Taking the Train in Tricity
Personally I had never been a train goer. I always wanted to have my freedom going by car in Tricity. Soon, I discovered the easiness of public transport and started to take the train effectively.
Browsing online: what website to choose?
This depends about where you want to travel. Basically both SKM and PKM trains can bring you at your destinations. Below I will be discussing some options.
Handy if you stay strictly within tricity during your stay
Time schedule on the Szybka Kolej Miejska of Tricity (SKM) or the Fast Urban Railway: the official website, even though the entire website seems to be at this time still in Polish, the passenger center area where you can look up the train schedule is in English.
- SKM-trains are only for tricity, trains are usually blue and yellow and connect Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia fastest. It is the Rapid Urban Railway.
- PKM-trains (Pomorska Kolej Metropolitalna, the Metropolitan Train from the Pomorska province, also operated by the SKM-company) bring you from/to the airport and operate outside of tricity. The PKM-network connects Gdańsk Główny (Gdansk Main station) and Gdańsk Wrzeszcz to the Lech Wałęsa Airport (25-40 mins) and Gdańsk western suburbs, and further to Gdynia, Kartuzy and Kościerzyna (from ‘Wikitravel Gdańsk’).
Handy if you want to travel in tricity, long distance in Poland or through Europe
– Browsing the time schedule on the Rozklad-pkp.pl website is easy and user-friendly.
– Browsing the PKP Intercity time schedule offers an easy to use journey planner. You can of course also travel within tricity but these trains go further than the tricity boundaries. Different hours apply than the SKM-PKM trains as Intercity trains have different schedules. You can buy season tickets, handy if you stay for a weekend or longer.
Handy if you want to travel in tricity, in the Pomorska province or the vicinity of tricity
Browsing the Polregio website looking for a time schedule is at this stage rather user-unfriendly. The website redirects you to another one where you need to register (free takes up to 3-4 minutes). I have not tried this option yet.
Browsing through apps
I am using apps that allow me to travel without the hussle of having to search for routes.
- SKM KOMPAS
The app is available in 3 languages (Polish, English, German) via the menu icon > Settings (last item) > Language selection (last item).
The app offers information about all railway providers in Poland and beyond the border. It shows the timetable of Polish State Railways PKP. Download the app from the Android Google Play / Apple iTunes / Windows store. With the GPS option you can see the route you are taking while travelling.
This app allows you after connecting your bank account with the application, to make valid payments for the transport by bus and train, car parking and cinemas. For the time being the app is in Polish only, not sure whether it works with a foreign bank account either. I have asked the Skycash team about their plans to offer the app in English.
Advantage of the e-ticket:
- you do not have to interact with anyone, it’s very easy and convenient;
- there’s an offline mode: even if you lose internet connection you are able to retrieve the e-ticket (saved in the app).
Disadvantage of the e-ticket:
- the e-ticket is only valid in the app, not as a screenshot saved in the photo album of your mobile;
- the e-ticket is also limited in time i.e from a specific point to a a specific point in time, not beyond that.
In other words, the e-ticket is very handy when the train is in time and you do not have any internet connection issues. However, when the train gets delayed or when you lose your internet connection, you lose the e-ticket and will need to buy another one. Not an issue if you think of the price, barely 1 euro/dollar. It still is the cheapest way to travel in Tricity.
About the train ticket
1. How much does a train ticket cost?
Wherever you buy the ticket, for the price of 3,50 PLN (less than a euro and dollar, to calculate quickly: 1 EUR/1 USD = 4 PLN), you can travel all over Gdańsk territory but do not cross the city boundaries. For this price you can go from the airport to Wrzeszcz (check out the location on openstreetmap), after which you will have to either change from train wagon or from train, leading you to Gdańsk Głowny (Gdańsk Main Station on openstreetmap).
2. Where can you buy the train ticket?
Nowadays you can buy it online (see above). If you want to have a ticket in paper form, you buy it either from a kiosk or at the ticket vending machine on the modernized railway tracks finished in 2014. You need to validate your ticket prior to boarding. If you need to, you can also buy the ticket on board from the train conductor (usually in the first train wagon). They do not always talk English. So you can try to order it in Polish: Poe-Prussia Bee-let Normal-na Dough (and then the city name… e.g. Gdańsk) (from ‘local life SKM Rapid Urban Railway’). In any case, make sure you can show the conductor the name of your destination in writing as the pronunciation in Polish often causes confusion (from Wikitravel Gdańsk and from my own personal experience as well).
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Overview Transport in Poland (Wikipedia)
- Rail transport in Poland (Wikipedia)
- Szybka Kolej Miejska (Tricity) – Fast Urban Railway (Wikipedia)