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Do trains in Poland arrive on time?


Monika812
14 Dec 2014 #1
Hello,

I am planning to take the train in January from Gdansk to Warszawa an I have heard some positive and negative things about trains in Poland.

If I have to believe the train schedule I will arrive with the train (Pendolino) at 09:30 in Warszawa. Can I trust this schedule that such intercity trains should arrive on time? Or can I expect some delay?

I am doing some research, in order to decide if I should go one day earlier or not.

Thank you.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
14 Dec 2014 #2
Can I trust this schedule that such intercity trains should arrive on time? Or can I expect some delay?

Nobody really knows, because it's a new train to Poland and this track is still being renovated. Better count some extra time for delays if it's very important.
Kowalski 7 | 621
14 Dec 2014 #3
You can check on current train delays on the website below (type in your destination) . When it snows delays are more likely, still Pendolinos are PKP new stars, so would rather be on time.

infopasazer.intercity.pl
Dougpol1 32 | 3,296
14 Dec 2014 #4
Gdansk to Warsaw a 100 per cent yes - there must be a site that confirms percentages?

Anyway - top graded new line - new trains.........what possibly could go wrong?

Unless you lived in the UK in the last 40 years that is.....

Hopefully, PKP still being a state company they have their **** together. Of course when they float as a private company, then you will have a legitimate question.

TLK is another matter. Avoid unless you are a poor teacher :)

PS Monika... If you really want to be sure then don't take the Pendolino. IC take the same route and arrive at exactly the same time - have nicer compartmented trains instead of the plastic plane interior of the Pendolino, and are cheaper.

You couldn't make it up!

PS I meant that the new trains might just have technical problems because of the line etc - but hopefully Polish engineers have done their work well and the new tracks will handle the technology - unlike the Virgin West coast line in the UK when the original Pendolinos were introduced there.
pigsy 7 | 305
14 Dec 2014 #5
Avoid unless you are a poor teacher :)

LOL have you seen a rich teacher?and what does that have to do with train timmings?:)
Terry Zazoff
15 Dec 2014 #6
My understanding is the only time Polish trains arrived on time was between 1939 and 1945 and Germans were steering them.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
15 Dec 2014 #7
Germans would not believe you :)

Anyway - top graded new line - new trains.........what possibly could go wrong?

I think that the line will be still under renovation in January.
gumishu 11 | 5,142
15 Dec 2014 #8
My understanding is the only time Polish trains arrived on time was between 1939 and 1945 and Germans were steering them.

actually Polish railways were proverbially punctual before the war - one could set watches to the trains
Sparks11 - | 335
15 Dec 2014 #9
I wouldn't count on it. PKP is notorious for lateness. All of the renovations cause all sorts of delays. The Pendolino line (according to a news report from yesterday) are only 9 percent complete. Many trains, even for distances of only a hundred kilometers or less, are over an hour late to their destinations. I would leave at least an hour for possible delays coming from Gdansk.
Terry Zazoff
15 Dec 2014 #10
I spent 2 consecutive Christmas's on a train in Poland. I never got off in between.
Dougpol1 32 | 3,296
15 Dec 2014 #11
I wouldn't count on it. British Rail is notorious for lateness

There - fixed it for you.

PKP have only stitched me up once in 25 IC journeys north to south - and that was the joke that is TLK.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 Dec 2014 #12
My understanding is the only time Polish trains arrived on time was between 1939 and 1945 and Germans were steering them.

actually Polish railways were proverbially punctual before the war - one could set watches to the trains

Actually, Polish trains or German trains in Poland during the war, were hardly ever steered by Germans, because train personnel was changed at the borders, as were most likely the locomotives that pulled the trains.

This is something that is still being done. Cross border trains are normally pulled by locomotives of the country they are currently in. Of course, that only works on trains that have a separate locomotive, not a build in drivers cabin like the ICE train or Pendolino

Anyway, regarding the actual topic, @ Monika it would be good to know whether or not you have to be in Warsaw at exactly 9:30 or if a slight delay would not matter too much. There is simply no telling about the likelyhood of PKP running on time with this particular train. It's more like a lottery with them.
Ziemowit 13 | 3,829
16 Dec 2014 #13
There is a very good chance that Pendolino (it is marked as the "EIC Premium" train in the timetables, but originally it was to be baptised "Orlik") will run on time unless some exceptional mishap occcurs. There has been such a lot of fuss about it recently and so much checking before letting the train onto the tracks, that it seems really unlikely that something goes wrong. Currently there are nine Pendolino trains that have gone into service in Poland since the 14th of December with the number to be increased to twenty eventually.

Of course, that only works on trains that have a separate locomotive, not a build in drivers cabin like the ICE train or Pendolino

As far as I know, the ICE trains are pulled by a locomotive, but Pendolino has indeed a built-in drivers cabin.
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About two weeks ago, I saw an express train from Budapest being 825 minutes late in Warsaw West Station. That was the record time displayed on a railway board I have seen in Poland so far. The express train from Vienna on the same day was 125 minutes late.
terri 1 | 1,665
16 Dec 2014 #14
All trains work fine until fog (the wrong type of fog) , snow, (the wrong type of snow), frost (the wrong type of frost) comes.
As we are nearing winter, let's just see how many trains actually run on time.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 Dec 2014 #15
As far as I know, the ICE trains are pulled by a locomotive, but Pendolino has indeed a built-in drivers cabin.

A bit off topic of course but......... ICE trains have build in drivers cabins. In fact, in the most recent versions of the ICE trains, the drivers cabin is segregated to the passenger compartment only by a glass wall, allowing passengers who sit right behind it to have quite a nice view.
Ziemowit 13 | 3,829
16 Dec 2014 #16
A bit off topic of course but......... ICE trains have build in drivers cabins. In fact, in the most recent versions of the ICE trains, the drivers cabin is segregated to the passenger compartment only by a glass wall,

Maybe you are talking about foreign ICE trains, but I am talking about EIC in Poland. The PKP INTERCITY company shows the setting-up of all its trains on their website. Of all the company's trains leaving Warsaw East Station between 14th December 2014 and 14th March 2015, only Pendolino trains (marked there as EIP) are shown as having the build-in drivers cabin. The only other train that has such a cabin is the train PODLASIE from Warsaw West to Terespol leaving Warsaw East at 7:24, but this one is marked TLK, so technically it is not an ICE train. Maybe you have precisely those in mind. Every other train, including the ICE to Vienna and Berlin, has a locomotive. If you know of any particular Polish ICE train that is not pulled by a locomotive, let me know and I will happy to check it.

intercity.pl/pl/dokumenty/zestawienia%20poci%C4%85g%C3%B3w/od-14-12-2014/warszawa%20wschodnia%20v212-12-2014.pdf

Of all the trains leaving £ódź (the city you indicate as your place of residence) which are - surprisingly for me - all TLK trains, none has a build-in drivers cabin, but every one is pulled by the locomotive where no passangers are allowed.

The only other train that has such a cabin is the train PODLASIE from Warsaw West to Terespol leaving Warsaw East at 7:24, but this one is marked TLK, so technically it is not an ICE train.

Oups ... there are other trains like this one, but again, they are all TLK trains.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 Dec 2014 #17
If you know of any particular Polish ICE train that is not pulled by a locomotive, let me know and I will happy to check it.

I was actually talking about the ICE train in Germany. ICE - Intercity Express. There is no such thing as an ICE train in Poland :)

ICE Train
Ziemowit 13 | 3,829
16 Dec 2014 #18
in Germany. ICE - Intercity Express. There is no such thing as an ICE train in Poland :)

In Poland they are labelled EIC - Express Intercity.

Clearly, the difference between "Intercity Express" and "Express Intercity" (or ICE vs. EIC) isn't something that a typical passanger would be much upset about. But I'm glad we have finally found out we were talking about trains in diferent countries.

I wonder what the names (trademarks) for express trains in other EU countries are.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 Dec 2014 #19
Clearly, the difference between "Intercity Express" and "Express Intercity" (or ICE vs. EIC) isn't something that a typical passanger would be much upset about.

Well, to be honest i would be very upset if i pay for an ICE ticket but have to undertake my journey in an EIC. The difference in quality and speed of both trains is massive.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
16 Dec 2014 #20
If you know of any particular Polish ICE train that is not pulled by a locomotive, let me know and I will happy to check it.

They're called EZT. Here is list of such trains:
pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lista_elektrycznych_zespo%C5%82%C3%B3w_trakcyjnych_i_wagon%C3%B3w_eksploatowanych_w_Polsce
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 Dec 2014 #21
They're called EZT. Here is list of such trains:

This one here from Gdansk is quite interesting. I wonder how they ended up from being part of the "S-Bahn" in Berlin to running in TryCity in Poland. I remember using them in Berlin when i was younger.

ET 166 (marked on the PKP EW92) - electric traction units produced in 1936 and operated on the of the S-Bahn lines in Berlin. 34 units were produced. 6 of them were rebuilt in 1961-1963 in Poland - ZNTK plants in Gdańsk and have been operated on the SKM lines in Tri-City until the traction network voltage was change for the 3 kV

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/EW92
Harry
16 Dec 2014 #22
I wonder how they ended up from being part of the "S-Bahn" in Berlin to running in TryCity in Poland.

I'd be very surprised if they weren't part of German reparations to Poland (it's not as if the Russians had any use for the things and it is more than possible that they'd been moved out of Berlin to what is now Poland to keep them safe from air-raids anyway).

After spending many cold hours waiting for SKM trains, it's hard not to wonder if those trains weren't more punctual when they ran on the S-Bahn.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 Dec 2014 #23
I'd be very surprised if they weren't part of German reparations to Poland

You seem to be spot on with this as "EW90" (also from Berlin) was shipped to Poland as part of reparations. See link pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/EW90

This is quite an interesting topic for me because i have always wondered about the resemblance of the old Polish ETZs to the older S-Bahn Berlin trains
Harry
16 Dec 2014 #24
You seem to be spot on with this as "EW90" (also from Berlin) was shipped to Poland as part of reparations. See link

I seem to remember hearing somebody telling me about it when I live in Sopot.
And you're a very naughty boy for providing links to Polish-language sources without giving a summary of the relevant parts into English!
I wonder if having a look at the history page of SKM (which might or might not be at something similar to skm.pkp.pl / o-nas / nasza-historia) might give more details.

The really interesting thing would be getting hold of some statistics about the punctuality of the S-Bahn in the 1930s and then comparing that to the SKM of the 1950s and 1960s.

i have always wondered about the resemblance of the old Polish ETZs to the older S-Bahn Berlin trains

I always wondered why Poland ran what were very clearly city commuter trains on inter-city runs of a few hours!
kpc21 1 | 763
16 Dec 2014 #25
They're called EZT.

In Polish EZT for Elektryczny Zespół Trakcyjny. Which has an English equivalent: EMU - Electric Multiple Unit.

I always wondered why Poland ran what were very clearly city commuter trains on inter-city runs of a few hours!

It depends on what you exactly mean.

Until a few years ago the main companies that operated the trains in Poland were PKP Przewozy Regionalne and PKP Intercity, both national ones, belonging to a holding called PKP (Polskie Koleje Państwowe - Polish National Railways). The division was that PKP Przewozy Regionalne operated the city commuter trains (so called "osobowe") and also most of the inter-city ones (so called "pospieszne"). Except for the most comfortable and fastest ones, so called "ekspresowe" and "InterCity", operated by the PKP Intercity. It was convenient, because one could buy one ticket for a whole train journey and it didn't matter how many times one changed a train and between which categories.

Then the government decided to pass all the local commuter trains to the local governments of all the provinces (województwos). To do this, they moved all the "pospieszne" trains from PKP Przewozy Regionalne to PKP Intercity (which will be important later on, also these from £ódź to Warsaw - it is rather a commuter route in terms of that most of passengers commute to the workplace with these trains every day, but it's also quite long). PKP Intercity had created a short time before a new brand of trains called TLK - "Tanie Linie Kolejowe" ("Cheap Railways"), wanting to compete with the "pospieszne" of PKP Przewozy Regionalne. It looks strange that one national company wanted to compete with another one, but it's just Polish government, sometimes it is impossible to understand it. So after this movement they changed all the "pospieszne" into TLKs (later on, probably together with an increase of ticket prices, they changed their name into "Twoje Linie Kolejowe" - "Your Railways"). And it's how the current TLK train category emerged.

With the "pospieszne" trains, PKP Intercity took over also all the carriages and locomotives needed to operate them. Przewozy Regionalne (they left the PKP holding, and they no loger have anything in common with the PKP, apart from that they are running on tracks managed by another company from the PKP holding, and the mentality of the employees is similar, especially the trade unions are extremely influential) stayed mostly with old-type electric multiple units (in Polish - EZTs) of the EN57 type. Sometimes called (especially by train spotters and other train fans) "kibel" from the specific "toilet" smell inside. If someone doesn't know, "kibel" in Polish is a quite impolite (but definitely not vulgar, AFAIK it came from the jail slang) word for a toilet.

PKP Intercity started to cancel many of former "pospieszne" trains, argumenting that they are inaffordable and bring financial loses (which is quite a stupid explaination, if it brought money, the governement wouldn't have to involve in it at all - but again, noone will understand the Polish government). So Przewozy Regionalne decided to fill this niche, in case of specific trains either without any subsidies (and the trains brought money, though), or with subsidies from the local governments. They named this new category of trains "InterRegio", and the former "osobowe" were named, in contrast, "Regio". Later on they created also a new, a bit more comfortable train category (for sure you won't met there EN57 EMUs), but still an affordable one, called "RegioExpress".

Since Przewozy Regionalne have not much locomotives and carrieges (they have to hire locomotives for inter-city trains either from the Czech Railways, or from the company of the PKP holding that specializes in cargo transport), most of the InterRegio trains run on the EN57 multiple units. It's the explanation if you meant just the InterRegio trains.

If you ask why you sometimes (but rarely) can meet EZTs designed rather for commuter trains running the TLK trains, the explanation is also connected with all what I mentioned a moment ago. Yet in the times of PKP Przewozy Regionalne in the PKP holding, operating also most of the inter-city trains (exactly about 10 years ago), the route from £ódź to Warsaw started to be renovated. Now they are finishing these renovation works - it took so much time to them. Time, in which the trains went not faster, but yet slower and they were extremely unpunctual - delays were the order of the day. Together with this renovation, they (meaning PKP Przewozy Regionalne) purchased new trains for this route. Pesa Bydgostia multiple units - the type ED74. And they were used on this route for a few years, but they met a lot of criticism from the passengers. They were to small for this route, which is probably the most popular train in Poland (maybe apart from the city railways for example in Tricity). And too uncomfortable for such a long journey (during the renovation works it was and still is about 2 hours, after the finish it is going to be more than 1 hour). Indeed they are good rather just for real commuter trains.

In Przewozy Regionalne it wouldn't be such a problem. They could move these units to other, really commuter, routes and introduce some of the carriages they have on the Warsaw-£ódź line. But these Bydgostia units, together with all the vehicles for "pospieszne" trains, were taken over by the PKP Intercity. At some moment they had to withdraw these trains form this route due to the fact that the number of trains daily had to be reduced because of the lasting renovation works. Their capacity was to low to fit in all the passengers, taking into account that they can be linked, AFAIK, maximum in sets of 2 units. And they are one of the most modern trains PKP Intercity has, so they don't want to sell them (again stupid, but it's impossible to understand our government). This way they appear on long-distance routes although they shouldn't.

A bit of explanation about the other things I started talking about and might catch someone's interest. The names of the categories of the most comfortable trains. In the communist's times they were called "ekspresowe" only. In the 90s they introduced a new category - InterCity. It was stable during the 90s and initially after 2000, but later on they started to juggle with their names, so that at some moment for example a category "Express InterCty" appeared.

And now "Express InterCity" is the only category of this kind of trains, of course apart from "Express InterCity Premium", which are the Pendolinos.

A very new idea, which appeared together with the introduction of the Pendolinos, was to change the name of the TLK trains operated with the most modern carriages to "InterCity". It's now not a premium category, it's a standard one, like TLK. The prices are, AFAIK, the same as in case of TLKs.

Another thing. I mentioned that the local governments have in fact no control of the Przewozy Regionalne, because it's their common possesion. What is more, the trade unions are there very influential. It's why they tend to buy new trains (I mean vehicles) on their own, not by Przewozy Regionalne, and then lend them to the Przewozy Regionalne. They tend also to create their own railway companies and resign from the services of the Przewozy Regionalne, even though they still have shares in it (bear in mind that the Przewozy Regionalne bring losses, not money, so noone would like to buy their shares; to posses their shares means to have a debt). This way the following companies appeared:

- Koleje Mazowieckie (Mazovian Railways) - their are the oldest one and they weren't created as a separate company, but separated from the Przewozy Regionalne

- Arriva RP - it's not a company owned by a local government, but a government of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province hired a "private" company (in fact connected with the German Railways) instead of Przewozy Regionalne to operate local trains

- Koleje Śląskie (Silesian Railways)
- Koleje Dolnośląskie (Lower-Silesian Railways)
- Koleje Wielkopolskie (Greater-Poland Railways)
- £ódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna (£ódź Urban Agglomeration Railway)
- Koleje Małopolskie (Lesser-Poland Railways) - started operation this Sunday, together with Pendolinos in PKP Intercity

There are also companies operataing urban trains within the biggest cities, and so:
- PKP Szybka Kolej Miejska w Trójmieście (PKP - Fast Urban Railway in Tricity), belonging to the PKP holding - in fact it operates also regional trains, so should rather be classified as a member of the previous group, but initially it was only for the urban agglomeration

- Szybka Kolej Miejska w Warszawie (Fast Urban Railway in Warsaw), belonging to the local government of the city of Warsaw
- Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa (Warsaw Commuter Railway) - belonging mostly to the local govermnent of the Mazovian Province, being a reminder of the suburban light railway system from before the Second World War (an interesting thing is that a similar system in £ódź after the war was classified as trams and developed in totally different way, unfortunately in Poland doesn't exist anything like "light railway", there is a sharp distinction between trams and heavy railway)

I think, that's all.
Harry
16 Dec 2014 #26
It depends on what you exactly mean.

Specifically I meant that the commuter trains which mainly ran from Gdansk to Gdynia would sometimes run all the way to Slupsk (EW55s?), with no toilets, completely un-cushioned seats and very little in the way of heating.

And they were almost always late too.
kpc21 1 | 763
16 Dec 2014 #27
EW55 are no longer used, they were used until 1995.

According to this: pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/PKP_Szybka_Kolej_Miejska_w_Tr%C3%B3jmie%C5%9Bcie#Obecny - all the trains of the company operating on this route have toilets.

The table shows (according to the columns):
Series / Manufcturer / Number of cars in unit [r - with driver's cabin, s - with motors, d - passive without the cabin] / Number of seats (in brackets - number of paces for standing passengers) / Number and power of motors, maximum velocity / Properties / Year of introduction / Number of them

The properties are (according to the legend on that page):
renovated / no compartments / with compartments / chopper-based motor startup / asynchronous motors / passenger information system / video surveillance system / facilities for the disabled / bicyces allowed / toilet / baby changing table
JollyRomek 7 | 481
17 Dec 2014 #28
I think, that's all.

Thank you very much for the extensive post and information. Very good!
Harry
17 Dec 2014 #29
EW55 are no longer used, they were used until 1995.

I'm 99% sure I took one in '97 on that exact route. I certainly took one on that route in '95 and '96 (winter '95-'96). All of them were late.

all the trains of the company operating on this route have toilets.

They almost certainly do now.
If you fancy a superb train ride which apparently used to be terrible, get a train from Lublin to Zamosc.
Ziemowit 13 | 3,829
17 Dec 2014 #30
Harry, my bravest keyboard warrior, your repeated complains about the two train journeys which you took almost 20 years ago and which were both late makes your posts in this thread increasingly uninteresting and draws you even closer to earning the reputation of a railway troll rather than a true railway enthusiast! But true, your memory as to the exact years when your mishaps on the railways of Poland occurred is quite impressive.

Please, be so kind and take a ride with a new Pendolino train and we would be happy to hear about your re-freshed experience with the trains in Poland.


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