Poland passenger rail services according to Przewozy Regionalne. Some of the lines shown have not seen a passenger train in years.
(Click on the map to download a pdf file with the full-size map.)
Podroznik has been keeping me up to date with this year’s progress on publishing the 2011 Polish railway timetable. The delays – due partly to poor customer care and also partly the fault of local authorities and central government who have not committed sufficiently early to fund rail services – do not bode well for the future of Poland’s passenger services. Here are his reports.
The Warsaw daily, Zycie Warszawy, publishes an article on the contrasting Polish and German approaches to publishing the new timetable. We’re doing everything we can to get the new timetable up two weeks before its implementation, says Tomasz Stachowicz of TK Telekom, the company responsible for publishing the Polish railway timetable on the WWW. In facts this is a great improvement, in previous years the timetable could only be accessed two or three days before its introduction.
The German approach could not be more different. According to Hans Werner Franz, Director of the Berlin and Brandenburg Passenger Transport Authority (VBB), The full timetable must be published at least 6 weeks before it is implemented. It’s an unbendable rule. Not only does the DB timetable show the new German services nearly two months before the timetable changeover on 12 December, but it also shows it many of the new Polish services at least a month earlier before they are due to be introduced. The Zycie Warszawy article ends with a quote by railway consultant Jakub Majewski.
The earliest possible publication of train timetables is essential if rail is to remain competitive with other carriers such as airlines. Since a passenger can buy a ticket 60 days before the start of his journey, he needs to know at the same time to where, and at what time, he can travel. The preparation of the new timetable should be organised in such a way that the new train times are available at the due time. The deadlines for preparing a timetable, considering submissions and makingimprovements are the same all over Europe. Deutsche Bahn has its timetable available on 15 October. Small wonder that people in Germany are much more disposed to travel by rail than in Poland.
Railway Operators are discussing the new timetable amongst themselves, screams a headline on the Railway Publishing House portal, KOW. Discussions with Przewozy Regionalne were still taking place at the beginning of the week. We have to take into account many views. That’s why we are still working on the new timetable, says Beata Czemerajda from the PKP Intercity press office. The latest date for the publication of the new timetable is 7 days before it is due to be implemented, that means 5 December. Probably we’ll get a chance to see it before the end of November.
PKP Intercity advised its clients today today that the ticket pre-travel booking period is being reduced from 60 days to 30 days. Whereas in western Europe the period is being extended, even to as long as 90 days! This is the only announcement that was made:
Tomorrow is 1 December. The new timetable remains complete chaos. Last year, I was already loading data to our system on 20 November! This year, there is no reliable information at all.
The PKP’s ‘Nowy Rozklad’ site, DB’s site, and the PKP IC ‘Zarys’ (dated September) are completely out of synch. For example, the Zarys and DB show several morning EIC trains from Krakow to Warsaw (06:05, 07:05…),whereas the PKP internet timetable the first EIC at 12:05! And IC’s online booking system shows just two EIC trains that you can book from Krakow to Warszawa!
I am trying to book some international trains, but there is no timetable to refer to. I can get Krakow – Prague reservations, but Prague-Krakow reservations remain unavailable. And I ran into a weird problem with Warsaw-Moscow sleeper reservations… reservations opened on Monday, and many trains for the Russian Christmas period were already sold out on the first day!!!
8 days to the new timetable and counting. Still no final info, and complete chaos in the little information that has been published.
The ticket office here is now selling many international tickets, but they have been provided with no reference timetable at all. I have to tell them what I want (based on the DB system), and in many cases they can print an appropriate ticket.
3 December – 16:30
Finally, at 16:30 today, they let loose with something: