Gniezno closure – no joined up thinking

by

Picture 31

Locomotives under repair at Gniezno.
From a panoramic study © Marcin Kowalski, http://www.marcin.art.pl

(Marcin Kowalski takes wonderful panoramic photographs. Click the picture to go to his stunning 360° panoramas of Gniezno including two of the locomotive shed. You need to have the QuickTime Player installed to view.)

PKP Cargo has announced the closure of the locomotive shed at Gniezno where overhauls were carried out on locomotives rostered for the Wolsztyn Poznan turns. From the narrow viewpoint of PKP Cargo the closure makes perfect sense. It will allow all maintenance operations to be concentrated at Leszno, which is much closer to Wolsztyn and PKP Estates are hoping for a lucrative sale to property developers. However, from a national perspective, the closure of the Gniezno depot is yet another example of the lack of joined-up thinking regarding the fate of Poland’s railway heritage.

Only last week at a conference regarding industrial heritage in Warsaw, a journalist pointed out that as academics were lecturing on the importance of Poland’s technical heritage, scrap thieves were helping themselves to sections of a historic roundhouse on the East side of Warsaw. Meanwhile the core of Poland’s national collection of historic rolling stock lies deteriorating in the open at the Warsaw Railway Museum located at the old Warszawa Glowna station.

The depressing picture in Warsaw is repeated all around the country. Priceless historic locomotives, wagons and carriages – once set aside for preservation – moulder in the open waiting for their inevitable assignation with the oxyacetylene torch, while historic engine sheds like the roundhouse at Gniezno are demolished or offered to property developers.

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