Missing the point

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Point and indicator on the approach to Wegorzewo Station on the Wegorzewo – Ketrzyn branch, the first standard gauge railway line to be preserved in Poland. Photo Michal Malek.

(Click image to see more of Michal Malek’s photos of Wegorzewo Station on the PolskieSzlaki.pl website.)

An apparently unconnected series of events.

In spite of getting up at 06:00, I am in serious danger of missing my Warsaw train, which departs nearly two hours later. My taxi deposits me at the station with 10 minutes to spare, but there is a long queue which shuffles forward agonizingly slowly. After 5 minutes only 3 of the 8 people in front of me have been served. I abort the mission and walk smartly to the train and steel myself to pay the the penalty for buying a ticket from the train conductor. The PKP IC TLK train is a brand new EMU, but the seats are back-breakingly uncomfortable. I sit on some folding seats near the toilets. They are nothing to write home about, but are better than the standard seats in the rest of the train.

The train runs no faster than 130 km/h (81 mph) and completes the journey at an average speed of 86 km/h (51 mph). A considerable portion of the line has been completely rebuilt thanks to various EU-assisted projects. The rail alignment of the welds of the continuously welded track leaves a lot to be desired. At one place the train lurches uncomfortably across a facing point – a strange piece of track alignment on a completely rebuilt main line. I arrive in Warsaw about an half hour early for my meeting. I contemplate buying my return ticket, but I do not know whether I will be returning on a Przewozy Regionalny IR train, or on a PKP IC TLK train and the two operators do not recognize each others’ tickets. same uncomfortable seats as on my morning train.

My meeting was in the Ministry of Infrastructure, part of the consultative process relating to the Ministry’s planning document featured earlier on BTWT. The meeting is very sparsely attended – not surprising since it was only advertised on the Ministry’s website and also once on Puls Biznesu. After a 1 hour presentation by Juliusz Engelhardt, the Under Sevretary of State responsible for rail, it is time for our comments. I venture the point that the voice of the passenger appears to be missing – perhaps a formal consultation process could be instituted? The Minister receives my comment with scorn. Poland complies with all the relevant EU legislation. The passenger has an opportunity to input into the consultation process of which this meeting is a part.

During the whole meeting the Minister has been lecturing, not listening. I return home sadder and wiser. After lunch with railway friends in the Ministry canteen, I have over half an hour before my train PR IR leaves Warsaw. The long queues to the ticket offices move forward agonizingly slowly, after 20 minutes of waiting, I abort the mission and make my way to the train. The newly refurbished PR TLK EMU has been fitted with exactly the same seats as the PKP IC EMU on my morning journey…

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2 Responses to “Missing the point”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    Going off at a tangent – some more information regarding the present status of the Ketrzyn – Wegorzewo line (as portrayed in the accompanying picture) would be appreciated. The latest gen which I have is about line’s situation in summer 2009. It seems that those administering from far away, and those actually operating trains on the spot, fell out out with each other, which led to a premature end to line’s 2009 summer-season workings.

    Can it be taken that in summer 2010, the line was running once again? To quote Private Eye, ‘Enquiring minds want to know’.

  2. Rail Earthing Says:

    Stumbled across this blog today and a really good read. I’m also interested in anything rail related. I work for FM Sudafix who assist in EU related rail projects.

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