Czachówek Górny station lies 17km south of W-wa Jeziorki, in the centre of the 'Czachówek Diamond', where the Warsaw to Radom railway line crosses the Skierniewice to Łuków line. Four rail spurs connect the two lines, allowing trains to go off to all points of the compass (see map from Google Earth, below, with railways marked). It is from here that I start and to here I return.
Below: I head east, into the wind, in the direction of Góra Kalwaria. The road follows the line, then turns into a sandy track with the railway on an embankment, and forest to the south. Though there are few passenger trains using this line at the weekend, there are many freight trains, with varied loads. Below: empty coal wagons heading back east to the Bogdanka mine.
Below: a long westbound train of oil tankers. It is encouraging to see freight returning to the rails. Whether it's EU funded projects or simple economics, I don't know; but just think how many trucks would have to carry this cargo along public roads.
Below: my Cannondale takes a break at an unguarded level crossing. Time for lunch - I buy a quality, high-class length of kiełbasa, a long bread roll to accommodate it, one-and-half litres of Cisowianka mineral water, two lovely large Polish apples and a tin of Warka Pstrąg beer (sadly only mainstream brands out in the country - no craft IPAs or ciders). Total cost of lunch is 13.50 złotys (£ 2.55).
Below: the building of the sołtys (elected village head) in Krzaki Czaplinkowskie. It is part Wild West fort, part radio transmission station, part drop-in constituency surgery, part village store and part metal anodising workshop.
Below: another eastbound coal train, this one coming from Skierniewice, approaching the level crossing at low speed. Lack of gated crossings means trains have to slow down; this hurts their operating efficiency. If we want to see more goods taken off the roads and put onto rail, the Polish state must invest in the safety infrastructure. Today I passed three crosses indicating where people had died under the wheels of passing trains.
Below: a gaggle of geese outside a farmhouse in Uwieliny, to the north-west of Czachówek. As I cycled slowly past, the geese waddled away, honking noisily, evidently irritated.
Cycling through the middle of the diamond - Pan Heniek (below), equipped with scythe and a bucket for mushrooms. Though my layman's instinct suggests it may yet be too early for mushrooms, his bucket is nearly brim-full.
Nearing Czachówek Górny at the end of my journey, passing through Bronisławów, I see another oil train at the (unguarded) level crossing. This train is using the spur that connects the northbound and westbound lines.
My train back to Jeziorki is on time - it's been a splendid day out - my ticket and victuals coming to less than a fiver in British money, the weather fabulous. I feel a healthy suntan coming on.
This time two years ago:
Second line of the Metro runs into delays
This time four years ago
Army helicopters in action at Kielce defence show
This time five years ago:
World's largest helicopter over Jeziorki