Initially, the railway from Tarnów enabled travelling to Bochnia and Dębica. It was known as Charles Louis Railway, opened in 1856. For serving passengers, a small, provisional building in a Tyrolean Neo-Renaissance style was built. However, it soon became too small for the increasing number of passengers; therefore, in 1862 a new one was opened.


Railway in the Austro-Hungarian Empire was systematically gaining importance, so in 1906 – 1910 a new, flagship railway station was built in Tarnów, and it is still there. The station was made in a Baroque and Modernist style, relating to grand mansions, according to a design by E. Baudisch, an architect from the Railway Ministry in Vienna.


Tarnów station consists of a few parts joined with two-storey wings. The central part dominates the building structure – a monumental pavilion by the main vestibule, covered with a characteristic mansard roof with a dome. On its sides there are smaller pavilions of a similar shape. Formerly, one could find here a luxurious restaurant and a 1st class waiting room, with woodwork in an eclectic Art Nouveau style, stuccowork and stained glass. Additionally, in the outermost buildings there were offices, a post office, luggage storage and the chief officer's flat. Framed pano-ramas of the Tatra Mountains and Pieniny mountain range decorated the interiors. The paintings were created by Edmund Cieczkiewicz, a rail-way adjunct from Nowy Sącz. Artists commissioned to finish the interiors decorated the eclectic and Art Nouveau interiors with tasteful fittings, candelabras and wall lights. The roofing over the platforms was supported on stylish, cast iron columns. A fun-fact is that three years earlier a railway station had been built according to the same design in Stanyslaviv (present-day Ivano-Frankivsk), thus Tarnów station has a twin.


The wind of history did not spare this beautiful building. It was seriously damaged for the first time during World War I, in 1915. The second time was on 28 August 1939, when many trains with mobilised soldiers were passing through Tarnów. Then saboteurs detonated

a time bomb at the station. Part of the building was demolished. The entering of the Soviet Army in 1945 meant further damage, and the socialist period brought slow depreciation of the station, loss of visual appeal and regression of its functions.


It was only in 2007 – 2010 that a general overhaul was conducted, returning Tarnów station to its appearance from 100 years before. The building joined a small circle of the most beautiful railway stations in Poland. It is a fine example showing the relation between the word “railway station” and a palace.

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© Całość praw autorskich - Antoni Bochen, Filip Wiśniewski