Kolin Sugar Beet Railway

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A picture postcard scene on the Kolin Sugar Beet Railway. Photo KŘD.

(Click on the picture to see more photographs of the Kolin Sugar Beet Railway in winter on the KŘD website.)

A classic winter scene on the Kolin Sugar Beet Railway – a 19th C station and engine shed, various items of ancient rolling stock, a level crossing barrier and the outline of the rails barely visible through the snow. However, a careful perusal of the KŘD website reveals that nothing in the photograph is quite as it seems.

The Kolin Sugar Beet Railway was constructed in 1894 by Adolf Richter, a grand-son of the knight Frantisek Horsky. It was the oldest sugar beet line in Bohemia. It used to lead from Kolin sugar rafinery to Frantiskov (Ovcary), to Bychory and to Jestrabi Lhota. The total length was 10.6 km, the branch line to Frantiskov was 0.9 km long. It survived into the early 60s. When the line was closed the track and anything made of steel was sold for scrap and its wooden wagons were sold to serve as sheds in gardens and farms. All that remained was the old railway alignment.

Now thanks to the KŘD – the Society that is driving the rebuilding of the line, the support of local authorities and businesses, and a 0.5 million euro EU Regional Development grant, the line is slowly coming back to life. Some 2.6 km of track have been relaid, ancient wagon bodies restored and new passenger coaches constructed, several small diesels and an 0-4-0T steam locomotive acquired and restored.

While not on the scale of the Welsh Highland project, the rebirth of the 600mm Kolin Sugar Beet Railway – given the financial constraints operating in Eastern Europe – is just as impressive. Is it too much to ask that the Polish local authorities, bureaucratic and unhelpful when it come to their own narrow gauge railways, could learn from their neighbours in the Czech republic?

Building Zeleznicka Station and engine shed. Photo KŘD.

(Click on the picture to see more photographs of the construction of the station and engine shed.)

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One Response to “Kolin Sugar Beet Railway”

  1. Raf Uzar Says:

    Love the website. I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘train-spotter’ but I spent several days looking at PKP sister sites of the stations around Poland and really enjoyed it. Fascinating looking at how important railways used to be (and still should be).
    Raf

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