Posts Tagged ‘Warszawa Centralna’

Warszawa Centralna and the funny smell mystery

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Warsaw kebab booth. Photo

(Click on the image to go to – the best photoblog of Warsaw and its environs.)

Ever wondered about the funny smell inside Warszawa Centalna station? Ace Warsaw blogger Michael Dembinski has unearthed its source.

Anyone who has ever passed through Warsaw’s Dworzec Centralny will have noticed its unique aroma, combination of body odour, urine, excrement, fried food and cheap disinfectant. Until now, I had attributed the stench the fact that most Polish passenger carriages have toilets that flush directly down onto the tracks below, and that these toilets are used while trains stand at the station (despite notices prohibiting this).

But no – there’s an even more profound cause…

Go to today’s post Source of Warsaw Central’s Stench Revealed on W-wa Jeziorki for the whole improbable story.

W-wa Centralna Departures Board

Friday, 30 January 2009


New Warszawa Centralna departures board. PKP archive


Liverpool Street Solaris departures board. Photo JohnSeb

It is an old joke in the BTWT office that – if PKP Directors were stopped from travelling around Poland by plane and chauffeured car, and were forced to look up their train times, buy their own tickets and travel by scheduled train services like the rest of us – the standard of Poland’s rail services would leapfrog in a month and be totally unrecognisable in a year. In the meantime, passengers suffer appallingly bad service and are confronted with expensive new ‘improvements’ which are inferior to the facilities that they replace.

The new Warszawa Centralna departures board only has space to show the departure of the next nine trains. During the rush hour, the view ahead is only 30 minutes, more or less. Not much use if it is, say, 08:40 in the morning and you are wondering whether or not there is time to dash over to The Radio Cafe for a quick breakfast before catching the pospieszny train to Katowice. In fact, not much good for getting to Katowice at all, as the fact that the 08:50 to Bielsko Biala actually stops at Katowice (the Polish equivalent of Birmingham) is judged not important enough to be displayed on the panel. Nor are any of the 13 other stations at which the 08:50 stops en route.

How about Torun? Again no trains are displayed, but the 09:00 to Bydgoszcz will take you there without any trouble. Perhaps, we are picking the wrong stations? Maybe the designers of this futuristic-state-of-the-art display did not want to refer to places tainted by Poland’s communist past? How about Gdansk? The heroic defence by postal workers of the Polish Post Office there, and the birth of Solidarity are events indelibly etched into the pages of Polish history. But, oh no, Gdansk doesn’t get a mention either.

We ARE told that the 09:00 Lajkonik (hands up all those readers who said to themselves, ‘that’s the 06:00 ex Krakow Glowny’) stops at Warszawa Zachodnia, Ilawa and Malbork, but again the display cannot cope with the additional information that this train stops at the three principal stations in Gdansk and also could drop us off at Sopot for good measure. How did this functionality and design calamity come about? A little judicous Googling came up with the answer! Tommorrow we will summarise what’s been happening on PKP during the month of January. Have a good weekend!


Eurostar departures board at St Pancras. Photo




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.