Flag of the Poland

Railways in

Poland

In the mid 19th century, the territory that would form present day Poland was divided between the Empires of Austria, Russia and Prussia. Construction work started in 1835 on a line from Warszawa (Warsaw) to Kraków, lying mainly in the Russian Empire. However, financial difficulties meant that the first operational railway was in Prussia: in 1852 a line opened between Breslau (present day Wrocław) to Ohlau (present day Oława), the first section of a line to the border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire near Kraków.

The first railways in the territory were built to standard gauge (1435mm); however, in 1866 a new line opened from Warsawa to Brest-Litovsk (present day Brest). This was to form part of a through route to Moscow, and so was built to the Russian standard gauge of 1520mm.

Subsequent development was to a mixture of these gauges (as well as numerous narrow gauge lines in rural areas). However, following the border changes after the Second World War, almost all main lines were to 1435mm gauge and, apart from a few short cross border lines, 1520mm gauge disappeared. Then, under Soviet influence in the late 1970s, a new Russian gauge line (the LHS) was opened to facilitate freight interchange with the USSR. The line remains open today.

National Railways

The national railway system has been partly privatised or decentralized to local government, but the following group remains under state control:

Standard Gauge Passenger Operators

Standard Gauge Freight Operators

Narrow Gauge Railways

KD = Kolej Dojazdowa (Local Railway)
KP = Kolejka Parkowa (Park Railway)
KW = Kolej Wąskotorowa (Narrow Gauge Railway) or Koleje Wąskotorowe (Narrow Gauge Railways)

Mountain Funiculars

Drezyny

Hand, pedal or motor powered trolleys for hire on sections of old railway line.

Metros, Trams and Urban railways

Railway Scientific & Technical Centre

Research laboratories and test facilities located in Warszawa, with a test track at Węglewo, near Żmigród.

Ostróda - Elbląg Canal

Inclined plane on the Ostróda - Elbląg Canal

The picture above clearly illustrates why a canal is of interest on a railway page. In a stretch of less than 9km, the canal descends over 100m to the valley of the Elbląg River, by means of five inclined planes which involve floating the ships into a cradle and transporting them overland by a water powered, cable hauled railway. The canal, with its inclines, opened in 1860, and remains in use to this day carrying both passenger and freight traffic. It is believed that the inclines are the only ones of their type currently in operation anywhere in the world.

Industrial Railways

A number of narrow gauge industrial railways remain active in the country, serving clay extraction for brick making and peat extraction for fuel and agriculture. This page lists those reported to be active now or recently. Some of these may since have ceased operation, and there may be others active that are not listed here. Any confirmed updates to this list will be welcome. Some of the operations have websites but at present none have been located with details of the railways.

Brickworks Railways

Bielowice, Bojanice, Cienia Pierwsza, Janków, Nietążkowo, Opalenie, Podzamcze, Przechowo, Pudliszki, Pysząca, Siedliska, Stróże, Wrząca, Zagórz

Peat Railways

Bielkowo, Grądy, Imszar, Józefowo, Krakulice, Rabinówka, Rucianka

Back to Top
Railways Home
Railways of the World
Glyn Williams’ Home

© 2004-2018 Glyn Williams
Photo image © Żegluga Ostródzko - Elbląska
Flag image from CIA World Factbook

HTML 5