Polish lesson – part 1


The Naleczow Railway and its branches
part of Jarek Szczuryk vel Szczerby’s
comprehensive map of narrow gauge railways
in the Lublin region.

(Click on map to download original as a 212k pdf file.)

BTWT breaks the news as it happens. We were the first English language source to report on the Vivarais closure. We wrote about the Machiavellian plans of the Mayor of Krosniewice well before she closed the Krosniewice Railway last March, and more recently about SKPL’s intention to withdraw from running the Naleczow Railway before anyone else knew anything about it. We also pride ourselves on being an interactive service, and today’s post illustrates how important our readers are to us. An article on the ‘Global Economic Collapse’ and its impact on transport policy had been researched and was due to be completed and published today, but then this morning we received a question about the Naleczow Railway from Robert Hall, one of our regular readers.

As this system is being discussed at present, dare I ask (with a bit of apprehension lest we flog the topic to death) for more information regarding the map of this system included in the post of 22 July 2008, ‘Railway to Let’. Can you tell us anything about the various sections shown in red, indicating ‘closed’, on that map? I had hitherto been aware only of the generally-known common-carrier maximum extent of the system: the main stem south-westward from Naleczow, and its Wilkow and Poniatowa branches. Were the red ‘closed’ sections, perhaps agricultural or forestry lines?

With headlines in the mainstream media screaming the end of the world as we know it, it was a no-brainer to decide that BTWT readers would prefer a reply to Robert’s question rather than yet another article about economic meltdown. Meltdown would have to wait. The only problem was we didn’t know the answer! BTWT does not have a library of books about the history of Polish narrow gauge railways (see the appeal at the end of this post) which is one reason why you will find that our articles tend to be about what is happening now, rather than focussing on the past.

Be that as it may, a little bit of judicious Googling led us to Artur Pawlowski’s amazing site (alas Polish only) about the Roztocze foothills of South East Poland and the Ukraine. With the help of amateur railway historians, Artur has compiled a list (Polish) of 137 narrow gauge railways that once operated in the area. Artur also publishes a link to the map referred to at the beginning of this post. Although the map is in Polish, it’s worth downloading. You’ll find it no problem to decipher with the help of this short dictionary.

cegelnia, cegelni – brickworks, belonging to ~
cementownia, cementowni – cement works, belonging to ~
kamieniolom, kamieniolomu – stone quarry, belonging to ~
cukrownia, cukrowni – sugar refinery, belonging to ~
cukrowniane (adj) – sugar beet industry
gorzelnia, gorzelni – still (as in whisky), belonging to ~
gospodarstwo, gospodarstwa – farm, belonging to ~
huta, huty – steel works, belonging to ~
huta szkla, huty szkla – glass works, belonging to ~
inne – other
koleje waskotorowe – narrow gauge railways
las, lesne (adj) – forest, forest (adj)
linia, linie (pl) – railway line, lines
majatek, majatku – estate, belonging to ~
normalnotorowa (adj), normalnotorowe (pl) – standard gauge
Ordynacja Zamojska – Zamojski Estate
pochodzenia militarnego – of military origin
powiat – administrative district
przebieg granicy polsko-radzieckiej do 15 lutego 1951 r.
Poland-Soviet Union border till 15 February 1951
publiczne (adj) – public (common carrier)
stacja – station
stacja styczna – border station
szerokotorowa (adj), szerokotorowe (pl) – broad gauge
tartak, tartaku – timber mill, belonging to ~
wspolczesny przebieg granicy polsko-ukrainskiej
current Poland-Ukraine border

Well, I hope Robert will find Jarek SvS’s map and this short dictionary of help in researching the Naleczow Railway’s branches. Perhaps if the global meltdown doesn’t happen for a few more days there be enough time for us to devote a complete post the history of the Naleczow line.

Meanwhile Behind The Water Tower itself needs your help. If we aren’t to get stuck in a groove, and end up just writing about the Naleczow and Krosniewice lines, we need your assistance to go out into the field and find out what is happening in such far flung outposts of the Polish heritage railway empire as Przeworsk, Elk and Gryfice. We also need to build up a reference library of key Polish texts so as to be able to answer your more esoteric questions. A small donation on a regular monthly basis, or a larger donation once or twice a year, would go a long way to keep us steaming along.

How much is BTWT worth to you? We think that we are worth at least the price of a pint of beer each month! If all of our regular readers made a monthly donation of the price of a pint (say £3 in the UK and 4 zloty in Poland), together we really could make BTWT one of the best railway blogs ever. So if you think that we are worth the price of pint please press the button below.

Many thanks!

6 Responses to “Polish lesson – part 1”

  1. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    Donation made!

  2. Robert Hall Says:

    I’m trying to make a donation, but “computers hate me”, and Paypal is thwarting me at present. Will return to the battle when have more time available.

    Many thanks Dyspozytor, for this material about Naleczow Railway and its “feeders” – much here, to get teeth into. As regards “fiddling while Rome burns”: it’s been my impression that throughout the past fifty years or so – more or less ever since I first essayed reading a newspaper – for pretty well the whole of that time, the news- and current-affairs- buffs, have been (continually, with regard to Britain; on and off, with regard to the world as a whole) fretting and agonising about possible imminent economic catastrophe, in one form or another. Human nature is such, that with “saturation” about any issue, folk are apt to end up rather being numbed to it, and losing interest. Overall feeling comes to be, “when the apocalypse actually happens, is when I’ll worry about it”. Not to mention that I personally can’t do anything at all about global economic meltdown, whereas I can do something about my knowledge of the Naleczow 750mm system’s ramifications.

    Anyhow, there are quite a number of people around, who believe that the world will come to an end in the most literal way, in 2012…

  3. Grzegorz Sykut Says:


    I’m writing on behalf of a group of polish volunteers working on Naleczowska Narrow Gauge Railway. We are really pleased to see some information about our railway. I’d like to invite you to visit on this railway.

    One thing about your map. The line between Karczmiska to Wilkow has been out of service since 2004. Somebody stole nearly 300 m of track. And the bridge near Szczekarkow Station is broken.
    We have a plan to prepare a short part this track (behind the picnic camp) for use with platelayers trolleys. We looking people who can help us with the work.

    Anybody who would like to help, please contact me.

  4. dyspozytor Says:

    Dear Robert,

    Your donation arrived safely. Thanks for returning to the battle with PayPal and winning!

    Please keep the comments coming.

    Best wishes,


  5. Robert Hall Says:

    Accomplished thanks to kind help from my much more computer-savvy brother — also, in a modest way, a railway and steam fan. He has no particular inclination towards Poland’s railways; but nobody’s perfect!

  6. dyspozytor Says:

    Thanks also to your brother. Please tell him that there’s quite a lot on BTWT for someone who isn’t interested in Polish railways!

    BTW, I tried e-mailing you and had my mail bounced back as spam. Please could you try sending me an e-mail to railfan(at)go2.pl to clear?

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