SKM Rapid Urban Railway
To make the most of your time in Gdansk, the SKM trains are a must. Essentially a commuter line, the SKM trains go from Gdansk Glowny (the main station) all the way to Wejherowo, much further north. The trains make stops in Sopot and Gdynia, as well as a number of smaller districts in between so you can use these bad boys to get almost anywhere you need to go. However, using the trains can be a bit tricky until you get used to the system, so use this guide to make the most of this valuable travelling tool!
First! There are really two train stations at the Gdansk Glowny stop. If you arrived in Gdansk by train from another city than you probably used PKP train services. These are the trains for getting to Gdansk, or leaving to another fabulous Polish Destination! But if you just want to get around the Tri-City, SKM is the way to go! Their platform is to the north of the main station, but you don't need to walk anywhere...just turn your head in that direction and you'll see where these trains depart!
Tickets! In some other cities you may have travelled to, people get away with not buying tickets and 'riding black.' Don't try it in Gdansk. There are almost as many people checking tickets as there are passengers and they are even on the trains late at night, dutifully tossing those without some important scraps of paper. Tickets must be validated after purchase by stamping them on the platform. Large yellow boxes with three small slits serve as the stamping stations.
Tickets can be bought in a number of kiosks near the train stations or in the official ticket windows. The ticket windows are usually queued up, so the kiosks are usually your best bet and since it doesn't cost anything extra, there is no reason not to! However, not every kiosk sells tickets, so make sure you give yourself enough time to find one that does. A third option is to head to the first car and buy a ticket from the conductor for a little extra. The conductors don't speak English and are often in a rush, so this is the worst option for most travellers. A ticket for traveling between Gdansk and Gdynia will cost 3.50zl one way and the trip takes about 40 minutes. A ticket for traveling between Gdansk and Sopot will cost 2.80zl and the trip takes under half an hour.
If you learn one bit of Polish, learn how to buy the SKM train tickets! For an English speaker, it's pronounced:
Poe-Prussia Bee-let Normal-na Dough (and then the city name... ie Sopot)
SKM is the best and only way to efficiently get to Gdynia or Sopot from Gdansk, and the trains stop in each of the smaller districts along the way. Gdansk Oliwa and Gdynia Orlowo are two incredible places that are often overlooked by travellers, but are easily accessible with SKM. Trains appear at each stop every 15 minutes during the day, but if you're out for a bit of late night fun, make sure you know when trains leave late at night, or you might be stuck for quite a while. Once on the train, just find the diagram above the doorways and you can easily see where the train stops and when! If you need help, there are tourist offices within a few meters of the main train stations in Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot where you can ask for assistance.
Finally, most of the drunk old geezers riding the trains are actually pretty funny, especially when they are in a group. They particularly enjoy making fun of the police officers and singing songs. However, there are people you need to worry about and the train stations are not the safest places, so exercise caution both on and off the trains, especially at night. Keep that mobile phone out of sight and if you can't speak any Polish, sometimes its best to keep quiet. Honestly, the trains aren't the danger they are often made out to be, but better to exaggerate when it comes to your safety because violence and theft are not unheard of.
Julia from Czech Republic Reply
Can somebody tell me if there is a website where I can see the timetable of the trains? Are they going at night (from Gdynia to Gdansk or Sopot)? Or maybe somebody knows the best way to get from Gdynia to Gdansk at night and how much it will cost?
D Rezende from Poland Reply
'A little extra' is not exactly true! A "normal" ticket from Wrzeszcz to Oliwa would cost you 2.20 zl if purchased at a kiosk or from the so called 'automats', now found on most platforms. However, the same ride can cost you 5 zl if purchased on the train! Watch out! They can really rip you off!
Lloyd Jackman from Poland Reply
I moved to Gdynia about 3 months ago from the UK and work in Gdansk so I use the SKM everyday. It's not such a great idea to get off a train and then try and get back on the next one en route to somewhere as its bound to get you in trouble when you have the least time or inclination to deal with it. However, you MUST validate your ticket that you bought at the kiosk BEFORE you get on the train. There are stamping slots you put the ticket in underneath the price guide normally. Also, when traveling by night (like after the beers) the trains are much less frequent and if you are going from Gdansk to Gdynia and you fall asleep on the train, you may be woken up in Wejhorowo-I mean it could have happened to anyone ;-)
from Poland Reply
The tickets get stamped with the name of the station and time. In theory, they are valid only for the next train to arrive but it is usually not a problem if you get out for a couple of minutes and catch the next one (especially if you don't speak Polish)...
Phil Francis from United Kingdom Reply
Just 3 queries-is it o.k. to get off the train at some point and then return, or would I have to buy another ticket? Also, are return tickets available [as in England]? Lastly,how do holes on the ticket work? Do they stamp on a particular time and day? Just curious!Keep up the good work!