A tale of 3 engines, part 1

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Tkh 05353 (ex Huta Florian No. 4) undergoing steam trials on 24 Luly 2008 at the ZNiUT works of PTK Holding in Dzierno. (from a photo by Gregorz Radlinski of TOZK Pyskowice)

(click to see complete photo in original POLISH context)


Behind The Water Tower
does not usually linger over developments concerning single locomotives. We deal with the fate of whole railways, analyse national transport policy and look at the systemic problems faced by railway ‘preservationists’. We leave it to others to describe and debate such fine details as the restoration of a signal box and what livery a particular railway carriage should be painted.

Of course, there are exceptions. Such iconic locomotives as the Flying Scotsman, by their very nature, are ambassadors for the railway heritage movement. Projects such as new build Peppercorn A1 pacific Tornado show how the ‘impossible’ can be achieved given sufficient determination, a professional approach, a good business plan and the generosity of many private individuals and commercial sponsors. It is entirely appropriate that developments concerning these ‘icons’ should feature in our pages.

But why are we devoting this post and our next two to the fate of three virtually unknown small industrial steam locomotives? First of all, because in Poland, which has only two dozen standard gauge steam locomotives in working order, the restoration of any steam locomotive from a derelict wreck to running condition (today’s article) is so rare for the story to be major news in its own right, and secondly, because the other two stories (one English and one Polish) do cast some fresh light as to the problems faced by the Polish heritage movement as a whole.

Tkh 05353 worked for many years at the Huta Florian steelworks. After withdrawal the locomotive was stored for many years at the railway workshops in Przezchleb. Here its condition deteriorated and it seemed unlikely that it could ever become anything more than a cosmetically restored ‘stuffed’ exhibit. However, Mr Zbigniew Pucek, the President of the Board of PTK Holding S.A. had other ideas. The locomotive was acquired by his company and given a general overhaul at the company’s ZNiUT works in Dzierno. The company maintains very close links with the TOZK Society at Pyskowice. The Society, which includes several steam fitters amongst its membership, gave practical assistance as well as technical advice during the restoration. Boiler repairs were carried out under the supervision of PPHU “Januszewski Wicher” S.C. also of Pyskowice.

On 24 July the locomotive had its first live steam test. Mr Radlinski’s stunning photograph (click on the picture) and this sparking video on You Tube, which can be seen in high definition, are a worthy record of this historic occasion.

A tale of three engines – part 2

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