Warszawa Gdanska…


First casualty of the crisis


Warszwa Gdanska in 2004. Photo Gregorz Sadowski

(Click above to see photo in original context and other photos of Warszawa Gdanska on the Pod semaforkiem website.)

Warszawa Gdanska seems a rather ordinary run down suburban station. The station building is the fourth to stand on the site. The first was completed in 1889 and burnt down by the Russians as they retreated from Warsaw in 1915. The second was blown up by the Germans as they retreated from Warsaw in 1945. The third station building was opened in 1959 and was the first permanent station to be built in Warsaw. It burnt down in 1984. The present building was constructed from the burnt out shell of the third station, with an extra floor added to the original single storey.

Until Warszawa Centralna station was opened in 1975, all international trains stopped at Dworzec Gdanski, the name used by Warsaw residents for the station. Through coaches worked to such exotic locations as: Vienna, Prague, Paris, Brussels, Ostend, Moscow and Leningrad. Even London was served by a set of coaches that ran to Hook of Holland and, via the Harwich ferry, connected with the return Hook Continental to London’s Liverpool Street Station.


Arist’s impression of the new station.

PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe (PLK), the PKP infrastructure company prepared an 86 million PLN plan to rebuild the station. The main objective of the exercise would have been the to increase the capacity of the station some threefold, to accommodate up to 200 trains a day. This would have allowed all mainline trains to be diverted from the Warszawska linia średnicowa, the central cross-Warsaw line, to enable major track replacement and brand new stations to be built at Warszawa Zachodnia and Warszawa Wschodnia in time for Euro 2012.

Looking at the artist’s sketch of the new station, no one could accuse PLK of extravagance. However, some thought had been given to creating an integrated transport interchange. Four new platforms were to be linked by a new subway to the Metro station of the same name and exits were to be provided to the North and South of the platforms.

Work on the new station should have started in 2008. Delays in obtaining the necessary approvals from Warsaw City Council and difficulties in agreeing the phasing the work with the rebuilding of the road viaduct over the railway have delayed the issue of tender documentation. Now with the tenders for the work due in on Monday, the new boss of PLK,  Zbigniew Szafranski, has decided that he can only afford to build half the station – two platforms serving four tracks rather than four platforms serving six tracks – so the tender process will be delayed yet again.

There is really no long-term need for a six track station at Gdanska, so we applaud the cost saving. At the same time, we see the 2012 completion deadline for building two brand new main line stations in Warsaw slipping away into Never Never Land. 

Google Maps satellite view of Warszawa Gdanska area

(The view can be zoomed, scrolled and changed to a map.)

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