Above: From the forested triangle of land to the north of Line No. 12, a photo of a Warsaw-bound train. Standing here, I am aware of trains moving through the forest in all directions; I can tell where they're coming from, but not where they're going. Below: One of the most interesting trains passes this way, the Vltava, the Moskva Belarusskaya to Praha Hl. n.* service comes through Czachówek (some time after 6pm).
This exotic, one-a-day service, which takes 31hrs 23mins, leaves Moscow at quarter to midnight local time, goes through Viasma, Smolensk, Orsha, then through Belarus stopping at Minsk, on into Poland, calling at Terespol, Biała Podlaska, Łuków, Pilawa, Włoszczowa, Katowice and Zebrzydowice, before crossing the border into the Czech Republic, and arriving in Prague just after 5am. Surely one of Central and Eastern Europe's great train journeys.
The return train* passes through Czachówek around 9am each morning on its way back to Moscow. These trains are made up of Russian, Czech and Polish carriages and (for the Polish stretch) are hauled by Polish EU07 or EP07 electric engines. The gauge changes at Terespol, where broad-gauge bogies are swapped for standard gauge ones.
Meanwhile, within the forest at Czachówek junction, I can hear the rumble of yet another train. It's heading my way, but will it swing north or continue east? It's a CTL Logistics tanker train, and it carries on straight, down the line to Pilawa and Łuków.
Above: The Skierniewice-Łuków line, looking east. Built in the early 1950s, it had, as any infrastructure investment did in those day, a primarily military purpose - getting Soviet tanks west, bypassing Warsaw, that nest of potential spies and saboteurs. Today the line is under-used, at least the new Warsaw-Góra Kalwaria-Pilawa service will put some of this track to good purpose.
The line's history is fascinating, told here (in Polish). At a time when Stalin was planning to goad the west into war in Korea, building this 100-mile strategic military rail connection of was of utmost importance. No other piece of railway infrastructure investment in Poland, other than the electrification of the Warsaw-Katowice line, was given greater priority during the period of the Six-Year Plan.
(* a dead link means the timetable's changed or the service no longer runs)