Przemyśl railway junction.
Przemyśl Główny is a railway station in Przemyśl in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, near the Polish (now) Ukrainian border. It is 13 km from the railway station to the border. The Przemyśl station is located on the railway line No. E-30. The former Galician Railway named after Karol Ludwik, (otherwise the Privileged Galician Railway of Karol Ludwik). The Przemyśl Główny station is located in the city center, on the eastern side of the Old Town district.
Geographic coordinates: 49.783N 22.778E. Address Przemyśl street: Plac Legionów 2. 37-700 Przemyśl.
The station in Przemyśl was opened in 1859. Its creation was closely related to the construction of the railway line Krakow - Lviv, at a time when Poland was under partition. Przemyśl and the entire Podkarpacie region were then under the Austro-Hungarian rule. The strategic location of Przemyśl resulted from the location of the city on important trade routes, which in turn led to the construction of the Przemyśl Fortress. The introduction of the railway line had an even greater effect on the militarization of the city. As early as in 1859, the railway line was officially opened on the Kraków - Przemyśl section. The layout of the station, immediately as a through station, also took into account the construction of lines surrounding Przemyśl in the event of blocking the main station. Although Austria-Hungary sought to build a railway line towards Lublin and Warsaw, the other ally - the state of Moscow - was far from these plans. In 1872, Przemyśl was connected by a railway line through the Carpathians with Hungary, i.e. to the south. Over the years, the entire Przemyśl junction has undergone numerous changes. It was mainly related to the military and economic aspect. To a lesser extent with passenger traffic.
Railway station in Przemyśl.
The Przemyśl railway station was built in the period 1859 - 1860. According to many people, the station building in Przemyśl is one of the best preserved and beautiful railway buildings in Poland. It is distinguished by its architectural form and rich interior decoration. The station building is located at Plac Legionów, forming its northern frontage. But its large square in front of the station was built over in the following years, making it difficult to admire the entire front of the station. Only a small square remains, which is currently (2023) a car park.
The construction of the station began in 1859. The designer was Teodor Hoffman, and its body was modeled on the Viennese North Railway Station (Nordbahnhof). The construction project was created in Vienna at Büro für Hochbau k.k. General - Direktion der Österreichischen Staatbahnen. In this office, the plans for all stations built in Galicia until 1918 were created. The ceremonial opening of the station took place on November 4, 1860.
It soon turned out that the station needed to be expanded. The project was developed by architect Juliusz Teodor Zwoliński. Work began in 1895. Due to the small amount of space, the building was significantly extended and received new annexes. At that time, the station received neo-baroque elements. Stucco decorations and wall paintings of various themes appeared in the rooms of the station.
The middle building is a representative part of the building and resembles a palace. Its front wall is protruding in the form of a projection into the station square. The building is two-story, but its largest volume is occupied by a large hall. On the pediment there are triple doors complemented by large windows in the upper part. The whole has numerous decorative ornaments; colonnades, cornices and others. The upper wreath of the building is made as a terrace balustrade. In the central part there is a clock with a rich decoration. The hipped roof is covered with stainless titanium-zinc sheet. There is a skylight at the top. There are several chimneys and ventilation drawers and a lightning protection system.
To the east and west, from the central building, there are single-storey buildings that connect with two other buildings. In their pediment there are seven large windows, identical to those in the central building. The architectural motif from the main building was repeated above the windows. These buildings are covered with a gable roof, covered with the same sheet in gray. Swallows with round windows were added to the roof.
From the east and west, two more identical buildings were placed, which are a repetition of the central object. However, they are slightly smaller, lower, and the second floor has smaller windows. Decorative ornaments were repeated. The roofs are identical to those on the central structure. The western building currently houses the "Perła Przemyśl" restaurant. On the west side, the station is closed with another two-story building, which belongs to the restaurant.
On the eastern side is another one-story building, which is the transition to the three-story administration building, which was built in 1899. 24-hour toilets were placed in the adapter, which at the beginning of the 20th century were in a separate building. All buildings are covered with identical titanium-tin sheet on full boarding. The basic building material of the station was brick from the nearby brickyards. Already in 1899, the station was equipped with electricity, water and forced ventilation. The entire complex of station buildings is 160 m long.
The station building housed ticket and baggage offices, waiting rooms, a post office, a luggage room, shops, a hairdresser, a police station, flats for railway families and a restaurateur. There were also representative rooms for the imperial family and their guests. High dignitaries from the Austro-Hungarian partition often stayed at the railway station in Przemyśl; not to welcome the inhabitants of the historic city, but to oversee the construction of the Przemyśl Fortress. Life was very hard for the people at that time. Around 1905, a roofed platform was built along the northern façade. Removed turret projections to accommodate an additional track.
The outbreak of the Great World War caused devastation of the station and therefore in 1922, the station underwent a general renovation. In 1922, another floor of the restaurant was added. Both the Great World War and the Second World War contributed to the degradation not only of the railway station, but also of the city itself. The diversity of nations, cultures and religions was brutally exploited by successive occupiers. Przemyśl was an important transport hub, which contributed to the city's survival, but did not contribute to the development of the agglomeration. It was at the station in Przemyśl that the brothers (Germans and Soviets) solemnly handed over trains with crude oil imported from Baku. Until they were at each other's throats in 1941.
The next major repairs were carried out in: 1959, 1966, 1988, 1995. The last renovation was carried out in the period 2010 - 2012. At that time, the complex of station buildings was restored to the appearance it had 100 years ago. At the same time, some of the architectural barriers for the disabled were partially removed. The renovation cost amounted to approximately PLN 25 million. The entire roof of the station was covered with stainless titanium-zinc sheet on full boarding.
Currently (2023) at the station there are ticket offices, passenger information, luggage services, facilities for the disabled, cafes and shops. The services at the station are available around the clock, so travelers can use them at any time of the day or night. At the station, there is a permanent assistance point for refugees from Ukraine. (Since February 2022, when the bandit tsar Putin invaded Ukraine). The Regional Headquarters of the Railway Protection Guard operates at the station. Currently, the facility is supported by the Police and the Polish Army. In the northern part of the station, there is the Podkarpackie Customs and Tax Office, because the station is a border station (Stefana Czarneckiego Street). There is an above-ground car park at the Przemyśl Główny PKP station. You can only pay for your ticket in cash at the automatic ticket offices. Prepare the calculated sum. The entrance is from the main entrance to the station. Access to the station is provided by public transport MZK.
The infrastructure of the Przemyśl Główny station.
Currently, the Przemyśl Główny station has 5 platforms and 8 platform edges. Platform 1 is 400 m long and relatively narrow. Platform 2 is also 400 m long, but wider. Platform 3 has a length of 295 m (southern edge) and 375 m (northern edge). Platform 4 is 330 m long. Platform 5 is 230 m long and is the head platform. All platforms are roofed, have a surface made of concrete cubes, lighting, benches, litter bins and railway information (audio and in display cases). Platforms 1, 2 and 3 are designed to serve PKP trains on normal tracks. Platforms 4 and 5 are designed to serve trains on wide tracks. On the eastern side of Platform 3, wagon lifts are installed for changing bogies. Currently 2023, they are not used. All tracks are electrified with a voltage of 3 kV. The platforms are connected by a passenger tunnel. Initially, the exit from the tunnels was only at Platforms 1, 2 and 3. Currently, the tunnel can go as far as Stefana Czarneckiego Street and get to the Customs and Tax Office and to Platforms 4, 5. Additionally, on the western side of the platforms, at the track level, there is a passage for railway services.
Within the station, in the north-eastern part, there is a fan locomotive depot building, which currently has other functions. There was a water tower at the station that has been demolished. The station performs passenger service functions only. Freight traffic takes a different route, bypassing Przemyśl.
The wide track, which leaves the station towards the west, ends with a retaining trestle, under the viaduct of Kamienne Most Street, before the San River. It is only a maneuvering track. At the Przemyśl Główny station, the wide tracks towards the east to Ukraine begin. One railway line runs through Hurko and Medyka to Lviv and is in use. The second line was single-track and ran from Przemyśl through: Przemyśl Bakończyce - Pikulice - Hermanowice - state border - to the town of Chyrow. Currently, it is used only to the Przemyśl Bakończyce station and is standard-gauge.
The number of passengers served has always depended on history, and more precisely on the wars waged by the occupiers; Muscovites, Germans, Švejks. Most of the station was used by soldiers, refugees and forced displaced persons.
In the period of the Polish People's Republic, the fast train "Przemyślin" ran from Przemyśl to Świnoujście (Kraków - Katowice - Wrocław - Poznań). It was the longest railway connection in Poland, with a length of 985 km. The train was often overcrowded with passengers and often had extra cars attached and had 14 - 16 cars (including the mail car).
In 2017, the station served 1.42 million passengers. They were mainly Ukrainian employees who worked part-time or permanently in Poland. It is estimated that at that time there were about 1 - 1.5 million Ukrainian workers in Poland. In 2018, the number of passengers increased to 1.86 million people. In 2019, it was already 2.01 million people. Currently (2023), due to the war in Ukraine conducted by the bandit Tsar Putin from February 24, 2022, there are also the largest number of Ukrainian refugees. The halls of the train station are full of Ukrainian mothers with children.
There is a Polish-Ukrainian rail passenger border crossing at the station in PrzemysĹ‚a; Przemysl - Mostyska. Although the distance from the actual border crossing is 13 km, checks are carried out at the railway station in Przemyśl. This crossing operates thanks to an agreement between the Government of the Republic of Poland and the Government of Ukraine. It is open 24/7. The movement of people, means of transport and goods is allowed, regardless of nationality, as well as small border traffic. During the existence of the CCCP (from 1945 to 1992), the Polish-Soviet railway border crossing Medyka operated in this place.
In April 2023, 34 PKP passenger trains departed from the Przemyśl Główny station daily. You could go to: Bohumín, Frankfurt on the Oder, Gdynia Główna, Kraków, Medyka, Mostiska 2, Poznań Główny, Przeworsk, Rzeszów Główny, Szczecin Główny, Świnoujście, Tarnów, Warszawa Gdańska, Warszawa Wschodnia, Wrocław Główny, Zielona Góra Główna.
Railway borders Poland - Ukraine.
In 1949, Soviet passenger and freight trains were launched from Legnica via Warsaw to Białystok or alternatively to Przemyśl. And on to Moscow or Kiev. The trains were only for CCCP citizens, because they were intended to serve the Soviet military garrisons stationed in Poland. The first calls were once a week, then more often. In the 60s there was a break in their operation. In 1983, the long-distance train from Legnica to Kijów was re-launched, with SŻD wagons of European gauge (6 - 10 wagons in a set). The composition included PKP sleeping cars. In the composition of 3 - 4 wagons were available to the civilian population. In 1993, the Soviet army left Poland, but PKP decided to maintain the Wrocław - Kiev route with a 2 - 4 wagon train.
In 2004, the SUW 2000 system was introduced in the railway traffic between Poland and Ukraine (automatic change of wagon wheel gauge). The trains ran through the Medyka - Mościska 2 crossing. The train ran three times a week, with 3 - 4 cars. The reason was the small number of available wagons adapted to this system. In the following years, the SUW 2000 system was degraded, which resulted in its decommissioning in 2015.
UZ Railways (Ukraine) launched Przemyśl - Odessa trains at that time. Initially, trains ran daily, later every other day. The number of wagons in the train also decreased. Not the best relations between Poland and Ukraine caused a reduction in the number of connections and the number of wagons in the trains. The UZ carrier will introduce trains from Przemyśl to Lviv, which were served by EMU trains. But soon the connection was closed, because it was used only by "ants" - petty smugglers.
Since 2016, a direct international train has been launched on the Przemyśl - Kiev route, operated by PKP InterCity and the Ukrainian railway carrier UZ. This train, named "Prykarpattya", provided a direct connection from Przemyśl to Kiev. Already in Przemysł, the train was on wide-gauge bogies and crossed the state border on a wide-gauge track. Tsar Putin's bandit attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, caused trains to stop running. At that time, humanitarian trains were launched to evacuate civilians from Ukraine.
In 2020, rail passenger traffic between Poland and Ukraine was carried out through the Medyka - Mościska 2 and Dorohusk - Jagodzin crossings. Only long-distance trains were serviced here. Both crossings were operated by PKP and UZ companies. It should be remembered that PLK did not report the closure of any crossing. It was the carriers who did not express the need to use other crossings.
In February 2023, Ukrainian trains from Przemyśl - Kiev - Kharkov started again, despite the ongoing war. The Ukrainian train from Przemyśl leaves at 1:45 pm and arrives via Kiev at 10:01 am the next day. From Kharkiv, this train leaves at 14:07, in Kiev it is at 21:04, in Przemyśl it is at 11:13. It is worth mentioning that from January 2023, the Kharkiv -Chełm train has been running. At the Przemyśl and Chełm stations, you can change to trains running on a normal track, which run deep into Poland. Ukrainian Railways is not able to replace bogies in all its cars, because it is a time-consuming process. Therefore, they recommend changing to PKP trains.
The Medyka - Mościska 2 border crossing is important, where the traffic on the tracks of both widths is carried out using electric traction. Electric traction appeared at the Medyka station along with the electrification of line No. 91 in 1964. In 1995, the tracks were electrified (1,520 mm) on the section Przemyśl Główny - Medyka, with the voltage of 3 kV DC over a distance of 14 km (rope No. 92). The goal was to eliminate locomotive changes in Medyka and run heavy passenger trains, sometimes composed of 15-20 wagons, with diesel traction. Please note that freight trains do not enter the Przemyśl Główny station. The 1,435 mm track is electrified at UZ Trzciniec and Mościska 1 stations. In the intentions of the UZ carrier, this crossing plays a fundamental role. It should be added that between Krakow and Lviv, the entire route is electrified on both sides of the border. It's just a matter of replacing the carts. In the period of the People's Republic of Poland, wagon bogies were replaced at the station in Przemyśl. The entire infrastructure to date (2023) is operational (Kutruffa lifts). However, currently, the exchange of bogies can be carried out on the Ukrainian side. But both the UZ carrier and PKP recommend changing passengers from UZ cars to PKP InterCity trains at the Przemyśl Główny station.
The role of the railway supporting crossing is currently performed by the Dorohusk - Jagodzin crossing. The route has both track widths. The route is not electrified, and electrified stations are Kowel (voltage 25 kV 50 Hz) and Dorohusk in Poland. The periodically active border crossings include the Werchrata - Rawa Ruska crossing. The problem is that the line in the direction of Jarosław and Zwierzyniec is single-track. The Soviets led to the fact that the Polish city, Rawa Ruska, found itself in the CCCP area, and the railway route lost its continuity, which forced PKP to quickly build the track Werchrata - Siedliska - Hrebenne - Mosty Małe.
Basically, railway border crossings are serviced by PKP locomotives on normal tracks (SM48, M62) and UZ locomotives on wide tracks (CME3, M62). The rule is also that private carriers do not service border crossings. In 2012, PKP withdrew its consent for wagons with non-European gauge to run on Polish tracks. Except for the area of border stations. The Ukrainian factory in Krzemieńczug, which produces wagons for UZ, in cooperation with Bydgoszcz PESA, produced two prototype sleeping cars with a European "Z" type gauge, series 788. The cars were tested in 2012, but have not yet entered into service. In addition to traditional Kutruff lifts, the automatic TSP SUW 2000 was also used. They were installed at Dorohusk, Mościska 2 and Zamość Bortatycze stations. They were used until 2016.
A specific route is the LHS (1,520 mm), which is operated by a company that manages both infrastructure and rolling stock. The route is used only for freight traffic, although in 2022 it was used to transport refugees from Ukraine, by train even to Olkusz. The border crossing is located on the section Hrubieszów - Izow. This crossing can handle up to 260 freight cars a day.
In the history of the Przemyśl freight railway junction, new stations and sidings were built. The track and traffic control system was expanded. New handling equipment was installed. Some nodes gained importance while others remained unused over time. Renovations were carried out as needed.
The main handling of goods is carried out at the Medyka and Hurko stations. Hurko station is equipped with tracks of both gauges, both electrified and non-electrified. The Żurawica and Żurawica Rozrządowa stations play a supporting role. In addition, there is the Krówniki station. The role of the Hurko station is also to service the station in Krówniki (1,435 mm + 1,520 mm), where there is also a passenger platform.
The transshipment area of Medyka – Żurawica was officially opened in October 1947. Mainly iron ore was transported to Poland, East Germany and Czechoslovakia. From year to year, the amount of transshipped goods increased. Therefore, already in 1960, the reloading infrastructure was expanded. Flyovers and reloading ramps were built, as well as a 6-chamber ore thawing plant, which was fired with natural gas to thaw iron ore in the winter. The iron ore imported to Poland was of poor quality and largely moist. Iron ore was mainly transported to the Lenin Steelworks Combine (later called Sędzimira Steelworks, and now Arcelor - Mittal Poland Branch in Kraków), and from 1976, also to the Katowice Steelworks in Dąbrowa Górnicza. Other metal ores, metallurgical products, cars and tractors were also transported. In addition, the reloading area was equipped with overhead cranes, loaders, Kutruff lifts as an element for replacing trolleys in wagons. It was mainly about tankers with dangerous substances, which were poured between the tankers.
The launch of the LHS route in 1979 resulted in a decrease in the transshipment of goods at the Przemyśl junction. There was also a decrease when Czechoslovakia opened its own border crossing with the CCCP. Currently (2023), the reloading area of Medyka - Żurawica handles the exchange of goods between EU countries and Ukraine.
Currently, 2019 - 2022, modernization is being carried out at the Medyka station. The track layout will be partially changed. Tracks and turnouts are being replaced on both track widths. Traffic control devices are being replaced. The station will receive new lighting and engineering facilities in the form of culverts and bridges. The total cost of the investment will exceed PLN 100 million. Work will also be carried out on other stations and lines. Mainly it's about replacing the rails and subgrade.
In 1953, within the Medyka station, a Permanent Transshipment Region was established, built for the needs of the army. Permanent transshipment areas were managed by the military authorities of the Polish Armed Forces. The maintenance of tracks and devices was performed by PKP on the basis of an agreement with the Ministry of National Defence. Subsequently, these works were carried out by military railway units. All other work was always done by WP.
Pamietajmy, że w ostatnim etapie drugiej wojny światowej, sowieci większość głównych szlaków kolejowych przekuli na tor szeroki. Co najmniej do 1946 roku, szeroki tor dochodził do Gliwic.
In 1953, the wide track was left on the sections Medyka - Przemyśl and Medyka - Żurawica. The expansion of the track system required the demolition of many bunkers and shelters from the time of the partitions. The Permanent Transshipment Region in Przemyśl consisted of two transshipment points, code-named "Michalina" (Transhipment point of Trakai) and "Mikołaj" (transshipment point of Krówniki). There were several such reloading points on the then Polish-CCCP border. Most of them have already been liquidated.
Railway line No. 91; Kraków Główny - Przemyśl - Medyka is 244.332 km long. The line is double-tracked and electrified. It is an international route marked E30.
Railway line No. 92; Przemysł Główny - Medyka, single-track, electrified, broad-gauge, 14.329 km long.
Railway line No. 102; Przemyśl – Malhowice, has a length of 12,380 km, is single-track, electrified. Further on, the line leads to the closed border crossing Hermanowice – Chyrów (in Ukraine). It was the route Krościenko - Chyrów - Przemyśl. The crossing was completely closed in 1994. The track still exists. The line is currently used to transport wagons and locomotives to the holding tracks located at the Przemyśl Bakończyce station. The line was built in 1872, as part of the First Hungarian-Galician Railway, connecting Przemyśl and via the Galician Karol Ludwik Railway, Lviv with Sátoraljaújhely in Hungary and Budapest. During the period of People's Poland, the normal gauge track preserved on the Soviet side allowed for passage from Krościenko through Starzawa, Chyrów and Niżankowice to Malhowice. Long-distance trains to Bieszczady ran along this route. These trains were unavailable to CCCP residents. Soviet soldiers stood on the steps of the carriages and watched over passengers and Polish railwaymen. In 1963, an intergovernmental agreement was concluded. It allowed to control passengers and railwaymen on trains in CCCP. There was no border check and no need to have passports, but an ID card was necessary. In 1994, the movement of passenger trains was stopped. No agreement was concluded with the government of Ukraine. In 2022, a renovation was carried out on the Polish side. On the section from Krościenko towards the border, tourist trolleys are operated. At the Chynów station, the tracks were probably made wide.
Railway line No. 615; Przemyśl Main – Przemyśl Bakończyce. It is a single-track, short line connecting other railway lines. The line is 0.395 km long and electrified. The line enables the passage of trains from the direction of Medyka towards Przemyśl Bakończyce without having to change the head of the train at Przemyśl Główny.
Written by Karol Placha Hetman