Ready to run? Px48, 1Aw and brake van, May 2009. Photo BTWT
A group of us visited Rogow last weekend. The scene resembles a typical Polish narrow gauge railway during Poland’s post-war minor railway boom. Coaches and goods wagons are scattered around the yard. A couple of Px48s wait their turn in the distance. It just needs a scenographer to dress the film set, apply some dirt and grime to the rolling stock, insert a couple of smoke cartridges into the smokeboxes and the illusion would be complete. No wonder special trains for wedding parties have become popular here. It is a journey back in time to the days when the Catholic Church and the Communist Party were locked in a fierce battle for the nation’s souls, and traditional Polish family values prevailed.
There is much to admire at Rogow. The standard of restoration – nearly all carried out by volunteers – is very high and most of the rolling stock actually runs. Sadly the two Px48s are static exhibits only. There is a small museum which helps put the railway into its historical context. (The line started as a German 600 mm gauge military railway. The 48 kilometres from Rogow to Biala Rawska were laid down in one month – March 1915!) Nor are all the attractions just for dedicated railway enthusiasts – a small platelayers’ trolley is available for children most weekends. On a UK heritage railway, the safety officer would have apoplexy. Here, however, the watchful eye of a member of staff aided by the efforts of anxious fathers provides an effective safety system.
Don’t try this at home! Platelayers at work
One thing that does strike a UK visitor as odd – although this is hardly a complaint – is the lack facilities for visitors to spend their money. There was no charge for car parking, no charge for entry, no charge for the trolley rides and no charge for the museum. This was particularly striking as earlier in the day we had visited the ‘Jurassic Park’ at Kolacinek a few miles distant. Here dinosaurs were few and far between, but many and varied were the ways of additional charge attractions. By the time we had added the money spent on refreshments, souvenirs and toys to the car parking, entry and ride charges, we worked out that each family had spent over 100 zloty. This is over £20 and is a lot of money in a country where earnings are about one fifth of what they are in the UK. Perhaps, given the lack of funding from official sources, Polish heritage railways need to become equally adept at parting visitors from their money. At Rogow, we had a quick whip round and each family made a donation of 10 zloty (about £2) to the railway man on duty who seemed quite embarrassed about taking our money.
From 26 April to 4 October, trains run each Sunday from Rogow to Jezow a distance of 8km (5 miles) , departing at 11:15; also from Rogow to Gluchow, 17 km (10 miles) departing at 13:15. Four days each year it is possible to ride the whole line from Rogow to Biala Rawska, 49km (30 miles). The first opportunity will be this coming weekend on 30 and 31 May in connection with the Dni Rawskie (Rawa Days) festival. Here is the 2009 timetable which includes the details of the four scheduled workings along the whole line.
a) Runs on Sundays from 26 April to 4 October 2009 and on 1, 2 May.
If there are insufficient passengers the train may be cancelled.
b) Runs on 30, 31 May – “Rawa Days”.
c) Runs on 18 July, 15 August – “Heritage Trail Train”.
“o” = odzajd = departure; “p” = przyjazd = arrival
Please note this is a copy of the timetable (and translation of the footnotes) available as a pdf download from the Rogow Railway website timetable page. Behind The Water Tower cannot take responsibility for and mistakes or changes. Before travelling you are recommended to check the running of your train with the Rogow Railway first.
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- Rogow Railway – new website