Campaign to save Warsaw Art Deco stations

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Warszawa Miedzylesie Station.
Photo Kazuyoshi78.

(Click on image above to see a selection of photographs of Miedzylesie station on Fotoblog – Warszawa i wszystko jasne.)

Warsaw residents are up in arms over plans by PKP PLK, the Polish State Railways infrastructure subsidiary, to demolish the swallow wing platform awnings on a number of stations on the Warsaw – Otwock line. PKP PLK wants to demolish the island platforms on these stations and realign the track to make the line suitable for 160 km running. 11 years ago, a similar ‘modernisation’ was carried out on the Warszawa Wschodnia – Minsk Mazowiecki line. Waiting rooms and platform awnings were demolished at Rembertow, Wesola, Sulejowek, Sulejowek-Milosa and Halinow. The replacement ‘bus-shelters’ were quickly vandalised and the trains still amble along at no more than 80 km/h.

The stations affected are at Olszynka Grochowska, Miedzylesie, Radosc, Miedzeszyn, Michalin, Jozefow and Swider. Their platform awnings and art deco waiting rooms  were constructed during 1936-38 as part of PKP’s upgrading and electrification of Warsaw’s suburban railway network. The windows, end doors and rounded ends of the waiting rooms, reminiscent of a 1930s railway carriage, were designed by Kazimierz Centnerszwer who worked in PKP’s own project office.

Two Warsaw academics have rallied to the defence of the stations: Professor Andrzej Brandt of the Polish Academy of Science and Professor Olszewski, an expert on 20th century architecture. A fiery debate took place last week at Warsaw’s Museum of Technology. Many distinguished experts on Polish railway heritage spoke up in defence of the stations. Mr Jerzy Korzeniowski of PKP PKL explained that only a feasibility study was being undertaken and that there were no definitive plans to demolish the awnings. Howver this was challenged by Mrs Barbara Jezierska, the Heritage Conservator of Mazowsze province who queried why permission to demolish the stations was being sought from her office two months earlier. Museum Director Jerzy Jasiuk summed up the feelings of all those present at the meeting by saying that nobody believed PKP’s explanation.

A picket is being organised at 12:00 tomorrow (Saturday 24 April) at Miedzylesie Station in defence of the awnings. Alternatively (and this call will come as no surprise to our regular readers) please write to the Heritage Conservator of Mazowsze province requesting that the waiting rooms and awnings are listed as part of the provinces legally protected heritage.

Barbara Jezierska
Mazowiecki Wojewódzki Konserwator Zabytków
ul. Jasna 10
00-013 Warszawa
P O L A N D

tel.  + 48 (22)  826-57-52
fax: + 48 (22)  826-37-08

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2 Responses to “Campaign to save Warsaw Art Deco stations”

  1. White Horse Pilgrim Says:

    This reminds me of the spurious and dishonest behaviour of BR in the 80s and 90s.

    There is no reason why island platforms are incompatible with 160km/hr operation. Just, one suspects, lazy engineers and narrow-minded managers.

    Even LUL demolished some fine historic canopies on the Central line in the 1990s (out Northolt way) – entirely due to an ignorant thoughtless manager (same fellow who fiddled the figures to close Epping-Ongar) – who was fought unsuccesfully from within the organisation. Now we know better how to deal with his sort.

    I wish you luck in saving these Polish examples. I am glad that you and others are standing up for the built heritage of your land, which is a part of the intellectual and cultural history that is yours.

  2. Warszawa Falenica | Look around! Says:

    […] 1936-38. WHERE: Patriotów Street, Wawer district, Warsaw, Poland. WHEN: 1st May 2013. READ MORE: [eng], [pl], […]

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