Friday, 1 June 2012

Warsaw's airport served by rail at last

Until half past four this morning, Warsaw was probably the only capital in the developed world whose airport lacked a rail connection to the city centre. As of today, Warsaw has jumped up several notches in urban sophistication with the opening of W-wa Lotnisko Chopina station. The first train pulled into the brand new underground station early today. On my way between meetings, I took a detour and arrived at the airport via W-wa Służewiec around eleven. The new line is very impressive. Once the Euro's out of the way and the timetables have been fine-tuned, it will serve as a huge improvement to public transport in this part of town.

Above: a Koleje Mazowieckie train enters the station (left), while a Szybkie Koleje Miejskie train stands on the opposite platform. Two different operators, two different tickets. SKM is run by the city transport authority, ZTM, and takes standard bus tickets. The one-day, weekly, monthly and quarterly travel cards can be used on both KM and SKM trains.  

Below: the station entrance emerges at street level by the domestic terminal, so there's a 300 metre-walk to the main international terminal.

While Warsaw cheers the opening of its first new line in decades, spare a thought for people passing through W-wa Służewiec, the station at which the airport spur runs off the main Warsaw-Radom line, and an important communications hub for the sprawling office developments of lower Mokotów. The newly-rebuilt tram loop as yet has no passenger access to the station. You must either take a 500m detour via the pedestrian crossing by ul. Taśmowa, or risk a 90m trespass through a muddy building site, then over the railway line, to the platform.

And the temporary ticket booth is still where it was before the new platform was open (below). To get to it, you must either make a long detour, or simply hop across the tracks. Not much fun for mums with prams, babcie with shopping trolleys or the disabled.

To the left, in the distance, a group of people en route to the platform from the tram loop are crossing the line (a tram is visible behind the ticket booth).

Using this station is still massively inconvenient. However, it is now served by three times as many trains an hour from town as was previously the case - in peak hours six up from two, off-peak five up from one.

This is my first blog post on 1 June - nothing from last year, 2010, 2009, 2008 or indeed 2007 on this day.


Anonymous said...

There are still plenty of capitals in the developed world with no rail connection to airport (Canberra, Ottawa, etc.)

Anonymous said...

You may probably have been not yet in Paris : to Paris aeroports (Charles de Gaulle or Orly), both have train lack directly to the Paris center : 25mn. And they exist very long time ago !

Paddy said...

Looking forward to travelling on this tomorrow on my return to the UK.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ anon - go on, name more...

Ottawa and Canberra are federal capitals, places that sprang up by fiat rather than being a result of the organic growth of communities, as most capital cities are.

Anonymous said...

Dublin, Riga, Tallinn, Edinburgh (not a capital yet) don't have rail links (yet).