As we reach the junction at Czachówek , it starts bucketing it down. The deluge means we had to quickly shut the windows to avoid soaking the train's upholstery. Above: behind the trees is the east-west rail line that our train will merge onto.
Beyond Góra Kalwaria. For the first time, we cross the Vistula on a scheduled rail service on the Skierniewice-Łuków line. Above: Eddie's shot of the rainbow (it came out better than mine!) Circular polarising filters really help with rainbows. In the distance, the Góra Kalwaria road bridge is visible.
The landscape on the other side of the river is as flat as it is in our part of Mazowsze; the rainbow accompanies us much of the way to Pilawa. We stop at three stations between Góra Kalwaria and Pilawa: Warszówka, Osieck and Jaźwiny; there are no platforms here, just a white-painted kerb at ground level. At each station, just one or two people descend. Remember, this is a new service, so locals still need to get used to its existence. Currently, only two trains a day stop at these stations; from Pilawa to Warsaw (between 4:40 and 5:00) and from Warsaw to Pilawa (between 19:30 and 20:00).
Above: approaching Pilawa from the west, through the forest that runs through Augustowka, a favourite place of ours. There is a significant railway junction here, with five lines converging on Pilawa station; from Lublin to the south, Łuków to the east, Mińsk Mazowiecki to the north, the Otwock-Warsaw commuter line to the north-west and Skierniewice to the west. The forest is criss-crossed with rails, and an overgrown embankment after track-lifting. I refer to it in this oft-visited post.
At Pilawa, we buy tickets for the express train to W-wa Wschodnia, Warsaw's eastern terminal. Above: The 19:49 Przemyśl to Warsaw service is about to reach Pilawa. The 50km journey to Warsaw goes the long way round, not through Otwock and Józefów but skirting Mińsk Maz. Though there's more rail to cover, the train moves quickly and there's no intermediate stops. We are scheduled to arrive at W-wa Wschodnia in just 47 minutes. Here we will board a stopping service bound for Radom, that will drop us off at Jeziorki.
As the train turns west at Mińsk Maz, we catch some strong evening sunlight. The thunderclouds and rain have passed over, the air is clean and fresh, the quality of light beautiful.
Approaching W-wa Wschodnia. Above: A panorama of Warsaw's city centre, still dominated by Stalin's gift to the Polish people, appears ahead of us. Clicking on the photo, you will see on the Palace of Culture, five miles away, an image of Gary Cooper, 11 stories high. This is based on the iconic 'High Noon' poster used by Solidarity to encourage Poles to vote the communists out of power 20 years ago.
Planning this journey was made much easier thanks to PKP's timetable site, found here.