Steam shuttle Rabka Zdroj – Chabowka Skansen, 2006
The Chabowka Steam Gala is the headline event of the Polish heritage rail calendar. Held traditionally on the last weekend in July, it involves not only all the steamable locomotives in Chabowka, but also visiting locomotives from Wolsztyn and abroad. The parade is actually held at at Rabka Zdroj, a little way up the Nowy Sacz line, and involves not just steam locomotives, but vintage passenger and freight trains as well. My mate Neo, at the kolejelist discussion group, has organised two study trips for UK railway societies to visit Poland’s surviving narrow gauge railways and rail heritage sites, and I hear that his British visitors consider the Chabowka Steam Gala to be the highlight of their trip.
So should you tell the wife that she’s taking the kids to Ibiza by herself, and that your company has sent you on a week long team building course at the end of July – and join Neo and his colleagues as they celebrate British-Polish friendship in various engine sheds all around Poland? Well, err… No. We don’t actually know when the Chabowka Gala will take place this year! It should be taking place on Saturday July 26. However, Wojciech Balczun, Chairman of the PKP Management Board, is entertaining some VIPs in September and has asked Zbigniew Gondek, his local Operations and Technical Support Director in Cracow, to consider moving the event to September. Our charming ‘cleaning lady’ friend, who empties the paper bins at PKP Cargo Warsaw HQ in Grojecka Street, has everything in hand and we will let you know just as soon as a definitive date emerges.
Meanwhile, somebody please tell Neo!