No Show at Wolsztyn?



The end of the steam engine parade at Wolsztyn, May 2008

A dark question mark hangs over this year’s Wolsztyn Steam Gala. PKP Cargo bosses have decided that given Cargo’s difficult situation – between 5,000 and 7,000 employees face redundancy – it would be inappropriate for Cargo to fund this year’s event. Cargo has passed the buck to Fundacja Era Parowozow (FEP). FEP have been given less than two months to raise the monies required from commercial sponsors.

FEP chairman, Misroslwa Szymanski, approached the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce for assistance and was told that the Chamber will use its best endeavours to help the Foundation and assist the Polish heritage rail movement as a whole. However, two months is a very short timescale to raise the monies required. In order to generate revenue, he was advised to create a number of extra facilities at this year’s festival such as conducted tours of the engine shed and access to a public viewing gallery which could be sold to visitors. However, it’s unlikely that Szymanski’s bosses, the FEP Supervisory Board, will accept these recommendations.

In the circumstances there is a very real possibility that, neither the Wolsztyn Steam Gala, nor Parowozjazda at Chabowka will take place this year.

11 Responses to “No Show at Wolsztyn?”

  1. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    The suggestions weren’t very original. They really need to come up with something a little more original to make an event like this pay and in the current climate I really can’t see companies putting their hands in their pockets at such short notice. The Poles still aren’t that good at tourism and I feel that if the parade doesn’t run then Wolsztyn’s credibility will plummet and that is something I think the Poles do not realise.

    The Parade is a really good flag waver for Cargo and in the sphere of things it really isn’t that much money given the horrendous losses they HAVE made.

    They should perhaps take a leaf out of the Union Pacifics’ book and look at a separate department for steam – UP make it a PR excercise and a corporate junket all rolled into one and I think that Cargo couild do that as well. They just have to write off some money as PR and I am sure they have a budget for THAT.

    Given last years fiasco about stopping steam in the middle of the tourist season and the “will they? won’t they?” about this years summer running I feel that Wolsztyn is just too important to be left in the hands of some corporate bean counter in Cargo who can see the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    EEC money needs to be invested in Wolsztyn and SOON, or it will be lost for good! For goodness sake, they are relying on TWO engines (Ol49-59 and 69) to run the service at the moment, neither of which is in terribly good condition (and I am really being charitable here!). It really is hanging on by a hair, and sooner or later it will snap!

    • dyspozytor Says:

      The problem for PKP Cargo is that one of the railway trade unions has reported the Cargo board to NIK, Poland’s National Audit Commission, and the board is now terrified of spending a single zloty, if that expenditure can’t be shown to be directly linked to its core business.

      PKP Cargo DID intend to pass its heritage railway assets to a separate organisation – that was what Fundacja Era Parowozow’s role was supposed to be. But, before the transfer could take place, the PKP board changed and the new board decided to retain the heritage rolling stock and use the Foundation solely as a marketing vehicle.

      A short-sited and very stupid decision!

      • Gavin Whitelaw Says:

        And exactly HOW are they marketing it? As you say, a STUPID decision! If they do not know what to do with it, they should hand it over to those that do!

        But then, that would be a loss of face……..and pride is a foolish thing!

  2. Rik Degruyter Says:

    Are the PKP Cargo bosses giving in their bonusses ?

  3. gary stevens Says:

    Well, another disaster, for the polish ecomony,biggest tourist event in Eastern Europe and the best Public relations excise. Well no one will bother with Poland and head for Germany or Hungray, for plamdamfs

  4. John Says:

    Well lots of people try to offer assistance, but as they kick everyone in the teeth, maybe it’s time they felt pain.

    Cancel Wolsztyn 2009, move on, and soon as it’s gone.. people will want it back. Sometimes it just needs to be reborn.

    • dyspozytor Says:

      You are, of course quite right! If the event does not happen this year it would galvanise the local authorities into action in the way that nothing else could.

  5. antares Says:

    The above comments are fully discouraging. It seems that we are approaching the no- return point on this affair and that we shall crash against ‘the gardener’s dog’ policy of PKP Cargo, as ‘Dyspozytor’ has called it. Is there in fact any hope that the event will take place this year?

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