The approach tracks to the new underground station at Warsaw’s Okecie airport. Still from KolejTV video.
(Click image to see the whole KolejTV video on YouTube.)
On 19 May, Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, accompanied by Transport Minister, Slawomir Nowak; PKP SA Chairman, Jakub Karnowski; Warsaw Deputy Mayor, Jacek Wojciechowicz; and PKP PLK board member, Andrzej Pawlowski rode on a special train from Warszawa Stadion to the brand new station at Warsaw’s Okecie airport.
The Prime Minister declared that he was pleased that passengers arriving at the airport will be able to board a train of a similar standard to which they would find in London or other European cities. Mr Nowak added that a day earlier PKP PLK received authorization to operate over the airport spur and that trains would definitely be running over it from 1 June.
BTWT’s analysts were somewhat surprised at this news, and even more so when diligent searching failed to uncover any further information about the event on any of the press release pages of PKP SA, PKP PLK, or SKM. As test trains had only started running a month earlier, the commissioning of a new railway line, which includes an underground station, in 4 weeks would surely constitute a new Polish record?
Rzeczpospolita, Poland’s newspaper of record, only carried a brief note that football fans will be able to travel from the airport to Warszawa Stadion in 30 minutes and that this was personally checked by the Prime Minister.
The only news source that we could find that included details and pictures of the event was Rynek Kolejowy. RK’s headline was somewhat tongue in cheek, Premier z wizyta, Okecie z pozwoleniem, which translates literally into English as ‘The Prime Minister visits, Okecie with a permit’. Of course the comma here is all important, without it RK readers might have thought that the PM arrived at Okecie with the permit in his pocket.
Given the absence of Warsaw Mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, and acting PKP PLK Chairman, Remigiusz Paszkiewicz, some unkind souls might have thought that the event had been hastily arranged by the PM’s office in response to criticism from opposition politicians that preparations for Euro 2012 are far from complete.
This of course is utter rubbish as is the suggestion that Krzystof Dyl, acting chairman of the Polish rail regulator, UTK, and tipped as hot favourite for the permanent post, may have allowed his career plans to influence the speed with which the airport line received its certification.
The KolejTV video includes: cab footage of test train running over the new airport spur; a brief clip of the new station at Bochnia; an extensive report about the 52 million zloty rebuild of Warszawa Stadion station; an evacuation exercise in the cross-Warsaw rail tunnel, Tunel Srednicowy; and steam and diesel operation on the 600mm gauge Kolejka Parkowa Maltanka in Poznan.