Smigiel Resleepering at Robaczyn

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Between 12-14 July, SKPL platelayers relaid 80 sleepers and restored the track geometry of a length of line at Robaczyn, near Stare Bojanowo, on the Smigiel Railway.

Photos, © Andrzej Cichowicz, SKPL

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6 Responses to “Smigiel Resleepering at Robaczyn”

  1. Perry Says:

    Innovation in track design and track laying has been developed in South Africa. Just flatten and compact the ground and unroll the track? Well, not quite, but close.

    http://www.tubulartrack.co.za/

    Regards.

    Perry

  2. Geoff Jenkins Says:

    I understand that passenger services on the Smigiel and Plezew lines have been suspended until the end of August so that track repairs may be undertaken. It’s good to see that work is actually taking place and I hope that the lines will reopen as planned. However, it is a concern that shutting the railways for several weeks will cause people to use other forms of transport and they may not return to using the trains. In particular, passenger traffic on the Pleszew line had only just recommenced after a lengthy suspension. This stop – start situation cannot be helpful when trying to retain or even increase the number of passengers carried.

    Is freight still being carried at Smigiel and is standard gauge freight still using the dual gauge track at Pleszew or have both operations ceased all revenue earning operations for the moment?

    SKPL seems to be having a pretty challenging time at the moment. It looks as though in 2009 it will be a rather smaller operation than it was in 2007. Are you able to explain to us about what is going on?

  3. dyspozytor Says:

    SKPL is having a tough time financially. There was a big derailment on the Krosniewice line about three months before its closure. It was alleged at the time that one of the enginemen, driving a train of transporter wagons carrying sugar from the refinery from Brzesc Kujawski, exceeded the line speed by a considerable margin.

    The standard gauge wagons were declared beyond economic repair and SKPL has undertook to make monthly repayments to PKP Cargo to cover their cost. SKPL also owe money to the Polish equivalent of DHSS. These monthly payments absorb nearly all the cash coming in from SKPL’s freight business.

    While the SKPL operation remains EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) positive, there is very little cash available for day to day expenditure, and none at all available for contingencies. With most of the country on holiday in August, this month seemed the best to make further economies.

    Both the Pleszew and Smigiel lines continue to carry freight. The Pleszew freight workings are standard gauge, the Smigiel services run from Stare Bojanowo only as far as Smigiel. Passenger services on both lines will resume on Monday 1 September.

  4. Robert Hall Says:

    Times do seem to have been hard over the past twelve months or so, for SKPL’s passenger services run for “real people” (as opposed to tourist workings). There’s a thing that has puzzled me about the situation on the Pleszew line over that period. I’ve wondered why — during the long stretch of time when the line’s one railcar was out of action, requiring extensive repairs — it seemed impossible to work out some substitute means of running the 750mm gauge passenger service. (We were informed as to why that could not be done with standard-gauge stock, over the shared s/g track between Pleszew “junction” and “town” stations.)

    I gather that the Pleszew line has a Lyd2. Assuming that that loco is in going order, I’ve mused that surely it should have been possible for SKPL to borrow — or hire for a nominal sum — a 750mm gauge coach from another venue (operated by themselves, or by another operator) and run the passenger service with said coach plus the Lyd2. I realise that there may have been problems and difficulties unknown to an “armchair critic” such as myself, 1,300 km away from the scene…

  5. Geoff Jenkins Says:

    On 24 October last year there were three standard gauge vans at Krosniewice displaying considerable accident damage. It is not surprising that they were classed as beyond economic repair. A further standard gauge van loaded with bagged sugar was rolled just south of Boniewo on 25 October 2007. Recovering the vans and cargo must have cost SKPL a significant amount, before the payments for the damaged vans are taken into account.

    It is a pity that on the Smigiel system freight is only running as far as Smigiel. Shortly after SKPL took over the Smigiel line the freight situation appeared to be far more promising with traffic to Witkowo Polskie and Wielichowo as well as Smigiel. Is the cut back in freight traffic due to the state of the track or competition from road transport? Smigiel’s track has generally looked pretty good compared with some other lines so is the problem competition from road hauliers?

    We have wondered why at Pleszew an alternative to the railcar was not arranged. I believe that there are a couple of Lyd1’s there and at at least one of them was in working order not so long ago. The only serviceable coach was a semi open tourist vehicle which would not have been suitable but it must have been possible to hire or borrow one from somewhere.

    The loop at the standard gauge station would have needed to be reinstated as it was removed once the railcar was brought into service. However, it should not have been a long job to obtain a spare point and a few lengths of track to provide a short loop, assuming that the land was still available for this purpose.

    Anyway, hopefully, the refurbished railcar will be running again from the beginning of September and will prove to be a little more reliable than previously.

  6. dyspozytor Says:

    I know of one accident not two. I will ferret around and see whether the van at Boniewo was left over from the same disaster.

    The lack of run round loop at Pleszew is SKPL’s official reason for not using the Lyd1 to haul the passenger service. But I guess that the severe cash shortage is the background against which SKPL makes all its decisions.

    Incidentally there is the beginning of some movement regarding the Krosniewice Railway, but I need to spend tomorrow investigating the new leads before I can post a story.

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