Warsaw Centralna station - here during the UEFA European Championships 2012 (photo © Karol Kozlowski).
The taxis in Warsaw have been doing a roaring trade this week, transferring frazzled passengers from Centralna station up to Gdanska station in the north of the city. A festival of engineering work on the main east-west rail route through the heart of Warsaw means big changes for a few weeks in rail services to, from and through the Polish capital. The revised arrangements have been well publicised in the Polish media, but many foreign visitors are still arriving at Centralna station only to find that their trains will leave from quite another station.
There are two stages to the work. Phase I started this past Sunday and runs until 26 April. Phase II will run from 27 April until 9 June. In this note for European Rail News, we focus on changes to rail services that apply during the first phase of the railway renewal programme — until Saturday 26 April.
The headline story is that Warsaw’s Gdanska station has been suddenly promoted in status to become a major hub for long-distance rail services. Dworzec Gdanski is easy to reach: it is just three stops north of Centrum on Warsaw’s metro. The taxis may have pulled the crowds this past day or two, but in truth those in a hurry to get up to Gdanska would generally be quicker riding the metro.
Many regional services from Warsaw to the provinces are now leaving from Gdanska rather than Centralna. This applies to most TLK trains bound for Lublin, Olstyn, Suwalki, Gdynia and Przemysl. Some trains to Kraków and Szczecin are also departing from Dworzec Gdanski rather than Centralna.
Two important international trains from Warsaw are now departing from Gdanska. These are the afternoon departures to Moscow and Kiev. Train No. 10 (for Minsk and Moscow) will leave Gdanska at 16.15. Train No. 68 (for Kovel and Kiev) will leave Gdanska at 16.44.
The Polish railway authorities have sensibly thought of passengers arriving in Warsaw on international trains and wanting to connect directly onto those afternoon departures to Moscow and Kiev. The EC104 from Vienna will run to Gdanska station, where it will terminate at 15.45. It will not serve Centralna. Similarly, the EC43 from Berlin also runs to Gdanska, terminating there at 15.13. But departures from Warsaw back to Vienna and Berlin are all from Centralna as usual.
If your travels take you to, from or through Warsaw, take time to check if your trains are affected. It is by no means all long-distance services that run to or from Gdanska. The main station at Centralna is still very much in business, albeit operating at reduced capacity. So, by way of example, the late evening train to Minsk still leaves from Centralna just as it has always done. And the Transeuropean Express from Paris to Moscow via Warsaw (and vice versa) still serves Centralna as usual. And just because a train leaves from Gdanska, don’t assuming that the balancing inbound service necessarily arrives at Gdanska. So we’ve seen that the eastbound Kiev Express now leaves each afternoon from Gdanska. But trains from Kiev to Warsaw are terminating at Wschodnia station in the east of the Polish capital.
Revised timings showing exactly which trains stop at which stations in Warsaw are incorporated in the DB HAFAS database.