Warszawa Zachodnia


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:

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3 Responses to “Warszawa Zachodnia”

  1. Steve Says:

    With due respect to both yourself and Michael, I’m quite fond of Zachodnia, perhaps for some of the reasons you dislike it. I first got used to it for the Warsaw/London international coach routes, but subsequently used it for trains because it was closer to home than Central station. I didn’t find it any harder to know what train was mine, but perhaps I was regularly lucky.

    However, what was great was the underground passages. The, presumably, immediate post-communist bars: living history. I always thought it would be a great place for a New Year’s Eve pub crawl. There were (a couple of years ago when I was last there, but I presume still are) so many bars selling cheap beer that you could just wander from door to door. We never made it along London’s King’s Road when we tried. No excuse here. There were still the little market stalls that Warsaw Council shut down in the centre, removing bus and tram stop charm. The serious tourist can even visit the memorial to the German WWII Warsaw ‘concentration camp’ at the far end of the platform tunnel.

    It is a marvellous place compared to Clapham Junction. To be fair to Britain’s Busiest Railway Station, this is probably because I had to use it once or twice a week over 20 years or so, rather than anything about the station itself. It was a stopping place to find an alternative way home when the British rail system routinely failed at Victoria Station – itself the embodiment of commuter hell. All hail Polish public transport. Those who are about to go home, salute you! (Even the station at Katowice.)

  2. Robert Hall Says:

    Relations between my computer and me, are uneasy at the best of times: annoyingly, it refused to display any of the video links given. Recall seeing “Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot” over forty years ago; and being no more than mildly amused by the film (a little about lovable bumbling twits goes a long way, with me). Remember though, an enchanting clip of – if I remember correctly – a 4-6-0 (heaven only knows what class) on a passenger train – no doubt a regular daily service thing when the film was made. Had hopes of maybe revisiting that, if only the post’s links had worked for me.

    Memory yields, incidentally, that for many years an enthusiastic member, and officer, of France’s “Federation des Amis des Chemins de Fer Secondaires”, was one Monsieur Rene Hulot. As “Private Eye” might say, could they perhaps be related? …

  3. Iain Says:

    I had the pleasure of stopping off at Warszawa Zachodnia in August 2008 while travelling to Lublin from Lodz. My Polish is not great and I was travelling on my own for this part of my trip. My overall impression of Zachodnia was not the best, personally I found it rather bleak in comparison to Centralna and Wschodnia, and as the original post stated, the travel information was not easy to find. I finally figured out which platform I would be able to catch the train to Lublin from. During this time, I was asked by a Polish couple if I knew where to catch the Lodz train from, thankfully their English was good and I helped them as much as I could.

    The post reminded me on how confusing it was for myself and others at Zachodnia. However, I have encountered similar confusion at my home station of Aberdeen in Scotland. The platforms here are blocked off by screens and ticket barriers, thus making it difficult to see where the platforms are and how to access the correct one, especially 6 North. I have often found myself pointing others in the right direction, as station attendants are not always around.

    For those of you wondering, I did manage to catch the train to Lublin from the stated platform/line and as timetabled for the pleasant journey that lay ahead of me.

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