Poland by train

Poland has direct railway connections with many capitals and cities in Europe.

The fastest connections from Warsaw, Poznań, Cracow and Katowice to European capitals are offered by EuroCity trains, belonging to PKP Intercity division. Trains are equipped with comfortable, air-conditioned first and second class carriages. The highest standard of connections is offered in the international night transportation – EuroNight train.

Poland is connected with European cities also with international fast train system – night and daily. For more detailed information and a detailed map of international Intercity connections go to: intercity ot call to: +48 2239 19757.

Polish railways

The railway network in Poland is well developed, but many local connections have been deleted. And although Polish railway is very under-invested, in recent times much has been done to meet the growing competition of the bus and air transport. What’s more – companies (actually only two) compete with prices.

The national carriers are:

I  PKP Intercity (Polskie Koleje Państwowe Intercity  – Polish State Railways Intercity) –  responsible for long-distance passenger transport.

II PolRegio (old – Przewozy Regionalne = Regional Transport) – operates at a local government level and is responsible for local and interregional train connections.

FAST AND LONG DISTANCE PASSENGER TRANSPORT

intercity

Express InterCity (EIC)

High-standard trains (up to 160 km/h speed)  between major cities and popular tourist destinations  with obligatory reservation

Express InterCity

Express InterCity Premium  (EIP)

Connections: from Warsaw to: Bielsko-Biała, Gliwice, Gdynia, Jelenia Góra, Katowice, Kołobrzeg, Kraków, Rzeszów, Wrocław.

Among trains which run in this service are Pendolino ED250 units whose maximum speed in Poland is 200 km/h. Tickets for these trains can be purchased only in pre-sale: at the ticket offices, ticket machines, on the Intercity website and through mobile application.

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

Pendolino / photo: Artur Andrzej, Wikimedia Commons

InterCity (IC) – fast trains

They stop at selected stations;  are cheaper then express but offer poorer standard of travel. With obligatory reservation.

Twoje Linie Kolejowe (TLK) (Your Railway)

Reservation is obligatory (with some exceptions). TLK trains don’t have a bar/restaurant wagon but most of the night trains have  couches and sleeping cars.

NoteIC offers a higher standard than TLK but both have the same fare!

LOCAL AND INTERREGIONAL TRANSPORTATION

Service: PolRegio. Mainly short routes and stops at all stations. The standart of the trip is rather low but it is announced to be changed in 2017.

Old: Przewozy Regionalne

   

Tickets

Purchase

  • at the bigger railway stations (some cash sell tickets only of the certain carriers: eg. Regional Transport!)
  • in the train (with some exceptions)
  • online:  Intercity / PolRegio

Prices

Tickets for slow and fast trains are not expensive but you will pay much more for express trains. Here are the sample fares from Warsaw Central – Cracow (as of May 7, 2012, the approximate conversion rate: 1 euro = 4 zł, II class):

  •  TLK – 56 zł (approx. 14 euros)
  •  InterCity Express – 123 zł (approx. 31 euros)
  •  Express – 119.50 zł (approx. 30 euro)

The Internet offers also a Super PKP InterCity ticket, so tickets for trains InterCity Express and Express may cost 29, 39, 59 and 79 zł.

 Discounts and promotions

Discounts are available for children and students (37%), students (51%), pensioners (37%) and other entitled groups, upon presentation of a special document.

PKP offers various types of promotional tickets, with lower prices:

  •  trips (weekend)
  •  group (with over 10 people tickets are cheaper by 50%)
  •  family (taking a trip by the whole family)

 Always ask the cashier for the promotion!

Joint ticket for trains of different carriers

This option is offered by Przewozy Regionalne (PR). The ticket is then 10% cheaper, but you can only buy it at the railway station and the individual sections of the route must be no shorter than 51 km.

Information

Information about the timetable may be found:

  • at railway stations on information boards (yellow – departure; white – arrival)
  • at information desks – they are designated by the letter “I”
  • at the website
  • by the phone: 118 000 (Polish), 19 757 (Polish), 19 757 – 4 (English)

Travel standard

 All passenger compartments are divided into 1st and 2nd classes. The highest standard of travel is offered by PKP InterCity (express trains). The worst record passenger trains are represented by old Przewozy Regionalne (its cars are 20-30 years old). This carrier is in change as the new PolRegio.

In the Intercity trains and in many fast trains there is a restaurant car. Night long-distance trains are equipped with additional sleeping cars, some trains have smoking carriages. InterCity (IC, TLK) offers sales booths in its trains, and the EuroCity trains are air conditioned.

InterCity carriage

Transport of animals

  • animal health book must have a valid rabies vaccination and a valid ticket with a note on animal species
  • dogs must be muzzled, small animals should be transported in cages or baskets
  • animals can be transported only by adults

Bicycles

 The bike can be transported:

  • in the car or anywhere else adapted to carry bicycles
  • the first vestibule of the first car or last vestibule of the last car
  • in the special compartment or in a designated area marked with the appropriate pictogram

To carry bikes by train it is necessary to buy a special ticket. Dismantled and packaged  bikes are  not subject to a fee and is carried as  hand luggage.

Concluding remarks

Polish railway is not yet, unfortunately, the hallmark of our country, but trains are subject to continuous modernization. The same goes for tracks that are in the development stages, which may contribute to delays in travel. Refurbishment of railway stations is continually changing (see Poznań or Wrocław), but many local stations are still in slight disrepair, and add to this is  a poor knowledge of foreign languages among the railway staff. But for those who like to travel in comfort there is always an option.

Restored station in Żyrardów built around 1922, following the example of a typical Polish manor house.

ren

Published: June 13, 2012 / Update: January 15, 2017

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