Poland’s Greatest Riddle

Is He Having a Laugh?

Is He Having a Laugh?

It is one of Poland’s greatest riddles: why are the seats in carriages operated by Polish National Railways (PKP) not numbered in order? One gets on an InterCity train in Poznań which will takes its passengers on a comfy and stress-free journey to Warsaw Central Railway Station. The conductor checks the tickets with a modern, laser scanner. After all, it is the 21st century. The carriages look ultra-modern, like the seats on a plane, with LED lighting and a soothing green glow coming from the ceiling. The toilet in carriage number 7 is closed, but you can use the one in the next carriage. The PLN 254 is well-worth the fare but before one gets on the train, there is always the same problem: a scrummage in the corridor, with people thrashing about and arguing. The train sets off but there is still chaos in the corridor. The passengers look confused, families look bemused at the fact that they are not sitting next to each other even though their seat numbers are in order. Number 76 is by the window and next to number 74 whereas number 74 is next to number 78 but opposite number 77. The arguments eventually stop and the negotiations between passengers begins…

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