Poznan Glowny Station, July 2007. Photo Radomil, Wikimedia Commons.
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You would have thought that no one could possibly object to a new low-cost rail service between Poznan and Berlin. Similar services already operate between Szczecin and Berlin and have proved very popular. Residents of Wielkopolska province could choose rail over car or bus for their forays into Berlin and lots more Berliners would come to spend their euros in Poznan.
The idea won favour with the Wielkopolska provincial government and the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (Berlin and Brandenburg Public Transport Association). Both parties were willing to subsidize the cost of the service and the fare was likely to work out at some 15 – 20 euro as opposed to the 39 euro currently charged by PKP InterCity. So when, Wojciech Jankowiak, the Deputy Governor, wrote to Radek Sikorski, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to get the Minister’s view he expected no more than a short note, “Good idea, will strengthen German – Polish relations. I support this.”
In hindsight, it was not such a good idea to get Warsaw involved. Radek Sikorski sent the Governor’s letter round to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Office of Railway Transport to obtain their views. Janusz Englehardt, the Undersecreary of State responsible for rail was quick to respond. It would be illegal for a local authority to subsidize an international train, he opined. So it seems that the residents of Wielkopolska are not going to get their cheap trains to Berlin just yet.