Thursday, 31 December 2015

Railways make most of Xmas break

Walking around Jeziorki for the last time in 2015, I noticed that the railway line between W-wa Dawidy and W-wa Jeziorki is finally being modernised. High time. I've written before about the poor state of the track; the current modernisation works between W-wa Okęcie and Czachówek are now well under way.

Below: at the pedestrian crossing at ul. Kórnicka, I see the 'down' track has been lifted, the old rails lying on either side of the old sleepers, awaiting collection. Note the crosses by the signals, warning engine drivers that the signals are inoperative. This view is looking north, towards W-wa Dawidy station. [Incidentally, the pedestrian ramp to the crossing has been removed. I hope the crossing will remain once the modernisation is complete, even though it will mean much faster trains.]

Below: looking the other way,south towards W-wa Jeziorki. You can see where the track-lifting his come to an end; in the distance, some men on the track by the station.

Below: looking back north again, at a passing Koleje Mazowieckie train on its way from Warka to Mrozy. Taken with a 300mm lens, you can see the excavator on the line, south of ul. Baletowa.

The modernisation of the Warsaw-Radom line - in stages (Okęcie-Czachówek, Czachówek-Warka, Warka-Radom) will do much to improve rail links. For us suburbanites, it brings closer the prospect of SKM (Szybka Kolej Miejska = fast urban rail) services to Piaseczno. This should double the number of rush-hour services from two to four. Each SKM train set can carry 800-900 passengers; just imagine how many cars end to end clogging up ul. Puławska that could release.

When the modernisation work reaches Piaseczno (its station has just been reopened following modernisation), there will be a passing loop added, allowing SKM trains to terminate there.

The bad news is that Warsaw's councillors have decided not to invest in a fourth (bus-only) lane for Puławska. Still, when Puławska Bis (the southward extension of the S79) is extended down towards Piaseczno, that should also relieve the congestion on Puławska. I hope for a bus lane, even if it means reducing the number of lanes open to cars from three to two - assuming of course Puławska Bis is built and the SKM starts running frequent services to Piaseczno.

More bad news on Puławska - the photo-radar at Dąbrówka has been covered in black plastic. It is being switched off. For good. Local pedestrians who could cross the road here without fear of death at the wheels of cretins must once again face terror as speeds in excess of double the legal 50 km/h will once again become the norm. Interesting to see 2015 road death toll. Another year-on-year decrease? Polish deputies and senators seem to be siding with petrol-headed morons rather than with pedestrians and cyclists.

Meanwhile, in London - the Xmas-New Year's Day period is also being spent modernising railway track. Below: the view from Jacob's Ladder, West Ealing, two days ago, where the branch line to Greenford is also getting new track. The line swings away from the Great Western main line northwards. Note the large number of track workers in hi-vi suits and hard hats coming on shift. Note also the geo-netting in place under the track bed, awaiting ballast from the adjacent wagons.

Below: Drayton Green station looking south; another ballast train waits at the points. Unlike Koleje Mazowieckie, which is keeping one line open to maintain a full passenger service, Great Western has closed the Greenford line completely for the duration of the works.

Below: looking north from the southbound platform at Castlebar Park towards South Greenford, where yet another ballast train is standing. Beyond, to the left, the girder bridge which takes the line to its final stop, Greenford station.

I'm glad to see investment and modernisation of railways. They are the future. Cars aren't.

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