Rzeszow in Winter
Sentimental Journies
An Article by Richard A. Slowik

I guess that I have traveled in just about every direction on Polish trains throughout the country of Poland. They are unique in that they are really old, mostly uncomfortable, and becoming obsolete.

At Jaworzno
At Jaworzno

As a passenger, I've ridden on the trains from Zgorzelec and Frankfurt am Oder in the west all the way to Rzeszow in the east. Also, from Muszyna in the south all the way to Warsaw in the north. It seems as if you can go just about anywhere via train service, at least to me. I have certainly taken advantage of many such opportunities.

The author at Rzeszow
At Rzeszow

One thing I noticed was that a lot of the placards on the walls in the passenger trains are written in German. Being that I am somewhat facile with that language, I could understand what was meant. Also, it was apparent that a lot of these carriages were passed on to the Poles from the Germans themselves.

At Tarnow
At Tarnow

For certain, I have never ridden on less expensive vehicles. Ticket prices are among the best Europe has to offer. Sometimes, I even ride first class, just for the heck of it. It is difficult to find such opportunities however, and second class is often the only means available.

At Debica
At Debica

In many of them, the windows are a major problem. If you can find one that does open, and you accomplish that trick, they will often stay open. In the summertime, that is a major necessity. In the wintertime, however, its not as enjoyable. Seems I mostly travel there during the summer months.

Platform at Grabiny
Night train at Grabiny

Sometimes, really almost all the time, I have to cover my ears as we are pulling into a station. The screeching of the metal brakes against the metal rails is just too much for me to bear. Luckily, I most often still have ear plugs from my flights and can use them to my advantage a second time.

Lately, the fleet seems to be undergoing an upgrade. No doubt that is because Poland is now a member of the European Union. So, if you want to experience some of the distinct pleasures offered by this mode of travel: ALL ABOARD!

Background Music: Sentimental Journey
Photos: Ewa Krol, K. Wisniewski, K. Swierczek, R. Slowik, Others
Dennis Benarz & Karen Wisniewski, USA 2009