Wolsztyn steam – three more weeks!

by

Howard Jones (photo Rannoch Rail Adventures
click pic for more photographs)

Howard Jones’s last ditch talks with PKP (reported in our article on 11 June) to try to secure the future of steam haulage on the Wolsztyn – Leszno Service have brought partial success. In return for an additional payment from Wolsztyn Experience, PKP Przewozy Regionalne has agreed to let steam haulage of one Leszno train continue until 4 July. Wolsztyn Experience is already paying a subsidy to PKP Cargo to compensate for the additional costs the steam haulage.

Nobody involved in running WE has any illusions that this is no more than a short term fix. The future of Wolsztyn as a working steam depot servicing timetabled trains is in grave jeopardy. PKP Cargo have not made the necessary investments in the locomotives or the people maintaining and driving them to guarantee a reliable passenger service and that is what the Wielkopolska province Transport Director, Jerzy Kriger, wants. At the behest of the Chief Executive of Wielkopolska province Mr Kriger has scheduled a meeting next week with PKP. But the meeting is unlikely to agree terms for further scheduled steam operations at Wolsztyn, rather the meeting will be a first opportunity for the local authority to explore the terms under which it could to take over the Wolsztyn MPD from PKP. Give the scant regard shown by Mr Kriger, for WE’s customers Wolsztyn’s survival as anything more than a ‘skansen’ or museum is extremely unlikely.

Some of the many comments left on the Radio Merkury website:

First a 4 month break from steam haulage, next thing (I hope I’m wrong) steam trains will only be running for 2 months. Soon people will remember Wolsztyn as the last operational steam MPD in Europe. I can see that for PKP Wolsztyn is not a treasure to be cherished and promoted (not just for 2 weeks before the steam gala) but rather a burden. (translated)
Marcin Gadek (SKW)

I am a steam enthusiast from Dortmund. I think, it is a very bad decision to stop the steamtrains between Wolsztyn and Poznan. I canceled my trip to Wolsztyn in June, because there is now only one train to Leszno and back left with steam. That is not attractive enough for foreign visitors like me. Especially the 5.00 clock train in the morning to Poznan ist in summertime a very great train to do early morning pictures with sunrise. So, I hope, that the Steamlocomotives will be back soon on the line to Poznan. Best wishes
Uwe Jürgenhake

Please excuse my writing in English! Wolsztyn is famous around the world as the only place left where scheduled passenger trains are hauled daily by steam locomotives. I have been regularly visitng the town since 1989 to see the locomotives and travel on the trains. The town has changed a great deal in the past 20 years and I am sure that much of its current prosperity is due to the attraction of the steam locomotives. It is vitally important that the regular use of steam locomotives on the service to Poznan is resumed immediately. Please make sure that the officials in PKP understand how enthusiasts around the world are worried about the current situation regarding the continued daily use of steam locomotives at Wolsztyn.
160.85.33.117

=( bad
Starszy

This should never happen! It is vitally important for this region to have steam around!
Andre from the Netherlands

Hello Radio Merkury. It is really sad for us steamenthusiasts if no steam for so long as 4 months. We are many Danes who go to Poland for one purpus only: Steam in Wolsztyn. Just imagine how much hard currency shops around Wolsztyn will miss. Another thing is missing publicity for the PKP Museum. A lack of judgement from PKP to lay down steam over holiday season in Europe. Hope to see steam again soon.
Best regards Poul Thor Hansen, Denmark

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