Poland short line revival…

by

…while Ministry wields axe!

Lesna Station in Upper Silesia, photo ©Jacek Chizynski

As a result of the large rises in the price of diesel and the increased wages of lorry drivers in Poland, Poland’s disused branchlines are enjoying something of a revival. Several local authorities are exercising the option to take over their lines free of charge. Usually the main purpose is to provide a freight link which would make the towns along the line more attractive to investors, but the long-term revival of passenger traffic is also being investigated.

Last week, I attended a meeting at the offices of Lomza District Council where the future of the Lapy – Ostroleka line was being discussed. The Polish Ministry of Infrastructure has indicated that the line will receive no new investment and is scheduled for closure in 2010. Nearly all the representatives of the local councils there were in favour of taking over the line, although a few councillors did point out the considerable lobbying powers of the local road operators.

What is ironic is that, just as the Ministry of Infrastructure prepares to push through a freight strategy based on closing branchlines and abandoning wagonload freight, similar to the plans implemented by Dr Beeching in Britain in the 60’s, ‘short lines’ and wagonload freight are both experiencing something of a renaissance in Poland . The picture above by Jacek Chizynski shows recently refurbished pointwork at Lesna Station in Upper Silesia.

The investment is not by some ambitious local authority, but by PKP itself, anxious to hold on to a lucrative contract for carrying roadstone to a new tarmac plant at Lesna.

New tarmac plant at Lesna, photo ©Jacek Chizynski

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One Response to “Poland short line revival…”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    Lapy — Ostroleka line: discussed a few months ago, if I have things correctly; possible transfer to operation by SKPL mentioned, if ownership could be transferred to the district council — but indicated that PKP seemed unenthusiastic about letting any of this happen.

    Lesna — is this the terminus of the branch from Luban Sl. (former table 256)?

    It is to be hoped — even if against hope — that the Min. of Infra. may have second thoughts about their strategy.

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