The nearly new railway station planned for Katowice
Last Thursday, PKP Group chairman, Andrzej Wach, and Minister of Transport, Cezary Garbarczyk, signed off an agreement with Spanish developer Nienver to invest 240 million euro in the railway station in Katowice.
The resulting complex will include an underground car park for 1,200 cars, a major shopping arcade and office space.
Since the result will be a virtually new station we thought we should present you with a virtual interview. We did not actually talk to Mr Wach or Mr Garbarczyk, (BTWT seems to have been accidentally dropped off the invitation list) but having checked our copy against the PKP press release there can be little doubt that this is what they would have said.
D. “Mr Minister, at a time of economic downturn, may I congratulate you on this good news?”
CG. “Modernisation of Poland’s major railway stations is a key part of our strategic plan for the future of the railways. For the first time in nearly two decades the government has earmarked funds for this purpose. However, I am pleased to say that the investment in Katowice is being funded from private sources.”
“This is the first project prepared in partnership with a private partner. It’s a great day… It is the first project of this magnitude in the railway sector and I trust that it will have many imitators. We are hoping to develop a similar scheme to modernize Warsaw West station.”
AW. “This is the first project of this type and on this scale in Poland. Other major stations which will have to be modernised include Cracow, Wroclaw, Gdynia, Poznan and Warsaw.”
D. “I was disappointed not to read anything about facilities for bicycles although the improved space for pedestrians is very welcome. In combining quality shopping space and passenger services you are following in the footsteps of Milan, are you not?”
AW. “Actually we will be keeping passengers and shoppers well apart.”
D. “Er yes. I see, more Warszawa Centralna and Zlote Tarasy than Stazione Centrale di Milano.”
CG. “In 2014 we will be commencing the complete rebuilding of Warsaw Central. I think that it is more than likely that this will go ahead as a PPP deal as well.”
D. “Thank you minister. Now Mr Chairman, are you pleased that this concrete monstrosity in the ‘Socialist Brutalist’ style is being swept away and replaced by something modern light and airy which reflects the hopes and aspirations of the new Poland.”
AW. “Actually we made it a condition that the ‘socialist brutalist’ – as you so quaintly put it – elements remain. Many architects consider them icons of the period.”
D. “Quite so Mr Chairman, when I said ‘Socialist Brutalist’ I was of course using the words in their positive sense. English is a highly contextual language which can give rise to silly misunderstandings when talking to foreigners. So the hard concrete elements are being retained and will be in contrast to the new platform awnings and refurbished tunnel interiors.”
AW. “Actually, we are leaving those exactly as they are.”
CG. “In fact, the law prevents us from using private funds in that way.”
D. “Mr Minister, Mr Chairman, thank you for talking to BTWT.”
A 70s icon – the existing station in Katowice