A busy day at Krosniewice in PKP days, October 1996. Romanian Railcar (left) for Ostrowy and DIY Polish railcar (middle) for Cetty.
Photo © Andrew Goodwin.
(Click on image to go to the Krosniewice section of the Polish Narrow Gauge Railways website by Andrew Goodwin, Stephen Goodwin and Dave Meller. This shows many Polish narrow gauge lines in the period before PKP abandoned its narrow gauge operations.)
There was much celebration at BTWT headquarters yesterday and our emergency ration of Zubrowka was raided when the news was confirmed by two reliable sources that the Lodz provincial government is taking over the Krosniewice Railway from PKP. This remarkable turn of events will scupper the plans of Krosniewice Mayor, Barbara Herman, who wanted to divide the railway salami fashion among all the local authorities through which the railway ran.
So far, the Lodz provincial government hsa shown remarkably little interest in its railway heritage and the railway enthusiaststo whom I broke the news could not at first believe it!. There are several unsung heroes in the battles for the future of the Krosniewice Railway and it is appropriate to mention some of those to whom credit is due. First of all, Wojciech Szegendowski, the Conservator of Heritage for Lodz province, who stood up to pressure from Mrs Herman to remove heritage listing status from much of the track and buildings at Krosniewice. Secondly, Pawel Papierz and the members of the SKOKW railway society who lobbied hard for the future of the railway. Thirdly, David Morgan, the President of Fedecrail who met with Polish ministers in 2008 to emphasise the importance of the Krosniewice Railway to the international heritage railway community, and last all those BTWT readers who supported our letter writing campaign to the Mrs Herman with copies to the Ministries of Infrastructure and Culture!
However, it is much to early to relax. One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy, as Aristotle used to point out. The provincial government could take over the railway, secure the future of the historic buildings, restore a short museum line, and convert the rest of the railway into a long-distance railway or cycle track! I won’t be happy until the provincial government has agreed a business plan for the revival of the railway. So now dear reader, it is time to write the most important letter of all. Here is one way you could approach the task. (Please do not use this exact text, but express these points, plus any others you feel it may be appropriate to add, in your own words. If you have already written to Mrs Herman and received no reply, it would probably be a good idea to also make this point and also to enclose a copy of that letter.)
Dear Mr Fisiak,
I am a British national who regularly comes to Poland to learn about your country’s history and to travel on your unique heritage railways. I would like to congratulate you on your decision to end the uncertainty regarding the future of the Krosniewice Railway by taking over the track from PKP. The Kujawy Railways – of which the Krosniewice Railway is a part – are an absolutely unique part of Poland’s railway history and have an enormous future potential as a tourist attraction.
I hope very much that it will be possible for the Krosniewice Railway to become a working railway – there are many preserved tourists lines in Europe – what makes Poland special, and draws railway enthusiasts from all over the world, is the opportunity to see vintage railway machinery performing real work.
Please send the letter to the Chief Executive of the Lodz provincial government:
Marszalek wojewodztwa lodzkiego
Urzad Marszalkowski w Lodzi
al. Pilsudskiego 8
P O L A N D
- You Tube – Krosniewice – Brzesc Kujawski special, Feb 2008
- YouTube – Goodbye to the Kujawy Railways
- YouTube – Restoration of railcar MBxd1-204