Archive for the ‘Lodz Chojny’ Category

Łódź Fabryczna – white elephant?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

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Lodz Fabryczna construction site, summer 2013. Photo by Zorro2212.

(Click picture to see original photo on Wikipedia Commons.)

Behind The Water Tower has been ‘down’ for much longer than usual. I have not been well – nothing terribly alarming, rather a combination of ‘wear and tear’ and an old back problem has taken its toll, and much of my ‘get up and go’ seems to have got up and gone. I have decided on a few simple steps which should at least improve the frequency of postings, if not their quality.

BTWT readers may remember my dislike of the new Lodz Fabryczna project. Currently, the centre of Lodz is cut off for visitors by train and there is no firm date in sight for when the rail link will be restored. Lodzians commuting to Warsaw or further afield are better off – they simply park at one of the many stations on Lodz’s periphery: Zabienec, Kaliska, Chojny or Widzew and enjoy reasonably comfortable(1) – if not very fast train journeys.

There is currently no money nor end date for the completion of the 2,000 million PLN project, 1,500 million of which is being put up by PKP and 500 million by the City of Lodz. The project will not add a single new train path between Lodz and Warsaw.  Just think what 2,000 million PLN could have done in removing speed restriction and bottlenecks in key places around the Polish railway network.

For those readers admiring the progress on the new station in the photo above, perhaps I should explain that the concrete deck in the picture is not intended to be the track bed level of the new station, merely its ceiling. The actual station level remains to be excavated, under the newly cast concrete deck in the picture.

(1) Apart from certain Lodz-Krakow services worked by the PESA ED74 EMUs with their back-breaking seats.

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More: Wikipedia – Łódź Fabryczna railway station

Łódź bridge heave

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The site of the new bridge on April 18 2013. Video BTWT.

Lodz is investing heavily in new roads in anticipation of many more motor vehicles coming into town when the new A1 motorway is completed.

If the same pattern is repeated in Lodz as has happened elsewhere the new roads will persuade even more people to abandon public transport and take to their cars adding yet another twist to the spiral: new roads –> more cars –> more road congestion and air pollution.

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The Gorna area of Lodz. Map OpenStreetMap.

(Click on map to see a larger area of Lodz to a larger scale.)

One of the roads being built is the missing piece of the southern end of Lodz’s inner by-pass, between al. Jana Pawła II and ul. Szeroka, straightening out a kink at the point where the (1) trunk road reaches the city’s road grid.

This communist-era project was postponed for many years because of the cost of constructing a long railway viaduct so that the new road could dive under the railway line at an acute angle.

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Approaching the new bridge on 26 April. Photo BTWT.

While several new roads at the southern end of the city will tempt motorists and HGV drivers to take the al. Wlokniarzy inner by-pass, the road building budget did not stretch to putting in corresponding improvements at the northern end of the city where the inner by-pass stops near Helenowek, a heavily built up area. Residents here already suffer from appalling congestion all along the (1) road to Zgierz.

Sadly the ‘Lodz Regional Tramway’, which was supposed to run all the way to Zgierz and could have helpd to cut motor traffic, stops at Helenowek as well.

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Next to the bridge, the temporary bases are being demolished.

The biggest civil engineering work on the new road was the construction of a 141 m long steel viaduct to take the existing railway line across the new road. During the last eight months trains crept past the construction site while the abutments for the new bridge were constructed under the operational railway track. In addition temporary concrete supports were built to the north of the railway track and the new bridge – which had arrived as a kit of parts – was welded together on these supports.

When the bridge was ready, the track bed was ballasted and railway track laid. Then during a 68 hour possession from Friday 19 April to Sunday 21 April the old railway track was dismantled and sufficient earthworks removed to enable the new bridge to be slid into place. Technical inspections were held on the Sunday evening and trains began running again on Monday 22 April.

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Heavy concrete breaking tractors. All photos BTWT.

On Saturday afternoon,  the Mayor of Lodz, Hanna Zdanowska called a press conference at the building site to enable the media to photograph the new bridge being slid into place. Given the importance of the event Wojciech Pater, the chairman of Mosty Lodz was leaving nothing to chance and arranged for his men to start the move at 07:00 hrs on Saturday morning.

When all was ready the hydraulic rams were pressurised, one failed, but the others were more than sufficient to keep the bridge moving. When you have 7,000 tons of bridge, ballast and railway track moving in the right direction you do not stop for anyone, not even the Mayor of Lodz. Four hours later the move was finished.

So it happened that when the mayor, her followers and the press gathered to photograph the historic event, the new bridge was already sitting proudly in place. It had been positioned to an accuracy of ± 0.2mm, whereas the design tolerance allowed for ± 10.0mm. One hopes that after the appropriate hydraulic fluids were dispensed the media displayed the same degree of tolerance as well.

More:

Photography:

  • The photos and video were filmed on an iPhone 4; the video was edited and rendered using Final Cut Pro 7 running on an ancient quad core G5 Power Mac. The two minutes of film took 4 hours to render!

Music:

  • The music used for the video is from the track How Long has the Train Been Gone on the Album To Forget An Actor by the London-based band Tranquilizers. If you liked what you hear, why not buy the track or even the whole album from here!

Polish diary

Sunday, 27 May 2012

by Chris White

Chris White in an ex Duisberg articulated tram on inter-urban line 46 from Lodz to Ozorkow. Photo BTWT.

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Chris White has been involved in the Talyllyn Railway in North Wales since the 1950s. He started as volunteer guard and rose through the ranks to become the TR’s chairman. In the 1960s, he organised the Traffic and Operating Committee working parties some which were attended by Dyspozytor during his school holidays. Today, he is still actively involved in the operation of the TR and The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum in Tywyn. Between 9 and 16 May he came to Poland to explore some of Poland’s cities and their tramways, main line and tourist railways. This is his diary.

Wed 9 May

A Ryanair flight from East Midlands airport to Wroclaw landed me just after 18:00 by the new airport terminal which is largely finished and very impressive. What a change from my first visit in 2006, when the city was approached from the small terminal by what a seemed to be a country lane lined with allotment gardens. Now the whole area is transformed with new roads and developments of all kinds.

Bus 406 was waiting to take people to the city but there was no ticket machine at the stop, the one on the bus, which only takes plastic, was not working and the driver uninterested. So I just took a seat and relaxed. Soon the bus was packed to the doors and eventually set off and reached the city in good time. I stayed at Sifor Premium Europejski, as it was near to the station and not far from the city centre.

Thurs 10 May

In Wroclaw, I bought a 24 hour tram ticket and obtained train tickets for the next day from one of the various ticket outlets near but not at the Dworzec Tymczasowy (Temporary Station). A useful tram map showed two new lines, built since my last visit a year ago, to serve the newly complete Stadion Wroclaw and nearby Dokerska. I visited the city centre with its many monuments, botanical gardens and Szczytnicki Park with its musical fountain, the Centennial Hall built in 1913 to celebrate the liberation of the city from Napoleon and the 1948 steel needle erected to celebrate the regained territories.
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The light and airy interior of the restored station contrasts with this EN57 unit complete with the plastic seats ready to form the 10:30 Wroclaw Gl to Poznan Gl. Photo Chris White.

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Fri 11 May

Allowing myself plenty of time, I approached the station by a circuitous route and found the subway mentioned in the post Wroclaw Worries. When complete, the station will be modern and functional but whether there will be any passengers left to travel on the slow and, all too often, appalling trains, is another matter. Cheap and frequent local and regional bus services and a growing number of internal flights are alluring alternatives to those without a car.

SA132 railcar making up the Koleje Wielkopolskie 12:35 Leszno to Wolstzyn and Zbaszynek. Photo Chris White.

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Clearly major improvements will be needed to re-gain and grow the passenger traffic and sort out the labyrinthine ticketing systems. I took the 10.30 (Regio 67931) as far as Leszno and changed onto the 12.35 Leszno to Wolstzyn arr 13.34 (KW 79427), a modern diesel railcar. It was staffed by four people, one to drive, one to issue tickets, one to operate the doors and one who appeared to be a trainee.

Ol49-59 about to depart with the regular steam-hauled passenger working from Wolsztyn to Poznan. Photo Chris White.

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At Wolstzyn there was time to take a few photos before boarding (KW 77331) a steam train headed by OL49-59 departing at 13.40 for Poznan Głowny: a two hour run arriving at 15.47 . The filthy and dilapidated double deck carriages experienced on my previous trip last year had been replaced by two regular carriages but their interior and outside cleanliness left a lot to be desired. Both of these Koleje Wielkopolskie trains seemed to be enjoying a reasonable level of business. I was very interested to note the re-building of the traditional Prussian style signalling system in the Wolstzyn area.

The new station building under construction at Poznan. Fortunately the old station was still in business. Photo Chris White.

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The station facilities at Poznan, although also being re-built were much more inviting than those Wroclaw and, it being Friday afternoon, were very busy.

The tram system in the area is also undergoing major investment but no tram map was available even on the Internet, which made exploring the city a bit hit and miss. (The map was uploaded on 15 May!) There was a massive thunderstorm just after my return to the Hotel Topaz and the temperature dropped from over 30°C to around 15°C where it remained for most of my stay.

Ol49-69 and TurKol special at Poznan Franowo. Photo Chris White.

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Sat 12 May

Armed with a written list I went to the International Booking Office and bought tickets for the remainder of my stay. I had booked on the steam train trip from Poznan Glowny to Gniezno and received a warm welcome on introducing myself. TL49-69 headed four vintage carriages with frequent photo stops to Gniezno where the train was greeted by a fanfare of trumpets and a large crowd, many of whom opted to take a short trip on the steam train to Wrzesnia and back. Details and pictures on the TurKol website.

It was a big disappointment that there was no train provided on the Gniezno narrow gauge line; although Px48-1919 was posed with TL49-69, it was not in steam. I spent the time looking round this historic little town and even made it to the top of the Cathedral tower, before returning to Poznan on the steam special, which was looped twice for overtaking trains.

Sun 13 May

Back to Gneizno by TLK 65101, then on an ancient bus to Znin.

Work has taken place to renew drainage culverts on the Znin Narrow Gauge Railway. Photo Chris White.

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A sudden rain storm meant that the shelter of the Znin Narrow Gauge Railway’s refreshment room was very welcome before it was time for the train to leave. There were a lot of people around in the Biskupin area but very few on the two trains operating and I visited the iron age fort as well as enjoying the train ride.

A strategic retreat to one of the closed carriages was just as well as more heavy showers of cold rain developed during the afternoon. The station area at Gasawa has been improved recently by the construction of a new footpath to the centre of the village.

I took the 16.10 bus from Znin bus station and, although it was going through to Poznan, I changed at Gneizno and took a Regio train back to base. The Znin Narrow Gauge Railway is to be congratulated on operating a daily train service and deserves every success in this area which is obviously popular with visitors. The town centre is quite attractive but the area around the now closed standard gauge line and station is looking very sorry for itself. Hopefully it will not be too long before this part of town can be re-developed.

Wls40 built in Poznan in 1956 at work on the Maltanka Park Railway. Photo Chris White.

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Mon 14 May

Emil, one of my Polish friends, had recommended a visit to the 60cm gauge Kolej Parkowa Maltanka and I arrived there in time for the second round trip of the day. Being a Monday. a diesel loco was in operation. and I took a return trip before returning to explore some more of the long distance tram lines, or more properly, light rail lines. Then it was time to take TLK 83106 from Poznan to Lodz Kaliska (250km in 3½ hours).

Poznan light rail – route 12 tram heading towards the city at Aleja Solidarnosci. Photo Chris White.

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Tues 15 May

The day was spent exploring two of the three surviving Lodz inter-urban lines with Dyspozytor. Our first run was on line 46 out to Ozokow. This trip was delayed in both directions by a total of 30 minutes by cars crashing into the trams almost as if the local competing bus companies promote this kind of activity.

A very friendly driver on the outward trip spoke with us for a long time at the terminus about hopes and fears for the remaining long inter-urban routes out of Lodz and told us that the tram company staff had been encouraged by the international support for the campaign to save the line. The track beyond the city boundaries is in a very variable state, mostly single with passing loops and in need of heavy repairs in places.

Chris White and friendly tram driver at Ozorkow. Photo BTWT.

We found (the only?) restaurant in Ozorkow and, after a schabowy (pork chop) for lunch, rode the line back into Lodz for afternoon tea with vintage tram owner and operator Tomasz Adamkiewicz. We changed trams at Plac Niepodleglosci and took service No 41 to Pabianice in the rain and gathering gloom. The track had been renewed as far as the city boundary but beyond the mixture of double and single track with sections of street and roadside running could do with some investment.

Our service was operated by a single car which was pretty well patronised in the early evening. We changed trams and after a longish wait caught one of the city trams at Port Lodz. We reached our starting point near Manufactura. By now cold and damp was beginning to overcome us and Dyspozytor organised a rescue party to take us to his home for a very welcome hot meal.

Plac Niepodleglosci, the start of line 41, the inter-urban service to Pabianice. Photo BTWT.

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Wed 16 May

Lodz Chojny dep 07:48 (TLK 16101) to Wroclaw Glowny arr 1:.20 – ten minutes late (250km in 4½ hours). A walk round the east side of the city revealed work going on to replace a lot of tram track on routes 0 and 5 and then I had a very late lunch in the Rynek. Buying a ticket for Bus 406 to the Airport again proved a problem. My cash stuck in the machine and another would be purchaser came and inserted their cash, banged the machine and shrugged and got on the bus so I did the same. At the airport I noticed the large number of internal flights and the new service to Lviv which has recently started. By Ryanair from Wroclaw dep 19:05 arr East Midland Airport 20:25.

Lodz Chojny, the 07:48 departure (TLK 16101) to Wroclaw Glowny – one of the through services that does not call at Lodz Kaliska. Photo BTWT.

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On my return I was asked “How was Poland?” to which I replied “Very Polish!” I met lots of friendly people, except for bus drivers who were equally grumpy to every-one. I observed: a lot of re-construction going on at breakneck speed; many monuments to various episodes of the land’s troubled history; much good renewal of the infrastructure of trams and trains. However, a lot more remains to be done, especially to provide user friendly services and much faster connections on the main lines and to develop the full potential of local and tourist lines.

Lodz Chojny reopens

Friday, 21 October 2011

These photographs were taken on Sunday 16 October 2011, prior to Lodz Chojny station reopening the next day. Frantic work had been going on here for the last two weeks.

New sign on the approach road. Pity about the lampost. Photo BTWT.

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Ballast tamping in progress on the eastbound track. Photo BTWT.

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The work seen from the other side of the tracks. Photo BTWT.

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The approach road level crossing and westbound track. Photo BTWT.

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Relaid platform edge and westbound track. Photo BTWT.

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The island platforms have not been restored. Photo BTWT.

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The station building has been restored. Photo BTWT.

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The eastbound track needs urgent attention. Photo BTWT.

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Still shiny newly ground welded rail joints. Photo BTWT.

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Ready for trains – the westbound track and platform. Photo BTWT.

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The trees at the eastern end have been retained. Photo BTWT.

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Three PKP Cargo SM42 diesels head West. Photo BTWT.

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The steps to ul. Rgowska have not been reopened. Photo BTWT.

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All change at Lodz

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Rail route diagram of the Lodz area.

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Following the closure of Lodz Fabryczna station, some rail services in the Lodz area have been re-routed.

Trains from Warsaw to Ostrow Wielkopolski and Wroclaw run via Lowicz Przedmiescie, Zgierz and Lodz Zabieniec to Lodz Kaliska.

Trains from Czestochowa and Tomaszow Mazowiecki run from Lodz Widzew to Zgierz on the freight avoiding line (avoiding Lodz Kaliska).

Trains will from Lodz Kaliska to Warsaw run via Lodz Chojny and Lodz Widzew on weekday mornings; trains from Warsaw to Lodz Kaliska run via Lodz Widzew and Lodz Chojny on weekday evenings. In addition there there are some other connections available from Lodz Kaliska to Warsaw (some direct services and others by changing trains at Kutno, Lowicz Glowny or Lodz Widzew).

While somewhat confusing for local residents, the new arrangements are a route gricers paradise. We found at least one train that leaves Lodz Kaliska, calls at Lodz Zabieniec and Zgierz, and the changes direction at Zgierz to run down the freight avoiding line to Lodz Widzew and then follows the usual route to Warsaw.

The new timetable:

More details on PKP Intercity pages: