The Future of Wolsztyn Scheduled Steam – Rumour and Fact
by Trevor and Howard Jones
Friday 27th November 2009
A minister from the Wielkopolska Regional Government expressed concern that the 3 Million PLN being spent on daily scheduled steam services in Wolsztyn might be better spent on promoting Tourism in Wielkopolska and only offering a weekend tourist service. This was his personal opinion and not necessarily that of the whole elected regional Government. This opinion was put on the Wielkopolska website and picked up by Radio Mercury Poznan. An English version of the statement is to be found on the Behind The Water Tower website and can be read at: www.polishrail.wordpress.com
This was misinterpreted by some people as being an agreed policy.
In reality the Wielkopolska government meet to discuss budgets on Monday 30th November. It should be remembered that 11th hour negotiations are taking place between regional government and PKP Cargo. It should also be noted that the new timetable is currently being printed with the steam services in.
In making any decisions on changes in status of Wolsztyn depot the following facts have to be considered.
- Currently there are no available railcars to cover the Wolsztyn – Poznan steam diagrams and an acute shortage of suitable diesel locos within all the operating companies to operate passenger trains in the winter months.
- What would PKP Cargo do with the depot if it did not have full time work?
- The reason that tourists come to see the steam operation is based on the fact that it is the last steam commuter service in the world.
- Steam locos require servicing on a time scale rather than on operating use; the operating costs are not proportional to useage and by changing to a steam tourist service there may not be as greater saving as anticipated, when all costs and benifits are taken into consideration by all parties involved.
- The Wolsztyn Experience currently pay PKP (All Divisions) 250 Thousand PLN a year; this would most likely cease if the current operation changes. In addition, the Wolsztyn Experience and our clients bring to the local community another 500 Thousand PLN a year, this may also cease. In addition railway tourists not involved with the Wolsztyn Experience who come to see the last commuter service in the world bring an estimated 500 Thousand PLN a year. This would radically reduce if it became only a tourist railway.
- The Wolsztyn Experiece is confident that a solution to the current situation will be found within the next two weeks.
- Polish administrators should take into consideration that the success of tourist railways in the UK is down to UK charity tax laws – vast donations from enthusiasts – lottery funding – considerable UK marketing skills – and a large percentage of volunteer labour – none of these are currently available in Poland.
- Tourist lines in Britain view the scheduled services from Wolsztyn as the ultimate world experience for steam, and with the appropriate marketing could attract many more visitors and travellers than it currently does. The Wolsztyn Experience itself spends 25 Thousand PLN on advertising and promotion, not only for footplate courses but in publicity encouraging tourism to Wielkopolska.
All enthusiasts should immediately express their views on maintaining scheduled steam service to:
The provincial governor of Wielkopolska
Marszalek Województwa Wielkopolskiego
al. Niepodleglości 18
61-713 Poznan pokoj 142, budynek C
tel: (061) 854-19-88, 854-18-47
fax: (061) 854-17-17
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
The Mayor of Wolsztyn
mgr Andrzej Rogozinski
URZAD MIEJSKI W WOLSZTYNIE
tel: (068) 347 45 00
fax: (068) 384 27 47
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
The Ministry of Infrastructure
ul. Chałubińskiego 4/6,
fax: (022) 630 14 00
fax: (022) 830 00 63
The Ministry of Sport and Tourism
Mrs Katarzyna Soborajska
Ministerstwo Sportu i Turystyki
ul. Wspólna 2/4
tel: (022) 2443 172
fax: (022) 2443 171
The Polish ambassador in the country you live in, e.g.
Mrs Barbara Tuge – Erecinska
The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Court of St James
47 Portland Place
London W1B 1JH
tel: + 44 (0) 207 2913 520
fax: + 44 (0) 207 2913 575