Archive for the ‘Lodz Widzew’ Category

Łódź Fabryczna – white elephant?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

lodz platform-06

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.

dyspozytor_sig

More: Wikipedia – Łódź Fabryczna railway station

Stranger than fiction – No. 1

Monday, 21 November 2011

Ghost train to Lodz

A passenger expresses her frustration at a unadvertised train running outside the published timetable. Still from The Ghost Train.

A friend was coming up to see me from Warsaw to Lodz on Saturday (19 November) evening, and had an interesting journey. Here is his account.

I had a busy day including a pupil whose lesson was due to end at 19:30. According to the official PKP timetable (rozklad-pkp.pl) run by TK Telekom and Dworzec Polski I had a choice of two trains to Lodz: the 19:50 Inter Regio due into Lodz Widzew at 21:21 and continuing on to Lodz Kaliska for 21:39; or the 21:33 Tanie Linie Kolejowe for Lodz Widzew only, arriving at 23:13. Lodz Kaliska being much more convenient for my final destination than Lodz Widzew, I phoned my pupil, brought her lesson forward and set out in good time for Warszawa Centralna.

The reply to the timetable query. TK Telekom/Dworzec Polski.

I got to the front of the queue at the ticket office at 19:40, bought my ticket for the 19:50 and then strolled off to find platform 4. Consternation, it is 19:50, but no 19:50 train to Lodz on the departure board! I rush upstairs to the monitors in the subway linking the platforms; no 19:50 train to Lodz; in fact, no 19:50 to anywhere! I charge upstairs to the departure hall and check out the new touch-screen information terminals. ‘Arrival times’, no I don’t want arrivals, ‘Departures’ that’s better, and there at last, is my train to Lodz Kaliska only it leaves at 20:10, not 19:50. Hey ho, if only I had known, I need not have rescheduled the lesson after all.

We arrive at Lodz Widzew around 21:45, so far so good. Most people get off here. I ask the guard what time we are due in to Lodz Kaliska, he replied that we should be there about 22:35. I text this information to Dyspozytor our train pulls out and heads out North-east across the access tracks to the freight yard. Unfamiliar scenery follows is this really the route to Lodz Kaliska?

We stop at another station; my remaining fellow passengers look worried. I look out the window; the phone rings. It’s Dyspozytor. According to my calculations, you are being routed via Zgierz. Please get out at Lodz Zabieniec.

I’m not sure we stop at Lodz Zabieniec, I reply cautiously.

All trains from Zgierz stop at Zabieniec, he says confidently. With half my body out the window. I can just make out the station sign which is situated conveniently at right angles to the platform.

Where are you, he asks? I’m at Zgierz, but according to the route diagram that’s impossible.

You’ve been routed via the freight cut-off line, he explains. Please get out at the next stop.

After what seems an eternity, but is probably only 5 minutes, the train starts running back in the direction we have come from. We arrive at what appears to be a disused halt. It is 22:37. Should I really get off here? My phone rings. Please get out here. You’ve reached your destination.

And that would be the end of the story, had it not been for the fact that I was not the only person waiting at Lodz Zabieniec to pick someone up. Obviously the fact that the 20:10 IR ex Centralna runs – and runs via Zgierz – is out in the public domain, if not in the TK Telekom timetable. I remember the little leaflets handed out to passengers on the last day of Lodz Fabryczna’s operation and the Notice to Passengers on the PKP IC website. I wonder?

I check out the relevant BTWT post, follow the link to the PKP IC Notice to Passengers, and download the new timetable. Yes there it is – the 20:10 ex Centralna, calling at Widzew, Zgierz and Zabieniec!

Lodz to Lviv – part 2

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Overture

Lodz Widzew on 7.11.2011. According to the sign access to platform 2 is either via subway or footbridge, but there is no subway, and the footbridge is closed, Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

I very nearly missed my train to Krakow, the 09:06 from Lodz Widzew. In hindsight it would have been better if I had. Lodz Widzew is a mess. (See Mike Dembinski’s post on Ww-a Jeziorki.) It is definitely not a place to drive into, tyres screaming, 2 minutes before booked departure time and expect to get into the right train. I had a choice of two. There was a train that looked right for the Krakow run, a nice EU07 electric locomotive and a traditional rake of compartment coaches; there was also a train that looked all wrong, an ED74 electric multiple unit.

I hate the ED74s as I hate no other vehicle. Originally ordered for the Lodz – Warsaw run, they generated so many complaints that PKP IC were forced to swap back most of the Lodz – Warsaw services to loco-hauled trains and disperse the displaced ED74s around the network. But the driver of the ED74 was sitting in the right driving compartment for a run to Krakow, while the EU07 was on the wrong end of its train. So after a long delay (and a very patient guard) while the dreadful truth dawned, I boarded the ED74.

What’s wrong with the ED74s – everything! Designed by PESA of Bydgoszcz, a company better known for its trams rather than its trains, they would make ideal stock for outer suburban services if not for their incredibly uncomfortable seats. Nobody can sit up straight in the seats for long; their profile, surely designed by someone with shares in Polski Bus, will damage the toughest back. Passengers contort themselves into different positions to ease the pain, but there is no escape. After the 2 hour run from Lodz to Krakow, one’s back is out of joint for a week.

The Lodz railway network. From a larger map prepared by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A., http://www.plk-sa.pl.

(Click to enlarge.)

With increasing numbers of ED74s in service since 2007, a survival strategy was needed. I started to manage my rail journeys so as to travel on the locomotive-hauled long distance services that ran via Lodz Kaliska; I travelled during the rush-hour when, after a short hiatus, the inadequate 8 coach twin ED74 sets were switched back to 11 coach loco-hauled trains. If, in spite of all my precautions, I did find myself on an ED74 I sat on the folding seats near the 2nd-class toilets which were marginally more comfortable than the standard seats elsewhere.

5½ hours on an ED74 folding seat is no joke. The journey was punctuated by informing people that the toilet was out of order, but they would find another in the first class compartment at the head of the unit. It was not long before the first class toilet waste tank was full as well! Then a moment of panic; surely that ornamental park is just before Skierniewice? Skierniewice; why are we stopping at Skierniewice? Lodz – Krakow trains do not go via Skierniewice! Had I, after all, boarded the wrong train? Was it bound for Warsaw rather than Krakow?

Just after the Skierniewice PW depot we branched off heading generally to the west leaving the mainline heading south-west-by-west. (See map.) That was marginally better, between Koluszki and Skierniewice the train had actually been running in the opposite direction from Krakow; now at least, even if it was not getting any nearer, at least it was not getting any further away. But now where? There is no West-to-South curve between Grabce and Szeligi; could the train be heading for the legendary Czachowek and the old main line to Krakow via Radom?

Another unscheduled stop, this time at Mszczonow. The driver walks through to the back of the train and tries the toilet door. I’m sorry it’s out of action, I hear myself say. Perhaps the toilet in the first class section is still working? The driver heads off the way he came. After a long wait the he reappears, the train reverses direction and takes the East-to-South curve down to the CMK.

A little research subsequently reveals that the train was originally diagrammed to run from Koluszki via the Tomaszow Mazowiecki – Radom line and to turn South onto the CMK at Zapowiedz, but with the section between Tomaszow and Deba Opoczynska out of action for track repairs, instead of re-routing the train the obvious way – via Piotrkow Trybunalski and Czestochowa – PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe – had sent us on a magical mystery tour.

Krakow market square and Cathedral. Photo BTWT.

(Click to expand.)

I did get to Krakow eventually, as the photograph of the market square proves, but by then my back was seriously out of kilter and was to go downhill badly during the next few days.

Dyspozytor

To be continued…