And the winner is… Gdańsk Główny voted best train station in Poland
Held for the sixth time, the results of a competition to find Poland’s best train station have been published with the newly renovated Gdańsk Główny winning the public vote, and a group of stations in the Poprad Valley claiming the juried prize.
The newly-renovated Gdańsk Główny beat off competition from 104 others to take top place in the public vote, garnering 1,000 of the 5,000 online votes.
Subject to the largest renovation ever carried out by PKP on a train station, the PLN 120 million investment has transformed the station into one of the pearls of the city.
First opened in 1900, it was originally designed to correlate with the prevailing Danzig style, and as such it was built to feature Neo Gothic, Neo Baroque and Neo Renaissance details.
Defined by a 48-metre tower crowned by a copper cupola, all these have been painstakingly restored whilst the interior was refitted to closely match what travellers would have seen a century ago.
Reprised elements include oak-panelled ticket windows, spherical chandeliers, the coats of arms of various Pomeranian cities and fetching stained glass windows.
Delayed by 18-months due mainly to pandemic related issues, the refurbished station has been cited as an exquisite example of how historic architecture should be treated.
Winning the coveted jury prize was a conglomerate of 12 stations jointly known as Dworzec Dolina Popradu.
Located on the scenic Stary Sącz - Muszyna route in southern Poland, this was the first time multiple stations had won the title.
The Poprad Valley stations were flagged for their coordinated and consistent approach and the way both new and old stations along this line have respected the area’s traditions.
From this group, stations in Barcice, Piwniczna, Piwniczna-Zdrój, Rytro, Wierchomla Wielka, Żegiestów, Żegiestów-Zdrój, and Stary Sącz have all been comprehensively modernised and adapted to meet modern standards.
On the other hand, stations in Łomnica-Zdrój, Młodowo, Milik and Zubrzyk were built from scratch. However, rather than opting for template solutions, architects working on these were praised for “taking into account elements characteristic of the architecture of the Beskid Sądecki Mountains.”
Costing PLN 84 million, the project to revive this line and the stations on it has been met with widespread acclaim and has helped boost tourist traffic in the region as well as positively impacting the daily lives of those living locally.
PKP’s Anna Policht said: “We made great efforts to effectively and efficiently bring the abandoned stations back to life and to find common features with those that have been built.”
Although uniform in their facilities – such as bicycle spots, braille signs, Kiss & Ride spaces, and disabled access – care was taken to visually distinguish the newer stations no matter how subtly.
For the older ones, preserving their historic integrity and personality was vital, for instance, in the case of Żegiestów-Zdrój, a station dating from 1876.
With many under the conservator’s protection, such as the atmospheric brick and timber Piwniczna Zdrój, strict guidelines were adhered to.
By adding evening illuminations, the design team were able to emphasize the beauty and character of these throwback stations.
Others, such as the station at Rytro, saw original window frames and joinery renovated and wooden shelters recreated in accordance with archival sources.
To read more about the history and renovation of Gdańsk Główny click here.