Come to Poland to make a difference!

by

Photoreportage by Marek Cieselski

Foxfield volunteers working on the Smigiel Railway 30.04.2008

We are really impressed by this story which shows how, with a bit of ‘can do spirit’ on all sides, it is possible for British volunteers to make a real difference when they visit Poland. Howard Jones offers an add-on narrow gauge option on the Smigiel Railway as part of his ‘Wolsztyn Experience’ product. Some of his customers from the Foxfield Railway noticed that some of the trackwork was a bit rough and asked whether they could come down to the Smigiel Railway again and do something about it. Staying in the former goods shed at Smigiel, which has been adapted as hostel accommodation, the Foxfield gang worked on the railway from the 28 April to 2 May and then went to Wolsztyn to enjoy the Steam Show.

Repairs were carried out at the Stare Bojanowo loading ramp, at Stare Bojanowo Wask station and on the sharp curve on the approach to Smigiel Station. 70 sleepers were replaced, track joints were levelled and rail alignment was corrected. On Wednesday 30 April, the permanent way train was hauled by the Px48 steam locomotive on loaned from the Gniezno Railway.

Everybody is delighted with the way that things went and already plans are being made for an even larger group of volunteers to visit Smigiel. Our congratulations to everybody involved in making it happen!

The Foxfield Gang with SKPL Infrastructure boss, Andrzej Cichowicz

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2 Responses to “Come to Poland to make a difference!”

  1. Chris Cairns Says:

    I found this great website after reading about the difficulties that Wolsztyn is currently experiencing. In April I took part in the FarRail Tours Narrow Gauge photographic tour, which included Smigiel.

    However shortly before the tour started we were advised that the line between Smigiel and Wielichowo had had its operating permit withdrawn.

    Is that part of the line ever going to be re-opened at some point?

    As a founder member of the Wolsztyn Experience I was one of the 1st to undertake the driving of the service Railcar on this line, and can well remember the poor condition that the track was in. At least my driving has featured on a DVD for future replays.

  2. dyspozytor Says:

    Neither Smigiel Town Council, who are taking the line over from PKP, nor SKPL, who are the operator, have given up on the long-term future of the Wielichowo-Smigiel section of the SKD.

    The Smigiel line is desperately short of money which is reflected in the condition of the line, SKPL are hoping that Smigiel Town Council will soon be able to provide a subsidy to the railway – the funds have already been paid to STC by the Chief Executive’s office of Wielkopolska province.

    Meanwhile a large working party from the WHR – I believe – are due to visit the SKD later in the summer and SKPL is earmarking some cash for track materials, so hopefully things will get better.

    Now if only STC would consider implementing an EU project similar to Reval Town Council on the Gryfice Railway. Why, we might even one day, get the trains running to Rakoniewice once again!

    D.

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