Posted 8 years ago
The running of trains in Pl is quite complicated and changes all the time. Other as inmost countries it is NOT possibkle anymore to just use any train in the stations with your IR-pass.
The LONG DISTANCE trains-running in at least 2 regio's, are still by national state operator PKP (say Puh-Kuh-Puh, not Pay-Kay-Pay) and now only link major towns and are also not very frequent- ev 2 hrs is already quite good.
They come in several forms:
the cheaper/slower are named TLK, but most Polski and many signs still call them poszpiesny''=fast (as they do not stop at all minor halts). MOstly very old cars, maybe renovated, from communist times, with cramped 8 seats in old-style compartments. They used to have bars (WARS), but thats also a thing of the past. Food mostly consisted of beer only though and maybe some carton-tasting sausage.
Since some time ALL seats should/''must'' be reserved, but many Polski still have not quite grasped that. It is polite to ask if there are seats free when entering tu miest wolne?''-to make sure there is noone already sitting and going smoking.
in DAYtime trains this is free, in nighttime trains it cost a few zloty-about 1-2 eur. They may also have cheap kushet, Tanie Kushet,=you can lie down, use own sleeping bag, but get no sheets etc, for about 28 PLN=7 eur.
The better daytime trains are named IC or EIC or EC (or BWE) and are better with AC and nicer seats, trolley or barservice and only do main lines. ALL seats must be reserved and this cost about 15-20 PLN=4-5 eur.
Since (or maybe next week-or next year) shortly they have gotten their latest new trains on the rails as EIP-Pendolino-these have a supplmt of about 40-50 PLN=10 eur and are supposed to serve the major routes from Warszawa to Gdansk/Gdynia, to Krakow and to Poznan.
AFAIK it is till now not possible to only reserve seats with passes online, and Polish ticketing ladies are selected to speak Russian and not English as 2nd language. You may have more luck with paper+pen (unfathomable for smartfone users) or the newish PKP-Centres in renovated major stations.
IF you only plan to use your pas for 1 trip (on the x days in y), then it may work out cheaper to prebook online that trip on the PKP-intercity [ux]https://rail.shop/pkpic[/ux] website and get lower advance fares.
Next week more about the confusing array of local-regional trains.