Following the end of the Berlin – Wrocław EC Wawel (early December 2014), Frankfurt(Oder) – Poznań RegionalExpress trains (end December 2014), we now have the news that Dresden – Wrocław RegionalExpress trains will cease at the end of February 2015. News of this cancellation can be found here in Polish (Google translated), and from the rail company here (Google translated). Currently it seems there are no plans to make things connect at Görlitz to allow passengers to change trains there – the Polish news story makes reference to passengers needing to take a bus instead. The reason given for the cancellation is inadequate funding on the Polish side.
This leaves Poland – Germany rail connections in a very sorry state indeed, and Wrocław now has no rail connection at all with Germany. The southern part of the Poland – Germany border is especially badly served.
Here is the situation at each rail border crossing, working north to south.
Neubrandenburg – Szczecin
Served by 8 RegionalExpress trains each way, each day. Two stops in Szczecin on the Polish side. 14km from the border to the terminus, Szczecin Glowny.
(Berlin -) Angermünde – Szczecin (- Gdansk)
Two RegionalExpress trains each way a day from Berlin Gesundbrunnen to Szczecin, and 6 more RegionalBahn trains on the Angermünde – Szczecin section. Two stops in Szczecin on the Polish side. 20km from the border to the terminus, Szczecin Glowny. The final EuroCity trains between Berlin and Szczecin ran in 2012, and EuroCity trains beyond Szczecin to Gdansk were cancelled in 2000.
Berlin – Kostrzyn
16 RegionalBahn trains each day from Berlin Lichtenberg to Kostrzyn. However Kostrzyn is the only station on the route actually in Poland, and the station is a mere 2.6km from the border. This is essentially a German regional train.
(Oberhausen -) Berlin – Frankfurt(Oder) – Poznań – Warszawa / Gdynia (long distance services)
The only border now crossed by long distance services. There are 4 Berlin – Warszawa services each way each day, and 1 Berlin – Gdynia service (diverging from the Berlin – Warszawa line at Poznań). 1 of these trains each way each day becomes the EuroNight train that now starts in Oberhausen. In the 1990s the EuroNight to Warszawa started in Bruxelles, and until 2014 it started in Amsterdam.
Frankfurt(Oder) – Rzepin – Poznań / Zielona Góra
Uses the same border crossing as Berlin – Warszawa services. The two daily Frankfurt(Oder) – Poznań services have been cancelled since the end of December 2014. Two daily Frankfurt(Oder) – Zielona Góra services still run each way each day, although using diesel trains despite the route being electrified. Frankfurt(Oder) is 5km from the border on the German side, and is the only German stop on this service. [UPDATE 21.2.2015: RegionalExpress trains are back on Frankfurt(Oder) – Poznań on weekends only. 2 trains each way Saturdays, 1 each way Sundays – thanks Adrian in the comments]
Cottbus – Zielona Góra
There is currently no passenger rail traffic on this route, crossing the border at Guben. The last passenger trains ran there in 2002.
(Berlin -) Forst(Lausitz) – Zagan (- Wrocław)
The border crossing previously used by the EC Wawel (Berlin – Wrocław), this route is now served by 2 Polish regional services each way, each day, that cross the border 1km into Germany to reach Forst, and Forst is the only station on the German side. Anyone wishing to take the route of the old EC Wawel would now have to change in Cottbus, Forst and Zagan!
Dresden – Görlitz – Wrocław
Served by 3 RegionalExpress trains each way each day until the end of February 2015, then – according to current plans – by no passenger trains at all. Passengers will have to use a bus instead.
Which leads us to the topic of buses… Deutsche Bahn currently runs one InterCity bus each day each way from Berlin to Wrocław, Katowice and Kraków, and from March will also introduce a limited Berlin – Szczecin service (route map here). With a new “Fernbus Offensive” planned by DB, this offer may increase. But when rail lines exist I’d very much prefer trains to run instead!
(Notes: The Neißetalbahn crosses the DE-PL border, but is only served by German trains, and while the Ostritz station is in Poland, this is a post-WWII anomaly, and hence not considered as the other borders are. Russian railways RZD runs its Moscow – Warszawa – Berlin – Paris train, but I’ve never worked out how the hell to book that (and if it is even bookable for PL-DE trips?) so it is also not included here. Data for numbers of current services taken from DB Reiseauskunft on 20.2.2015)
[UPDATE 21.2.2015: the case of Świnoujście Centrum was pointed out to me on Twitter. In 2008 the Usedom line was extended 1km across the border to Świnoujście (hence was not in my rail atlas!). It is served by 16 UBB RegionalBahn services each day, but Świnoujście Centrum is not connected to the Polish rail network. Hence this is not a classical cross border service.]
[UPDATE 22.2.2015: apparently the reason why no viable change-at-the-border solution is available at Görlitz after the end of the Dresden – Wrocław through service is that DB requires full German safety authorisation for Polish rolling stock on the 1km of line on the German side. PKP has no suitable stock. I’m also trying to work out how to take the last ever Dresden – Wrocław train, but it seems no Sparpreis is available… rather demonstrates the problem!]