Archive for March 21st, 2008

Loco (and crew) shortage at Wolsztyn

Friday, 21 March 2008

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A fitter checks out an Ol-49 at Wolsztyn

Kolejelist is a very informative Yahoo discussion group with news and views about Polish railways. A recent post confirms, what we have heard from various sources, that the Wolsztyn locmotives are not in good mechanical condition. Someone who is ‘in the loop’ recently told us that boiler water treatment is haphazard and that boiler washouts are not being performed as regularly as they should. The comment regarding Wolsztyn only having 5 steam crews deserves comment. Chabowka, who operate a limited series of steam specials, have recently passed out 15 new steam drivers! Here is part of the post.

“Steam is alive and well on the Poznan and Leszno
lines until 2010 at least; however, they are short of
crews, three having [failed] their medicals recently.
There are now only five crews at Wolsztyn (i.e. ten
drivers/firemen). They have advertised for five
trainee firemen within PKP but the job is perceived as
being not well paid and they have only three so far.

“At the moment there are two return workings to Poznan
and one to Leszno, all peak-hour commuter trains. They
have reinstated a 2-car double-deck set plus one
‘ordinary’ coach on the Poznan trains, due to
overcrowding. (Last November it was ludicrous with
just a two-coach train.) Both lines are now operated
exclusively by steam and the horrendous railcars
off-peak, which the passengers hate as they have such
hard seats.

“There is a chronic shortage of locos at the moment as
well, although only because of late-running
maintenance. Ol49-7 has just stopped for maintenance
after nearly six weeks continuous running; Ol49-59 is
still at Pila where it is being overhauled; Ol49-111
is in bits at Leszno; Ol49-23 should be running next
week if it is fixed, leaving No.69 as the only working
Ol49. Pt47-65 is at Gniezno for firebox work, Pt47-112
is being used as a Heizlok and Pt47-106 is being
painted for display; Pt47s still cannot go to Poznan
because of the weak bridge over the main line at
Poznan.

“The Pm Pacific is at Gniezno works but should be back
in time for the Parade in May. They are trying to
preserve the hours on the Ok22 so that it survives the
summer; there is no other loco so Ok1-359 is being
used on the Leszno line: it goes very well but it is
[very] cold at this time of year!

The full post is here.

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Drunk in charge of a train

Friday, 21 March 2008

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PCC Rail locomotive 181.010-0

Yesterday’s Polsat TV News carried a news item about how passengers travelling on many trains on the Warsaw-Lodz line were seriously delayed after a PCC Rail diesel hauled freight train from Warsaw to Sosnowiec stopped mysteriously near Rogow. Single line working was in operation on this section because of the major rebuilding of the line currently in progress. Controllers at the Rogow signal box became seriously concerned as passenger trains began to stack up on both sides of the blockage and called out the police. The Police entered the cab and discovered both drivers fast asleep. Apparently they had a heavy drinking session the previous night. An interesting question arises, given that the train was actually stationary at the time the police boarded the locomotive, can they charge them with driving a train while incapacitated?

Perhaps some good may come from the incident? Passengers forced to sit for 5 hours or more on the back-breaking seats fitted in the new electric trains may be angry enough to complain. PKP Prewozy Regionalne bought 11 of the new trains for 171 m PLN from Pesa Bydgoszcz Holding SA with the assistance of funding from the EU.