Advice on busy locations for freight and ticket options in Poland

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Bigchris, 14 Feb 2020.

  1. Bigchris

    Bigchris Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    8 Mar 2017
    Location:
    North Lincs
    Evening all,

    Thought I'd put the feelers out and see if I can pick your collective brains regarding a visit to Poland when the weather has warmed up a bit. I've visited once before a few years ago but that was with my missis so didn't see that much of the railway scene, I had brief walks around Krakow & Wroclaw loco depots and an IC journey between the 2 cities, but the rest was sightseeing. This time I'm looking at going over on my own, and this will be purely for railway photography, probably combining some time in Poland with a bit of time in Czech Republic (maybe as long as 2 weeks split between the 2 depending on what time off work I can get).

    Anyway, if anybody could help me out with some advice on Poland I have a few specific questions:
    • Are there any busy locations that you would particularly recommend visiting? I'm mainly interested in photographing freight so any busy freight hotspots that would be worth spending a few hours or even a full day at (can be stations, yards or lineside spots), or any cities that have an above average proportion of loco hauled passenger services (I'm not really interested in units).
    • I'm aware of the PKP all-weekend ticket which seems good value for IC/TLK trains (although I believe you still need to book individual seat reservations, and the website has contradictory information about times and days of validity), and it looks like the all-weekend regional tickets are still available, which although cheap, would take forever to get anywhere. Are there any other rover type tickets apart from InterRail (which doesn't seem very good value for Poland) that combine IC & regional trains, or any tickets that are valid during the week for just hopping on and off without individual tickets? It looks like my only option for flexible rover type tickets would be at the weekends and would require both the IC and Regional tickets to cover all options.
    • If you register for a PKP account can you purchase and download e-tickets straight to your mobile? Last time I ordered them online and they were posted to me but I don't want to plan train times that precisely before I go, I want the flexibility to change plans whilst I'm there.
    I would just add that I don't speak any Polish whatsoever, and although I'm a regular train traveller throughout Germany, Austria & Switzerland, Poland just seems like it needs a bit more planning. It certainly seems like it will take longer to travel between different cities, the trains are less frequent, tickets are quite specific, and most cities seem to have so many avoiding lines and freight lines that it's very difficult to guess where would be worth going to see a decent amount of interesting stuff.

    I've trawled back through all the posts on this forum but any up to date tips or advice would be extremely helpful :s

    Cheers, Chris
     
    Last edited: 14 Feb 2020
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  3. dutchflyer

    dutchflyer Member

    Messages:
    600
    Joined:
    17 Oct 2013
    Sorry, about goods and spots I dk anything.
    PR and the local regionals all have only sets, loc+wagon is very, very rare indeed.
    PKP-IC its lower grade of trains, the TLK is loc+cars (many ex CD) but these tend to disappear rapidly now. Remain on the slower lines. Wroclaw might ba a fairly good spot to see a fair lot of them. But others certainly know more+better.
    Re tickets:
    there is also a combined weekend ticket for PKP-IC AND the PR+associates, but its effective near the addition of the 2 in price. Note that KD and KM are ALWAYS out of this. They offer their own. The seat RES is free for daytime, but cost for overnight. There is also a differecne between PKP-basic and PKP-all (cost more), and one always, always pays extra for the superduper pendolino. Its all quite clearly on their site in /en/.
    PKP also has weekly and monthly seasons/network, but again these still require to make seat-RES and are only useful if staying a very long time and travel many many Kms daily.
    PR also has the 3-days in 2 month regiokarnet, 75/65 PLN for + most other locals or just PR, easy to see on their site which also has /en/. Note that the /en/ stil says its valid on KD=thats not anymore. It also omits a few of the small newer local companies, which however do accept it. You MUST however have it stamped at a window before using it on that day-this may eat time.
    There is also a not very well advertised combo ticket for all locals except PR-good luck in finding it and being able to buy. Its around 40 PLN/day, but note that these are not continuous-to hop over you have to use PR or PKP.
    Most major stations now have decent ticket machines that speak 6 languages, even incl. /en/ (BR/ATOC-take note) and also show train timings+operators. They take cash (PLN of course only) and most cards. AS do the many excellent trip planner sites, like f.e. e-podroznik.pl. But then I guess you have a fone that will also show that all. But there is a very old fashioned method too that always worked very well before all this www etc. to buy tix: a pen and paper.
    For at least PKP-IC and PR its now since a yr or 2 very well possible to buy online just a few mins before tripstart-but note that they are clever enough to have a cutoff time to avoid real cheating.
    All in all its not that you need to go around like a brainless child-preplan, sift out the days, and then restrict yourself to 1 comp. for 1 day and in a not too large area. And hey-its not even affordable, it remains utmost cheap (PR prices still date from 2016).
    Seniors >60 get various discounts from 25-40% on train tix. THose >70 enjoy free citytranport in most cities (incl WAW, Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk/Gdynia), but in some one now has to get a local style pass/chipcard that may cost a few zlotych to use it. Otherwise any ID is good-and it does not even need to be ONLy EU!
    And a final for those open to realism: along several quite slow and/or infrequent raillines there are much faster/frequent and even cheaper too BUSlines. The former PolskiBus (=stagecoach/Mega) is now run as FLIXbus.
     
  4. Bigchris

    Bigchris Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    8 Mar 2017
    Location:
    North Lincs
    Thanks for the detailed ticket advice. I managed to find the PR 3 days ticket in 1 month, works out to £14 so pretty good value if you're going on several longer journies. If I knew exactly where was worth going I'd stick to single tickets as some are extremely cheap (less than £2 in some cases), but an all day type ticket is obviously better if you go somewhere and it's not very busy and you can then just move on somewhere else.
    I think the secret will be to not expect to travel too far or cover too much of the country. I was thinking of starting with a triangle roughly between Poznan-Warsaw-Krakow, and that would easily fill 1 week, if not longer, just depends how long I stay in each city if there's lots of freight to see.
     

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