Sunday, 23 March 2014

Warsaw's abandoned goods station

See it while you can - an abandoned railway station in the heart of a European capital. Warsaw's old goods station is completely accessible on foot - indeed even by car.  I've written about the Zachodnia end of this vast expanse of sidings and abandoned railway infrastructure here and here (with map); I promised to return to finish the job, so here pics from the ul. Towarowa end.

Between the Railway Museum and post office on ul. Towarowa is a cobbled street (below) that leads to the platforms of the goods station serving the post office. There are no barriers, indeed no signs, prohibiting you from strolling right in.

And what do you find? This is at the eastern end of the mass of railway sidings that stretches all the way from W-wa Zachodnia station through to the old W-wa Główna Osobowa on ul. Towarowa (now the railway museum).There were four platforms serving mail trains; vans would drive down between the platforms.

I remember in my first job in Poland, around 1997-98, coming here around midnight to witness the dispatch by mail train of hundreds of thousands of cable TV listings magazines (of which I was publisher) to various towns around Poland.

Below: on the horizon, a new development is appearing on the skyline; Warsaw's '19th District' - which would be an apt name for this vast area of abandoned sidings between the districts of Wola and Ochota.

Below: to the right, an abandoned warehouse; to the left, across ten abandoned tracks and six tracks still in use - the modern buildings of Al. Jerozolimskie.

Below: an abandoned water crane standing amid hectares of wasteland north of Al. Jerozolimskie

Below: in the distance, the Palace of Culture; to the right the neglected exhibits of Poland's national railway museum, resting and rusting, await a new home. To the left, the old post office warehouse.

Left: one track still show signs of life, i.e. there are no trees growing up between the rails. This is the track that connects the railway museum to the outside world.

One day in the not-too-distant future, the museum's collection will need to be hauled out of its open-air home to what will hopefully be a more fitting resting place in Odolany. Properly restored, under a roof, the old steam locos will, I hope, be spared any further indignity and will give delight to many generations of Varsovians to come.

Below: the end of the northern-most platform of the goods station, looking towards the city centre. Trees are sprouting everywhere. Nature, left to its own devices, would soon obliterate the buildings.

Below: tracks disappearing into an urban forest, south of ul. Kolejowa. Tons of dumped rubbish blight the area; otherwise, this could be a Most interesting alternative picnic spot in the summer!

Below: looking westward toward W-wa Zachodnia in the far distance; the yellow gates belong to PKP PLK's diagnostic centre.

I'm sure that in five years time, this area will be a massive building site, and in ten years time this will be a posh new part of central Warsaw full of shops, offices and apartment blocks. See it while you can, catch the atmosphere.

This time last year:
Social justice - the Church and inequality

This time two years ago:
Google Street View comes to Poland

1 comment:

Bob said...

Great stuff Michal,

I agree - it will be built up and most likely in a very cool urban way. Wouldn't it be great if some of the tracks/rights of way could be used for a light rail system.