Over Christmas 2012, I fulfilled one of my wishes from the past few years: explore the railroads in and around Kłodzko, Poland.
Kłodzko is a small town in Lower Silesia in south-western Poland. It lies in the center of a valley that on the map appears to carve out a chunk of the Czech Republic. The region's principle city of Wrocław is 90 km to the north and to the south, east, and west lies the Czech republic.
This unique location makes it ideal for a transport hub. The European route E67 highway winds its way from Náchod, Czech Republic, through the picturesque mountain spa towns of Kudowa-Zdrój, Dusznicki-Zdrój, and Polanica-Zdrój before reaching Kłodzko.
Dancing around this important highway, barely visible from the road, is a single-track, abandoned railway line that cuts through the surrounding forest. Service ceased a few years ago and the inevitable overgrowth has begun to swallow its rusting rails.
It was this line that first piqued my interest in Polish railways and it seemed to indicate that all was not well with the region's rail transport system.
On 27 December 2012, I braved the cold weather and drove down to Kłodzko Główne railway station. I was surprised to find a rather busy station with quite a few arrivals and departures during the hour or so I was there. Whatever the bigger picture is with rail in Lower Silesia, my trip to the station that cloudy Thursday morning revealed that life on the track does indeed live on.
I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I took them with my mobile phone and its camera isn't great.
Kłodzko Główne (Kłodzko Central) is one of two stations in the town, the other being Kłodzko Miasto (Kłodzko Town). Despite being further from the town center, Kłodzko Główne seems to be the busier of the pair.
It is currently being renovated and construction was ongoing during my visit. The project promises to bring back some of the station's historical charm, including the installment of a period clock, while improving access for the disabled.
Measures are also being taken against graffiti which is unfortunately a big problem, especially at its sister station, Kłodzko Miasto.
This picture comes from a return trip to the station on 29 December 2012. It was a beautiful, crisp winter day. The blue signs seem new.
Passengers scramble around the platform. A regional PKP service just terminated having arrived from Wrocław. There is roughly hourly service between Wrocław and Kłodzko. Most trains continue to Kłodzko Miasto and beyond.
Some of the passengers (not pictured) were carrying skis and were probably using the station as a springboard to some of the nearby spa towns and small ski areas.
I spent the day skiing at Zieleniec, which lies west of Kłodzko on the border of the Czech Republic.
This PKP EN57 EMU awaits its departure back to Wrocław.
This is the view north from the platform adjacent to the station's ticket hall, which is undergoing a 3.9 million złoty ($1.2 million USD) renovation. Trains to Wrocław bear right while services to Wałbrzych Główny head left.
This is a Dolny Śląsk (Lower Silesia) railway service awaiting departure to the north. Its destination is Ústí nad Orlicí in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. This is one of two routes that begin in Kłodzko and terminate in the Czech Republic. The other service goes to the region's capital, Pardubice. Some services begin in Wrocław.
Two companies operate on behalf of the regional government: Koleje Dolnośląskie and Przewozy Regionalne. I believe the latter company operated this service and the one above to Wrocław. This EN71 sports the Dolny Śląsk livery.
A PKP class ET22 briefly stopped on its way north to pick up some documents. It then proceeded to the end of the yard where it waited a long time for a signal to clear.
A look at the walkway that spans the main yard. I hope a paint job is included in the renovation!
This picture gives a good overview of the northern half of the yard and station area. These tracks lead north to Kłodzko Miasto and further down the line Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Międzylesie, and ultimately the aforementioned stations in the Czech Republic.
A mixture of empty and full wagons sit in the small yard.
A good view of the rather empty-looking station building where work is ongoing.
The station building actually sits in the middle of what once must have been a larger yard. It appears like there is a little maintenance workshop in the distance. I saw two specialized vehicles operating on the these rails but they were otherwise empty. There is a closed single line that leads from these roads to the northern half of the yard and the main line. The main station approach road crosses it, perhaps explaining its closure.
Not near the railway, but a great view of Kłodzko and the valley from the a nearby hill.
If I've made any mistakes, please let me know by contacting me.