Rogow railway work rewards volunteers

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Young volunteers replace a point sleeper in May 2008 (photo FPKW, click to see picture in its original context)

One of the problems faced by Polish heritage railways is a shortage of volunteers. Some railway managers argue that 50 years of communism have destroyed the volunteer ethos Others put forward the view that there is a shortage of youngsters. Yet others declare that they do attract youngsters, only to loose them when they get married. Our own view is that the problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are very few managers who know how to develop and nurture a volunteer work force.

One exception is Andrzej Tajhert who has been successfully developing a young volunteer workforce on the 49 km long Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway in the Lodz province. The Rogow Railway is a museum railway. It does not transport ordinary passengers or freight, but what it does do is to recapture the atmosphere of the Polish narrow gauge railways at their zenith in the 1960s. Many items of historic rolling stock have been carefully restored and painted in their correct colours. In the case of some of the freight rolling stock this has meant replacing the original planking plank by plank, In the case of some of the passenger rolling stock it has meant gutting the inside and starting again. Much of the work has been done by young volunteers.

It’s clear that Rogow’s volunteers enjoy their work. In return, they receive a number of special privileges and their efforts are recognized on the Rogow Railway website. The railway runs every Sunday from 27 April until 27 September. Trains depart from Rogow Osobowy Wask at 13.00 and run 17 km to Gluchow. Here there is an optional visit to the local church with the train guard acting as guide. On the return journey the train stops at Jezow where, provided you’ve remembered to bring your own garlic sausage and beer, you can enjoy a traditional Polish bonfire. Once a year trains run all the way to Biala Rawska in connection with the “Dni Rawy” festival at the end of May. Sadly, Rogow’s two Px48 steam locomotives both need extensive rebuilding before they could run again and the tourist trains are diesel hauled.

Rogow is a friendly railway which is easily accessible by train. It is no too far away from Warsaw and even closer to Lodz. If you are in Poland and you have not been to Rogow, do check it out for yourself as soon as possible.

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