Archive for August 28th, 2010

Warszawa Zachodnia

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Warszawa Zachodnia. Photo Michael Dembinski via W-wa Jeziorki.

(Click on the image to read the original article on Zachodnia on W-wa Jeziorki blog.)

In December 2009, Michael Dembinski wrote with passion about Warszawa Zachodnia station.

Poland’s worst railway station, must be Warszawa Zachodnia. Poland’s Clapham Junction, with trains local, suburban, regional, national and international passing through. W-wa Zachodnia sports a seemingly random collection of platforms, with a complete lack of travel information provided to passengers at platform level. No indicator boards, no timetables. No clocks on the suburban platforms. No one to tell you if you are in the right place, if your train is on time.

A little unfair to  Clapham Junction which I am very fond of, but the rest of Michael’s sentiments I would wholeheartedly agree with. Why I am linking to a blog entry that was published nearly two years ago? Well the Fact Compiler has gone away on holiday and has posted a snippet of Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot on his blog. Zachodnia is one of the best two stations in Poland (the other is Poznan Glowny) where passengers can play the Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday game. Some English visitors were in Warsaw some two years ago and after missing their train to Moscow from Warszawa Centralna (because it didn’t start from Centralna) they played a good game at Zachodnia and only caught the next train – just!

Click on the first video link below to see a demonstration of the game. Click on the second link to see how like Monsieur Hulot is Mr Bean:

Video clips:

Road built on sand and a dodgy contract

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Major highways in Poland. Map by GDDKiA. Translation P2E.

(Click map to enlarge.)

On Wednesday 25 August, BTWT posted Journey to Hel showing how holidaymakers were suffering third world conditions in PKP IC trains as a result of Poland’s lop-sided transport policy. The article posed the question whether the pro-road bias had anything to do with the greater opportunities that road building gave those in power to make a little money. As if on cue, two major road building scandals have erupted in the national press.

The first of these first appeared in the Rzeczpospolita daily on the same day as our article. At the beginning of 2010, the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA) gave a 7.5 million zloty (1.9 million euro) planning contract to Tarnow-based MGGP and Complex Projekt without holding a tender. Malgorzata Grad, the wife of Treasury Minister, Aleksander Grad, was Deputy Chairman of MGGP, one of Poland’s largest surveying and project groups, and is now a partner of company run by Franciszek Grybos, a childhood friend, of the Minister, which operates from the same address as MGGP. When challenged by journalists GDDKiA spokesman, Marcin Hadaj, explained that the award of the contract to MGGP was the only solution as the company help the copyright to the motorway plans. But Hadaj’s explanation only begs the question why a contract with this unusual copyright provision was approved by GDDKiA’s Katowice regional head mgr inz. Krzysztof Raj.

The second scandal broke two days later on Friday 27 August and concerns the building of the A1 motorway which will link Gdansk in the north to Grorzycki in the south. Under the headline Motorway built on sand, the PAP news agency reported allegations that during the day the contractors building the motorway laid a bed of good quality dolomite ballast upon which the tarmac road metal was supposed to be laid. During the night the dolomite was carefully removed, taken away in dozens of trucks and replaced with earth. The dolomite was then reused the following day. Each delivery of ballast was billed as a new delivery. The scam has apparently being going on for several months. Each delivery truck carries 30 tonnes of ballast. With good quality dolomite ballast costing up to 300 PLN per tonne, it is thought that the perpetrators have defrauded the Polish tax payer of millions of zloty.

Jeśli nie wiadomo o co chodzi, to chodzi o pieniądze.