The main station of Görlitz, Germany (<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bahnhof_G%C3%B6rlitz.jpg">photo</a> by Manecke / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
A handful of passengers may well arrive on the station platform in Görlitz today in the hope of getting a train running east over the River Neisse into Poland. They will be disappointed.
Earlier this month, German media carried the news:
“Ab 21. September dürfen polnische Nahverkehrszüge in den Görlitzer Bahnhof einfahren.”
Which, on the face of it, seemed like quite good news. "From 21 September, Polish local trains will be permitted to travel into Görlitz station." This raised the prospect that the passenger rail service over the Neisse viaduct between Görlitz and Zgorzelec was about to be reinstated. No trains have served the route since the service was axed over six months ago.
There was a little rejoicing on both sides of the German-Polish border at the announcement. Not least the rail enthusiast community bubbled with delight at the imminent reopening of this link between Saxony and Silesia. The route was for many years served by thrice-daily Dresden to Wroclaw trains.
Then came the back-tracking on the 21 September announcement. Germany’s benevolence in giving permission for trains to trundle over the Neisse viaduct into Görlitz station is not quite the same as restarting a regular rail service across the border. On Friday, a representative of the regional transport authority ZVON told us that there are absolutely no plans to reinstate public train services over the Neisse viaduct on Monday 21 September. Nor, indeed, anytime later this month. "But we are evaluating the possibility of getting trains running again by the end of this year," she added. "Or early in 2016."
Time will tell. Meanwhile, keep an eye on Table 1085 in the European Rail Timetable. For many years this table has recorded the vicissitudes of the Dresden to Wroclaw rail service. At the moment it tells a tale of a sadly disconnected Europe. Let’s hope that the through trains really are back soon.
You can read more about the rail route over the Neisse viaduct from Germany to Poland in a recent issue of Letter from Europe.