Archive for December, 2011

Carols at Centralna

Saturday, 31 December 2011

A little bit of Christmas fun from Dworce Kolejowy.

Can any BTWT reader tell me what Dworce Kolejowe are actually for?

I hope you all had a great holiday and my best wishes for 2012.


Christmas Competition – No. 7

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A very interesting, yet somewhat confusing location. Satellite photo courtesy Google Maps.

(Click to enlarge.)

The battle for first place in our Christmas competition is warming up. Waldemar Heise challenged our assertion that only Ed Beale correctly identified our last but one location as Umianowice on the Jedrzejow railway and, after checking all the correspondence that we received, the judges have accepted the challenge!

We received Ed’s answer on 21 December at 16:50, but Waldemar had already sent in an answer at 00:27 on the same day, which we somehow overlooked. Our sincere apologies to both Waldemar and Ed over the mix-up – the judges have had no choice, but to transfer the point for that round from Ed to Waldemar.

It is probably a good time to revisit the corrected score board:

1st round – Waldemar Heise, 1 point (Przemtorf Peat Plant)
2nd round – Ed Beale, 1 point (Karczmiska depot)
3rd round – Inzynier, 1 point (Hajnowka depot)
4th round – Waldemar Heise, 1 point (Golczewo)
5th round – Waldemar Heise, 1 point (Umianowice)

No correct entries were received for our last location which was in Przeworsk on the Przeworsk narrow gauge railway, so the point goes to Dyspozytor. Waldemar appears unbeatable with 3 points, but there are 7 more rounds to play, so anything is possible as far as the final score goes.

Our last location – the curve at Preworsk. ‘Slippy’ map courtesy Google Maps.

A Christmas Tale

Sunday, 25 December 2011

19:00 hrs Lodz Kaliksa to Warszawa Wschodnia making its first start from Platform 1 at Lodz Kaliska. Photo (taken on an iPhone 4) BTWT.

I have mixed feelings about Christmas. A week to go and I am feeling harried. Polish shop assistants are never particularly helpful at the best of times and it is not going to be my lucky day. I want a coffee machine, but I don’t want to spend a fortune. The girl looking after this section of the shop shows me a machine costing 499 zloty.

As it’s a demonstration model you might be able to get a discount, she says helpfully.

OK, I’ll buy it if you knock off 10%.

She vanishes and comes back, You can have it for 449 zloty.

I’ll take it!

She comes back with a box and an official looking piece of paper. Tell the girl at the counter to ignore the bar code on the box and to scan this instead. I join the long queue at the till which slowly shuffles forward.

At last I’m at the counter. The girl scans my paper and then scans the box. Something is wrong. She makes a phone call and indicates that I should wait and starts to serve the next person in the queue.

Time drags, I ask her why I have been made to wait. Because the goods don’t agree with the description.

But you haven’t looked at the goods, you only looked at the box.

Why are you shouting at me?

I’m not shouting at you. I’m trying to make myself heard against the din in the shop. Please call the manager.

Which manager would you like – my manager or the manager in charge of the coffee machines?

Whatever manager can resolve the problem.

I win my battle and go to look for my next present…

It’s evening and my last task is to get a packet of Christmas cards to Warsaw – the first leg of their journey to England. This would seem to be a job tailor-made for przesylki konduktorskie, the Polish equivalent of the erstwhile Red Star package service.

Forewarned is forearmed. I Google przesylki konduktorskie and read the appropriate page on the PKP IC website. There is a pdf file download with long list of trains which carry packages.

According to the list, train 91115/4 the 18:15 TLK ex Lodz Kaliska arr. 20:30 Warszawa Centralna runs daily. It is ideal. I arrive at Kaliska at 18:00 and look for the train.

There is no 18:15 TLK instead there is an 18:14 IR departure from platform 2! I approach the IR, there are about half a dozen railway officials in the Guard’s van. I ask for the guard and explain my problem. We don’t do przesylki konduktorskie, you need a PKP IC TLK train.

But you are running instead of the TLK train advertised on the przesylki konduktorskie, I’ve already arranged for the train to be met in Warsaw. Look it’s Christams and these are Christmas cards. Couldn’t we come to some private arrangement?

I’m not losing my job for some Christmas cards.

I have a similar conversations with the driver with similar results. Look, I say, if you all loose your jobs next year, when your customers all switch to Polski Bus because of the way you treat them, don’t blame me. I hope that all your points end up frozen set the wrong way!

As the 18:14 draws out the guard yells at me, Try the 19:00, it’s not long to wait.

I have meals to cook and things to do, but it seems I have no choice. I go down to the ticket hall and read the next chapter of Steig Larsonn’s masterpiece The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo on my iPhone. The tale of one girl’s battle against injustice – suitably garnished with violence of the most horrific kind – is strangely calming. I recommend the book, but it is not for the queasy.

It is 18:50, I make my way to platform 1 and ask the conductor whether he can accept a package. You need the guard in the compartment next to the engine. I find the guard, he is polite and efficient, I have the exact 26 zloty change and we soon conclude our transaction. I phone my contact in Warsaw and explain the new pick up time.

The guard blows his whistle and the train slowly draws out of the platform. I take the photo which appears at the top. Suddenly there is a shout, the driver applies the breaks and the train skids to a halt. Someone is running across the car park far below us. He vanishes into the stair well. After what seems an eternity he appears at the top and darts across the platform to board the train.

The guard blows his whistle a second time and the train draws out. I have mixed feelings about Christmas.

Christmas Competition – No. 6

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Another sharp curve with just a hint that there may have been a triangle here once. Satellite photo courtesy Google Maps.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Our last location stumped most of our players, possibly because only a blurred satellite photo was available. However Ed Beale sent us the following e-mail.

I think this is Umianowice on the Jedrzejow narrow gauge railway.

That reminds me of someone I met on the Koszalin 113th anniversary train, Wojciech Ostrowski, who told me that the Umianowice – Hajdaszek – Stawiany line reopened this year for rail cycling. I can’t find any information on the website about whether this is open to the public though.

Ed was the only person to identifiy the location and so takes the point. This where during the operating season the Jedrzejow Railway lets you buy a beer or fry a sausage over a camp fire. Does anyone know the answer Ed’s question about ‘rail cycling’?

Today’s mystery location should bring in a large batch of entries. Meanwhile, for those BTWT readers who want to explore the Jedrzejow Raqilway from the comfort of their armchairs, here is a Google Maps ‘slippy map’ of Umianowice

Umianowice courtesy Google Maps

(Click to expand map and/or switch to satellite view.)

Christmas Competition – No. 5

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Another mystery triangle courtesy Google Maps

Sorry for the hiccup in BTWT postings, but I have been busy fighting pro-rail battles on another front and can feel some satisfaction that after many setbacks some measurable progress at last has been achieved.

I must admit that the last location is a place on a line with which I have some emotional attachment. I first came across the Stepnica – Gryfice branch of the Pomeranian narrow gauge railways in the 1960s when I was bawled out by the station master at Stepnica for photographing one of his trains. Alas, though I succeeded in keeping my film and camera the film then  went astray before I could develop it.

While still a schoolboy I visited the manager of the Szczecińskie Koleje Dojazdowe (Szczecin Area Local Railways) and told him the story of the Talyllyn Railway and the other Welsh narrow gauge lines. I remember when his secretary came into his office with a sheaf of letters and a massive rotary holder of rubber stamps and he carefully chose the right stamp and then ‘signed’ each letter by stamping it!

I also visited the head Department of Transport of the Szczecin area local goverment – in those days an English passport could get you to see quite important officials – and told him the same story.

In the 1970s, I revisited the line a number of times. Stepnica port acted as a short of headshunt for the timber yard and I befriended one of the engine crews. One year they ‘kidnapped’ my girl friend while I was photographing their engine and charged off with her in their Px48 to the timber yard at top speed. On the way the driver told her that the fireman had recently been released from jail after serving a sentence for assault and battery.

Another place I explored was Golczewo with its remarkably sharp curve – the remains of a triangle and former branch to Samlino and Sniatowo. I remember the track being well-fettled when I first saw it. Alas all is weeds and devastation today. The Mayor of Stepnica sold the track materials of the section of line in his municipality for peanuts.

After the political changes in 1989, I tried to interest a number of politicians in the idea that the waterways around Szczecin and the port of Stepnica would form an ideal extension to the inland waterway cruising area around Berlin. Wealthy German tourists could moor their luxury motor cruisers and then take the historic narrow gauge railway to the attractions of the coast.

For years the Stepnica branch carried timber. The local road hauliers eyed the business with jealousy. Their interest and the fact that the line crossed the busy Szczecin – Swinoujskie Route 3 trunk road sealed the line’s fate. However, thanks to the initiative of the Mayor of Reval at least the section of railway from the line’s HQ at Gryfice to the coast has been preserved.

Both Waldemar Heise and Michael Friedrich came up with the right answer on Saturday. Waldemar came in first by a couple of hours and so takes the point.

The curve at Golczewo. ‘Slippy’ map courtesy Google Maps.


Christmas Competition – No. 4

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Today’s mystery town and railway. Photo courtesy Google Maps.

(Click on image to expand.)

Today’s mystery location is a tough nut to crack. But the skill of BTWT readers is legendary, so there probably will be an expert on this particular railway who will have no problem in solving the puzzle..

Waldemar Heise and Michael Friedrich correctly identified our last location as the Hajnówka HQ of the 600mm tourist lines there, but Inzynier beat them to it and so takes the point. The Hajnówka base was once considerable larger – and the centre of a 200km network of 600mm forestry lines. Today just two branches, with a total length of 17 km, are operated as tourist lines.

The current score is: Waldemar Heise, Ed Beale and Inzynier, all with one point each. Who will be first to correctly identify today’s location?

Google Maps ‘slippy’ satellite view of the Hajnowka area.

(The image can be scrolled, scaled up or down, or changed for a ‘map view’.)

Gryfice project progress

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The first section of new track being laid at Trzesac on 22.11.2011. Photo ©Peter Wilhelm.

(Click image to see Peter Wilhelm’s photo report on the Eisenbahnen in Pommern website.)

Przewoznik has sent a link to a great piece of photo reportage by Peter Wilhelm showing the progress on the 40 million PLN renovation project on the Gryfice Narrow Gauge Railway.

The project is primarily concerned with the station buildings on the section Trzesacz – Pogorzelica:

  1. Rebuilding the station building in Rewal,

  2. Rebuilding the station building in Rewal in Pogorzelica,

  3. Rebuilding the station building in Niechorze and building a tourist information centre,

  4. Building a new station building in Trzesacz,

  5. Building a new station building in Sliwin,

  6. Building a new station building in Niechorze

The project also involves some infrastructure works: rebuilding 11km of track within the boundary of the Rewal municipality and building a bridge across the Liwka canal in Niechorze.

Finally, the project envisages some modernisation and repair work on the line’s passenger rolling stock and a heavy overhaul for the railway’s solitary steam locomotive.

Some 15.5 million PLN of the project cost is an EU grant; the remaining 24.5 million PLN is being funded by the Rewal Municipality (the owner of the line) and the Zachodniopomorskie provincial government.


Christmas Competition – No. 3

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Today’s mystery narrow gauge location courtesy Google Maps.

(Click image to enlarge.)

More players have joined the competition. Welcome to to one and all. We are particularly pleased to see participants who are taking part for the first time. There will be 12 questions in all, so, if you would like to play the game, it is not to late to join.

The last mystery picture was of Karczmiska depot – easily recognised by its distinctive double-ended shed and triangle – on the Naleczowska Kolej Dojazdowa, literally ‘Naleczow Feeder Railway’.

Poland’s koleje dojazdowe cause a problem for the translator. In English, secondary lines are not generally referred to as ‘feeder railways’, If they are standard gauge they are colloquially called ‘branch lines’, though formally they are railways. Narrow gauge are usually just ‘railways’. The Ffestiniog Railway is owned and operated by the Festiniog Railway Company. (Yes the different spelling of ‘Ffestiniog’ is correct!)

However, some British narrow gauge railways are called ‘narrow gauge railways’, the erstwhile North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways immediately spring to mind. Perhaps the closest to kolej dojazdowa in the physical sense of ‘a lightly laid feeder railway’ is the term ‘light railway’, which like kolej dojazdowa can be applied regardless of gauge.

However, in England this term has acquired a legal sense – a line laid under the powers of the Light Railways Act – and only certain light railways in the formerly Prussian administered areas of Poland were built under the terms of equivalent legislation.

In Poland there is a general tendency for former narrow gauge koleje dojazdowe, now operating as heritage lines, to brand themselves as koleje waskotorowe, so by translating in BTWT the names of such lines as the ‘Something or other Narrow Gauge Railway’ we are only following the trend.

Waldemar Heise, Inzynier and Michael Friedrich correctly identified Karczmiska, but Ed Beale was first and so gets the point.

A ‘slippy’ satellite picture of the Karczmiska area, which can be expanded, scrolled or viewed in Google Maps.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

(13 December 2011)

30 years ago today General Jaruzelski declared a state of Martial Law in Poland. Or as a friend of mine once eloquently put it:

The army and police of the Polish People’s Republic started shooting Polish workers in defence of the leading role of the Polish United Workers’ Party.


Wolsztyn – Poznan steam workings resume

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Pacific Pm36-2 Piekna Helena comes off the afternoon Leszno – Wolsztyn – Zbaszynek working ready to run round her train on 17 April 2011. Photo BTWT.

(Click photo to enlarge.)

After the completion by PKP PLK of a major upgrading programme for the track and infrastructure between Poznan and Wolsztyn, steam services returned to the line on 11 December.

The last regular steam service on the Zbaszynek – Wolsztyn – Leszno line ran on Friday 9 December. On Saturday the service was diesel hailed while Ol49-59 ran ‘light engine’ from Wolsztyn to Poznan to enable drivers to familiarize themselves with the upgraded line. On Sunday 11 December – the first day of the new timetable on Poland’s railways – the restored Wolsztyn – Poznan passenger workings were also hauled by Ol49-59.

The new service consists of a twice daily run from Wolsztyn to Poznan and return: Wolsztyn dep. 5:16 – Poznan arr. 7:13, Poznan dep. 9:20 – Wolsztyn arr. 11:17; Wolsztyn dep. 13:39 – Poznan arr. 15:47, Poznan dep. 17:20 – Wolsztyn arr. 19:16.

After Pm36-2’s run from Zbaszynek there is a short break at Wolsztyn. The loco is is watered and coaled. Photo BTWT.

(Click photo to enlarge.)

From June 1st 2012, when the track is bedded in, the morning outward and the return afternoon working which carry most of the commuter traffic will become a limited stop service. This will reduce the current 1 hr 57 min journey time to to 1 hr 23 min. Note the current timetable can be downloaded from the Koleje Wielkopolskie (KW) website, the links on the Przewozy Regionalne website still point to the withdrawn timetable.

From 1 June 2010, the steam services, together with many other local services, have been the responsibility of Koleje Wielkopolskie (KW), the local rail services operator owned by the Wielkopolska provincial government. KW receive a special subsidy for the steam service, from the Wielkopolskie provincial government.

Actual service delivery is by means of steam engines and crews hired from PKP Cargo and coaches leased from Przewozy Regionalne. Or at least that is our understanding of the current arrangement. Please write if you know anything different! The operating locos this winter will be Ol49-59 and, Warsaw Railway Museum-owned, Pm 36-2. Ol49-69 is due to return from overhaul at Leszno during the winter.

Bearings and motion receive attention and then the loco returns to the station to haul her train to Leszno. Photo BTWT.

(Click photo to enlarge.)

As well as the regular Wolstyn – Poznan services, steam fans can expect a number of steam specials in 2012. The Instytut Rozwoju i Promocji Kolei (The Railway Development and Promotion Institute) are running a number of steam specials under their tourist train brand Turkol. The following steam specials currently appear on the Turkol website:

14 April 2012 – Piernik,

Route – Poznan Glowny – Gniezno – Inowrocław – Torun Glowny – Poznan Glowny.

2 June 2012 – Pirat

Route: Poznan Glowny – Oborniki – Pila – Okonek – Kolobrzeg – Kolobrzeg Port.
Kolobrzeg – Okonek – Pila – Oborniki – Poznan Glowny.

A number of other dates for Turkol steam specials (presumably tentative) are given on the Wolsztyn Experience website.

Christmas Competition – No. 2

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A narrow gauge location somewhere in Poland courtesy of Google Maps. But where?

(Click to enlarge.)

A warm welcome to Waldemar Heise who entered the labyrinthine domain of BTWT competitions for the first time only to immediately snatch a point just as Dyspozytor was gazing longingly at another bottle of Zubrowka. Waldemar was the only person to submit an entry. Come on BTWT regulars, where are you all? Dozing off to many pre-Christmas party drinks, I expect.

There’s something to said for the Polish custom whereby the whole country celebrates St Andrew’s day and then everybody slows down their rate of beverage consumption until Christmas. Andrew is the patron saint of countries not particularly known for being abstemious: Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, and in bygone times, Prussia.

While on the subject of saints, here is a brief note about Saints Barbara and Catherine in reply to a couple of recent comments by Robert Hall. St Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because her wicked father was struck down by lightning. St Catherine looks after railwaymen, because Emperor Maxentius ordered her to be tortured on a spiked wheel. So Barbara – explosives; Catherine – wheeled transport. Easy!

Our congratulations to Waldemar for correctly identifying the Przemtorf Peat Processing Plant – and its narrow gauge railway at Nowy Chwalim near Szczecinek. There are some nice photos of the railway on Peter Wilhelm’s fascinating Eisenbahnen in Pommern website. Below is a ‘slippy’ satellite picture of the peatfields, which can be expanded, scrolled or viewed in map view.

“Y” high speed lines cancelled

Saturday, 10 December 2011

High Speed Line Route Options. Map courtesy PKP PLK.

(Click map to expand.)

No statement in the Sejm (the lower house of Poland’s Parliament), no notice on the Ministry’s website, no official press release; only a brief mention at the end of a press conference about the way Poland’s railways were planning to cope with the winter – that was the way new transport minister, Slawomir Nowak, announced the suspension of the project to build Poland’s first dedicated high speed railway line, the Kolej Duzych Predkości (KDP).

The Y-shaped line from Warszawa through Lodz with a northern branch to Poznan and a southern branch to Wroclaw would have been 450 to 470 km long and designed for 350 km/h running. The Minister said that it was more important to focus on bringing the existing network up to scratch than spend money on new fancy new projects.

For many years, railway workers have dreamed of building high speed railways. Their cost could be 20bn zloty, or even 28bn zloty, [unofficial estimates price the “Y” lines at 35bn PLN, D] that’s why I have decided to suspend work on the project until after 2030. First we must concentrate on repairing the railway tracks that already exist, only then can we spend money on new projects. After our modernization works are complete trains will able to reach some 200-220 km/h [125 – 140mph]. That can already be described as ‘high speed’.

The Minister added, If you have a Syrenka, you can dream of owning a Bentley, but first it’s better to buy a Golf.


Christmas Competition – No. 1

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Somewhere in Poland courtesy of Google Maps. But where?

(Click to enlarge.)

Our last competition seemed to go down quite well, so here is another, specially devised for the holiday season. Between now and the New Year we will be publishing Google satellite views of a dozen narrow gauge railway locations scattered around Poland.

All you have to do is to be the first to send in the correct answer to gain a point. If no one submits a correct answer before the next question is published, Dyspozytor gets a point. Answers may be submitted either via the Comments facility or by e-mail to our mail box: railfan [at] go2 [dot] pl.

The person who gets the maximum amount of points is the winner. The winner gets to take Dyspozytor out for a drink / a bottle of Zubrowka (delete as appropriate!).

No DB coaches for IC

Thursday, 8 December 2011

EP07-374 pilots another unidentified PKP IC loco at the head of a Warsaw-bound train at Lodz Fabryczna on 22 May 2011, Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Though a meeting to discuss the matter is set up for 9 November, it is our understanding that DB management have already informed PKP IC that they will be unable to provide passenger coaches on lease for the duration of Euro 2012.

PKP InterCity’s problems arose because of the loss-making company waited until October 2010 before going out to tender with the contract to repair 748 passenger coaches. It seems that the railway workshops that bid for the contract were well aware that this was a prestigious deal that PKP IC could not afford to get wrong and so pitched their prices accordingly.

PKP IC bosses were horrified at the high prices tendered and put into motion a second tender in the hope that this may result in more affordable rates. Meanwhile June 2012 looms ever closer…


PKP Cargo celebrate St Catherine’s feastday

Monday, 5 December 2011

Photo report by John Savery

Ol49-59 and Sw. Katarzyna statue, PKP Cargo offices, Poznan. Photo ©John Savery

(Click image to enlarge.)

Swieta Katarzyna (Saint Catherine) is the patron saint of railway workers in Poland.  25 November, the saint’s feast day, saw PKP Cargo celebrate the rededication of their statue to Sw Katarzyna, in front of their offices at the rear of the Cargo shed in Poznan.

A moment during the rededication ceremony, PKP Cargo offices, Poznan. Photo ©John Savery

(Click image to enlarge.)

Ol49-59, which had worked the morning train from Wolsztyn down to Leszno the previous day, had been buffed up to a shine, and worked light engine to Poznan that morning, in time for the celebrations.  With brass band playing, and standards paraded, the statue was blessed, before the engine worked light back to Leszno in time for the scheduled afternoon train to Wolsztyn.

Days work done, Ol49-59 basks in the evening sun, outside Leszno MPD. Photo ©John Savery

(Click image to enlarge.)

Kalisz trip report

Monday, 5 December 2011

Photo report by Ed Beale

Zbiersk Cukrownia, SKPL mixed traffic special ready to depart. Photo ©Ed Beale.

(Click to enlarge.)

At 09:30 on Saturday 3rd December, around 25 people armed with cameras were waiting outside Kalisz station for the first part of the Mikolajki z TOWOS-em excursion on SKPL’s Kalisz narrow gauge railway. At 09:45 a historic San H100 bus appeared and we all piled on board and quickly departed. The bus drew all eyes as we drove through the centre of Kalisz – no one has seen its like for decades.

The first stop was at the site of the old Kalisz narrow gauge station on the northern edge of the town. The mainline station in Kalisz is badly located, but this one was in its day just as bad, being 2.5 km from the city centre and 5 km from the standard gauge station. But it closed many years ago and all there is to see now is a large flat empty site covered in low weeds. An LPG gas station occupies a tiny part of the site, but the rest remains empty.

One of several run-pasts. Photo ©Ed Beale.

(Click to enlarge.)

We continued on to Zbiersk, the HQ and engineering base of the railway, where we arrived at 10:35. The special train was waiting in the yard, consisting of Lxd2-287, two standard gauge bogie wagons on transporters, a brake van and a Romanian coach.

Departure from Zbiersk was at 11:00. The southward journey was broken up by a number of photo stops, seven of them in total, with run-pasts at most. The landscape the railway passes through is flat, but forests, a river, and some fine churches in villages close to the line add a bit of scenic interest. The line crosses numerous roads but as the railway is still well used, drivers were pretty good at stopping at the sound of the train horn and there was no need for staff in hi-vis jackets to hop out and stop the traffic.

Standard gauge wagons are unloaded from their transporters. Photo ©Ed Beale.

(Click to enlarge.)

We reached Opatowek, the standard gauge interchange station, at 13:40. Here the coach and brake van were shunted into a siding while the Lxd2 and SKPL’s standard gauge shunter transferred the two standard gauge wagons from the transporters back onto standard gauge track. This took around an hour, then the special train, now reduced to just the coach and brake van, departed back to Zbiersk at 14:50.

This time, due to the fading light, there were no photo stops, but we did have a long stop at Zelazkow where, to my very pleasant surprise, portions of bigos (delicious goulash style stew) and bread rolls arrived for everyone from the catering company on the other side of the road! With the bigos quickly finished off the train continued on into the dusk to Zbiersk, arriving at 16:35, in plenty of time for the 17:19 bus back to Kalisz.

Many thanks to Robert Matczak and his colleagues at SKPL for an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable event, and to Dyspozytor for booking my place.


Inter City blues

Saturday, 3 December 2011

11-coach Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Zachodnia train at Warszawa Centralna on 10 October 2011.
Photo BTWT.

With just 6 months to go before the start of the Euro 2012 final tournament on 8 June it has just dawned on PKP IC bosses that, with hundreds of their coaches laid up in sidings awaiting maintenance, there just might not be enough coaches to go round to carry the extra passengers. A meeting has been set up between PKP IC and DB for 9 November at which the question of leasing German railway coaches will be discussed. Apparently such an option might be cheaper than IC repairing its own coaches.

Meanwhile, mindful of the chaos that took place on Poland’s railways last winter Slawomir Nowak, Poland’s new transport minister, has moved decreed that – from 19 to 28 December – seat reservation will be compulsory on four of PKP IC’s long distance trains: TLK trains: Kossak (Przemysl – Szczecin), Gałczynski (Lublin – Szczecin), Pobrzeze (Krakow-Kołobrzeg) and Monciak – Krupowki (Zakopane – Gdynia).

Extra coaches will be made available, should the reservation system indicate that there may be may not be enough capacity on these trains. Since PKP IC has not been allocated any money to actually put more coaches back into service, Nowak has ordered PKP IC to draw up a list of its 10 least popular trains. If extra coaches are needed, one or more trains on Nowak’s list will not run and their coaches will be used to strengthen the formation of the busier services.