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Taking a trip

Assuming you have bought your ticket, you are ready to travel! Since there are so many trains coming and going from stations all the time, you want to make sure you’re in the correct place to board your train.

At the station

Most large stations now have electronic signage to assist you. Other stations will have posters prominently posted with train times. Look for white posters for arrival times (marked arrivals [przyjazdy]) and yellow posters for departure times (marked departures [odjazdy]). The departure posters have columns with times, a list of stations the train is going to, and a platform number. Find the time of your train, and then read across to the right to find the platform number in the column marked "Peron".

railway stations pkp train tickets

At the platform

Follow the signs in the station to the proper platform (peron). Many platforms have two tracks (tor), so don’t get on the first train you see. Look for an overhead sign showing the destination and departure time of the train. If you don’t see one, look for signboards on the side of the coach showing the destination. If all else fails, ask the train conductor or a railroad worker (point to the train and ask "do [name of your destination]?") Sometimes a train will be split along the way, with some of the coaches going to one place, and the rest to somewhere else. Trains of this type will have signs on the side of each section showing the destination of that part of the train.


An InterCity train at the platform-Szymon Peplinski photo

First class cars also have a yellow stripe above the window. All cars should have a large number "1" or "2" by the entry door indicating the class of the car.


If you have a reservation, look at the reservation slip. It will show the car number (wagon) and the seat number (miejsca). The car number will be found in red on a little white sign on the side of the car, or on newer trains on an electronic display board. Once inside, the seat numbers are posted above each seat. If someone is sitting in your seat, show them the reservation slip, and politely ask them to move. If they don’t, ask for help from the train conductor.

Ticket checking and ride

Once you find your seat, sit down, and enjoy the ride. The conductor will be around to check your ticket (he will ask "Tickets please" ["Proszę bilety do kontroli"]). On many carriages you can open the window for ventilation. (Be considerate of others in the compartment.) There are restrooms at the end of each car. If you’re in a first class compartment, your seat will probably recline a bit if you want to sleep. Many refurbished carriages also offer outlets to plug in your laptop or phone charger.

Food & drinks

If the train has a buffet or restaurant car (indicated in the timetable), you can also make a purchase there. Keep in mind the safety of your belongings should you leave them in the compartment to go to the buffet car. On other trains you may see travelling vendors coming around selling food and drink, but it is often a good idea to bring along your own refreshments. Most stations have kiosks from which you can buy food and drink before boarding.

Getting off the train

On intercity trains there are usually announcements of each approaching station on the public address system of the train (and sometimes on electronic displays), but on local trains generally you’re on your own to know when to get off the train. It’s often a good idea to make a note of the scheduled arrival time at your destination, so that you will know when you’re getting near. You can usually see the name of the station on a sign as you are pulling into the station. Once the train has stopped, and you are ready to get off, you may have to open the door yourself. Just push down on the latch and push outward on the door, or push the button located near the door. Watch your step, as it may be a long way down!



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