Archive for March, 2008

Krszeszowice Finale

Sunday, 9 March 2008


I don’t usually celebrate the closure of a railway museum, but the liquidation of the so-called Skansen at Krzeszowice is a cause for rejoicing. The Skansen had been the brainchild of Jerzy Rechziegel who set up the Ogolnopolskiej Fundacja Ochrony Zabytkow Kolejnictwa, National Foundation for the Preservation of Railway Heritage. He persuaded several distinguished senior PKP executives to become executives of the Foundation, leased the railway yard at Kreszowice station and collected a total 14 steam locomotives and various items of rolling stock. The locomotives included engines which were the property of the Railway Museum in Warsaw. He also received locomotives from PKP and various industrial concerns. Railway enthusiasts became alarmed when he also set up a scrapyard on the site and locomotives in his collection started vanishing. Attempts by Polish railway enthusiasts to persuade the Malopolska Conservator of Monuments to list the locomotives as heritage items failed because key documents were missing or unavailable. Meanwhile the state of the remaining exhibits rapidly degraded and everybody in the Polish railway heritage scene expected the remaining locomotives to be cut up and the site liquidated.

In October 2007, PKP Cargo took the lead to sort out what had become a national scandal. A railway track to the yard was restored and the Warsaw Museum engines were prepared for a move. Meanwhile volunteers from Pyskowice worked on the other engines. In January, the Warsaw Museum engines were moved by PKP Cargo. A few in reasonable cosmetic condition went straight to Chabowka, the others finished their journey at the PKP Cargo railway workshops in Krakow. Finally on 2 March Ty43-1, Ol49-15, TKp 2261 reached Pyskowice Railway Centre courtesy PTK Holding S.A., which is an enthusiastic sponsor of the Museum project.


Skierniewice Success!

Saturday, 8 March 2008


Ok1 guest at Skierniewice Open Day 22 September 2007

In contrast to the unrelieved gloom of my usual fare, I thought I would brighten up your weekend by writing about the Polskie Stowarzyszenie Milosnikow Kolei, The Polish Association of Railway Enthusiasts and their wonderful railway museum at Skierniewice. The PSMK were set up in 1987 (two years before the collapse of communism) and since then have been assiduously collecting historic rolling stock, railway artefacts and documents. In 1991 the locomotive depot at Skierniewice was closed and the site started degrading. The takeover of the depot by the Association was first mooted in 1992. Thanks to the Association’s efforts the depot was listed as a historic monument in 1994 and the removal of artefacts and machinery from the site ceased. In 2002 the formalities were complete and the Association became the proud owners of the depot.

Much remains to be done and the depot roof will need rebuilding. But the great achievement of the Association is that they have secured the ownership of the site and cannot, as has happened elsewhere, be thrown out at the whim of the local council. The Association have a very informative website and have made a good start at getting the material translated into English. The list of exhibits has not yet been translated, but the details can readily be deduced.  Skierniewice is only 65 kilometres from Warsaw and enjoys an excellent rail service. A list of open days in 2008 is available here.

Competition – question 1

Friday, 7 March 2008

mystery loco

No prizes for guessing where this is, but what is it and how did it get there?

The Battle of Krosniewice. We need you!

Friday, 7 March 2008


The Krosniewicka Kolej Dojazdowa, Krosniewice
Local Railway, is a part of the Kujawska Kolej
Dojazdowa and was SKPL’s busiest n.g. railway.

New readers go first to A word of explanation at the bottom of this post

Contrary to the information that I gave earlier, the Ozorkow special last Saturday was not the last train on the Krosniewice system. SKPL have decided to continue to run the Krosniewice passenger services on a day-to-day basis. The notice given by Mayor of Krosniewice withdrawing SKPL’s licence expires at the end of March.

SKPL have written to the Minister of Infrastructure asking whether or not the passenger and freight services which they operated on the line fulfilled the requirements of the Law for the Commercialisation Restructuring and Privatisation of PKP. (It was a requirement of Krosniewice council’s takeover of the line from PKP that it should remain in use for the purposes of transport.) The letter also asks the Minister to advise what will happen to the takeover now that the Council have terminated SKPL’s licence and appointed no other operator.

Mr Wojciech Szygendowski, the Heritage Conservator of Lodz Province, has written to the Mayor of Krosniewice, reminding her that the whole railway has special heritage status and that she is responsible for its well being.

What can we do?

In the first instance send a letter to the Mayor of Krosniewice with a copy to the Minister of Infrastructure. Explain why you are interested in the line. Explain the heritage importance and potential tourist value of the Krosniewice system. Ask why at the end of March there will be no operator on the line. Point out the value of the historic workshops as a ‘living museum’. Express your concern that without an operator the well equipped workshops will be looted and that the historic locomotives and rolling will be vandalised.

Post your letter airmail and, if you can afford it, ‘signed for’ delivery. Send us a copy of your letter, so that we can publish it on the blog. Advise us if any reply is received. Don’t worry about writing in English, the Council offices have scores of people who could translate your letter for Madame Mayor.

write to:

Mrs Julianna Barbara Herman
The Mayor of Krosniewic
Urzad Miejski
Poznanska 5
99-340 Krosniewice

send a copy to:

Mr Cezary Grabarczyk
The Minister of Infrastructure
ul. 4/6 Chalubinskiego
00-928 Warszawa

A word of explanation

A word of explanation for those joining us for the first time. The Krosniewice Railway, one of the most interesting Polish narrow gauge railways – which operated regular passenger services and carried a substantial freight traffic – is closing because the Mayor of Krosniewice has teamed up with a property developer. Krosniewice Coucil is in the process of acquiring the railway land from PKP, the Polish State Railway Company, for transport purposes. But the Mayor is planning a big property development and the railway workshops are in her way. SKPL, the operator of the line, opposed the demolition of the workshops and, for their pains, have had their operator’s licence terminated by the Mayor.

Farewell Tooum!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Faithful readers of Behind the Watertower trying to access the blog have been wondering about the strange error message that has been displayed during the last couple days. Has Dyspozytor been finally disposed off by the dark forces which rule the Polish rail world? Well this time, at least, the answer is more mundane, in an attempt to titivate the heading, I seem to have brought down the entire blog. Attempts to log on result in a an error message to the effect that there is no such user. E-mails asking for assistance met with no response. There were other problems with our old host,, that I won’t bore you with. Finally, I decided that, while we have only 30 or so regular readers, it won’t be too painful if we collectively take the plunge and move to a another host. WordPress, is mature, stable and very easy to update and edit. My apologies to all for the inconvenience. I look forward to delivering a much more reliable service on the new host.

If you have any Polish railway news or comments (or even exciting railway happenings from further afield) please feel free to write. Dyspozytor can be reached at railfan(at) (don’t forget to replace the ‘(at)’ with a ‘@’).

Best wishes,