Going, going, gone. Nr 34

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Before PKP close every single line in the country, there is still time to explore some of the prettiest branch lines in Poland. I’ve been doing this for some time now but time is running out.

Before PKP close every single line in the country, there is still time to explore some of the prettiest branch lines in Poland. I’ve been doing this for some time now but time is running out. Every year another handful of small railway lines is closed to passengers. This is a shame because, as well as being safer than road travel, some of these routes are an attractive way to spend a day out.

Until the end of the summer, the beautiful line from Klodzko to Walbrzych is open, but not stopping at any of the stations except for Nowa Ruda. You’ll still need to get up pretty early to take the up train if you live in Wroclaw, and you’ll need to wait a couple of hours for the down train. It’s worth it though. There are lovely views of the Polish and Czech mountains and some bridges that are so high up, you would think you were flying. This is my favourite line in the whole of Poland.

Kudowa Zdroj is open again for the tourist season, although sadly not the other branch line from Kłodzko to Stronie Śląskie. I have a video of this line from the days when it still had steam locomotives on it. Although the steam has now gone, and the locomotive shed is starting to fall down, the line is just as beautiful as it was fifteen years ago. Did you know that Kudowa Zdroj has a frog museum? Neither did I until I saw their website. Unusual for museums in Poland, it is open all week including Mondays. Bring your passport and you can hop across to the Czech Republic before taking the train back.

There’s still time also to go from Legnica to Jaworzyna Śląska, through Świdnica to Kamieniec Ząbowicki and on through Nysa to Kędzierzyn Koźle. That used to be the longest stopping train in Poland (going further to Katowice) but now it’s run in small sections by railbus. If you do the middle section, you run parallel to the mountains and there are many places where you can get off and do some hiking or cycling. The railbus carries space for bicycles so there are no problems with that. This line keeps getting rescued at the eleventh hour. One moment the last train has run, then the next day everything is back to normal. This might not last forever though. So, if you fancy a scenic day trip, and you would like to let the train take the strain, now’s your chance.

Glossary:
the up train: This is the train that goes to the capital city or the largest town. If neither of the towns are very big, it means the train that goes uphill.
a branch line: This is a smaller line that connects to the main line.
a shed szopa
a railbus szynobus (It’s a small bus that runs on rails. ‘Railcar’ is another word for it.)
parallel równoległy
at the eleventh hour = at the last minute
strain obciążenie

Here are some people who work on the railways. See if you can match them to the descriptions.

1.ticket inspector
2.signalman
3.guard
4.booking clerk
5.wheel tapper

a) There are fewer of these people around nowadays. Their job is to tell the driver when to start and stop, but a lot of trains in the UK are now ‘driver-only’.
b) You will find one of these at large stations in Poland although not in Britain. They work with a hammer, as you will know if you read the article on them several months ago.
c) This is someone who sells tickets, although ‘ticket officer’ is also a way to describe them.
d) This person controls the route a train takes.
e) They are now called ‘revenue protection officers’. No, I’m not joking!

KEY:
1 e 2 d 3 a 4 c 5 b

Did you know?
In Britain the railways had first, second and third class but only for a very short time. For most of the twentieth century it was first and third. In the sixties it changed to first and second, and finally in the eighties it became first and ‘standard’ class.

polecane: Pierwszy Polak połknął elektroniczną pigułkę

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