Archive for the ‘Okecie Airport’ Category

Okecie spur gets fast track approval

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

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.

Footnote

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.

Test train runs to Okecie

Monday, 30 April 2012

1st test train at Okecie 20.04.2011. Photo PKP PLK.

On Friday 20 April, the first passenger train – albeit without any passengers – ran along the new spur to the brand new station constructed next to Terminal 2 at Warsaw’s Chopin airport. The unit was a PESA built Elf EMU belonging to SKM Warszawa. Test runs were carried out on both tracks without any mishaps. The line must now go through a rigorous acceptance process involving both building regulations inspectors and the Warsaw Fire Department before passenger services can commence.

PKP PLK are hoping to open the line to traffic at the beginning of June, a week before the Euro 2012 championships start in Poland. However, on 26 April, Poland’s Sport Minister, Joanna Much, added the Warsaw airport spur to her list of railway investments – including the rebuilding of Wroclaw and Poznan stations – where there is considerable doubt whether commissioning can be completed in time for the start of the championships.

 

No trains at the airport

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

okecie_station

The unfinished station at Warsaw Okecie Airport.

Photo © Alina Gajdamowicz / Agencja Gazeta

(Click to see photograph in original context.)

Polish State Railways’ infrastructure company, PKP PLK, has just announced a tender for the construction of an 1.2 km underground link connecting the Warsaw Okecie Airport to the Warsaw – Radom line near Sluzewiec Station.

This is yet another Polish flagship railway construction project that is running embarrassingly late. The original target date for the completion of the rail link was 2008/9. Now it appears that, even if the rail link is completed by the new target date of Q2 2011, the rolling stock to operate the new service will not be ready on time until Q4 2011 at the earliest. As yet Szybka Kolej Miejska (SKM), Warsaw City Hall’s chosen operator for the new rail link has not yet announced a tender for the rolling stock.

All construction work at the airport seems to be jinxed. The new Terminal 2 was supposed to be completed in mid 2005. In fact, it was opened in stages from the end of 2006 through to 2008. Is this why one of the service roads at the airport has been officially designated ul. Gordona Bennetta?

Leszek Walczak, SKM’s is not worried about not having his trains ready on time. Based on PKP PLK performance elsewhere and factoring in the Okecie Airport jinx he reckons that he can hold the tender process for the 13 new train sets in June this year and still have the trains delivered before the new link is commissioned!