Sunday, 4 September 2016

Interstices: between the tracks and Kłobucka

To the east of the Warsaw-Radom railway line between W-wa Dawidy and W-wa Okęcie stations lies and interesting no-man's land along ul. Zatorze. Literally 'behind the tracks street' this is a 1.2km stretch of unasphalted road that today leads, well, nowhere. Now that the S2 and S79 have been completed, ul. Zatorze is used only by contractors working on the modernisation of the railway line.

At the south end of ul. Zatorze, there's a no entry sign. Nothing like it at the northern end, suggesting one-way traffic. In summer it's a dusty, sandy track. When the rains start, it turns into a muddy morass from end to end.

Left: once, behind these birches, there were numerous działki with neat gardens, summer houses, all fenced in; few are left today. Some have been abandoned and left to the local żul community who come here to drink and sleep.

Below: the strip of działki/former działki is bordered to the west by ul. Zatorze, and to the east by the line linking Warsaw's Metro to the outside world. Not a busy line, but every train on the Metro system has at one time travelled along these tracks.

I walk northwards towards W-wa Okęcie station, passing on from ul. Zatorze to ul. Kłobucka (famous for its prison). Between Kłobucka and the tracks is a new office development under construction, Nowy Służewiec - Mordor South in other words. On the east side of Kłobucka, a new development of flats. So we can see, the nearer we get to the centre of Warsaw, the more valuable the land, and the less likely that these interstices will remain. But there are still around...

Left: ul. Kłobucka, a new building by the footpath to the station. Though it's only some 400m from here to the station, there's no signs. The new building is home to the IPN (Institute of National Remembrance) digital archive. As the illustration shows, files are now accessible via a computer. Dates on the monitor (click to enlarge) are significant: 1939, 1956, 1970, 1980, 1990. There's room for one more file... what year will it be? 2016? 2017? When our government starts locking up judges for daring to say that an independent judiciary is key to the constitutional running of the Polish state? That the judiciary should be separate from the legislature and executive, in a normal system of democratic checks and balances?

Walking towards the station, I catch some more of that interstitial Warsaw, no-man's land abandoned by history; behind the gate (below), through which trains used to run (tracks now lifted) is a derelict 1960s warehouse building; behind it a 1990s office, and behind that, a 2010s office. I wonder when this piece of land will be developed. Maybe this are should be turned into parkland, for the residents of the new apartments on the other side of ul. Kłobucka?

On to the station. W-wa Okęcie is still not ready, a year after work started here. The footbridge has been re-closed. Yes, it was open, as I reported back in July, but now it's closed. So once again, passengers have to risk life and limb clambering over the tracks to get to the platform.

Below: parked up by W-wa Okęcie, a wagon socjalny - a hostel on wheels for the railway workers (who I must say were hard at it today, Sunday, all along the line from here down to W-wa Jeziorki). This made me think. Some people live in trailer homes, others in houseboats. Why not put Poland's large network of railway sidings and stock of wagony socjalne to good use? I for one would love to spend a few weeks travelling around Poland in a camper train, moving from place to place...

Below: looking south from W-wa Okęcie platform. A variety of rolling stock on the sidings - but what's new is that passenger trains are being stabled here. I've never seen this before.

Back to W-wa Jeziorki on the 14:14, which arrives at W-wa Okęcie three minutes early, and dutifully waits until the appointed hour before heading south towards Radom. Below: ul. Karczunkowska without cars. Paradise! People out walking, jogging, cycling. This is how it should be.

A good day's walking myself - 14,000 paces.

This time two years ago:
In which I ride my Brompton to work

This time five years ago:
Bike ride to Powsin as summer fades gloriously

This time six years ago:
Compositions in yellow, blue and white

This time seven years ago:
When the Z-9 used to run, temporarily, to Jeziorki


student SGH said...

Hi Michael!
Ever heard of wczasy wagonowe?
The concept could be revived, yet carriages were as a matter of principle stationary. Would be hard to find a group of travellers willing to take the same route to make the whole venture cost-effective.

Michael Dembinski said...

The thing is to park the wagons somewhere nice (with lakes, forests) and arrive and depart by train. Maybe two destinations to make the concept effective...

student SGH said...

With wczasy wagonowe the concept was to arrive by train, move to a stationary wagon serving as accomodation, after a fortnight move out and return home by another scheduled train...

Michael Dembinski said...

@student SGH

I didn't realise this had actually been tried out! I thought this was an elegant conceit devised by yourself :-)

[Four comments and nothing yet on the Constitutional Court, IPN and Smolensk?]

student SGH said...

It wasn't a hoax! I wasn't pulling your leg! Although, as an attempt of the socialist country to arrange holiday rest to its labour class, it wczasy wagonone have been laughed off and because of their origin are less likely to be revived.

Why should we expect any comment on current politics?