Sunday, 18 November 2012

Shanghai to London Part 12

Warsaw- Berlin

ET22-960 is seen crossing the Vestula River with a
Przewozy Regionalne train heading for Warsawza Centralna.
It seems a long time since we have been on a conventional western train, or even say in day seats. The process is all a lot simpler than the sleepers we have come used to where you are checked into the train by an attendant. We therefore don’t leave quite as much time between arriving at Warsawza Centralna and boarding our train- EC42 the ‘Berlin- Warsaw Express’. This decision almost proves costly as a large number of people have accumulated outside the left luggage facility who were not there earlier!

The Zakopane train departs from Warsaw Centralna- Not one
of the worlds prettiest stations with all it's lines underground.
Thankfully all is well and we make it to the platform (complete with luggage) with a couple of minutes to spare. Our train has not yet arrived (the previous departure to Zakopane still occupies the platform) and it is several minutes behind schedule when the ‘Taurus’ Locomotive, or EU43 to give its Polish designation pulls in with our EuroCity to Berlin. We board and find our reserved seats (compulsory on this train) in the open coach at the front- though there are also coaches with compartments and a restaurant car.

In preparation for the approaching Euro 2012 football tournament PKP intercity has re-liveried a locomotive into the colours of each competing country as well as a set of locos depicting Polish stadiums. Our locomotive, EU43 001 is appropriately the loco representing Poland and carries the colours of the Polish flag with silhouettes of football fans on it. Shortly after  departing Warsaw we pass another ‘Taurus’ loco, this time depicting the colours of the co-hosts- Ukraine.

Out Polish liveried locomotive (for the Euro 2012 competition)
pauses at Konin with the Warsaw-Berlin Express
The scenery through Poland is nothing if not flat, plain and green but the trains progress is rapid. It seems as if we have reached Poznan, the largest intermediate city on the route in no time- or maybe 3 hours seems short now compared to the more lengthy journeys which are now behind us. Before too long we find ourselves crossing the river Oder and entering Germany. 

The approach to Berlin from this direction is most pleasing as the train passes along the elevated track which runs through the city criss-crossing the river several times and affording views of many of the most famous sights in the city including the TV tower in Alexanderplatz and the dome of the cities Cathedral. Berlin's new Hauptbahnhof is quite a structure as well in its own right. Our train arrives at the higher level, but there are more platforms many floors below at the bottom of the giant steel and glass atrium. We disembark the train and it leaves shortly after to be serviced while we make our way into the city.
EU43-001 stands on the high level platforms at Berlin Hauptbahnhof after arrival from Warsaw.

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