Pyskowice – Last chance or last rites?

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TOZKiOS volunteers working on Ty42-24 in a secure workshop somewhere in Gorny Slask province. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

Following the recent unfavourable¬† court decision, the conclusion of PKP SA’s lengthy legal proceedings against TOZKiOS, the railway society operating the skansen at Pyskowice, the society has received a notice to quit the former wagon works next to the engine shed site.

It is not quite the end of the Psykowice project, for the society continues to rent the sidings outside the wagon works at a peppercorn rent from PKP PLK, Poland’s approximation for Network Rail. But it is a bitter blow. The move of the restored locomotives and rolling stock from the relative security of the wagon works to the sidings outside will subject them to the same sort of petty thievery as is affecting the remaining collection.

The cab of Ty42-24 in all its restored glory. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

This final blow is particularly painful as the society have almost completed the restoration to working order of Ty42-24. The 2-10-0 has passed preliminary pressure tests and needs only a few more months work before it can move under its own power.

The Pyskowice site. The engine shed with partially collapsed roof is in the foreground, some of the sidings leased from PKP PLK are just visible behind the shed, the wagon works is behind and completely hidden by the roundhouse. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

There is a last chance meeting between society officials and local government representatives this Monday morning 5 November. All of us at BTWT hope that the meeting goes well, but we are not holding our collective breath.

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3 Responses to “Pyskowice – Last chance or last rites?”

  1. Gary McKay Says:

    I operate canadianbattlefieldtours.ca By way of a little background, the Roundhouse (Skansen) and the sidings at Pyskowice are a major point of interest and a tour stop for one of my major tours- Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf/Death March. The tour for 2013 is slated for September.

    The roundhouse and sidings were built largely by British and Canadian prisoners of war, in 1944. These prisoners worked here at Peiskretscham (now Pyskowice) which was known as Arbeitskommando (working party) E 578 and later known as E749. They were forced to work here by the Germans until Jan 22, 1945, when they began their Death March, from Pyskowice. In addition to the British and Canadian prisoners, there was a large number of Polish and Ukranian prisoners, as well. They were also forced on the Death March.

    I was thrilled when Google Earth indicated that everything was still there, largely in the same appearance as it would have been in 1944. I visited Pyskowice in December 2011 and immediately determined that this important piece of history would be a major point in my tour package.

    I sent a letter to the town council 6 weeks ago to find more information about the site and to see if there were still some oldtimers that could provide a Polish perspective to the events of 1944. I have not heard back from them. It was only good fortune that I came across your blog yesterday. Somewhere in the blog it has been noted that the Council may not be friendly to the preservation of the site. If that’s true, that may explain why I have not heard back from them.Of course, the bad news is that there is a concerted effort to demolish the site, which, from a historical perspective, would be tragic. For example, I expect to be bringing many tourists to the site, over the coming years. So, if my voice is helpful in preserving the status quo, I am more than happy to assist in any way.

    The reason I was able to discover Pyskowice, in the first place, was due to a meticulous diary that a friend kept, during his time as prisoner. His name was Vern Richardson and he was taken prisoner at the Dieppe raid of 1942. I would urge anyone with an interest in the construction of the facilities to go to my website for a lengthy discussion about the construction. Go to http://www.canadianbattlefieldtours.ca > OUR TOURS>Stalag VIIIB/Death March>scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link Dieppe-Vern Richardson diary. Once opened go to page 222 to start the information on E578 & E749 at Peiskretscham (Pyskowice)

    I hope my efforts may help in some small way in the preservation of such an important site, relative to WWII history

    Best regards,
    Gary McKay
    Canadian Battlefield Tours

    • Dyspozytor Says:

      Gary, Many thanks for posting a very interesting comment. You are absolutely right that this could indeed be helpful. I will try to contact you by e-mail. D.

  2. P.Beek Says:

    To anyone living in the Pyskowice area,

    If you have been in the labour kommando Peiskretscham or in contact with people who were there in 1943-1944, especially in kommando with Jewish prisoners, please contact me by e-mail:paulbeek_1956@yahoo.com

    Thanks from Holland.

    Paul Beek

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