Czestochowa Railway Museum PKP’s latest victim

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Tkt-48 151 outside Chestochowa Glowna Station.
Photo polskieszlaki.pl

(Click image to see original on polskieszlaki.pl.)

Now the Czestochowa Railway Museum is the latest victim of PKP SA’s property crackdown. Following the demands for a commercial rent – and follow up eviction notices – issued to TOZK, the railway society running the skansen at Pyslowice; and to the Muzeum Kolejnictwa in Warsaw, the nearest Poland has to a national railway museum; now TPKWW, the Society of Friends of the Warsaw – Vienna Railway, have been told to pay a commercial rent or move on.

The museum was operated with due pomp and ceremony on 23 March 2001 in the presence of  PKP directors and local dignitaries. All the work has been carried out by volunteers. The prime mover of the project was a retired railwayman, Zdzislaw Urbanski, who died last year. Under his leadership a large collection of small railway exhibits was gathered together and exhibited on the first floor of Czestochowa Stradom station. In addition the Society had two railway locomotives in its custody 2-8-2T, Tkt48-151, displayed outside Chestochowa Glowna Station and 2-6-2, Ol49-20 displayed near the engine shed.

The local representative of PKP SA’s property services, Jolanta Michalska, claims that PKP SA – as a limited company – must always charge a commercial rent for its premises. In the short-term she has demanded that the Society remove their exhibits so that the museum location can be properly documented – at a cost to the Society of 20,000 zl. The Society, consisting mostly of retired railway men, has no hope of raising the necessary monies to pay for the ‘documentation’ or of being able to pay a commercial rent thereafter. Ironically the Slask provincial government is about to launch of 2.2 million zloty campaign to promote the area as part of the European industrial heritage trail. But the cash is strictly for ‘soft’ expenses like marketing – it cannot be used to help the museum.

It seems only appropriate to give the last word to Fryderyk Katny, the chairman of  the TPKWW. After we move out, the vandals and thieves will move in and trash the place. Half the building is empty and the other tenants have already given notice to quit.

Sources (Polish):

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