Saturday, 6 June 2009

W-wa Jeziorki to Góra Kalwaria - by train

Railway lines disappear, services get axed, networks shrink. So it's wonderful to see new services emerging! This is the first weekend of trains between Warsaw and Góra Kalwaria via Czachówek, so I decided to see how it goes. The new service is operated by Koleje Mazowiecki, the suburban rail operator, which is 51% owned by the province of Mazowsze and 49% by PKP. Since its formation in 2004, it has generally improved services, rolling stock and cleanliness of stations.

Why not, said a clever member of the Board, why not re-build the railway station and run trains into Warsaw and back, so that local people can get to work and home again in less time? And so a plan was prepared and made public in January; at last, on last Monday 1 June, the first scheduled passenger-carrying service ran into Warsaw.

The idea is great - masses of commuters living in Góra Kalwaria, some 30km from the centre of Warsaw, spend three or four hours a day stuck in traffic jams on their way to and from work.

Czachówek Wschodni: quiet Saturday afternoon at the station
I'm mentioned Czachówek a few times; it is a railway junction some 10 miles/16km south of Jeziorki. It's noted for having a couple of hundred inhabitants and four railway stations. Two were out of use, though with the new rail service, Czachówek Wschodni has been re-opened. By swinging off the Warsaw-Radom line onto the Skierniewice-Łuków line using the north-to-east spur at Czachówek, a new transport possibility emerges.

The new route swings east at the railway junction
I took the train from W-wa Jeziorki which departed at 16:15 and arrived at Góra Kalwaria shortly before five. The train was turned around, and at 17:21 it set off for Warsaw, arriving back at W-wa Jeziorki just after six. My return ticket for the 50km round trip was... 6zł 70gr., a promotional price (the ticketing machines have not yet been set up to include Góra Kalwaria.

Góra Kalwaria: the train's longer than the platform. Days later, a shelter's been erected here.
With good promotion, the people of Góra Kalwaria will abandon their cars and the PKS buses in favour of the rail service. If it takes off, the local authorities will run more trains, which can only be a good thing. So fingers crossed.

On the timetable I noticed an interesting one-a-day service - Warsaw to Pilawa via Czachówek and Góra Kalwaria. Leaving W-wa Jeziorki at 18:55, it arrives in Pilawa, 50km away, across the Vistula, at five past eight. But what to do in Pilawa? The return train leaves Pilawa at 04:40 the following morning and arrives back at W-wa Jeziorki an hour and ten minutes later.

This time last year:
Fields turning into housing estates

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