Look, no trains!

by

The beginning of the end… Video by .

(Posted on YouTube on 15 March.)

…or a new beginning? Video by .

(Posted on YouTube on 20 March.)

The British-Polish Chamber of Commerce and the Lodz City Authority held a joint meeting at Lodz Town Hall on Monday 19 March about the redevelopment of Lodz Fabryczna station. The Mayor of Lodz, pointed out that roads and railways were a critical deciding factor in whether a region attracted external investment. The Chairman of PKP PLK showed plans and artist’s impressions of the new underground Lodz Fabryczna. The BPCC representative showed a PowerPoint presentation about major railway station investments around the world.

As presentation followed presentation our BTWT reporter’s head began to nod. It had been a 05:00 hrs. start in Warsaw to catch the 06:40 TLK to get to Lodz Widzew for 08:20. Then a long walk to the tram stop and another long walk to the Town Hall. (The bus alternative involves three different buses and a 210m walk.) But then what was this? The BPCC speaker was ending his presentation on a high note.

There are several similarities between Lodz and the Thames Valley area – a region with the lowest unemployment in the United Kingdom. Both areas lie to the West of their respective capitals, both are close to major airports, both have well-respected Universities.

But there is one important difference. Yesterday evening I counted how many direct trains there are between Reading and London. It took me 15 minutes. I counted 191 trains. And how many direct trains are there today between the centre of Lodz and Warsaw – exactly zero!*

This was bang on target. It is fast trains and not railway stations that have a powerful effect on regional development.

*There are 22 direct trains on weekdays between Lodz Widzew and Warszawa Centralna. The fastest journey time for the 126km (79 mile) journey is 1hr 29min, an average speed of 87km/h (55 mph). The fastest journey time for the 102 km (64 mile) from Oxford to London is 56 minutes, an average speed of 109 km/h (68 mph).

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