Most of people around the globe knows about Warsaw or Krakow, when it comes to Polish cities for sure. Even Gdansk is quite known worldwide, but Szczecin (Stettin in German) is a unknown city for many. Reason for this is that it’s identity is still in 2017 not totally set by its people it seems. Germany had the area where Szczecin is located now, until Poland got it after Germany got defeated in World War II (1945). Parts of the city got destroyed by the war, so resuming the tram service was hard. A few lines survived the war, but many wagons and tracks got destroyed. However, by 1950s most of the infrastructure was rebuilt.
The communist managed to rebuild parts of the city quite heavily after 1945 to 1950 and onwards, making the towns trams have always been part of it’s history as they survived two wars and a communist era. Szczecin as a very nice and clean Polish city can be said to be a town in the world that have been saved by the trams. They are the ones that have formed the city identity from the time when Germany had the town until now. The trams in the town is as important as the city name Szczecin itself also. Read on for more detailed info in this article!…
Szczecin, the city where trams is it’s identity Number One
The trams arrived very early in Szczecin. In fact they came very early. Already in 1879, the very first horse driven tram started to run with the very first electrification of a tram line in 1896. By 1900, all of the horse driven trams had been entirely replaced by electric trams, making Szczecin one of the first towns getting full electrification of all of it’s tram lines worldwide. In these times, Szczecin was under Germany and it would take 45 years until the town became Polish. The town got hit badly in the war. However, this meant that the tram infrastructure would change drastic when the communists came and pushed forward trams as a fast transportation method later on. This resulted in a town that got it’s infrastructure changed a lot for the better. Communists is known for doing many negative things, but when it comes to building public transportation. They were quite good actually. So, because of them. Now in 2017, Szczecin got a tram system that is more effective than in many other European countries in the west especially in the city center parts.
Communists had this idea that to get people fast to their working place. They also managed to build a efficient metro and tram system in all of the bigger cities under Sovjet. This lead to that many European cities in the east got quite similar metro and tram style of construction. So if you go to any city in the Eastern Europe that got trams the layout design is pretty much the same but very efficient.
Huge avenues gives fast and effective in Szczecin tram system
Szczecin tram as with many other cities in the east have this typical tram avenue design, where you have huge roads on each side with several lanes and then the trams tracks is built in the middle. Almost all parts of the city center in Szczecin got this design and it is very effective, for cities that choose tram instead of a metro system. Simple because it prevents the trams to get stuck behind cars etc. Especially in rush hours, I saw with my own eyes how effective this was in Szczecin.
Also a very nice and clever design in Szczecin, which I noticed many places. Is the very smart construction of the big road and tram crossings in the city. Here the tracks and platforms is divided in a pretty smart way. All of the lines that goes straight and those turning to the right doesn’t stop at the same platform. So this improves the trams efficiency as trams behind another tram wont get stuck behind the line that needs to go straight. This is a nice touch to the system that needs to be mentioned! Also. The avenues with the trams in the middle are pretty big in Szczecin for sure! Making the tram system in Szczecin to one of the most effective in its own city center.
Get a Fantastic Tram experience ride to Turkusowa
Not all of the amazing tram constructions happened during the communist era. Time changed and now Poland is a democratic country. The new parts of the tram network to Turkusowa in Szczecin is also great. At the end of 2013, the construction of Szczecin Rapid Tram started and ended on 29th of August 2015. Then this rapid tram part was extended from Basen Górniczy to Turkusowa, which is about 4 km. With long distances between the stations here, the trams manages to run at quite high speeds. Yes, when I tried the stretch I passed many cars in a tram! Awesome. One of the stations named Jasminowa ZUS is however an odd station that is unlike anything I’ve seen in the town and the world. It seems to me as if it was supposed to be a underground station, but they forgot to fill the roof. It is the only station on the entire tram network in Szczecin, that actually looks and feels way more like a metro station. Funny, odd and cool at the same time I think.
Also nice to mention, is the fact that the stretch crosses several bridges quite fast is awesome! Seeing the water and bushes below from the tram window is a quite nice experience for both tourists and tram lovers. The stretch it runs (4 km) to Turkusowa, it is understandable that Szczecin transport company decided a rapid tram here, because there is little or none city development here. However, when reaching Turkusowa station it really feel as if you reach another town.
Trams that runs fast. It’s something that I’ve always loved, because trams is usually not seen as a rapid transport alternative in many political debates worldwide. But when built right, it’s fully possible. In Szczecin on the tram rapid stretch you will for sure experience that.
Some of the stretches of the tram network still shares roads with cars
Like in Oslo, Berlin and many cities. Szczecin also do have stretches that shares the tram tracks with the cars. They are minimal in this city, but Line 6 for example, which is the only tram line that doesn’t go to the city center shares lot’s of its tram track with the cars. The road doesn’t have that much traffic, but with 90% of the city having fantastic avenues and tram priority areas. It seems to me that at end of some the lines the city went for the cheapest alternative. It can lead to some hickups during rush hour. It’s really not the best solution and it makes the tram get stuck in the traffic with cars, which could have been solved in a few quite easy steps and rules.
With some few upgrades , the tram network would become perfect! The rapid stretch is for sure a good start and the city center areas are fantastic. Try taking Line 1 and Line 9 to Glebokie, which is a famous lake in the city. Almost entire of the line in this area runs on it’s own there.
So, with the times before and after Poland got the city. This city’s tram network have lead to where it is today. This city breaths because of it’s tram system that have kept the city alive for sure thru two world wars and even communism! Now the city is doing better than ever and it show on the stats regarding it’s population. It’s growing!
New low-floor trams working nicely but do Hold on tight sometimes
Szczecin transport company called WS have given the town new low-floor trams, which makes it way easier for those with strollers. This is good! Because, some of the older trams do have quite huge steps for getting the stroller inside. Also it’s a nice thing for people that needs to use a wheelchair.
However! Even with new trams, some of the tracks stretches in the city center of Szczecin Must Have Seen Better Days before. I could feel on some of the stretches that I was on as if I was on a boat with huge waves sometimes. The new trams moved from side to side, but people didn’t mind at all. I guess they are used to it.
I am however quite amazed that they let the trams runs on such tracks, because here in Oslo this would be a reason for not driving trams at all on such tracks and political debates would get loose. To experience that trams can handle such tracks is for me a good reason for trying telling more cities to not giving up their trams. Trams manages to love whatever tracks if they get the love back for sure. Szczecin also will improve and improve, so replacing such rails will happen soon. There are many stretches that is already improved, so the city knows about it.
Twelve lines in a city with over 407 000 inhabitants
In a city with around 407 000 inhabitants, it is pretty nice to see that the town manage to have 12 lines covering almost all parts of the city. However, the town would need 2 more I think. There are some strange lines too, which could have changed their routes but all in all they work pretty well. The only line that I think should get a massive upgrade, is Line 6 and parts of Line 3. Especially near the central train station to Pormorzany station where these share the tracks with the cars.
Line 6 is by the way, the only line that doesn’t reach Szczecin center at all as it runs along the Odra river. It is also the line that needs the biggest upgrade. Too much of it’s track is shared with the cars.
Tram Lines in Szczecin takes you to Interesting places
If you’re coming to the central train station, then you can take Line 3 to the city center. It simply brings you directly to the city center, while Line 6 won’t. However if you take Line 6 to Wyszynskiego, then you can change there to Line 2. Here you can also change if you want to reach the new Turkusowa station as described in this article.
Line 2, Line 7 and Line 8 can be taken to Turkusowa runs thru Wyszynskiego. You can also take all of these lines from Brama Portowa station in the city center. When going from Turkusowa to the city center however, Brama Portowa is where Line 2 changes direction towards city center. It takes you to the two big shopping centers. One of them is called Galeria Kaskada, while the other is called Galaxy Centrum. Line 1, Line 2, Line 3 and Line 10 reaches these shopping centers.
If you want to reach the old town, then line 1 to Filharmonia station is another great tip. There is also some fantastic restaurants in the city center that I visited. The town is quite modern as the shopping malls are huge and the streets in center have many interesting stores for all. Ohh, you need to try some of the most delicious buns with different fillings inside. They can be found everywhere, but the one between Brama Portowa station and Plac Zolnierza Polskiego is a super hit for sure! Tell them that Distrita wrote about them if you visit them.
One public transport ticket that covers it all! Great!
In many cities you have several zones which makes the travel more expensive if you want to cross the zones. But in Szczecin it’s decided that the tram ticket that you buy, covers the entire tram and bus network in Szczecin. So, if you are a tourist or a tram lover like me and want to check out this new stretch. Then there is no additional cost for that. Now, that’s pretty nice!
Here is a complete Tickets Price info for Szczecin
- 15 minutes: 2.00 zł
- 30 minutes: 3.00 zł
- 1 hour: 4.00 zł
- 2 hours: 5.00 zł
- 24 hours: 12 zł (also works on the express buses)
- 5 days: 35 zł (also works on the express buses)
- Family weekend ticket: 14 zł – valid on weekends for one or two adults with at least one child up to 16 years old.
The ticket also works on all of the city buses also. So it’s a very cheap way of getting around in the city. They are available at all newspaper stands and you can buy them from the driver after 18.00 local time. There are many kiosks all over the city selling the tickets. They are either on the bigger stations in the city center or on the streets. City is also adding machines where you can buy tickets too, but they are at the moment not working still.
Remember to stamp your ticket after you have bought it immediately after you board the tram or buses. There are also some express buses that costs double. So be aware of that. Other than this, you’re freely to change between trams and normal buses within the time limit that the tram ticket lasts.
The tram and bus tickets doesn’t work on the railway. So if you want to take the train, you have to pay 6zl no matter how far you want to go. This is for the Polish PKP lines. For the German DB lines, they have their own tickets. With the railway you can reach the nearest known places like Berlin in Germany within 2-3 hours and Swinoujscie within 1-2 hours. Many choices!
Lines guide so you know what to take in Szczecin
- 1-12 – These are all Trams
- 50, 100 – Tourist Bus lines
- 51-111 – Normal buses that is compatible with the tickets for trams
- A, B, C, D, E, F, G – express buses that costs double
- 521-534 – night buses
- 7xx – free buses (to and from shopping malls)
So! Now you know a little bit more about Szczecin trams and it’s public transportation. The city is nice and different. Szczecin got many fantastic parks and city related things to see. It is not that old being Polish, but the trams have kept it alive. I hope you have learned something and maybe I have triggered you to come and visit Szczecin. The hotel prices in this city is really not that expensive. I would recommend Ibis as it’s not expensive and it does have excellent service. There are also other hotels, but for the price I think Ibis Szczecin gives you what you need for a comfortable stay in the town. We didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel though as the town offers so much to eat that we didn’t try it.
Here is a Map showing where Ibis Szczecin is located
Here is a Map of Szczecin in Poland
As you can see. The city sits very close to the German border. The city is also very humid one in summer. However the weather is more rainy than in other places in Poland. The Odra lake that ends at the area and the lake Dabie is all connected to Baltic sea. So the city got a quite big port which is also connected with Swinoujscie.
Here is some more photos put in a nice gallery for you to browse thru
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Distrita Own Experience
Rozklad Jazdy – Szczecin Public Transportation Schedules