Lodz Fabryczna station on its last day of operation, 15.10.2011. Photo BTWT.
(Click on image to expand.)
Lodz Fabryczna is no more. The station closed to passenger traffic on Sunday 16 October. The closure is the first stage of a 2 billion PLN project to relocate the station underground and to build a new skyscraper city centre on the railway land. The original 1868 station building designed by Adolf Schimmelpfennig for Karol Scheibler – the greatest of all the Lodz industrialists – is to be demolished. The advantages of the station relocation are claimed to be:
- the new railway station will also serve a new high-speed railway;
- facilities for railway passengers will be greatly improved;
- the relocation of the station will release much needed development land;
- the existing station building is an eyesore which should be demolished.
The local and national press have loudly trumpeted the claims of Infrastructure Minister, Cezary Grabarczyk, and Lodz Mayor, Hanna Zdanowska, that the development project will bring benefits to rail passengers and the city of Lodz. BTWT is not so sure.
- routing the proposed Warsaw – Lodz – Wroclaw + Poznan “Y”-shaped high-speed line through the centre of Lodz is the most expensive way of bring Poland’s “HS2” to the city; we calculate that this route will add some 10 billion PLN to the costs of the line which will make it very difficult to build and finance;
- the new Lodz Fabryczna is pencilled in for opening for 2015 – given PKP’s poor record of delivering projects on time – rail passengers will suffer inconvenience for many years to come; PKP’s can ill afford its investment in the project (76%) at a time when it cannot manage to maintain its infrastructure and is already burdened by very high interest costs;
- there is no shortage of development land in and around Lodz; the developer who was interested in acquiring the former railway land has withdrawn and given the reluctance of banks to lend money for new development projects, Lodz is unlikely to recoup its share (24%) of the costs;
- the existing station is an architectural gem, which was carefully restored and extended by PKP after Poland regained its independence; future generations will not understand why today’s city authorities demolished so much of Lodz’s industrial heritage.
If our doubts prove to be right, then the Lodz Fabryczna relocation will prove to be yet another expensive ‘vanity’ project. Such exercises in megalomania were commonplace during Poland’s communist past. We all supposed, when the country wholeheartedly embraced free market economics, that their day had passed.
Lodz Fabryczna last day. YouTube video by yamarotto.
On the last day, the station was busy and its car park full until the last train had run. It seemed that everyone in the city who had a camera came to pay their respects to the old station. The last train out of Lodz Fabryczna was the 22:40 PR Regio train to Koluszki. There was a carnival atmosphere with champagne corks popping and TV cameras rolling. The train was packed, many railway enthusiasts travelled out as far as Lodz Widzew and then returned on the last train in – the 23:10 TLK arrival (21:22 ex W-wa Centralna).
Three rakes of TLK carriages remained in the station after midnight, presumably these ran as ’empty stock’ working to Lodz Widzew on Sunday morning at which stop they magically became passenger trains?
- BTWT – 10,000 million zloty down the drain?
- Riding the last train out – Ostatni pociąg z dworca Lodz Fabryczna (YouTube)
- The last train out – Ostatni Regio z Lodzi Fabrycznej (YouTube)
- Last train in – Ostatni wjazd pociągu na stary dworzec Lodz Fabryczna (YouTube)