First things first


Map of Polish railway heritage locations
©Wojciech Szymalski

(This map cataloguing of of Poland’s ‘railway tourist attractions’ was produced by Zielone Mazowsze (Green Mazowia) an admirable organisation promoting cycling and railway tourism. The map, which shows the locations superimposed on Poland’s mainline railway network, can be seen full size on Green Mazowia’s website. Just click on the map.)

I thought that before we go much further with BTWT it would be a good idea to define the scale of the problem so to speak and create an inventory of all the heritage railways and railway museums. It will give some perspective to our stories on developments in Poland. Hence the first, incomplete, draft of an index of Poland’s narrow gauge railways which took most of the weekend to compile and today’s map.

The map is admirable because it shows Poland’s mainline railway network, rather than the trunk road network, the implication being that if you are interested in railways you are also likely to want to travel by rail in order to visit them. How different to the small booklet on the railway attractions of [redacted] province which I have just finished translating!

A friend phoned up last week to say that he has only a few days to produce an English language version of a guide to railway attractions and would I help him by editing his translation. Of course, I ended up re-translating the booklet from scratch (much easier than editing a non-native speaker’s translation) and rewriting half the original text.

Today I received the cover artwork – very professional. Then I looked at the inside back page. There were motorways, trunk roads, minor roads, churches, museums, palaces, examples of wooden architecture… . If you looked at the map very carefully you could just see the standard gauge railways, but if you wanted to find the narrow gauge railways that this booklet was supposed to be promoting you would have to look for a very long time – they weren’t included. Of course, I boiled and phoned my friend. “Too late”, he said. “100,000 leaflets must be ready by Thursday”.

Perhaps, BTWT should produce its own guidebooks which would be available as a pdf download to all our supporters?

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