Smigiel Railway services cut back

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Rumanian railcar waiting to depart for Sniaty and Wielechowo from Smigiel

Brief history

The Smigiel Railway started life as a metre gauge line. It opened from Krzywin to Wielichowo in 1900 and from Wielichowo to Ujazd in 1901. The section from Lubnica to Ujazd was closed in 1905 because there was insufficient traffic and a branch from Wielichowo to Rakonowice was opened in 1910 utilising much of the material from the dismantled Lubnica – Ujazd section. The Wielichowo – Lunica section continued in operation until 1924. For most of its history it was owned by the local authorities, however, in 1949 it was taken over by PKP. It was re-gauged to the PKP standard (Russian) narrow gauge of 750mm betweem 1952 and 1953.

Death by many little cuts

By 1973, the secretary of the Communist Party in Rakonowiec decided that narrow gauge railways were unfashionable and ordered the Smigiel Railway cut back to Wielichowo. At a stroke, he deprived the railway of the principal destination for much of its passenger traffic. The railway struggled on from year to year passenger services being cut further back. In 1979 the Zgliniec – Krzywin section was closed to make way for a new reservoir and in 1990 the section from Stare Bojanowo to Zgliniec was closed.

The end of the PKP Era

Passenger services were withdrawn completely on 22 June 2001, this being the last day of normal passenger trains running (as opposed to special trains) on PKP’s narrow gauge railways. Freight traffic continued until PKP closed all its narrow gauge operations in December 2001.

A new beginning

The line was taken over by the local authority who entered into an operating agreement with Stowarzyszenia Kolejowych Przewozow Lokalnych, (SKPL). Passenger trains using Romanian-built railcars started running again in February 2002, and freight services followed some time later.

In September 2002, with the start of the new school term the timetable was increased, and the passenger services returned to Wielichowo for the first time in a decade. By October freight traffic had also increased, with coal being carried on a daily basis from Stare Bojanowo to Smigiel, Witowo Polski or Wielichowo. In 2007 and 2008, a Px48 steam locomotive, leased by Howard Jones from the Gniezno Railway appeared at Smigiel and hauled certain trains as part of Howard’s “Wolsztyn Experience” product.

And another cut

From 1 April this year, SKPL has been forced to withdraw all services beyond Smigiel because of the state of the track. Two promised grants, one from the Smigiel Town Council and the other from the Council of Wilkopolska Province have not been forthcoming. If you know the Smigiel Railway and consider it is worthy of financial assistance then it would be very helpful if you made your views known to the relevant authorities.

The Mayor of Smigiel:

Sz Pan Wiktor Snela
Burmistrz Smigla
Urząd Miasta i Gminy Smigiel
Smigiel 64-030
pl. Wojska Polskiego 6
POLAND

e-mail: burmistrz@smigiel.pl

tel: +48 65 518 98 23 or 518 01 39 or 518 00 03

The Chief Executive of Wielkopolska Province:

Sz Pan Marek Wozniak
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Wielkopolskiego
Al. Niepodleglosci 18
Pokoj 142 Budynek C
61-713 Poznan

e-mail: marszalek@umww.pl

tel: +44 61 854-19-88 or 61 854-18-47
fax: +44 61 854-17-17

The Smigiel Railway currently extends from Stare Bojanowo to Wielichowo. (The map can be moved, expanded or changed to satellite view.)

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One Response to “Smigiel Railway services cut back”

  1. Terry Boardman Says:

    Cingratulations to Howard Jones, Wolsztyn Experiece, for his efforts to keep trains running and to the Foxfield guys from England for the track repairs.

    I spent 3 days in June 2008 at Smigiel as part of a Wolsztyn Experience using a Px48 steam locomotive. It was fantastic. Regular services were only running between Stare Bojanowo and Smigiel with a short locomotive movement beyond the station to the coal yard for replenishment. We explored the rest of the line to Wielichowo and it is also very attractive with roadside and forest running.

    The line has great tourist and enthusiast potential and I would urge enthusiasts to visit Smigiel as part of the Wolsztyn Experience or independently.

    I urge everyone to lobby the relevant authorities and to visit the line to keep numbers up.

    Please take action.

    Terry Boardman
    (Australia)

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