Scheduled steam to resume at Wolsztyn…

by

but no one knows how many trains and for how long.

Czeslaw Janus i Andrzej Panczak come off shed on 23.06.2008 © Wojtek Lis

(click for photo in original context, on Parowozy z Wolsztyna, WARNING – Polish and German text)

In an ‘off the record’ briefing, an official in the Wielkopolska province’s transport department told BTWT that as a result of meetings that had taken place last week between Wielkopolska officials and the passenger railway operator PKP Przewozy Regionalne, steam haulage of timetabled passenger trains could restart as early as August and the full three train a day service (one to Leszno and two to Poznan) would resume on 1st October.

The actual number of trains will depend on the price that PKP Cargo will ultimately demand for the provision of its steam engines and rolling stock. The price that has been quoted to Wielkopolska officials has risen from 15 PLN (about £4) to a horrendous 46 PLN (£11-50) per kilometre. Already a couple of UK-based railtour operators have complained that it is cheaper and easier to charter a steam train in Germany than it is in Poland.

The official also confirmed fears that badly maintained steam engines could start forest fires and pointed out that not all passengers wanted to travel in old coaches hauled by steam engines emitting black smoke, particularly in summer where the only form of ‘air conditioning’ was to keep the windows wide open.

Provided PKP Cargo plays ball, the arrangements now being put in place should keep steam haulage of scheduled services going until the end of 2008. As to the long-term future, that’s still anybody’s guess.

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