34 million PLN

by

for Rewal n.g. refurbishment!

niechorze

Lxd2-472 at Niechorze, train from Rewal to Pogorzelica.
Photo http://www.rail.pl

(Click photo to see original on Galeria Kolejowa website.)

A 34 million PLN project to rebuild the narrow gauge railway between Gryfice and Trzebiatow as a major tourist atraction has been launched by the Municipality of Rewal. The railway links many of the the holiday resorts of the Municipality such as Trzesacz, Rewal, Sliwin, Niechorze and Pogorzelica with the PKP main line system at Gryfice. As well as completely rebuilding the track; the project envisages restoring the station buildings, fitting Victorian ‘retro’ style station canopies and lighting; and providing enhanced facilities for tourists, such as cafes, museum galleries and cycle hire. A damaged bridge will be rebuilt and trains, which currently terminate 15 km short of Trzebiatow at Pogorzelice – will once again work through to the end of the line.

This will be the first major heritage railway restoration project in Poland. (The only other heritage railway to attempt anything of this sort was the Bieszczady Railway which sought EU funds to rebuild its 7km ‘missing link’ to the PKP main line at Lupkow. It received a small grant – in the order of 50,000 USD – from the private Carpathian Foundation and managed to relay some half of the target section of track.)

Many narrow gauge purists will see the plans – with their  Victorian style ‘retro’ accoutrements as way ‘over the top’, but the new railway is expected to work for a living and attracting more tourist visitors into the area. It is a fact of life that the average tourist is more interested in keeping the kids amused and keeping out of the rain than historical accuracy. Perhaps the project, which has some 13 million PLN coming from the EU, may encourage other other Polish local authorities to invest in their own narrow gauge lines?

The Gryfice Narrow gauge Railway is a fragment of the once extensive Pomeranian Narrow gauge railways – a network of metre gauge railways which once ran in ‘the top left hand corner’ of Poland. The system at its height comprised 555 route miles which survived almost in its entirety until 1989. Closures followed step by step until, like all PKP narrow gauge lines, the remains were ‘dumped’ by PKP in 2001. The 55 km section of line between Gryfice and Trzebiatow was taken over by the municipality of Rewal who set up their own operating division to operate 40 km (25 miles) as a tourist railway.

rewal

The Gryfice narrow gauge railway – the left hand loop
Map courtesy http://www.mapa.targeo.pl/beta/

(Click on map to open a new page with a map which can be zoomed and scrolled.)

Robert Skraburski, the chairman of the of the Rewal Municipality had hoped that neighbouring local authorities would join in the project and that more of the former Pomeranian narrow gauge railway network would be revived. Sadly, apart from the municipality of Trzebiatow, the other local authorities seem more interested in cycle paths than railways.

The Pomeranian narrow gauge railway system will feature in an special article by BTWT guest writer Robert Hall which will be published during BTWT’s first birthday celebrations in March.

Sources (Polish only):

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2 Responses to “34 million PLN”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    Reopening Pogorzelica — Trzebiatow would be cause for great joy, if it were indeed to come to pass…

    In the current bad times for railways in most of the world, being a purist is a hard-to-afford luxury; great thankfulness for rail action surviving, and willingness to pay a heavy price, is really more appropriate. It’s salutary to remember that the average tourist, God bless him, indeed has very different priorities from the railfan. As a volunteer on a British preserved line once remarked to me, in bringing-back-to-reality vein: “What our visitors appreciate most, is good car parking; clean toilets; and courtesy from the staff.”

    • dyspozytor Says:

      Amen to that. Too much steam is wasted on UK preserved railways arguing about the precise shade of green that locomotives should be painted and not enough is used to keep the paying punter happy. In addition to your list I would add – something to keep the kids amused, somewhere to go when it rains and something to eat at a reasonable price. It shouldn’t be necessary to mention nappy changing facilities and disabled access, but I will anyway, just in case. My best ever customer experience on a UK preserved line was on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, hardly a major railway heritage centre, just a railway with very friendly staff!

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