Colourful houses in Poznan's main square (photo © hidden europe).
Local train services across the border between Germany and Poland have often been patchy. So it’s very good news that the rail link for stopping trains between Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and Poznan is being restored from later this week. A special train to mark the new service will run on Friday. Regular twice-daily trains run from this coming Saturday.
The Frankfurt to Poznan route is already well served by EuroCity services which run east from Berlin to Poznan and beyond. Most of these services continue to Warsaw but one EuroCity each day runs instead to Gdansk and Gdynia. These EuroCity services make very few stops along the way. They serve long-distance markets rather than local cross-border traffic.
Two local trains each day already cross the bridge that runs east from Frankfurt over the River Oder into Poland. Both follow the main Warsaw line as far as Rzepin from where they run south-east to Zielona Góra. Now the Frankfurt (Oder) – Rzepin – Zielona Góra service will be complemented by a new Frankfurt (Oder) – Rzepin – Poznan service, which makes ten intermediate stops on the journey to Poznan.
At Frankfurt (Oder) there are good connections with Regional Express trains to and from Berlin.
It is three years since the last local trains ran through from Frankfurt to Poznan. The new service creates enhanced travel opportunities for communities such as Torzym and Nowy Tomysl which have since 2011 had no direct trains to Germany.
The schedule is well timed to appeal to Polish residents wanting to make day trips to Frankfurt (Oder) and Berlin. The new trains will run daily from Poznan at 06.40 and 15.06. Return runs from Frankfurt will be at 12.13 and 20.17.
The new service reflects a growing recognition across Europe of the social and economic importance of local cross-border rail services. In 2012 we reported on a new local rail service between Villach (Austria) and Udine (Italy).
Plans for restoring another link between Germany and Poland seem however to have faltered. Last year, there was talk of a twice-daily rail service from Guben to Zielona Góra. A tentative timetable was published, but no service has ever actually started on that route. We understand that there are ongoing discussions between the local authorities on either side of the border over who will pick up the tab if the trains are not well used. As the draft timetable we saw last year suggested that one of the twice-daily trains from Guben to Poland would depart at the ungodly hour of 04.43, perhaps those worries about empty trains are well justified.