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By train to the past - the project of the new railroad station in Chelm

05 of July '24

For many travelers, a train station serves as a city's showcase. Often, train stations are responsible for the first impression of a new place, and their functional layouts influence how the early stages of exploration will go. Chelm 's current railway station is not doing its job very well, while its outdated interiors are a deterrent. This is about to change, however, as the PKP has announced that construction of a new passenger service center will soon begin in the city, designed by the PAS Projekt architectural studio.

Thenew railroad station in Chelm will be the fourth building serving rail transportation in the city. So far, passengers at the Chelm station have had the opportunity to use a facility whose modernist structure dates back to the 1960s. It is currently hidden under the cloak of a postmodern reconstruction from 2001. Unfortunately, the modernization can hardly be considered successful, and the station's more than 60-year-old structure does not meet modern standards for serving travelers. In response to these problems, in 2019 the Polish State Railways (PKP) announced a tender to develop a concept for the construction of a new railroad station in Chelm. The initiative was part of the Railway Station Investment Program, as part of which more than 80 buildings owned by the company were modernized in Poland between 2016 and 2023. The work was supposed to begin as early as 2020, but the decision to issue a tender for the contractor was postponed several times. After four years of delay, PKP S.A. has announced that a contractor has finally been found and the implementation of the investment, costing nearly PLN 26 million, will start soon.

Obecny dworzec PKP w Chełmie

The current railway station in Chelm - the building of the Chelm railway station after the 2001 modernization.

Photo: Yusek © public domain | Wikimedia Commons

railway station like a history book

Some of the best examples of old railroad station architecture in Poland belong to the modernist trend. The railroad stations of Warszawa Centralna, Gdynia Główna or Tarnów-Mościce are valuable objects of Polish post-war architecture, which still serve multitudes of passengers every year. The silhouette of the new Chełm Railway Station, which will consist of three adjacent blocks in a stepped layout, is intended to refer to this tradition. The tallest of these will also fulfill the role of a clock tower, reaching a height of 15 meters. On the eastern side, the complex will be given lightness by a vast shelter, under which people waiting for a train will find shelter from the sun and precipitation, as well as make use of café and restaurant gardens.

The way the facade of the Chelm train station has been developed will also be deeply immersed in the city's history. The exterior walls of the new building will be covered with chalk-colored facing bricks - a reference to the mining industry that developed in the city since the 13th century. The Chelm Chalk Underground, as the system of more than 40 kilometers of tunnels where chalk was mined is called, became the subject of an entry in the provincial register of monuments in 1995. Next year, the city's chalk-related history will be signaled to travelers as soon as they step off the train. The veneers will also have an aesthetic dimension - the individual bricks will be laid at different angles, creating a facade diverse in texture and chiaroscuro.

Wizualizacja Nowego Dworca Przesiadkowego w Chełmie

Visualization of the New Transfer Station in Chelm - the body of the building

© PKP S.A | PAS Projekt

The interior of the new station will tell about the history of railroads in Chelm. Its main accent will be a map of the New Town in Chelm, imprinted on one of the walls of the lobby. The choice of this particular district is not coincidental - for within it is located the Dyrekcyjne estate, which was built in the interwar period in connection with the intention to relocate from Radom to Chelm the Eastern Regional Directorate of State Railways. As part of an extensive construction campaign, a modernist edifice was also built to serve as the headquarters of the directorate. However, the transfer ultimately did not take place due to the outbreak of World War II. Now travelers will be reminded of the history of Chelm's railroad ambitions by the interior of the new station.

21st century travel

Although Chelm's new railway station will be filled with historical references, its building will abound with the latest technological solutions and numerous passenger amenities. The Chelm train station will be adapted for use by people with disabilities - there will be no architectural barriers to moving around, and people with visual impairments will benefit, among other things, from tables with a tactile map of the station and signage written in Braille. The new PKP building in Chelm will also be an ecological building - the lighting of the passenger service center during the day will be taken care of by a skylight suspended over the main hall, while electricity consumption, HVAC systems and water circulation will be controlled by an intelligent Building Management System, which will optimize their operation.

Wizualizacja Nowego Dworca Przesiadkowego w Chełmie

Visualization of the New Transfer Station in Chelm - interior of the building

© PKP S.A. | PAS Projekt

Thedesigners of the station also took care of the green infrastructure - individual parts of the body of the new building will be overgrown with grapevine, which, in addition to serving an aesthetic function, significantly reduces the temperature inside the building during the summer heat. Covering the facade with vegetation will also make it a biologically active space, which will become a friendly environment for insects and birds. Free-standing walls overgrown with ivy will also be located under the shelter adjacent to the main part of the station building, and a green space filled with trees and shrubs has been planned for the north side, where there is currently an asphalt surface.

past-present relationship line

Construction of the Chelm Railway Station is expected to begin soon, with completion expected by the end of 2025. The new passenger service center will be one of the valuable examples of architecture that, despite its modern form and functionality, is able to fit into the context of the place and tell the story of its history.

We devoted the May issue of A&B in its entirety to the railway stations; you can download the free e-publication HERE.


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