High noon at Krosniewice

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Krosniewice station and yard at dawn on the last day of operation 31.03.2008.
From a photograph by  Tilo Rösner.

(Tilo Rösner’s evocative photographs of the last day of the Krosniewice Railway are well known. Click on the image to see the complete set of pictures taken by Tilo as hosted by Drehscheibe Online.)

Will the Krosniewice Railway ever see a new dawn? Or is the railway about to loose its last battle? This is the first and arguably biggest ’cause’ for which BTWT readers have campaigned and many will be familiar with the story. In order to refresh memories, here is a brief timeline showing the line’s preservation history and subsequent demise:

2000 Waldemar Kacprzak, the line’s general manager, on hearing about PKP’s plans to withdraw from all of its narrow gauge railway operations, starts lobbying the then Mayor of Krosniewice that the Town Council should take over the Eastern section of the Kujawy Railways, the Krosniewicka Kolej Dojazdowa (KrKD).
2001 PKP withdraws freight services and closes the railway.
2003 Krosniewice Town Council acquires a licence from PKP to use the railway formation and agrees to take over the freehold when land title matters are complete. It appoints SKPL to be the line’s operating company.
2003 In December, SKPL run their first freight train on the KrKD. The train consists of wagons from the Czech Republic which are carried on transporter wagons as far as Cetty station.
2004 SKPL reintroduces daily passenger services for schoolchildren and commuters travelling to Krosniewice
2006 The first special train runs through to Ozorkow.
2007 Barbara Herman, the new Mayor of Krosniewice, visits the railway in the company of PKP officials and announces her interest in developing the Krosniewice station and workshop site. SKPL are asked to vacate the workshops and confine their activities to the engine shed area. SKPL refuse, pointing out that the workshops are essential for the maintenance of the transporter wagons on which the freight service depends. The Mayor says that she is ‘not interested’ in the freight services, but would support a short ‘museum railway’.
2007 SKPL are offered a major contract to carry heavy aggregate on the KrKD.
2007 SKPL ask the Mayor for an extension of their license so that they can make the necessary investment in new facilities and equipment to carry the aggregate.
2007 The Mayor issues a notice to quit to SKPL.
2008 The line closes at the end of March.
2008 The Mayor withdraws from the 2003 agreement whereby Krosniewice Town Council take over the whole line and promotes her own plan whereby each of the dozen or so municipal authorities through whose territory the line runs take over their section of line independently. The Mayor maintains that the line would have needed a major subsidy to remain open. In fact SKPL were actual paying part of their income from the line to the Council!
2009 Apart from a couple of special workings from Krosniewice to Ozorkow initiated by local railway enthusiasts, the KrKD remains closed.
2009 The Mayor threatens to withdraw entirely from taking over ‘her’ fragment of the KrKD unless sizeable portions of the Krosniewice railway site are excluded from the designation of ‘operational railway land’.
2010 High noon for the KrKD

We understand that PKP are only weeks away from chopping up the line’s real estate salami fashion and transferring the freehold of each section to the municipal authority through whose territory each segment runs. We also understand that there is concern in some quarters of the office of the Chief Executive of Lodz province that such a development would run counter to any long-term to revive a significant section of the Kujawy railway as a major tourist attraction.

Please take a few minutes to write to the Chief Executive of the Lodz province urging that the provincial government take over the whole line in order to safeguard its integrity. Only the provincial government has the credibility and ‘clout’ to bring the various local authorities – each of which has their own ideas for their section of railway – into line.

Please write to:

Wlodzimierz Fisiak
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Lodzkiego
Al. Piłsudskiego 8
90-051 Lodz
P O L A N D

More:

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One Response to “High noon at Krosniewice”

  1. Trevor Butcher Says:

    What a great station building there on the right, I just love art deco railway buildings. There are some great examples in Warsaw in the suburbs.

    Was this always a single platform station?

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