Posts Tagged ‘Lodz Fabryczna’

Tkt48 celebrates Reymont Day

Saturday, 20 June 2009

tkt48

Tkt48-18 hauls the Reymont Day vintage train, Lodz Fabryczna, 20.06.2009. Photo BTWT

(Click picture to watch video.)

Wladyslaw Reymont wrote some good books and beat off rivals Thomas Mann, Maxim Gorky and Thomas Hardy to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1924. Railways were a an important part of his life. His first steady job was as a level crossing keeper at Koluszki. Injured in an accident on the Warsaw Vienna Railway he was awarded 40,000 roubles in compensation.  The money allowed him to fulfil his passion for travelling round Europe by train.

So it is rather fitting that this year’s Reymont Day celebrations included a steam-hauled vintage train from Lodz Fabryczna to Lipce Reymontowskie, close to the village of Krosnowa where Reymont lived for a time. The organisers of the event included PKP InterCity, PKP Linie Kolejowe (PKP’s infrastructure company) and the Chief Executive of Skierniewice District Council. The sponsors included Bombadier Transportation. Now if only someone could persuade PKP LK to be equally accommodating to steam specials in other parts of the country… .

Warsaw to Lodz faster in 1934!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

2654034

The PESA ‘Lodz tram’ at Warszawa Centralna.
Photo Monsieur Josviaque

(Click to see picture in original context.)

I’m not known for being excessively emotional, but the new PESA trains sets, that work between Lodz Fabryczna and Warszawa Centralna, have seriously ‘stroked my fur the wrong way’. I hate them with a cold fury that I’m sure is bad for my blood pressure and leave my friends shaking their heads in disbelief. I hate them because, in spite of their streamlined looks, they crawl along on the brand new, trillion PLN, railway between Skierniewice and Lodz Widzew at an average speed which is less than that achieved by the Great Western Railway’s Bristolian in 1935. I hate them because of the design of their reverse curved back-breaking seats, which no one in PKP has had the courage to rip out and replace with seating that is properly ergonomically engineered.

I get by by trying to ignore the existence of the ‘PESA trams’, preferring to travel between Lodz and Warsaw in one of the three real trains that travel between Lodz Kaliska and Centralna. My journey takes a little longer because the Kaliska trains take half an hour to wind round the broken track between Lodz Kaliska to Lodz Widzew, but the slightly faded ancient compartment stock, which goes to such distant places as Bydgoszcz or Szczecin, is infinitely more comfortable to the ‘trams’ with their cursed seats.

Sadly there is not always a real train alternative available and sometimes I do have to travel in the new train sets. Yesterday evening was one of those times when I found myself on board to the 19.20 ex Warszawa Centralna which was due into Lodz Fabryczna at 20:50, a journey time of 90 minutes. I made my way to one of folding seats near the high tech toilet. Undignified maybe, but at least the folding seats assume a normal back profile. As a result of customer complaints the rest of the seating had been ‘improved’ since my last journey. The seats, are not only the wrong shape to support a human back, they are also too small to fit the XXL standard Polish buttock. The ‘improvement’ consists of transplanting the old seats some 6 centimetres away from the sides of the train giving the passenger on the inside a little extra space. So now you can have your back broken while respecting your neighbour’s dignity.

The high tech train information boards – though more concerned with giving you information about whose namesday it is – occasionally flash up the train speed. Last time I travelled I noted a maximum speed of 137 km/hour (85 mph). This time the highest speed that we reached was 129 km/hour (80 mph). I challenged the guard about this and learned that Polish railway regulations prevent trains with a single driver in the cab from exceeding 130 km/hour. The PESA train sets are not designed for a ‘second man’ sitting next to the driver sharing his duties. I ruminated that after an expenditure of over a trillion zloty the train still did not complete the journey in the 80 minutes achieved by the in the Lux Torpeda in 1934, or even the 88 minutes achieved by the locomotive hauled Tellimena Express in the 1990s.

Dyspozytor

Well Played PLK!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Lodz Fabryczna Station (photo MarcinK on Skyscrapercity.com, click pic for more pictures of Lodz)

Unlike Mike, who publishes the W-wa Jeziorki blog, I used to like the old style trains which plied from Lodz to Warsaw. True the 100 km journey did take 2 hours 15 minutes, but the nicely refurbished compartment coaches were clean comfortable. Rush hours excluded, they offered a pleasant environment for working or reading for pleasure, and if bored one could always engage the guard or one’s fellow passengers in a conversation about the shortcomings of PKP’s management.

However, since PKP noticed that the Warsaw – Lodz service (one of their most profitable) was loosing passengers fast to the rival coach operators, things have not been the same. For the last two years, contractors have been rebuilding the railway. They have not just been relaying track, but also they’ve been draining the trackbed, rebuilding bridges, digging subways, putting up noise barriers and constructing proper platforms. While all this has been going on the train journey lengthened by another hour. To make passengers feel really miserable, brand new shining emus were introduced without compartments, but with back-breaking seats.

Today’s journey did not start well. My taxi driver asked me where I was going and, when I told him that I was going to Warsaw, he told me that I would be lucky to get there at all. A train crash had occured further up the line and all trains were being diverted. He then chose a route which allowed me ample time to study the worst traffic jams in Lodz and ensured that I would miss my train. Unbidden he offered me the information that his rate for going to Warsaw was 250 dollars. I wondered whether I look like the sort of person who if he has a spare 250 dollars in his pocket looks for a taxi driver who can relieve him of the burden?

At the station, the lady behind the ticket desk positively beamed. “There’s been a big train crash and all Warsaw trains are being diverted.” “So how long do you think the journey may take.” “We can’t be sure, apparently one Lodz train left Warsaw this morning and nobody has seen it since.” She cheered me up by telling me that the train that I had just mised hadn’t in fact run. She asked me for 32 zloty for my fare. I told her that yesterday the fare from Warsaw had been 26 zloty and she told me that today was the first day of the new timetable which shortened the journey time to just over 90 minutes.

After making some enquiries I discovered that the next train would leave in an hour. Arming myself with a toasted sandwich and a 1.5 lire bottle of mineral water, I was please to discover that the train would consist of some old fashioned compartment stock which already waiting on platform 2 track 3. (Confusingly for Brits the Poles number both their platforms and tracks.) A TV were waiting like vultures to pounce on the passengers who were travelling on the train from Warsaw. As the hour passed and the train never arrived they moved on to doing short vox pop interviews with passengers boarding the Warsaw train. I grabed the producer and she recorded me doing a little rant about the seating in the new emus.

The guard was not a happy bunny, when I asked him when he thought that we will be in Warsaw, he answered by grumbling that he should have been home over an hour ago. The new tracks are smoother than before but the welding of the rail had not been done to such close tolerancres as in the UK. I slept. When I awoke, we were on the outskirts Warsaw. The blockage had been cleared, we had only lost 20 minutes. Now, when was the last time that you heard of a case in the UK where after a major train crash the line is back in service after barely 12 hours? Well played, PLK – the Polish rail way infrastructure company.

I reached Warsaw in time for a key meeting to brief an important member of the business community about the crisis facing Wolsztyn. He offered to support our lobbying campaign. Tomorrow we will review the Wolsztyn situation and discuss what action BTWT readers can take.