Posts Tagged ‘Lodz Kaliska’

A Poland lost forever

Thursday, 9 April 2009


Old Lodz Kaliska Railway  Station in the 1920s

One of our friends has sent us link to the website – a web catalogue of demolished Polish architecture. There are manor houses and palaces, factories and power stations, tram depots and railway stations. Well worth exploring!

Two sides of Lodz Kaliska

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


The West side from the North.


The Eastern Viaduct, gantries, but no tracks


The East side from the North


From the air looking South
From a photo by Hodowca

(Click to see original and details of licensing.)


The Eastern viaduct looking South

The Eastern and Western viaducts. Google Maps

(The picture can be enlarged, zoomed, scrolled or switched to map view.)

Lodz Kaliska Station is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. A 20 year long rebuilding project was suddenly terminated just before its completion. The old station, an attractive building in the art noveau style, was built in 1902 for the broad (Russian) gauge Warsaw – Kalisz Railway.

The construction of a new station commenced in 1985. The project was jointly financed by Lodz City, Lodz Province and PKP, and managed by PKP’s construction office in Warsaw, by-passing PKP’s Estate Office in Lodz. Predictably, like all major PKP construction projects, the work missed successive completion deadlines and ran massively over budget. Then, in 1994, after all the new infrastructure work was complete, the project was suddenly terminated leaving the virtually complete facilities on the East side abandoned.

A massive viaduct across Al. Bandurskiego was left uncommissioned without even sealing the concrete deck against penetration by water. A tunnel providing direct access from the station hall to the bus station was simply abandoned. Now trees and vegetation cover the former building site which looks like more like a bunker from WW II than a building site abandoned in 1995.

Perhaps, if the planned high speed line across Poland ever gets built, Lodz Kaliska will one day be completed.

Competition – mystery picture 5

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Entries for stage 5 of the competition are closed.


Lots of details in this picture, but what can you identify?

Oh dear, oh dear, BTWT readers never cease to amaze us. We publish details of an obscure Fenland tramway and immediately the alarm bells are ringing because we incorrectly classified the tram loco (whose wheels were covered by skirts) as a GER 0-6-0T tram loco rather than its (identical looking!) earlier 0-4-0T precursor. Our photograph of a bit of obscure slate walling in North Wales brought us a bulging post bag of entries correctly identifying Dolgoch Station on the Talyllyn Railway, while the photograph of Tunbridge Wells West also brought us a record number of entries. But an unfinished entrance stairway to the unfinished subway that was supposed to link Lodz Kaliska Railway Station to Lodz Kaliska Bus Station stumped everybody!

Here is a link to some photographs (Click thumbnails to see full size.) that show the unfinished East side of Lodz Kaliska which should clarify the matter for everybody. The BTWT editorial office enjoying a good chuckle because we mentioned the plight of Lodz Kaliska on Tuesday!

Today’s picture is back in the UK. What is it? (Please note, entries saying ‘a train on a railway viaduct’ will be disqualified.) What is the railway? Extra points will be added for identifying the locomotive, railway carriages and other interesting observations.

Confusion and tears as IC takes over PR

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


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.

Warsaw to Lodz faster in 1934!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


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.