraged by the international support for the campaign to save the line. The track beyond the city boundaries is in a very variable state, mostly single with passing loops and in need of heavy repairs in places.

Chris White and friendly tram driver at Ozorkow. Photo BTWT.

We found (the only?) restaurant in Ozorkow and, after a schabowy (pork chop) for lunch, rode the line back into Lodz for afternoon tea with vintage tram owner and operator Tomasz Adamkiewicz. We changed trams at Plac Niepodleglosci and took service No 41 to Pabianice in the rain and gathering gloom. The track had been renewed as far as the city boundary but beyond the mixture of double and single track with sections of street and roadside running could do with some investment.

Our service was operated by a single car which was pretty well patronised in the early evening. We changed trams and after a longish wait caught one of the city trams at Port Lodz. We reached our starting point near Manufactura. By now cold and damp was beginning to overcome us and Dyspozytor organised a rescue party to take us to his home for a very welcome hot meal.

Plac Niepodleglosci, the start of line 41, the inter-urban service to Pabianice. Photo BTWT.

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Wed 16 May

Lodz Chojny dep 07:48 (TLK 16101) to Wroclaw Glowny arr 1:.20 – ten minutes late (250km in 4½ hours). A walk round the east side of the city revealed work going on to replace a lot of tram track on routes 0 and 5 and then I had a very late lunch in the Rynek. Buying a ticket for Bus 406 to the Airport again proved a problem. My cash stuck in the machine and another would be purchaser came and inserted their cash, banged the machine and shrugged and got on the bus so I did the same. At the airport I noticed the large number of internal flights and the new service to Lviv which has recently started. By Ryanair from Wroclaw dep 19:05 arr East Midland Airport 20:25.

Lodz Chojny, the 07:48 departure (TLK 16101) to Wroclaw Glowny – one of the through services that does not call at Lodz Kaliska. Photo BTWT.

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On my return I was asked “How was Poland?” to which I replied “Very Polish!” I met lots of friendly people, except for bus drivers who were equally grumpy to every-one. I observed: a lot of re-construction going on at breakneck speed; many monuments to various episodes of the land’s troubled history; much good renewal of the infrastructure of trams and trains. However, a lot more remains to be done, especially to provide user friendly services and much faster connections on the main lines and to develop the full potential of local and tourist lines.

Fabryczna goes out in glory

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Lodz City Hall wanted land for development. Unfortunately no one thought it necessary to keep the trains running. Photo BTWT.

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Stripped of its external clutter Fabryczna has returned to its original glory. Unfortunately soon memories will be all that will be left. Photo BTWT.

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Across what were once railway tracks Skanska are hard at work converting an old power station into an art gallery. Pity about the railway station! Photo BTWT.

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Look, no trains!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The beginning of the end… Video by .

(Posted on YouTube on 15 March.)

…or a new beginning? Video by .

(Posted on YouTube on 20 March.)

The British-Polish Chamber of Commerce and the Lodz City Authority held a joint meeting at Lodz Town Hall on Monday 19 March about the redevelopment of Lodz Fabryczna station. The Mayor of Lodz, pointed out that roads and railways were a critical deciding factor in whether a region attracted external investment. The Chairman of PKP PLK showed plans and artist’s impressions of the new underground Lodz Fabryczna. The BPCC representative showed a PowerPoint presentation about major railway station investments around the world.

As presentation followed presentation our BTWT reporter’s head began to nod. It had been a 05:00 hrs. start in Warsaw to catch the 06:40 TLK to get to Lodz Widzew for 08:20. Then a long walk to the tram stop and another long walk to the Town Hall. (The bus alternative involves three different buses and a 210m walk.) But then what was this? The BPCC speaker was ending his presentation on a high note.

There are several similarities between Lodz and the Thames Valley area – a region with the lowest unemployment in the United Kingdom. Both areas lie to the West of their respective capitals, both are close to major airports, both have well-respected Universities.

But there is one important difference. Yesterday evening I counted how many direct trains there are between Reading and London. It took me 15 minutes. I counted 191 trains. And how many direct trains are there today between the centre of Lodz and Warsaw – exactly zero!*

This was bang on target. It is fast trains and not railway stations that have a powerful effect on regional development.

*There are 22 direct trains on weekdays between Lodz Widzew and Warszawa Centralna. The fastest journey time for the 126km (79 mile) journey is 1hr 29min, an average speed of 87km/h (55 mph). The fastest journey time for the 102 km (64 mile) from Oxford to London is 56 minutes, an average speed of 109 km/h (68 mph).

A Return Journey – Part 14

Thursday, 15 March 2012

by Robert Hall

The final part of Robert Hall’s story of his return to Poland after 16 years

Robert Hall’s route from Radom to Lodz Fabryczna. Map courtesy Railmap.

(Click on the image to enlarge, but click on this link, if you want to follow Robert’s journey station by station on a larger scale Railmap which can be zoomed and scrolled.)

After a night in an agreeable hotel in Radom, only a couple of minutes’ walk from the station, I set off to Lodz the following morning, Monday 26 July. Armed with a packed breakfast provided by the hotel, I caught the 07:27 through local train Radom – Tomaszow Mazowiecki – Lodz. At the time, this was the only through westbound train of the day; it had an eastbound counterpart which ran in the evening. There is a meagre selection of other trains on the line, but no other trains run the full length.

The EMU departed punctually, for a delightful early-morning, all-stations run through pleasant countryside. Whilst passenger workings on this route may be few and far between, in the course of the journey we did pass a number of long-distance freights, and I noticed timber being loaded into PKP Cargo wagons at Wykno. It was cheering to see these all rail freight activities after my experiences on other secondary lines during this visit to Poland.

EMUs at Lodz Fabryczna shortly before closure. Photo Wiktor Baron.

(Click image to enlarge. Click on this link to see original on Wikipedia and for details of licensing.)

I arrived at Lodz Fabryczna station at 10:41, where  Dyspozytor and his car were waiting. A fine coup had been achieved: we were off to Zdunska Wola some 40 km to the west, and neighbouring Karsznice, for a visit to the little-known standard-gauge ‘skansen’ (open air museum) at the latter location. The railway museum, formerly under PKP control, has only recently been transferred to the Zdunska Wola municipality.

Our first stop was the Zdunska Wola Museum in the centre of town. The railway museum for administration purposes is now part of the town museum. We were met by the town’s museum director, under whose remit the railway museum now falls.

We were given a tour of this most interesting museum which tell the history of this textile town which is something of a junior partner of Lodz, and then, with Piotr Skorek of the Zdunska Wola museum staff as our guide, we continued to the railway museum at Karsznice, a few kilometres to the South.

The Karsnice ‘skansen’ in 2006. Photo BTWT.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Until recently the railway museum was an integral part of Karsznice loco depot and railway workshops. Karsznice is a railway town, built for the Magistrala Weglowa (Upper Silesia – Gdynia coal railway) in the 1930s. It was a convenient point for exchanges of locos and crews, on the long run between the coal mines and the seaport.

It was a great privilege to see round Karsznice railway museum, which at the time of my visit was not open to the public at all; its Skierniewice counterpart can at least be visited a few days in the year. The previous workshop manager  had set out to collect one example of each of the engines that used to work on the coal line and was one engine short when he received his redundancy notice.

I spotted five out of the seven standard-gauge steam classes which were still active in the 1980s. The exceptions were class TKt48 2-8-2T, and class Ty51 2-10-0, and plentiful examples of both clases are preserved elsewhere. There was also Ty23-237, a Polish ‘home-grown’ 2-10-0 freight hauler. A few specimens of this class were active on PKP till the late 1970s.

Also still in use in the late 1970s, were the massive American-built class Ty246 2-10-0, fitted with a mechanical stoker. These were built to make good World War II losses in the brief time-window before it all went nasty between the West and the Soviet Union. I understand that some features of class Ty246 were used in the design of the later Ty51. Besides the steam locomotives there were also an assortment of diesel locos and railcars, and passenger stock, some of considerable antiquity.

Most unfortunately, there is at present no alternative to all these exhibits being kept permanently out in the open air. In addition, the museum’s future is entirely in the hands of the local council, who are at present supportive but there is no guarantee that this attitude will continue indefinitely, or even for long, given the situations faced by other Polish rail heritage assets in local authority care.

We drove back to Lodz via country roads with a coffee-and-ice-cream stop in a little town en route. You can’t cover everything – it turned out that something had to give, and the victim was Lodz’s wonderful metre-gauge tram system. In the end, time didn’t allow us to do the epic interurban run north to Ozorkow. So I was not able to enjoy as much of the Lodz tram network as planned, but those fragments I did experience were cherished. A great inducement for another visit to Poland.

The start of the interurban line to Konstantynow and Lutomersk at Zdrowie. The Lodz MPK trams turn right here and go round a loop. Note the Tramwaje Podmiejskie logo on the tram. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

I did see a fair amount of the interurban tram line to Lutomiersk (featured in ‘A return journey – part 3‘) which is shorter than the Ozorkow line, but no small-time spur. At the time of my visit, the Lutomiersk tram route was temporarily interrupted over the central stretch near Konstantynow while road works were being carried out. Buses were bridging the gap, something of a discouragement to travel.

We travelled alongside the line for some distance by car, on journeys on two different days. On the journey to Zbiersk on July 19th we examined the route’s end, a loop in Lutomiersk town square. During our journey to Zdunska Wola on the 26th we also followed part of the line, and made a call at the interurban route’s depot on the west side of Lodz.

We had a chat and a coffee with the hospitable general manager and had a walk round the depot under the guidance of the chief engineer. At the depot we saw service vehicles of very considerable antiquity, converted from tramcars.

On the way back from Zdunska Wola and Karsznice, we planned our route so as to hit the main road west of Aleksandrow Lodzki, whose municipality a few years ago foolishly voted to abolish their tram route to Lodz, on a separate formation parallel to the main road, and replace it with buses. The result was road traffic chaos, which might hopefully serve as an object lesson to other commuter towns around Lodz about the wisdom of keeping their trams…

And so dawned Tuesday 27th, my last day in Poland. For complicated reasons, I had arrived in Poznan by air, but departed by rail. I had a few hours left for a farewell trip before my train in the evening. Having developed a fondness for leisurely journeys along electric lines by local EMU, I decided on a local-EMU odyssey as a fitting farewell to Poland, so I took a tram to Lodz Kaliszka station, and left Lodz on the 13:33 EMU, arriving in Poznan Glowny at 18:45, in plenty of time for the westbound night express due out of Poznan at 21:33.

The local EMUs seem basically ageless and unchanging, the same now as they were in 1980, and give a fairly comfortable ride. Who cares if it takes many hours of watching the beguiling Polish rural scene out of the window to arrive at one’s destination? Lines important enough to have been electrified also seem to have more action happening on them, including freight, than the depressing and seemingly dying non-electrified lines.

I enjoyed the long-distance EMU run. The train reversed in a leisurely fashion with a long lay-over at Ostrow Wielkopolski. A tank engine, 2-6-0T TKi3-120, was plinthed on the platform there. Pleszew was next. SKPL’s passenger service on this line was suspended for the summer, but I looked out eagerly for the 750mm gauge track, having a vague memory of seeing it in passing twenty years previously, but saw none this time.

Some way further north, Ol49-1 was plinthed at Jarocin, appropriately as Jarocin was the last place in Poland (with the exception of Wolsztyn) with completely genuine steam workings, until early 1992, mostly with class Ol49. At Sroda I was dozing, so missed a potential glimpse of the still-active 750mm gauge line.

And so I arrived in Poznan with time to get things straight, have a bite to eat, and prepare to board the Jan Kiepura express to the west, the first leg of my homeward journey. I was to leave the Jan Kiepura at Köln, and the journey until the far west of Germany was in darkness. I confess to being someone who lives firmly in the past, taking not much pleasure or interest in the ultra-modern railway scene. For me, even the Channel Tunnel, through which I have travelled several times, is a convenience rather than a thing of joy.

The Kiepura arrived at Poznan punctually, having started its run in Warsaw. It is designated, impressively, a ‘Hotel’ train, and its spacious accommodation, even in second class, certainly felt hotel-like after a long diet of Polish local trains with their comfortable enough but not overly expansive seating (and, as for the narrow gauge, comfort is not the object of that exercise). The reservation, obtained when booking the ticket in Britain a month previously, worked like a charm, and departure was punctual at 21:33.

With a long and quite intensive grice having taken its toll, I slept most of the night, completely unaware of the Polish-German border, and woke up briefly only at the key points of Berlin, Hannover, Hamm, and Essen. I had something over an hour in Köln, awaiting my train on to Brussels – an opportunity for some breakfast.

My Brussels train, coming in from further afield, was formed of highly modern and thoroughly comfortable stock. As at Poznan, the seat-reservation had worked smoothly, but my heart sank when an announcement was made that departure would be delayed because of a coupling-related fault on the train. My connection with Eurostar at Brussels was a little tight, and being given to travel-related panic, my imagination went into overdrive regarding what is done with passengers who miss their booked Eurostar because of the late running of their preceding train. The coupling fault was quite promptly remedied, and we set off about a quarter of an hour late. All being well, the Brussels connection would still be okay.

Shortly after Aachen, a change in the style of station-signage revealed that we had crossed into Belgium. I had hoped for some nice hill scenery in this far-eastern part of Belgium, but nowadays a great deal of the run between Aachen and Liege is in tunnel. Interchange to Eurostar at Brussels Midi was accompanied with check-in procedures identical to an airport, and after boarding the Eurostar, departure for London St. Pancras via Lille was punctual.

After a journey through unexciting scenery then through the ‘big rat-hole’, arrival was at about half past noon, my first time arriving by Eurostar into St Pancras, as the last time I had travelled by Eurostar the terminus had still been at Waterloo. With a short walk to Euston, the next train to Birmingham New Street, and a suburban train to my local station, I reached home. It had taken six trains and 24-plus-a-few hours, to get from Lodz Kaliska to Chester Road on the Birmingham – Lichfield line, with electric traction all the way.

My very great thanks to Dyspozytor for everything he had done to welcome me and to open doors to places which on my own I would have had no chance of accessing. I had a wonderful fortnight-and-a-bit. I had feared that the Poland of 2010 would be a miserable come-down, compared to the Poland that I had last experienced 16 years ago. I need not have worried, though my reservations were proved true in a couple of respects, in the main I am pleased to report that I found the country as much a delight as ever before. I want to go back – all that’s needed is a lottery win…

A Christmas Tale

Sunday, 25 December 2011

19:00 hrs Lodz Kaliksa to Warszawa Wschodnia making its first start from Platform 1 at Lodz Kaliska. Photo (taken on an iPhone 4) BTWT.

I have mixed feelings about Christmas. A week to go and I am feeling harried. Polish shop assistants are never particularly helpful at the best of times and it is not going to be my lucky day. I want a coffee machine, but I don’t want to spend a fortune. The girl looking after this section of the shop shows me a machine costing 499 zloty.

As it’s a demonstration model you might be able to get a discount, she says helpfully.

OK, I’ll buy it if you knock off 10%.

She vanishes and comes back, You can have it for 449 zloty.

I’ll take it!

She comes back with a box and an official looking piece of paper. Tell the girl at the counter to ignore the bar code on the box and to scan this instead. I join the long queue at the till which slowly shuffles forward.

At last I’m at the counter. The girl scans my paper and then scans the box. Something is wrong. She makes a phone call and indicates that I should wait and starts to serve the next person in the queue.

Time drags, I ask her why I have been made to wait. Because the goods don’t agree with the description.

But you haven’t looked at the goods, you only looked at the box.

Why are you shouting at me?

I’m not shouting at you. I’m trying to make myself heard against the din in the shop. Please call the manager.

Which manager would you like – my manager or the manager in charge of the coffee machines?

Whatever manager can resolve the problem.

I win my battle and go to look for my next present…

It’s evening and my last task is to get a packet of Christmas cards to Warsaw – the first leg of their journey to England. This would seem to be a job tailor-made for przesylki konduktorskie, the Polish equivalent of the erstwhile Red Star package service.

Forewarned is forearmed. I Google przesylki konduktorskie and read the appropriate page on the PKP IC website. There is a pdf file download with long list of trains which carry packages.

According to the list, train 91115/4 the 18:15 TLK ex Lodz Kaliska arr. 20:30 Warszawa Centralna runs daily. It is ideal. I arrive at Kaliska at 18:00 and look for the train.

There is no 18:15 TLK instead there is an 18:14 IR departure from platform 2! I approach the IR, there are about half a dozen railway officials in the Guard’s van. I ask for the guard and explain my problem. We don’t do przesylki konduktorskie, you need a PKP IC TLK train.

But you are running instead of the TLK train advertised on the przesylki konduktorskie, I’ve already arranged for the train to be met in Warsaw. Look it’s Christams and these are Christmas cards. Couldn’t we come to some private arrangement?

I’m not losing my job for some Christmas cards.

I have a similar conversations with the driver with similar results. Look, I say, if you all loose your jobs next year, when your customers all switch to Polski Bus because of the way you treat them, don’t blame me. I hope that all your points end up frozen set the wrong way!

As the 18:14 draws out the guard yells at me, Try the 19:00, it’s not long to wait.

I have meals to cook and things to do, but it seems I have no choice. I go down to the ticket hall and read the next chapter of Steig Larsonn’s masterpiece The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo on my iPhone. The tale of one girl’s battle against injustice – suitably garnished with violence of the most horrific kind – is strangely calming. I recommend the book, but it is not for the queasy.

It is 18:50, I make my way to platform 1 and ask the conductor whether he can accept a package. You need the guard in the compartment next to the engine. I find the guard, he is polite and efficient, I have the exact 26 zloty change and we soon conclude our transaction. I phone my contact in Warsaw and explain the new pick up time.

The guard blows his whistle and the train slowly draws out of the platform. I take the photo which appears at the top. Suddenly there is a shout, the driver applies the breaks and the train skids to a halt. Someone is running across the car park far below us. He vanishes into the stair well. After what seems an eternity he appears at the top and darts across the platform to board the train.

The guard blows his whistle a second time and the train draws out. I have mixed feelings about Christmas.

Stranger than fiction – No. 1

Monday, 21 November 2011

Ghost train to Lodz

A passenger expresses her frustration at a unadvertised train running outside the published timetable. Still from The Ghost Train.

A friend was coming up to see me from Warsaw to Lodz on Saturday (19 November) evening, and had an interesting journey. Here is his account.

I had a busy day including a pupil whose lesson was due to end at 19:30. According to the official PKP timetable (rozklad-pkp.pl) run by TK Telekom and Dworzec Polski I had a choice of two trains to Lodz: the 19:50 Inter Regio due into Lodz Widzew at 21:21 and continuing on to Lodz Kaliska for 21:39; or the 21:33 Tanie Linie Kolejowe for Lodz Widzew only, arriving at 23:13. Lodz Kaliska being much more convenient for my final destination than Lodz Widzew, I phoned my pupil, brought her lesson forward and set out in good time for Warszawa Centralna.

The reply to the timetable query. TK Telekom/Dworzec Polski.

I got to the front of the queue at the ticket office at 19:40, bought my ticket for the 19:50 and then strolled off to find platform 4. Consternation, it is 19:50, but no 19:50 train to Lodz on the departure board! I rush upstairs to the monitors in the subway linking the platforms; no 19:50 train to Lodz; in fact, no 19:50 to anywhere! I charge upstairs to the departure hall and check out the new touch-screen information terminals. ‘Arrival times’, no I don’t want arrivals, ‘Departures’ that’s better, and there at last, is my train to Lodz Kaliska only it leaves at 20:10, not 19:50. Hey ho, if only I had known, I need not have rescheduled the lesson after all.

We arrive at Lodz Widzew around 21:45, so far so good. Most people get off here. I ask the guard what time we are due in to Lodz Kaliska, he replied that we should be there about 22:35. I text this information to Dyspozytor our train pulls out and heads out North-east across the access tracks to the freight yard. Unfamiliar scenery follows is this really the route to Lodz Kaliska?

We stop at another station; my remaining fellow passengers look worried. I look out the window; the phone rings. It’s Dyspozytor. According to my calculations, you are being routed via Zgierz. Please get out at Lodz Zabieniec.

I’m not sure we stop at Lodz Zabieniec, I reply cautiously.

All trains from Zgierz stop at Zabieniec, he says confidently. With half my body out the window. I can just make out the station sign which is situated conveniently at right angles to the platform.

Where are you, he asks? I’m at Zgierz, but according to the route diagram that’s impossible.

You’ve been routed via the freight cut-off line, he explains. Please get out at the next stop.

After what seems an eternity, but is probably only 5 minutes, the train starts running back in the direction we have come from. We arrive at what appears to be a disused halt. It is 22:37. Should I really get off here? My phone rings. Please get out here. You’ve reached your destination.

And that would be the end of the story, had it not been for the fact that I was not the only person waiting at Lodz Zabieniec to pick someone up. Obviously the fact that the 20:10 IR ex Centralna runs – and runs via Zgierz – is out in the public domain, if not in the TK Telekom timetable. I remember the little leaflets handed out to passengers on the last day of Lodz Fabryczna’s operation and the Notice to Passengers on the PKP IC website. I wonder?

I check out the relevant BTWT post, follow the link to the PKP IC Notice to Passengers, and download the new timetable. Yes there it is – the 20:10 ex Centralna, calling at Widzew, Zgierz and Zabieniec!

All change at Lodz

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Rail route diagram of the Lodz area.

(Click to enlarge.)

Following the closure of Lodz Fabryczna station, some rail services in the Lodz area have been re-routed.

Trains from Warsaw to Ostrow Wielkopolski and Wroclaw run via Lowicz Przedmiescie, Zgierz and Lodz Zabieniec to Lodz Kaliska.

Trains from Czestochowa and Tomaszow Mazowiecki run from Lodz Widzew to Zgierz on the freight avoiding line (avoiding Lodz Kaliska).

Trains will from Lodz Kaliska to Warsaw run via Lodz Chojny and Lodz Widzew on weekday mornings; trains from Warsaw to Lodz Kaliska run via Lodz Widzew and Lodz Chojny on weekday evenings. In addition there there are some other connections available from Lodz Kaliska to Warsaw (some direct services and others by changing trains at Kutno, Lowicz Glowny or Lodz Widzew).

While somewhat confusing for local residents, the new arrangements are a route gricers paradise. We found at least one train that leaves Lodz Kaliska, calls at Lodz Zabieniec and Zgierz, and the changes direction at Zgierz to run down the freight avoiding line to Lodz Widzew and then follows the usual route to Warsaw.

The new timetable:

More details on PKP Intercity pages:

Lodz Fabryczna, RIP

Monday, 17 October 2011

Lodz Fabryczna station on its last day of operation, 15.10.2011. Photo BTWT.

(Click on image to expand.)

Lodz Fabryczna is no more. The station closed to passenger traffic on Sunday 16 October. The closure is the first stage of a 2 billion PLN project to relocate the station underground and to build a new skyscraper city centre on the railway land. The original 1868 station building designed by Adolf Schimmelpfennig for Karol Scheibler – the greatest of all the Lodz industrialists – is to be demolished. The advantages of the station relocation are claimed to be:

  • the new railway station will also serve a new high-speed railway;
  • facilities for railway passengers will be greatly improved;
  • the relocation of the station will release much needed development land;
  • the existing station building is an eyesore which should be demolished.

The local and national press have loudly trumpeted the claims of Infrastructure Minister, Cezary Grabarczyk, and Lodz Mayor, Hanna Zdanowska, that the development project will bring benefits to rail passengers and the city of Lodz. BTWT is not so sure.

  • routing the proposed Warsaw – Lodz – Wroclaw + Poznan “Y”-shaped high-speed line through the centre of Lodz is the most expensive way of bring Poland’s “HS2″ to the city; we calculate that this route will add some 10 billion PLN to the costs of the line which will make it very difficult to build and finance;
  • the new Lodz Fabryczna is pencilled in for opening for 2015 – given PKP’s poor record of delivering projects on time – rail passengers will suffer inconvenience for many years to come; PKP’s can ill afford its investment in the project (76%) at a time when it cannot manage to maintain its infrastructure and is already burdened by very high interest costs;
  • there is no shortage of development land in and around Lodz; the developer who was interested in acquiring the former railway land has withdrawn and given the reluctance of banks to lend money for new development projects, Lodz is unlikely to recoup its share (24%) of the costs;
  • the existing station is an architectural gem, which was carefully restored and extended by PKP after Poland regained its independence; future generations will not understand why today’s city authorities demolished so much of Lodz’s industrial heritage.

If our doubts prove to be right, then the Lodz Fabryczna relocation will prove to be yet another expensive ‘vanity’ project. Such exercises in megalomania were commonplace during Poland’s communist past. We all supposed, when the country wholeheartedly embraced free market economics, that their day had passed.

Lodz Fabryczna last day. YouTube video by yamarotto.

On the last day, the station was busy and its car park full until the last train had run. It seemed that everyone in the city who had a camera came to pay their respects to the old station. The last train out of Lodz Fabryczna was the 22:40 PR Regio train to Koluszki. There was a carnival atmosphere with champagne corks popping and TV cameras rolling. The train was packed, many railway enthusiasts travelled out as far as Lodz Widzew and then returned on the last train in – the 23:10 TLK arrival (21:22 ex W-wa Centralna).

Three rakes of TLK carriages remained in the station after midnight, presumably these ran as ‘empty stock’ working to Lodz Widzew on Sunday morning at which stop they magically became passenger trains?

More:

Lodz interurban trams face extinction

Friday, 1 July 2011

Three-bogie 803N articulated tram working MKT service 46 at Plac Wolnosci on 30 January 2010. These trams were built by Konstal in the early 1970s and rebuilt with a new body style in the MKT workshops at Helenowek in the late 1990s. Photo BTWT.

Lodz’s attractive interurban tram services – 43 running some 20 km westwards from Stoki on the eastern outskirts of Lodz to Lutomiersk and 46 running 37 km from Chocianowice on the city’s southern boundary northwards to Ozorkow have been given 6 months to live by Lodz’s mayor Hanna Zdanowska.

Three-bogie GT6 articulated tram working TP service 43 at Plac Wolnosci on 30 January 2010. GT6 trams were built by Düwag from 1956 onwards and 8 units – after being withdrawn from service in Bielefeld, Germany in 1990 – were bought by MPK Lodz. After the interurban lines were split off from MPK, these units was assigned to TP. Photo BTWT.

On 28 June, Zdanowska gave 6 months notice that she will be withdrawing Lodz from the agreements which govern the operation of Tramwaje Podmiejskie (owned by Lodz, Konstantynow and Lutomiersk) and Miedzygmina Komunikacja Tramwajowa (owned by Lodz, Zgierz (Town), Zgierz (District) and Ozorkow).

The official reason given for her action is that Zdanowska wants to force a take over the operation and revenue stream of the interurban services by the city’s tram operator, Miejskie Przedsiebiorstwo Komunikacyjne, leaving the remaining local councils to pick up the bill for maintaining the track.

Residents suffering from rush hour grid-lock on the road to Aleksandrow (services were cut back to the Lodz city boundary in 1991) will recall the story current at the time that local councillors were promised certain favours by a rival bus company!

More:

Troubled travels…

Friday, 27 May 2011

Michael’s Dembinski journey from Warszawa Jeziorki to Lodz – 83 miles in 3 hours 12 minutes. Map courtesy Google Maps and Scribble Maps.

(Click on the map to link to an expandable ‘slippy map’.)

Michael Dembinski the blogger behind the legendary W-wa Jeziorki blog, recently travelled to Lodz. The 83 mile journey took him an incredible 3 hours 12 minutes. Of course, he could have had a 39 minute longer lie-in by taking the 05:30 from Jeziorki and changing at Warszawa Zachodnia instead of travelling by the 04:51 and changing at Warszawa Centralna, which would have only have meant travelling for 2 hours and 33 minutes – quite good as Polish railway journeys go. The demoralising effect of being crushed together in slow and dirty overcrowded trains seems even to have penetrated Michael’s soul…

On Wednesday I had to be in Łódź to speak at a conference which started with breakfast; I needed to be there for 9:00am. This meant catching a train that arrived just after eight. And unlike London to Rugby (83 miles, 48 minutes ) the 83 miles between Warsaw and Łódź takes 120 minutes. My train for Łódź would leave W-wa Centralna at six. To get to Centralna I had to catch the 04:51 service from W-wa Jeziorki.

And this is where my story begins…

The 04:51 from W-wa Jeziorki begins its journey in Radom, departing for Warsaw at 03:12 every day of the week. It stops at every small town along the way, and by the time it reaches W-wa Jeziorki, the first station within Warsaw’s city limits, it is packed solid. Boarding the train, I had to stand in the corridor…

For the rest of the story, click on the link below:

Super power at Lodz Fabryczna

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Electric passenger locomotive EP07-374 heads failed mixed traffic EU07 class loco awaiting the ‘right away’ on the 11:29 from Lodz Fabryczna to Warszawa Wschodnia on 22 May 2011.

The 11:29 from Lodz Fabryczna to Warszawa Wschodnia enjoyed super haulage this morning. The rostered locomotive was failed because of a broken radio and EP07-374 was rostered as a pilot. With both locomotives manned and worrking, the train made an impressive get-away from Lodz Fabryczna.


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