Stopping train across Poland

by

refurbished_EMU

Refurbished EMU at Lodz Kaliska bound for Kutno on 15.09.2009.
Photo BTWT.

I enjoy travelling by osobowy train. I find a window seat away from the sun and watch the Polish countryside wind slowly by. People come and go. Old ladies shout into their mobile phones, young ladies smile and read their books. To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.

Osobowy trains may be a trifle slow, but they are by far the cheapest way to travel by rail in Poland. Take the journey from Lodz to Poznan. I could have taken the refurbished EMU above – the 15:44 to Kutno. I would have arrived in Kutno at 17:12. There I would have caught the 17:53 Eurocity Warsaw – Berlin train as far as Poznan Glowny, arriving there at 19:24. The whole 247 km journey would have cost me 86 zloty (£18.65). Kutno Station is not a nice place to wait 41 minutes for a connection.

old_EMU

Unrefurbished EMU at Lodz Kaliska bound for Kutno on 15.09.2009.
Photo BTWT.

So instead of the 15:44 I took the 15:33. This PKP Przewozy Regionalne osobowy train runs all the way to Poznan. It arrives at Poznan Glowny at 20:28, but in my case I needed to get out two stops earlier at Poznan Staroleka at 20:17. And the cost of my 246 km journey? Only 26 zloty (£5.64)!

opatowek

Kalisz Railway’s WLS150 – 7223 diesel shunter. Photo BTWT.

Making the most of travelling by osobowy train is more an art than a science. Careful observation repays dividends. At Opatowek – the interconnection with the SKPL’s narrow gauge Kalisz Railway – I managed to photograph the line’s WLS150 locomotive – formerly at the Zbiersk sugar refinery – out in the evening sun.

Prussian_van_2

Prussian 4 wheel goods van at Kalisz Station.
Photo BTWT.

At Kalisz station I caught a pre WWI Prussian goods van waiting for a good home. Amazingly one of my photos of the van even appeared on the ‘Railway Eye’ blog! Before Poland regained her independence in 1918 Kalisz was the interchange between the Russian gauge and the standard gauge. After Kalisz it became to dark for photography, but it stayed bright enough to look out of the window for another hour or so.

By the time we go to Sroda Wielkopolska it was pitch black. Sroda is the home of Poland’s last narrow gauge railway where all trains are hauled by steam, but that is another story!

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4 Responses to “Stopping train across Poland”

  1. Michael Dembinski Says:

    I love the long, lazy journeys through rural Poland by Osóbka – when the doors jam in the open position, crack a tin of beer in the rear compartment with the chain-smoking ne’er-do-wells, saying “k****” every other word; people getting on and off without paying or slipping the guard five zlots for a ten zlots journey; (PKP = Płać Konduktorowi Połowę Pay the Guard Half the fare); sunshine on harvested fields, storm clouds on the horizon, smelly toilets (no water to flush), old women with baskets of produce on their way to the local town market – a slice through the very essence of Poland itself – its good side, its bad side – its real side.

    • dyspozytor Says:

      It would seen that the osobowy trains in my part of Poland (and their customers) are somewhat more sophisticated than those that you are used to. Many of the passengers were students; everybody presented a ticket; and I didn’t see any beers or hear a single “K” word.

  2. Macowiec Says:

    I have to disagree with your comment “Kutno Station is not a nice place to wait 41 minutes for a connection”. I rarely get a chance to connect there, but when I do I love to stop in the station buffet—old school! The place hasn’t changed in 30 years, I’d say!

    • dyspozytor Says:

      OK. I admit it, I haven’t tried the station buffet at Kutno. If I can find a way of travelling via Kutno, without being forced to pay a hefty premium for travelling by EuroCity, I’ll check it out.

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