Restoring the historic beauty of Wałbrzych Main Station
Wałbrzych’s central train station has been restored to its former glory.
First built in 1867, the renovation has restored Wałbrzych’s historic beauty, including the brick elevation and its most valuable architectural details. After the brick elevation was cleaned, decorative geometric patterns made from dark green glazed brick were discovered and have been exposed.
Also eye-catching are the graphite columns located by the main entrance and between some of the windows as well as the dark brown woodwork which frames the doors and windows, which was restored in keeping with the original.
However perhaps the greatest metamorphosis has been to the interior of the building which has become modern and functional and adapted to present day standards of passenger service whilst respecting its historic architectural features.
The main passenger service space has been given a light colour scheme, whilst the walls which possess a geometric coffered pattern have had their bottom section enhanced with cladding of dark green glazed plate. The colour scheme has been sensitively fitted to compliment the geometric ceramic floors, restored on the basis of original models.
Equal care has been applied to the restoration of the interior of the passenger waiting hall. Wooden panelling has been brought back to the walls alongside patterned wallpapers and the original flooring has returned, whilst the graphite cast-iron columns which were previously not visible and bricked over, have also been subjected to renovation and now form part of the interior decoration.
Aside from the aesthetic improvements to the station, care has also been taken to improve passenger comfort, with new benches, cases presenting the train schedule and electronic arrival and departure boards. On the ground floor of the building, toilets have been located, including for the disabled, as well as room for parents and children, a security guard post and rental premises.
For those with limited mobility, architectural barriers have been removed, signs have been put up in Braille and new guidance paths included in the interior of the building to help disabled passengers to navigate their surroundings.
The station has also become more environmentally friendly with the mounting of energy efficient LED lighting using automation control. To prevent heat loss, the station has been insulated from the inside and wooden framing for doors and windows has been mounted from a wood with a low heat permeability coefficient. In order to optimise the use of electricity, heat energy and water, machines and systems in the building will be monitored with the help of a Building Management System.
The surroundings of the station have also undergone a considerable transformation. On the square around the station, green islands with plants and benches have been added, there is a new bus bay with a shelter, new parking spaces, including for electric cars have been added and closer to the station parking spaces for the disabled, families with children, motorcycles as well as a shelter with a bike rack with space for 24 bikes.
Andrzej Bittel, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure said: “The railways in the Lower Silesia voivodeship are attracting an ever greater number of travellers, who will no doubt appreciate being able to use a modern station in Wałbrzych.
“The historic building, rebuilt in line with present day standards, will constitute a space friendly to all passengers. This is exactly how railway infrastructure should be, including station infrastructure.”
Waldemar Buda, Vice Minister for Funds and Regional Politics said: “Wałbrzych Main Station is now a comfortable and functional station adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, the elderly and families with children. What is also important is that the building has been renovated in keeping with historic architectural details. The Stations Investment Programme as part of which Wałbrzych station was rebuilt is the largest railway station modernisation programme in our history. Thanks to it, the Polish government will allocate nearly 2 million PLN until 2023, for the restoration of nearly 200 stations.”
“Rail is the most environmentally friendly form of transport, which is why the EU intends to intensively invest in the development of this sector in upcoming years. It is one of the elements of the climate neutrality strategy until 2050 as part of a wider European Green Policy. Currently, merely 8 per cent of passenger journeys are carried out by rail compared with 80 per cent by car. Fast and comfortable rail connections combined with modern infrastructure are intended to encourage travellers to switch to trains. This aim is also served by the European Year of the Railways, celebrated this year, and the Express Europa, starting out from Lisbon this year, which will travel through Poland twice”, said Jacek Wasik, director of the European Commission Representation Office in Wrocław.
Ireneusz Maślany, member of the board at Polish State railways added that it was already the 15th investment that Polish State Railways had realised in the Lower Silesia Voievodeship as part of the Stations Investment Programme. As part of the programme, works are currently also underway to rebuild Lower Silesian stations in Bolesławiec and Węgliniec and preparations are underway for two more renovations at Oława and Oleśnica.
The renovation of Wałbrzych Main was begun in the autumn of 2019 and the total cost of the investment is 33.5 million PLN. The modernisation of the station took nearly a year and a half and was realised as part of the stations investment programme for the years 2016-2023 with additional funds from the EU’s Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme.
This article was sponsored by PKP.