The Poland Rail Travel Guide - Tickets, Reservations and Passes
Get your ticket
Unless you have a rail pass, you are going to need a ticket. All major stations have ticket offices, and you can make your purchase there. You can also purchase a ticket from the conductor on the train (except on EIP-category trains). There is a surcharge for this if the station you left from had an open ticket office. Make certain that you find the conductor (his workplace is in the first carriage) and purchase your ticket before he comes to you, or you may be fined!
At most larger stations you can purchase rail tickets using a credit card. However, make sure you line up at a ticket window displaying a credit card logo, as not every cashier can process these transactions.
There are several train operating companies in Poland, and you will want to know which type of train and you are travelling on, and who is the operator, so that you may purchase the appropriate ticket (and pay the applicable fare!). Tickets from one operator are not accepted on the trains of another operator (even if you’ve paid a higher fare!)
If you are a European resident, you can also buy an InterRail pass for just Poland, or for all of Europe, including Poland. However, in almost every case we've found, buying individual tickets works out to be less expensive than any pass product, if you do decide on a pass, however, the InterRail Poland Pass can be ordered in our online store.
Types of trains in Poland
You will find the following categories of train in Poland:
- Regio or Local train—Pociąg Regio (osobowy). These are local trains that usually make a stop in each town as you travel down the line. This is definitely the slow way to travel, but a good way to meet the local population. Such trains will have only second class cars.
- TLK train—Pociąg TLK. This class of train serves as a faster way to travel between regions. It will still stop at most moderate-size stations, but does not stop at every station. All of these trains have first class carriages, and there may be a refreshment trolley. Seat reservations are mandatory in both classes.
- IC train—Pociąg IC. This class of train is the same as the TLK category, but with newer, recently-refurbished equipment. Most carriages will be air-conditioned, and many IC services now carry a buffet car. Some trains now have free Wi-Fi internet.
- Express Inter-City train—Pociąg EIC. EIC trains feature comfortable equipment (newer, air-conditioned cars are found on these trains), few stops, and high speeds. The train will have first and second class cars. Often there will be a full-service restaurant car, and there is always at least a buffet car. Passengers in all classes receive a complimentary drink, and first class passengers also receive a snack. Seat reservations are mandatory in both classes. Some trains now have free Wi-Fi internet.
- Express InterCity Premium train—Pociąg EIP. This new class of high-speed "Pendolino" trains serve are found on the main routes linking Warsaw with Krakow, Katowice, Wroclaw and Gdansk/Gdynia. All seats are reserved in both classes, and all trains are fully air-conditioned and carry a buffet car. Passengers in all classes receive a complimentary drink, and first class passengers also receive a meal at their seat.
A seat reservation is required in both classes on all trains operated by PKP InterCity. The reservation will be included at the time you buy your ticket, but if you are travelling on a pass, you must obtain a separate reservation from a ticket office or order it in advance through our site. If travelling on a train operated by Przewozy Regionalne or one of the other local operators, the seats are unreserved; you simply board the train and can take any available seat.
Train operating companies in Poland:
Train categories operated: Express InterCity Premium (EIP), Express InterCity (EIC), IC (InterCity), TLK, all sleeping and couchette services
Train categories operated: Regio (osobowy)
SKM—Szybka Kolej Miejska
(Fast City Railway)
Train categories operated: Local (osobowy) in the Gdynia/Sopot/Gdansk area
Train categories operated: Local (osobowy) in the Warsaw area
Train categories operated: Local (osobowy) in the Kujawska-Pomorskie province
Train categories operated: Local (osobowy) in the Lower Silesia province
Train categories operated: Local (osobowy) in the Upper Silesia province
Train categories operated: Local (osobowy) in the Wielkopolskie province
WKD—Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa
Train categories operated: Local (osobowy)