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Getting around Poland - PKP trains

The national rail is called PKP - Polskie Koleje Panstwowe (Polish National Railways).

The trains in Poland are by far the best way to get around the country and the best thing about them - they're cheap!

Interestingly they're often bang on time (unlike in the UK) , so make sure you don't miss them.

Most of the trains are still the old style - with 6-8 person compartments (6 in 1st class) and a corridor. There's also normally a smoking carriage (look out for cigarette signs on the compartment door, if it's crossed out, you're safe from the smokers) and on the longer routes you'll get a WARS carriage - where the bar and food is. Normally there's also someone with a refreshment trolley who comes round and of course the obligatory (and unofficial) beer man, probably shouting "Zimne piwko" (cold beer) as he swings the cooler bag from carriage to carriage.

There are normally 1 -2 First class carriages on most trains, and those are painted red, compared to the 2nd class green. Make sure you end up in the right one (they're often spread out throughout the train and not next to each other)!

Tickets:

You need to buy these online or at the train station. Buying them on the train will incur an extra charge and normally you have to let the conductor know as soon as he arrives that you need to buy a ticket, otherwise they'll think you're trying to ride for free.

International student ID is a good idea as you'll get lots of discount on the fares, but remember to keep it on you!

The online site for PKP has improved loads recently so you can get all the information, times, prices etc at www.pkp.pl.

Hot tip:

Upgrade to 1st class on the trains for not much at all (eg. a 2.5hr journey from Lublin to Warsaw is £10 in 1st class!) and guarantee yourself a seat in peak times.

 

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