The Poland Rail Travel Guide - Eating and sleeping on board a Polish train
Some Polish trains feature sleeping cars or food service cars. These cars are run by a division of PKP InterCity called Wars.
Food service is usually in the form of a bar car (wagon barowy). These cars feature a menu of snacks and sandwiches, as well as several hot dishes. There are tables where you can stand and eat (although some cars are now being refurbished with sit-down tables), or you can take your purchase to your seat. Trains that carry a bar car are indicated in the timetable. You can review a sample bar car menu here (prices and offer subject to change).
On routes with no bar car, there may be a refreshment trolley that passes through the train selling hot and cold drinks and snacks at some point during the trip.
On domestic EIP-category trains (Pendolino), a 1st class ticket includes a meal and drink in the ticket price!
Some long-distance and international trains feature a full Wars restaurant car (wagon restauracyjny). These feature sit-down table service, with a number of hot and cold meals available from the kitchen. Wars restaurant and bar cars are usually located in the middle of the train.
Sleeping car service is featured on a number of overnight trains. There are two types of railway cars, and three classes of accommodation available for domestic travel:
Couchettes (Wagon z miejscami do leżenia or "kuszetka")–Couchettes are a form of second-class overnight accommodations. You travel in a compartment with bunk beds. You will be sharing the compartment with other travellers. The compartments are quite narrow and confined once the beds are folded down and everyone’s luggage is stowed.
On a limited number of Polish domestic night trains, and on all international night trains, you can book a standard couchette. These couchettes offer a choice of 4- or 6-person compartments (Polish domestic services carry only 3- or 4-person compartments). You will be provided with a pillow, blanket and clean sheets, and you need to make up your own bunk. Couchettes are an economical way to travel, but if you want more privacy or quiet, you might want to consider a sleeping car (below).
Sleeping cars (wagon sypialny)–Sleeping cars are a more comfortable way to travel through the night. The compartments are identical, but there can be 1, 2 or 3 berths to a compartment. As with a couchette, you are only buying a place, so you may find yourself sharing the room with a stranger if you buy a single berth in a 2- or 3-person compartment (when compartments are shared, they are designated as single-sex only—you must choose male or female). You can travel on a 2nd class rail ticket in 2- and 3-person compartments, but travel in a 1-person compartment requires a 1st class rail ticket. (Some international services features additional deluxe sleeping car options, including showers.)
The sleeping cars are a step up from the couchettes. In the compartments you will find more room for luggage, along with a mirror and a sink. The beds are more comfortable and there is less noise. There will be a sink with running water in the compartment. Many sleeping cars have been through a rebuilding process recently, with interiors being completely renewed and air conditioning installed.
Sleeping car passengers get a complimentary cup of coffee or tea in the morning, a breakfast snack, and a little kit with a washcloth and soap.
Sleeping cars and couchettes will usually be located at either the front or the back of the train. When you board, show your railway ticket and your sleeping car ticket to the attendant, and he will show you to your place. He will keep the tickets until the morning, when he comes to wake you up. The doors between the sleeping cars and the rest of the train will be locked, so you cannot pass through to the coaches.
Sleeping car tickets can be booked through Polrail Service. You should try to book sleeping car space as early as possible, in order to assure that you will be able to find a place. During the busy winter and summer travel seasons, sleeping cars can often sell out 30 days in advance! If you wish to book before coming to Poland, visit our online store to make your booking.
If you should decide at the last minute that you want to travel in a sleeper, you can always try to buy a space from the Wars car attendant on the train, if any beds are available. You may have to pay a surcharge for this.