Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.
After discovering the hidden gem of Gdansk, we continued southbound to the city of Wroclaw. We travelled via Warsaw to try out 2 different kinds of Polish long distance trains.
The first leg from Gdansk to Warsaw was on the EIP (Express Intercity Premium), Poland’s flagship train. These are operated by ED250 units, built by Alstom to the design of the Italian Pendolino units but lacking the tilting equipment for faster travelling in curves. Due to problems on the line between Kolobrzeg and Gdansk our train was delayed about 32 minutes by the time it got to Gdansk, as we had a 40 minute connection in Warsaw this made us a bit anxious.
We travelled in first class, which was the first coach of the train. It has open seating in a 1-2 configuration, both airline style and table seating. We had a table for two on the one side of the coach. Despite the seats being soft and extremely comfortable, the legroom was very tight, especially for a first class product. Each seat had a power plug so we could charge our devices.
First class also has a complimentary at-seat catering service, you could select a pack of two little brioches from a menu and two drinks. I selected a tea and an apple juice with the chicken sandwich while Timothy had some water, apple juice and a brie sandwich. The sandwiches tasted fresh and delicious, they were anything but boring.
The trip from Gdansk to Warsaw was non-stop and the train could stretch its legs on some 200 kph sections of line, making good progress. A bit before Warsaw we passed by our onwards connecting train standing still at a station, reassuring us that we would be making our connection.
We changed trains at Warszawa Wschodnia station, as our onwards train did not call at Warszawa Centralna due to planned engineering works. It’s a simple open air station. Due to our delay we only had a short waiting time here.
Our onwards train was a normal Intercity operated by one of the newer electric multiple units of the ED161 ‘DART‘ series, built by Polish manufacturer PESA. Once again we travelled in first class in the first coach of the train. Here most seats where around a table, in another 1-2 configuration. Luckily there was much more legroom in these units. Every seat also had its own power plug. Figuring out how to recline the seat took us a bit, but we learned you had to push the lever under the seat while standing up.
The first part of the route took us through central Warsaw on the local train tracks, giving us a view of the stadium and the city across the river. After Warsaw we crossed some more typical Polish countryside, hills and forests. The speeds on the line varied form the 160km/h top speed of the train to a more sedate 120 kph on the central stretch.
The train offered a restaurant coach with sit-down dining and freshly cooked food, yet as there were only two tables available we just ordered a sandwich to take to the seat. It was a bit dry, but ok for the price. In the toilets even the soaps dispenser was automated using a sensor, a first time I experienced that.
After a 4-hour journey we arrived at our destination in the picturesque station of Wroclaw Glowny, last time I was here we changed trains travelling from Dresden to Krakow.
2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe
- POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
- 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
- Potsdam 2021.
- REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
- BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
- BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
- BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
- Berlin 2021.
- By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
- Stopover in Szczecin.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
- GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.
- GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności.
- A walk through Gdańsk.
- Gdańsk 2021.