Sunday, 16 February 2014

North-east of Warsaw West revisited

I was here back in September, promising to return. The fate of this fascinatingly ignored part of Warsaw, just three tram stops from the city's epicentre, needs to be documented. One day, this will be offices, shops and apartments. The land north of the main east-west railway line, between W-wa Zachodnia and the defunct (since 1997) W-wa Główna Osobowa station, is ripe for development. Last summer, Cushman & Wakefield announced that it would be PKP's advisor for the sale of this site.

So then - here are today's photos.

Below: redundant tracks between the passenger platforms and ul. Tunelowa are being lifted. I could see literally kilometres of track here. What will happen to it? With these concrete sleepers, this track is in much better condition than the wooden sleepered tracks on the Radom line running through Jeziorki.

Below: a huge collection of clips used to fasten the rails to the sleepers. Tons of the stuff. In the background, modern office and residential developments along Al. Jerozolimskie.

Below: construction equipment parked alongside the tracks. Note piles of lifted rails to the left, the old gasworks on ul. Prądzyńskiego to the right.

Below: looking east from ul. Tunelowa. A mass of abandoned track continues for hundreds of metres in the direction of ul. Towarowa. A good view of Warsaw's skyline, the Palace of Culture being obscured by a tall bush in this photo.

Left: I follow the middle track, forcing my way through bushes which have grown up around and between the rails. They have not been used for at least a decade.

This is prime property, a ten-hectare site surrounded by the western edge of Warsaw's city centre. At last it is going to be developed, but one does wonder why it took PKP so long to get around to selling the site.

I press on eastwards, towards the city centre, along long-abandoned tracks. After a few hundred metres, I come across this building, below, a warehouse alongside the goods sidings. Let's have a closer look, shall we?

Below: abandonment on this scale could be expected in Łódź or Białystok, but not in the heart of Warsaw. A superb klimat for urban hunters of industrial ruins. Lots of evidence of rough sleepers and outdoor drinking dens around here, but for now, in mid-February, deserted.

Below: turning back towards W-wa Zachodnia station, I glimpse through the trees and bushes a new office development on Al. Jerozolimskie catching the last rays of the setting sun. There's much construction work on both sides of the tracks - in Ochota to the south and Wola to the north - but so far nothing in between.

Below: approaching ul. Tunelowa again. If this area is to gain in prestige (which it should thanks to its central location), it will require careful landscaping to take it up market. Right now, the whole area between Tunelowa, Kolejowa and Prądzyńskiego feels depressingly shabby.

Below: the area slated for redevelopment highlighted in yellow on a Google Earth map of Warsaw. Ul. Towarowa is to the right, Al. Jerozolimskie below it, ul. Kasprzaka is top left. The map has been rotated clockwise slightly to fit the page better.

Definitely worth another visit, next time starting from the W-wa Główna Osobowa end (current home of the railway museum - read the latest news about its move here). And exploration of Ul. Kolejowa, the northern border of the redevelopment zone.

This time last year:
Looking for answers

This time two years ago:
Fresh powder in Warsaw's parks

This time four years ago:
Another Lent starts

This time six years ago:
Okęcie dusk

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