Saturday, July 23, 2016

Vienna to Katowice to Krakow

 Today I'm leaving Austria and heading north to Poland through Czech republic. I will take the famous Vienna-Krakow route also named as Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway opened partly in 1839 during the time of the Austrian Empire. The route from Vienna to Břeclav is called Nordbahn (Austrian Northern Railway), today the route is part of the Pan-European Transport Corridor IV and the TEN corridor no. 22 from Athens to Dresden.
 Early in the morning I'm checking out the trains before my departure. Here is diesel railcar ÖBB Class 5047 for service Vienna-Marchegg close to Slovak border.
The railcar is manufactured by Jenbacher Werke
 This morning I have a chance to see night trains arriving from different cities. Vienna is like a Mecca for night train services as it will take over many services from DB from next year. Here is Bcmz73 couchette coach.
 Sleeping coach WLBmz "Comfortline" manufactured by Siemens Maribor in Slovenia in 2006. The coach is double deck sleeper with first and second class.
 The same coach from other side.
 The train is named "Wiener Walzer" and it a Euronight service from Zurich to Vienna and further to Budapest.
 "Comfortline" is one of the most modern sleeping coaches today.
 My train today will be a Eurocity train "Sobieski" named after Polish King John III Sobieski. The service is running through Czech republic and Poland all the way to Gdynia.
 The locomotive is a Škoda 109E1 operated by České dráhy (ČD Class 380)

 The train has a Restaurant coach WRmnouz manufactured 1989 by Waggonbau Bautzen
 Inside the restaurant coach
 The other coaches are the 2nd class open saloon coaches and 1st class compartment coach
 Seat reservation is mandatory on this train
 I'm leaving Vienna
 Bombardier TRAXX F160 AC3 LM from Railpool GmbH (hired to Wiener Lokalbahnen Cargo GmbH). Traxx 3 is the latest version of the popular locomotive. LM stands for "LastMile" technology which makes it possible for a electric locomotive to bridge the gap between place of arrival and short distances with no overhead wire.
 Wien Praterkai Bahnhof and Stadlauer bridge over Danube river.
 View over metro bridge Donaustadtbrücke built in 1997
 Wien Stadlau Bahnhof and Siemens ES 64 U4 for Adria Transport d.oo - a Slovenian cargo company.
 ÖBB Class 4020
 The weather is getting better
 The view from the first coach after the locomotive

 We have now reached the border to Czech republic and system separation point between Austrian 15kV 16.7 Hz and Czech 25kV 50 Hz power electrification system.
 First stop in Czech republic is Břeclav. Austrian Northern Railway is ending here, and we are proceeding our journey on II. tranzitní železniční koridor (Second railway corrifor) between Břeclav and Petrovice u Karviné at the border with Poland. First part of the railway in Czechia between Břeclav and Přerov is numbered 330 and it was modernised in 2002.
 In Břeclav, passengers can change trains for Brno and Prague

 Next stop is in Hodonin. The train does not fit for all plattform here.
 And the platform here is very narrow
 Passengers have to climb over the rails to get to the train.
 Moravský Písek
 Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště
 Between Moravský Písek and Staré Město in Nedakonice the electrification power system is changed from 25kV 50Hz AC to 3kV DC. Czech republic is one of the few countries (the other one is France) to have different power systems for its railways. There are plans to convert all railways in Czechia to 25kV 50Hz.
 Siemens ES 64 U4 from Advanced World Transport A.S., Ostrava (since 2015 is part of PKP Cargo)
 Siemens ES 64 F4 for PKP Cargo. The difference between the two Eurosprinter locomotives is the last letter where "U" is for universal and "F" for freight. Number 4 means that it is equipped for all four electric systems commonly used in Europe (15 and 25 kV AC, 1.5 and 3 kV DC).

 Přerov. ČSD Class 150 manufactured by Skoda Plzen in 1978 (type 65E), nicknamed Rat.
 ČD Class 471 double deck EMU "CityElefant" manufactured by Škoda Vagonka in 2002. The train is used for regional services, and same type can be found also in Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia and soon in Germany.
 ČSD Class 163 manufactured by Skoda Plzen in 1991.
Can one live closer than this to a railway?

 From Přerov to Bohumín the railway is numbered 270. Here is the map of all railways in Czechia (I'm using that name due to a recent change proposal).
 ČSD Class 130, Škoda 79E1 Plzeň from 1977
 Hranice na Moravě
 2nd class coach
 Škoda 7Ev "RegioPanter" is a double deck EMU from 2011.
 Arriving to the third largest city in Czech Republic - Ostrava. The city has two major stations, Svinov was formerly an independent town but in 1957 became part of Ostrava.
Ostrava main station is just 5 min away from Svinov station. ČD Class 680 (aka Alstom Pendolino) is on the other side of the platform. The train is operating the popular Prague-Ostrava route as well as two private operators are doing: RegioJet and LEO Express.

Time to visit the dining coach
 The service in Polish PKP restaurant coach is operated by company named WARS (Przedsiębiorstwo Wagonów Sypialnych i Restauracyjnych). Here is a dish called "Polish style breakfast".
 Another Siemens ES 64 U4 from Advanced World Transport A.S., Ostrava. According to Wikipedia AWT owns 3 locomotives of this type, so I have now seen two of them. This one is labelled 183 714, the previous one was 183 718.
 Siemens ES 64 F4 from Express Rail a.s., Bratislava
 Siemens ES 64 F4 from MRCE Dispolok GmbH, München (hired to LTE Logistik- and Transport- GmbH, Graz)
 Poland, Germany and Czech republic are the 3 largest coal producers in European Union. Ostrava grew to prominence thanks to its position at the heart of a major coalfield, becoming an important industrial centre.
 Bohumin which is the last stop in Czech republic

We could manage all the way from Vienna to Bohumin with same locomotive, Škoda 109E1 or ČD Class 380 
 But now it is time to change the locomotive. The northern part of Czech republic has same electrification system as Poland - 3kV DC, so the change of locomotives is not for that reason.
ČD Class 380 (Škoda 109E) is replaced by PKP class EP09 (PaFaWag 104E) manufactured by Pafawag (Państwowa Fabryka Wagonów) in 1992 in Wrocław. The company became part of Adtranz in 1997 as Adtranz Pafawag, and in 2001 part of Bombardier Transportation. It is now part of the company Bombardier Transportation Polska.
 Maximum speed for this locomotive is 160km/h and the supported electric system is 3kV DC
 After a 15 min stop allowed for the locomotive change in Bohumín, it is time to leave Czhech Republic.
Leaving Bohumin with a slight delay
 Siemens Vectron MS from ELL - European Locomotive Leasing, Wien (hired to LokoTrain s.r.o., Česká Třebová)
 PKP class ET22 (PaFaWag 201E) manufactured by Pafawag in 1975. This one is adapted to traffic over the SŽDC and ŽSR (Czech Republic and Slovakia). PKP Cargo is operating this locomotive, at the end of 2010 they had 929 pieces of this type. PKP Cargo is the second largest freight carrier in Europe after DB Cargo AG.
 ČSD Class 163 (Škoda 71E) operated by ČD Cargo
 Bombardier TRAXX F140 DE (Diesel Engine) from Lotos Kolej Sp. z o.o., Gdańsk
 PKP class ET41 from 1978
 The first stop in Poland is Zebrzydowice. We are still riding on the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway, which in this part is numbered as line 93 - the railway between Zebrzydowice and Trzebinia. However our train will take off before Czechowice Dziedzice for journey to Katowice on line nr 139.
 ŽSSK Class 131 (Škoda 67E) from 1980 and operated by ZSSK Cargo Slovakia
 The freight transport is coal
 Bridge over Wisła river, the longest and largest in Poland
 Passing by Chybie station, still on line 93
 ŁTZ TE109, BR232 Ludmilla diesel locomotive from USSR manufactured in 1974 and operated by Kolprem Sp. z o.o.
 Railway crossings are still operated manually here. This one is nearby Zabrzeg
 ČSD Class 182 (Škoda 59E3) built in 1965 and operated by CTL Logistics Sp. z o.o.
 Staw Maciek lake. We have now entered railway line 139. Except for one Euronight service there are no direct connections between Ostrava and Krakow by train. The night train service is taking 4h20min for this route at the same time as it is much faster to take a bus, just 2h45min. The reason is very poor quality for the rest of railway line 93, at some parts speed restrictions of only 20km/h. The upgrade is planned for the years 2016 - 2021
 The line and stations are modernised here recently.

 In Tychy we are meeting another Eurocity train "Varsovia" which is a service between Warszawa and Budapest operated with Hungarian coaches from MÁV START Zrt.
"Varsovia" has also coaches from Russian railways РЖД which operates service Moscow-Minsk-Warszawa-Budapest and some coaches further to Burgas, Varna and Sofia in Bulgaria.
 Hungarian railways 1st class coach type Avmz and Russian railways sleeper coach WLABmz

 Approaching Katowice and line 137
 Katowice has the largest urban area in Poland with around 3 million people. Today it is an important railway junction station in Poland.
 Eurocity "Sobieski" is continuing its journey further to Warszawa and Gdynia. The train operates as domestic service in both Poland and Czech Republic.
 The new station was replacing the historic one in 1951. In 2012 it was modernised and merged with a new shopping mall "Galeria Katowicka" in time for UEFA European Football Championship.
 The tram network in Katowice area is one of the largest in Europe, with about 200km of tracks.
This is a Moderus Alfa (Konstal 105N HF 11 AC) manufactured 2012 by Modertrans Poznan

 This one is a Pesa 2012N Twist from 2013.
 Katowice station

 PKP class EN57 is en EMU manufactured by Pefawag in the 1960's.
 Production of this train started in 1962 and ended in 1993 with 1412 units produced, most of which are still in operation, which makes this class to have one of the longest production period in the world for electric multiple units.
 Pesa is not only manufacturing trams, here is Pesa Elf or 27WEb 6-part EMU manufactured in 2013.
 PESA Bydgoszcz S.A. is one of the most successful railway vehicle manufacturing companies in Poland. It is supplying trams to Warsaw, Gdańsk and other cities in Poland, Hungary, Germany and Kazakhstan; and both electric and diesel multiple unit trains to operators in Poland, Italy, Kazakhstan and Germany.
 27 WEb is operating here services Częstochowa-Katowice-Gliwice and Katowice-Zwardoń. The operator is KSL (Koleje Śląskie).
 New and old
 For long distance services PKP Intercity is operating this train, which is a Stadler FLIRT³ or PKP Class ED160.
The trains were manufactured at Stadler plant in Siedlice, a city in eastern Poland, and the first train entered the service as recently as beginning of 2016.
PKP Intercity is offering several services, EIP (Express Intercity Premium), EIC (Express Intercity) and Intercity. Stadler FLIRT³ together with Pesa Dart are part of the Intercity fleet.
Flirt train is here used for service between Katowice and Gdynia via Łódź and Bydgoszcz.
 Polish version of Intercity Flirt has 8-sections, which is the maximum length for this model.
 PKP class EN71AKS was built in 1975 by PaFaWag Wrocław, and modernised in 2012 by NEWAG S.A. Nowy Sącz
 The train is operating service Czestochowa - Katowice

  This EN57 was modernised in 2008 (the train itself was built 1966) by ZNTK Minsk Mazowiecki.
 My next and last train for today is a Regional train to Krakow. Despite a relatively short distance of approx. 80km there are not many trains for this line, only a few per day. Further, when checking the times it took for this trip roughly 100 years ago, the travel time has increased with almost 1 hour!!!
This is the train I'm taking, an EN57 from 1971, and the line is operated by Przewozy Regionalne Sp. z o.o.
The train stops at all station, has only 2nd class, and no seat reservations are required.
 Inside the coach
 Space for bikes
 Passing by Coal Mine Mysłowice
 From Katowice to Mysłowice the railway is part of the early Upper Silesian Railway in Prussia connecting Wrocław and Mysłowice, today it is part of the railway nr 138 Katowice-Oswiecim.
 PKP class ET21 "Sputnik" (Pafawag 3E) is a locomotive from 1968, operated now by DB Cargo Polska S.A.
 The door to train driver was open for a while, so I could even view through the driver's window.

 Maximum speed for this train is 110km/h, but for most part of the journey it was about 30km/h.
 Partially the railway is upgraded
 Railway crossing nearby Pieczyska
 We are covering 80km distance for about 2h. The average speed for most part of the journey is 30km/h.
 Jaworzno Ciężkowice
 Railway line 133 for distance Jaworzno Szczakowa - Krakow main is part of the international railway line E 30. The plan is to upgrade all E 30 line to 160km/h for passenger and 120km/h for fright trains.
 Another ČSD Class 182 (Škoda 59E3) operated by CTL Logistics Sp. z o.o.
 Railway yard nearby Trzebinia
 ŁTZ M62 "Gagarin" USSR built diesel locomotive from 1991, now operated by Rail Polska sp.z.o.o

 Another Regio train, this one for service Kraków - Chrzanów

 I have finally reached Krakow. Here is another Flirt used here for services Krakow-Olsztyn, Krakow-Szczecin, and Krakow-Bydgoszcz.
 PKP Express Intercity train with PKP class EU07 locomotive built 1985.
 Kraków Główny railway station
 St. Mary's Basilica
 Main Square

 The Cloth Hall

 Szewska street with old railway tracks
 Bombardier NGT6 Flexity Classic tram
 Bombardier-Rotax/MPK EU8N imported from Vienna Stadtbahn line U6.
 Pesa 2014N Krakowiak. July 28 2016, during the World Youth Days, one of the Krakowiak's drove Pope Francis during his visit.

 Planty Park is one of the largest city parks in Kraków. It encircles the Stare Miasto (Old Town), where the Medieval city walls used to stand until the early 19th century.
 Konstal 105Na tram from the 1980's, is still the most common operating tram in Poland.

 I'm back to main station for a short visit.
 The platform of the old railway station (not in use anymore).
 It is very confusing to find the right platform in Poland, they use 3 different designations for train indication at the stations. I'm not sure I still understand how it works.
 EN64 Pesa Acatus Plus (40WE) operated by Koleje Małopolskie, KMŁ
 The train is used for line Kraków Lotnisko (Airport) – Wieliczka Rynek-Kopalnia. The train entered the service in 2014.

 EN63A Newag Impuls and it operates by Koleje Świętokrzyskie the line Krakow-Kielce

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