Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Warsaw - Poznań - Warsaw

An early start yesterday - I had the first presentation slot at a conference on public-private partnerships in Poznań and was due on stage at 9:20. Problem: the first train of the day from Warsaw arrives in Poznań at 9:51. Take the earlier one? Well, that arrives at... 2:40. I toyed with the idea of flying (dep. Okęcie 5:50, arr. Poznań 6:45); then I remembered that Martin and Paddy will be driving there, so I cadged a lift.

Leaving Warsaw just after five, it took two hours and ten minutes to cover the 120km to Stryków, where the A2 motorway currently fizzles out in a muddy field. (A sarcastic 'thank you' to the procession of infrastructure ministers who, over the past 20 years, have done so little to provide Poland with infrastructure.) Average speed: around 38 mph.

At Stryków, we join the Modern World. Driving at the (new) legal maximum speed of 140kmh (87mph) - a warning bleeper sounded on Martin's TomTom whenever he exceeded it - we covered the 190 km from Stryków to the turn-off for Poznań in just over an hour and half.

The motorway - a public-private partnership operated by Autostrady Wielkopolskie - was a delight to travel on. Only two lanes in each direction (something that might be regretted by future generations), it cost 90 zł (18 quid) in tolls there and back. But what a contrast with the usual way one gets about Poland! Quite like western Europe, the normal world. At last.

But how just how long can the Polish economy wait for the A2 to connect Warsaw to the German border? And what about tempting all those trucks off the road onto the railways?

In Poznań, I learn that the third panellist in the first session, a lawyer, was on his way from Warsaw... by taxi... because that flight from Warsaw - was cancelled.

This time two years ago:
The clocks go back - but when should they go forward?

This time three years ago:
Warsaw's first Metro line is completed


Anonymous said...

1. Legal speed on motorways is now 140 km/h, not 130 km/h
2. Two missing bits of the A2, connecting Warsaw to the German border shall be completed by this time next year. In fact, the stretch between Poznań and German border is bound to be opened later this year.
3. Mr. Grabarczyk should be thanked for this accomplishment. If PiS rule continued a little longer you wouldn't see neither of the two bits of motorway in near future.
4. Don't trust newspaper coverage of motorway construction. It is largely done by incompetent people. This is the place to go:

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Anon -
1. Noted and corrected :)
2. "by this time next year..." too late for Euro 2012. Huge traffic jams full of frustrated fans will be twittering their anger at Poland's government.
3. Grabarczyk is the latest in a long, long line of disappointing infrastructure ministers.
4. Have been a registered member of Skyscraper City for over three years :)