Wolsztyn – Poznan steam


What’s really going on?

Ol49-59 hauling train No. 77325 consisting of  three 120A coaches from Wolsztyn to Poznan Główny approaching to Luboń kolo Poznania station. Photo Radomil Binek.

(Click to see original on Wikipedia and for details of licensing.)

On Monday, the Wielkopolska regional government made an announcement that funding has been approved to ensure that the two steam-hauled turns between Wolsztyn and Poznan will be maintained during 2010. So Wolsztyn is saved and we can all relax in our armchairs? Well, perhaps not. The Wolsztyn crisis reoccurs with tedious regularity and the fact that it does so year after year suggests that someone has an agenda. We sent in our agent 003½ to investigate. This is his report.

003½ to Dyspozytor/ Future of Wolsztyn Steam Services/ 02/12/2009

There are four agendas, being pushed through by four different people. Some of the players have more than one agenda. Some of the agendas have more than one proponent. Some of the proponents would probably not publicly admit to having these agendas.

Agenda item 1.  Strip Wolsztyn out of the PKP Group and let the Wielkopolska provincial government operate it as a tourist attraction.

Juliusz Engelhardt, the Under Secretary State at the Ministry of Infrastructure responsible for Poland’s railways has been heard promoting this view. It is thought that Egelhardt wants to strip unnecessary costs from PKP Cargo to clear the way for Cargo’s privatisation.

Jerzy Kriger, the Director of Transport at the Wielkopolska provincial government has also been heard pushing this development. It seems likely that Kriger wants to run a low-cost railway with modern railbuses and does not want his career prospects spoiled by being associated with anything as sentimental as steam services.

Tomasz Wiktor, the Director of Tourism at the Wielkopolska provincial government is also thought to favour this solution. The fact that the infrastructure committee recommended cutting the 3 million zloty subsidy that goes to maintain the daily steam turns and ‘giving’ the money instead to the Tourism Department makes it probable that Mr Wiktor has been busy lobbying behind the scene.

Agenda item 2. Shorten the Supply Chain. (Currently the provincial government gives a subsidy to Przewozy Regionalne which is responsible for local train services. PR in turn then pays PKP Cargo to provide the steam locomotives which haul the Wolsztyn turns.

Jerzy Kriger is thought to favour stripping out all the Wielkopolska local train services from Przewozy Regionalne and running them himself as Koleje Wielkopolskie.

Agenda item 3. Get the best possible deal from Przewozy Regionalne for operating the Steam Services.

It is known that PR originally requested a much higher subsidy for running the steam services in 2010.

After some brinkmanship Jerzy Kriger managed to push PR back to the same price as was in force in 2009 with an adjustment for inflation.

Agenda item 4. Incorporate Wolsztyn Shed into the new Wielkopolska Railway Tourism Project and run steam specials for tourists trains all over province.

It is thought likely that this is the position held by Tomasz Wiktor and also Ewa Przydrozny the Manager of the Wielkopolska Tourist Organisation. Mr Wyktor is Mrs Przydrozny boss. Her office is currently working on creating the Wielkopolska Railway Tourism strategy.

So if 003½ is even half right, it would seem to be premature to put away your pens just yet.

Some really useful addresses:

The Wielkopolska provincial government Director of Tourism

Tomasz Wiktor
Dyrektor Departament Sportu i Turystyki
Urzad Marszalkowski Wojewodstwa Wielkopolskiego
ul. Piekary 17
61-823 Poznań

tel: (061) 64-75-270, 855- 35- 22
fax: (061) 64-75-275
e-mail: tomasz.wiktor@umww.pl

The Head of the Wielkopolka Tourist Organisation

Ewa Przydrozny
Dyrektor Biura Wielkopolska Organizacja Turystyczna
ul. 27 Grudnia 17/19, Vp.
61-737 Poznań

tel: 061 66 45 234 / 233
fax: 061 66 45 221
e-mail: ewa.przydrozny@wot.org.pl

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3 Responses to “Wolsztyn – Poznan steam”

  1. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    And the story goes on. Everyone with their own little agenda and in the end ALL that suffers is the steam service which has been pared down to the bare bones maintenance wise with locos that are sometimes unable to run the scheduled service due to mechanical problems.

    Now, about this 3 Million Zloty subsidy (£600,000 which works out around £900 per return working). According to the published PKP track access charges (and my Polish is not THAT great so I could be wrong) it costs around 160 Zlotys to run a train from Wolsztyn to Poznan and return (£35) so where is the other £865 that the trains are subsidised by going? That is PER train so around £1730 PER DAY is left to run the shed, repair engines etc. Now I would think that given Polish wages that amount is more than sufficient to pay wages and keep the locos in a decent state of repair.

    Oh, and there is the monies that the Wolsztyn Experience pay towards the service as well…….

    Now, if you had access to a potential cash cow like this, wouldn’t you want a piece of the action? No wonder so many people want in on the act.

    It doesn’t take a secret agent to work out that the money is going somewhere and it isn’t where it SHOULD be going……….

    • dyspozytor Says:

      There’s an old Polish saying, Jak niewiadomo o co chodzi, to chodzi o pieniądze, which loosely translates as – If you aren’t sure what it about, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s about the money.

  2. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    And thats why SOMEONE has ensured that steam is running at least for the new timetable. Call me cynical if you will but if someones palm isn’t being greased then steam would probably have finished over ten years ago.

    Ah, the good old days of double entry invoicing are still alive and well, albeit dressed up in the shiny tinsel and pink wrapping paper of the brave new world of modern Poland!

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