Posts Tagged ‘Wielkopolska’

No cheap trains Poznan – Berlin

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Poznan Glowny Station, July 2007. Photo Radomil, Wikimedia Commons.

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

You would have thought that no one could possibly object to a new low-cost rail service between Poznan and Berlin. Similar services already operate between Szczecin and Berlin and have proved very popular. Residents of Wielkopolska province could choose rail over car or bus for their forays into Berlin and lots more Berliners would come to spend their euros in Poznan.

The idea won favour with the Wielkopolska provincial government and the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (Berlin and Brandenburg Public Transport Association). Both parties were willing to subsidize the cost of the service and the fare was likely to work out at some 15 – 20 euro as opposed to the 39 euro currently charged by PKP InterCity. So when, Wojciech Jankowiak, the Deputy Governor, wrote to Radek Sikorski, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to get the Minister’s view he expected no more than a short note, “Good idea, will strengthen German – Polish relations. I support this.”

In hindsight, it was not such a good idea to get Warsaw involved. Radek Sikorski sent the Governor’s letter round to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Office of Railway Transport to obtain their views. Janusz Englehardt, the Undersecreary of State responsible for rail was quick to respond. It would be illegal for a local authority to subsidize an international train, he opined. So it seems that the residents of Wielkopolska are not going to get their cheap trains to Berlin just yet.

WOLSZTYN LATEST!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Marek Wozniak, Chief Executive of Wielkopolska

Following the shock 4 month suspension of steam haulage of the Wolsztyn – Poznan services from 1 June, the Wolsztyn – Leszno steam-hauled train is now officially due to be cease on Monday 16 June. A storm of protest has hit the office of the Chief Executive of Wielkopolska province. (Note that he is quaintly called the ‘Marshal of Wielkopolska Region’ on the English version of the authority’s website.) Howard Jones is still hopeful that a deal can still be swung to save the Leszno service. Local authority officials are sounding him out as to whether he would be willing to fund the difference between steam and diesel haulage that they are being charged by PKP. So much for a ‘fire risk’ that conveniently disappears when money is being talked about! Howard is already paying PKP Cargo the difference between steam and diesel haulage, so it looks as if Cargo have been charging for steam haulage twice, sending bills to Howard and the local authority.

This sad story seems to be a typical case that when something is operating well in Poland, some stupid official has to come up with a way of ruining it. Howard has been providing the income stream that has kept Wolsztyn Depot open for 11 years as Europe’s last motive power depot servicing steam locomotives that work regular service trains. Wolsztyn’s visitors have spent millions of euros in the region! Howard should be feted by the Polish authorities and PKP for his achievements and they should have the courtesy to discuss any changes in arrangements with him well in advance.

Correction

The meeting that we originally reported as taking place between Howard Jones and Ministry of Infrastructure officials in Warsaw, in fact took place in Poznan between Howard and the Deputy Transport Director of Wielkopolska province. Our thanks to WE for pointing this out. The original article has been corrected.

Useful links:

Wolsztyn Experienceofficial website

Wielkopolska provincethe office of the Chief Executive