Zgierz – Lowicz – the ghost trains!

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Are Przewozy Regionalny services being censored?

The railway line from Zgierz to Lowicz courtesy OpenStreetMap.

A few days ago ago I had to travel to Warsaw from Lodz and, not wanting to risk a ride on IC’s infamous ED74s, I decided to try out IR 33024 – the 09:38 InterRegio from Lodz Kaliska to Warszawa Wschodnia. IR 33024 runs via Zgierz and Lowicz, a line which lost its passenger services in 2007, because of the dilapidated state of its track and which has recently been completely relaid at a cost of some 65 million zloty (approx. £13 million).

It was a pleasant diversion to be able to ‘grice’ a line newly reopened for passengers en route to some more serious business. At times the train was able to run at up to the line maximum of 90 km/h (56 mph) on the relaid tracks. I was amazed to see that all the derelict station buildings were being rebuilt as well, particularly as some of the stations seem to be literally in the middle of nowhere. (Click the thumbnail map above to see the sites of all the reopened stations on a larger map.)

Part of the departure timetable at Warszawa Centralna.

Having concluded my business in Warsaw, I returned to Warszawa Centralna and heard the return working – IR 33024 – being announced (in Polish) over the station intercom. The train arriving on Platform 4, track 8 is the InterRegio to Lodz Kaliska calling at Warszawa Zachodnia, Sochaczew, Zgierz and Lodz Zabieniec. Hold on a minute, according to my iPhone, IR 33024 also calls at Teresin Niepokalanow, Lowicz Przedmiescie, Domaniewice, Glowno, Bratoszewice, Strykow, Swedow, and Glinnik!

I decided to check out the earlier Lodz Kaliska train that runs via the Lowicz – Zguerz line, IR 33043, departing for from Warszawa Centralna at 11:30 The printed timetable (Click the timetable image above to see it in full size.) shows the train just calling at Lowicz Przedmiescie, Zgierz and Lodz Zabieniec. The TK Telecom timetable shows the train also calling at Warszawa Zachodnia, Domaniewice, Glowno, Bratoszewice, Strykow, Swedow and Glinnik!

I wondered if this was just a problem with the newly reopened stations on the Lowicz – Zgierz line, or whether other IR services were effected. IR 11121, the 11:50 InterRegio to Bialystok, is shown as stopping at Malkinia, Szeptiewo and Lapy. TK Telecom shows it as calling at Warszawa Wschodnia, Malkinia, Czyzew, Szeptiewo and Lapy. Similarly, IR 1612o is shown as calling at Kutno, Konin, Wrzesnia, Poznan Glowny, Wroclaw Glowny and Klodzko Glowny on its way to Bystryca Koldzka, the on-line timetable shows the train as calling at 35 other intermediate stations!

In the end I decide not to take the InterRegio, but to catch some time with my friends and take TLK 26100, the 17:30 to Wroclaw Glowny which runs fast over the Lowicz – Zgierz line, only stopping at Lowicz Przedmiescie. This stop was correctly announced over the PA at Warszawa Centralna, but was omitted from the announcement at Warszawa Zachodnia.

TLK 26100 – EP07-391 with 5 carriages – departs from Lodz Kaliska. Photo BTWT.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

From my observations, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that while information about the stations served by Polish trains is generally incomplete and inconsistent, PR’s InterRegio services are being singled out for special treatment.

Those who were around when much of Britain’s railway network was closed in the 1960s will be familiar with stories how train times were altered and how information about connections was omitted in an effort to drive passengers off the trains before railway lines were put up for closure.

In Poland those who run the railways go a step further – they rebuild a railway line to allow trains to run at speed, reopen it to passenger services, and then make sure that the information about train services remains a closely guarded secret. Is this an example of what is called reverse Polish logic?

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