Thursday 25 June 2015

Old Stations: By Train to Zielona Góra, Poland

On my recent journey through Poland for Lonely Planet, I did a lot of train travel.

As I've written before, this often revealed newly-renovated railway stations, their architectural charm revealed by a thorough clean and rebuild.

But not all train stations can receive the Wrocław Główny treatment, especially on quieter, less crucial routes.

As it happened, one day I needed to travel from Jelenia Góra (Deer Mountain) in Lower Silesia to Zielona Góra (Green Mountain) in the Lubusz region.

There were only two direct trains a day; and as the first departed about 5.30am, I waited for the second at 1.30pm.

It was a four-hour journey on a second-class stopping train through the green countryside between the two western cities. 

I passed some of the time watching a recent remake of The Lady Vanishes on my iPad...

... but otherwise I looked out the window on a sunny day, taking in the Polish countryside and the numerous old stations served by this stopping-all-stations train. 

They were intriguing, in a range of architectural styles from different eras (and many would have been built when this area was part of Germany). 

They also ranged from once-grand civic buildings down to tiny stops that hardly counted as stations at all.
It was such an interesting route, that I started taking photos of the stations. Here's a selection. 

I've included an approximate pronunciation of the station names by the way, as I've found working out the passing stations provides great practice in my Polish pronunciation. 

Enjoy! This is Zaręba, za-REM-ba:

Here's Jerzmanki, yezh-MAN-kee:

The station at Iłowa Żagańska (ee-WOV-a Zha-GAN-ska ) has seen better days:

Humble Konin Żagański (KON-een zha-GAN-skee) is hardly there at all:

Jankowa Żagańska (yan-KOV-a zha-GAN-ska) station is looking a little frayed:

And last of all is humble Letnica (let-NEETS-a):

That was a fun day on the rails, long as the journey was. Travelling by train in Poland is always interesting, and always tosses up some fragments of the complex past.

Note: I paid for my own travel in Poland. Usually by speaking broken Polish through a glass window to a surprisingly patient ticket seller.

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