Confusion and tears as IC takes over PR

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ticket

Pospieszny train ticket issued in Kalisz for a journey to Lodz. It says ‘Przewozy Regionalne’ sp z o.o. on the top left and PKP IC on the middle right.

On 1st December, PKP InterCity (IC) took over the operation of the pospieszny semi-fast trains from PKP Przewozy Regionalne. Our roving reporter grabbed a pospieszny train from Lodz Kaliska to Kalisz to see how the new arrangements worked out in practice. Here is his report.

Lodz Kaliska is the name of one of one of the smarter night clubs in Lodz. It is also the name of the surrealistic semi-finished, semi-post-modern Lodz Kaliska Station. There was once a comfortable railway station here in typical Lodz art noveau style. The authorities, hoping no doubt for a few bungs from the contractors, decided that the station needed rebuilding, but after a couple of decades of building works, got fed up with the project and left it half-finished.

For a station building barely 10 years old, Lodz Kaliska is dreadfully shabby. The automatic doors don’t open. The catering arrangements are a disgrace. The train indicators in the subway don’t work. The leaking roof in the ticket hall, supposedly ‘fixed’ a few years back at enormous cost, still leaks. You get the picture.

The only ticket office that was open said ‘Przewozy Regionalne’. There were no information leaflets about the new pricing arrangements, or any timetables to be had. The ticket clerk explained that there was no point in printing timetables, because on 14 December the train timetable was going to be changed anyway. I made a mental note that Infrastructure Minister, Cezary Garbarczyk’s injunction to PKP senior managers that they should learn to love their passengers had clearly not yet trickled down to the chaps who ran PKP IC.

The train conductor entered my compartment with a smile. I smiled back, I’m not sure whether I should congratulate you or commiserate.

I’m not sure either, she replied. I’m still with Przewozy Regionalne, but InterCity need another 30 conductors so I may transfer.

What will it mean for passengers, I asked.

Well, it won’t be good news, she confided. Previously you could could by a combined ticket which would allow you to travel by pospieszny train to say Zdunska Wola and then complete your journey to one of the less important stations by an osobowy, but now you will need separate tickets, which will be more expensive.

At Kalisz I checked the time of my train back to Lodz at the Przewozy Regionalne window. The clerk explained that she now worked for InterCity. I hadn’t bought a return ticket because I wasn’t sure whether I would be back in time for the 18:13 osobowy, or the last train of the day back to Lodz, the 19:52 pospieszny.

In the evening I returned to Kalisz station in time to catch the pospieszny. There was a queue at the booking office because the man at the head of the queue had just been told that he could buy a pospieszny season ticket – which would no longer be valid for the osobowy train that he used to take to work in the morning. Or he could buy an osobowy season ticket which would not valid or upgradable for travel on pospiesny trains. If he wanted to travel out to Ostrow Wielkopolski in the morning on a osobowy train, and return in the evening on an pospieszny, as had been his wont, he would have to buy two season tickets. He could not believe what he was being told, but in the end the truth sank in and he bought a single pospieszny ticket to Ostrow. No doubt, from today, he is travelling by bus.

Just before Pabianice we slowed down to a crawl to pass over a level crossing. We then slowly passed a stationary osobowy with a very worried looking train crew standing in a huddle in the cab. After we passed the train. I could see a police photographer taking pictures of the track that the osobowy had just passed. A body, covered in green plastic sheeting, lay across the track. Not a very good day for PKP.

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3 Responses to “Confusion and tears as IC takes over PR”

  1. Mike Says:

    Just a suggestion, but perhaps it could be worth making a blog entry about the split between Intercity and Przewozy Regionalne now that the division between osobowy and the rest is ‘clear’ in people’s minds?

    Personally, I don’t think the division is clear enough yet. Take the Poznan-Wroclaw run for example. By Regionalne, it’s still a good choice to take – because the trains are still running from city to city, despite the fairly large amount of options by Intercity. In this case, I’d support not allowing PKP PR to run right through.

    As for Interregio, that’s simply going to complicate things even further – and I don’t think Regionalne should have been allowed to set up such services. But it’s good for the customers, I guess ;)

    One thing I’ve noticed is that (perhaps maliciously) – PKP PR aren’t to be trusted with Intercity information, and vice versa.

  2. Barry Drelincourt Says:

    Could someone tell me if the PKP Przewozy Regionalne System Pass (Bilet Sieciowy Imienne) is valid on Inter Regio trains if they are operated by PKP?

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