A Ride on the Dark Track – part 1


Narrow roads and wide lorries – photo from The Kielbasa Chronicle

On Thursday evening, we asked the question, ‘Why do a thousand Polish lorries come to the UK every day?’ Couldn’t some of whatever it is that they are carrying go by rail? I’ve always taken pride in being a hands on sort of chappie so – pausing only to stock up with Polish sausage and Zubrowka – I go out on the road to investigate.

Midnight, I’m picked up by a lorry at a crossroads somewhere in central Poland. The driver explains that he’s not the driver that’s going to take me to the UK, but the first of several cut outs. We drive for two hours over deserted roads. He quizzes me about the UK. Are there so many advertisement hoardings along the roads? Are there so many narrow roads lined with trees? I ask him if he’s ever driven to the UK himself. He answers that he’s been offered the chance, but reckons that he’d get pretty lonely, driving for days at a stretch with no one to talk to, so he prefers to drive in Poland. He seems glad of my company. Once we have to slow down as a lorry pulls into the road just ahead of us, but its driver signals that we should overtake.

Eventually, we pull off the main road and drive some 10 kilometres along a narrow country road. We reach a small town/large village. In the dark it’s difficult to tell. We pull up alongside a tall house. The driver says goodbye and gets into a car and drives away. Ten minutes later another driver pops into the cab, takes the keys away and vanishes back into the house. It begins to get cold. I fall into an uneasy sleep. The driver returns. We’re on our way. Suddenly a 4×4 with darkened windows screeches to a halt. My luggage and I are unceremoniously decanted into the new vehicle. The new driver tells me that I’m late and that the boss will not be pleased. We drive well outside the safety envelope for this sort of road. A massive iron gate blocks the way ahead of us and slides open on our approach. We’re in a yard, with lorries everywhere. I’m told to get out. The driver drops off my luggage and roars off into the dark. A man emerges from a block of flats and waves for me to follow him. He leads me to a blue DAF cab unit attached to two traillers. My luggage is hoisted in. He starts the engine and allows the air pressure build up, he let’s out the clutch and we’re off. Two thousand kilometres to go!

The second part of Dyspozytor’s journey is here.

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