Archive for the ‘Przewozy Regionalne’ Category

Ryszard Kuć new boss at Przewozy Regionalne

Saturday, 29 June 2013

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Ryszard Kuć congratulating Bogdan Pałżewicz on the latter’s retirement in February 2011. Photo Radio Olsztyn.

(Click image to see photo in its original context on Radio Olsztyn’s website.)

Ryszard Kuć, formerly the director of Przewozy Regionalne’s Olsztyn region has been appointed Chairman of PR’s management board. Unlike his predecessor, Małgorzata Kuczewska-Łaska who was dismissed in April, or chairman-designate Robert Nowakowski who failed to agree terms with PR’s supervisory board, Mr Kuc has kept a low profile to date. We hope to be able to publish a career profile of Mr Kuć shortly.

PR boss sacked!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

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Małgorzata Kuczewska-Łaska besieged by journalists at a press conference in December 2012. Photo BTWT archive.

At a meeting of the supervisory board of Polish regional railways, Przewozy Regionalne, on Wednesday 10 April, Chairman and Chief Executive Małgorzata Kuczewska-Łaska was dismissed.

With 13 years in the railway industry, Kuczewska-Łaska was a doughty defender of Przewozy Regionalne which had been split off from the PKP group in December 2008.

Transferred from the PKP Group to the provincial governments on 22 December 2008, PR soon found itself in financial difficulties. The operation of frequent local commuter services is a loss maker everywhere, particularly in Poland where – faced with a massive debt burden – PKP PLK imposes some of the highest track access charges in Europe.

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Rebuilt EMU – EN57 at the old Lodz Fabryczna Station in March 2011. Photo BTWT archive.

The provincial governments resisted taking over PR as long as they could, realising that the ‘reform’ was intended to shift the financial burden of running local trains from the PKP Group onto their shoulders.

Local authority Chief Executives did not see any votes in subsidizing PR and delayed making payments for services so that PR was nearly always strapped for cash. Those local authorities in Poland’s poorer areas, like Podlaskie or Opolskie, did not invest in new rolling stock.

Those who could afford to do so, such as Slaskie and Wielkopolskie, concluded that it would be more glamorous – and would win more votes – if they dispensed with the services of PR and set up their own operating companies.

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Joint venture – Regio DB train in Wroclaw. Photo BTWT archive.

Under Kuczewska-Łaska, PR fought back. Without the cash to buy new rolling stock, she rebuilt Poland’s communist-era EMUs, yet again, giving them clean modern interiors and new more comfortable seating.

EU grants were persued and won. Though the more profitable inter-regional trains and their more comfortable locomotive-hauled rolling stock had been handed back to PKP IC. Kuczewska-Łaska obtained paths for her rebuilt EMUs and ran cheaper inter-regional trains in competition with PKP IC.

She negotiated with regional operators across Poland’s borders like Regio DB and set up joint operations. She argued against the setting up of local authority-owned railway companies arguing that they were unlikely to be cost effective and that the operation of local authority services should be put up for tender.

Kuczewska-Łaska found herself between a rock and a hard place. The men at the Ministry saw her innovative moves as unhelpful. They were less concerned with providing services that customers wanted and generating revenue for PR, and more concerned that she should not take revenue away from PKP IC. Kuczewska-Łaska’s entrepreunership gained her powerful enemies.

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Koleje Wielkopolskie railbus being serviced at Leszno. Photo BTWT archive.

Inevitably with local authorities delaying payments needed to fund its operations, PR itself fell into arrears with payments to PKP PLK and needed to apply for debt forgiveness to keep the trains running.

This annoyed Jacek Rostocki, Poland’s Finance Minister, and the man who really calls the shots regarding Poland’s transport policy. He decided that PR was too powerful and too expensive and that the best solution would be to encourage the company to be broken up into smaller entities.

Under Kuczewska-Łaska this was unlikely to happen any time soon and so she had to go. Przewozy Regionalne Chairman and Chief Executive, Małgorzata Kuczewska-Łaska, was dismissed as from  Wednesday 10 April. Board member Paweł Stefański takes over as acting chairman until May 2 when Robert Nowakowski will become chairman.

Zgierz – Lowicz – the ghost trains!

Friday, 13 July 2012

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?

100 trains slashed in Silesia

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

by Ed Beale

The top of page 1 of 7 pages of cuts.

(Click on image to download the whole list as a pdf file.)

Przewozy Regionalne (PR) have announced large-scale service cuts in Silesia, despite a 30 million zloty increase in subsidy from the regional government. The cuts will be carried out in two stages: at the beginning of March and in June. All services from Bytom to Gliwice will go, and most services from Czestochowa to Fosowskie, Rybnik to Pszczyna, Rybnik to Chalupki and Zebrzydowice to Cieszyn.

Alexandra Marzynska, spokesperson for the Chief Executive of Silesia, said negotiations with PR on reducing their operating costs had failed. Przewozy Regionalne is so expensive it’s hard to grasp. It’s a bottomless pit – it can absorb any amount and it will still be too small. It’s scary.

Other regions have already discovered the same thing, hence the growth of smaller more efficient regional operators in recent years. Many local services in Pomorskie, Kujawko-Pomorskie, Wielkopolskie, Dornoslaskie and Mazowieckie regions are already being operated by such companies, including one route in Silesia itself: Czestochowa to Gliwice. It seems likely that at the end of PR’s current five year contract in Silesia, which expires in December 2012, PR will find themselves losing more local services in this region.

Protests have followed the news, especially in Cieszyn, which will lose all of its train services in commuting hours. In this town which already has 15% unemployment, the protesters say that it will now be impossible to get to jobs in Bielsko-Biala, the largest city in the area. Compounding the problem for commuters is the two weeks notice given for such a sweeping change.

Sources:

Province bosses confirm PR split

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Super power on short haul PR working. Heavy freight Co’Co’ ET22-1178 with two car double deck set at Ostrow Mazowiecki on 26.8.2011. Photo BTWT.

Poland’s local services operator, Przewozy Regionalne (PR), must be split up into a number of smaller companies – this was the majority view at a meeting of all the CEOs of Poland’s provinces during a discussion that took place on Thurday 28 October. The CEOs feel that the current set up whereby PR currently is owned by 16 provincial governments, gives them little effective say in how PR is run.

Splitting up PR is not exactly a new idea. In 2005, when PR was still part of the PKP Group a study group led by Jan Rokita the then chairman of Poland’s ruling party, Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform), proposed splitting the company into 5. Subsequently, Adam Struzik, the Chief Executive of Mazowsze province, suggested that a three way split would create companies that would be small enough to manage effectively, yet large enough to generate economies of scale and operate on well-defined traffic corridors.

Recently, the 16 local authority owners have formed 4 ad hoc syndicates for the purpose of EU-assisted rolling stock purchases. Progress was achieved – it is much easier for 4 or 5 people to agree than 16 – and the experience added new impetus to the proposed split. On 31 October, Poland’s rail minister, Andrzej Massel, in an interview with Rzeczpospolita expressed himself in favour of a split. It looks as if the train is rolling.

Sources:

Steam returns to Poznan

Friday, 16 April 2010

OL49-59 and passenger train, Poznan 15 April, 2010.
Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.

After a 10 day hiatus team hauled services returned to the Wolsztyn – Poznan route yesterday. The interruption of steam services since Easter Monday disappointed thousands of tourists, hit the revenue streams of both Przewozy Regionalne and PKP Cargo and damaged the image of Poland’s railways both at home and abroad. The steam hauled services between Wolsztyn and Poznan are subsidised by the Wielkopolska provincial government and a penalty clause comes into operation when the steam trains do not run.

After the steam famine, a feast! Yesterday three engines were in steam at Wolsztyn! Ol49-7 which hauled the morning turns, Ol49-59 which hauled the afternoon train and Tr5-65 which is due to have an inspection regarding the extension of its ticket today.

PKP PLK to PR – cut services by 1/5

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Przewozy Regionalne InterRegio train from Wroclaw to Swinouscie hauled by ET22-819. Photo H. Ciszewska-Czyz.

(Click image to see original on Wikipedia and for details of licensing.)

Przewozy Regionalne (PR) were recently given an ultimatum by PKP’s infrastructure company, PLK PLK – pay the outstanding track charges, or stop running trains on our track. PR have just made a partial payment, so PKP PLK have told PR – you can continue to run trains on our track, but you must cut your services by 1/5!

Confusion and tears as IC takes over PR

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

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Pospieszny train ticket issued in Kalisz for a journey to Lodz. It says ‘Przewozy Regionalne’ sp z o.o. on the top left and PKP IC on the middle right.

On 1st December, PKP InterCity (IC) took over the operation of the pospieszny semi-fast trains from PKP Przewozy Regionalne. Our roving reporter grabbed a pospieszny train from Lodz Kaliska to Kalisz to see how the new arrangements worked out in practice. Here is his report.

Lodz Kaliska is the name of one of one of the smarter night clubs in Lodz. It is also the name of the surrealistic semi-finished, semi-post-modern Lodz Kaliska Station. There was once a comfortable railway station here in typical Lodz art noveau style. The authorities, hoping no doubt for a few bungs from the contractors, decided that the station needed rebuilding, but after a couple of decades of building works, got fed up with the project and left it half-finished.

For a station building barely 10 years old, Lodz Kaliska is dreadfully shabby. The automatic doors don’t open. The catering arrangements are a disgrace. The train indicators in the subway don’t work. The leaking roof in the ticket hall, supposedly ‘fixed’ a few years back at enormous cost, still leaks. You get the picture.

The only ticket office that was open said ‘Przewozy Regionalne’. There were no information leaflets about the new pricing arrangements, or any timetables to be had. The ticket clerk explained that there was no point in printing timetables, because on 14 December the train timetable was going to be changed anyway. I made a mental note that Infrastructure Minister, Cezary Garbarczyk’s injunction to PKP senior managers that they should learn to love their passengers had clearly not yet trickled down to the chaps who ran PKP IC.

The train conductor entered my compartment with a smile. I smiled back, I’m not sure whether I should congratulate you or commiserate.

I’m not sure either, she replied. I’m still with Przewozy Regionalne, but InterCity need another 30 conductors so I may transfer.

What will it mean for passengers, I asked.

Well, it won’t be good news, she confided. Previously you could could by a combined ticket which would allow you to travel by pospieszny train to say Zdunska Wola and then complete your journey to one of the less important stations by an osobowy, but now you will need separate tickets, which will be more expensive.

At Kalisz I checked the time of my train back to Lodz at the Przewozy Regionalne window. The clerk explained that she now worked for InterCity. I hadn’t bought a return ticket because I wasn’t sure whether I would be back in time for the 18:13 osobowy, or the last train of the day back to Lodz, the 19:52 pospieszny.

In the evening I returned to Kalisz station in time to catch the pospieszny. There was a queue at the booking office because the man at the head of the queue had just been told that he could buy a pospieszny season ticket – which would no longer be valid for the osobowy train that he used to take to work in the morning. Or he could buy an osobowy season ticket which would not valid or upgradable for travel on pospiesny trains. If he wanted to travel out to Ostrow Wielkopolski in the morning on a osobowy train, and return in the evening on an pospieszny, as had been his wont, he would have to buy two season tickets. He could not believe what he was being told, but in the end the truth sank in and he bought a single pospieszny ticket to Ostrow. No doubt, from today, he is travelling by bus.

Just before Pabianice we slowed down to a crawl to pass over a level crossing. We then slowly passed a stationary osobowy with a very worried looking train crew standing in a huddle in the cab. After we passed the train. I could see a police photographer taking pictures of the track that the osobowy had just passed. A body, covered in green plastic sheeting, lay across the track. Not a very good day for PKP.