Railway remains at Rudy

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The Gliwice – Raciborz railway in its heyday.
Slideshow by concordia1923.

On March 25 1899, the railway from Gliwice to Rudy was opened. This 23.5 km section of line was the first stage of a project to build a 785 mm gauge railway from Gliwice to Raciborz. The line was extended in stages and the last section to Raciborz was opened on 17 May 1903. The total length of the railway was 51 km.

The railway connected small towns and villages which would otherwise have had very poor links with the outside world. By 1945, the line was carrying up to 700,000 passengers a year. But its heyday was in the period 1949 – 1963 when the railway never carried less than 1 million passengers. Its all time record was set in 1954 when it carried 1,834,400 passengers. During the 1960s and 70s competition from buses and motor cars began to eat into its passenger traffic. In 1991, the last year of operation under the auspices of PKP, 90,292 passengers were carried.

After the railway closed, the entire line from Gliwice to Raciborz was listed in the provincial register of historic sites and from 1 March 1993 enjoyed the protection of the law. Sadly this protection was not sufficient to stop the plundering of some very efficient scrap thieves and the activities of a rather dubious railway preservation society.

Now most of the track has been lifted and two steam locomotives have ended up overseas. Today the section of line within the boundaries of Kuznia Raciborska has been taken over by the municipality and the future of this section at least seems secure.

Tourist trains are operated over a 6 km section of line: Poproci – Rudy – Stanica. Michal Fita, the Director of the Municipal Sport, Culture and Recreation Centre, is confident that the line could be developed into a major tourist attraction.

The tragedy is that all those who saw a new future for the railway were unable to stop the devastation which occurred since PKP withdrew. How much more of Poland’s priceless railway heritage must be destroyed before the adequate measures are enacted to halt the destruction?

The Gliwice – Raciborz railway today.
Slideshow by concordia1923.

More photographs:

Contact:

  • Zabytkowa Stacja
    Kolejki Waskotorowej w Rudach
    ul. Szkolna 1, 47-430 Rudy
    tel.: 0048 500 282 732
    e-mail: kontakt@kolejkarudy.pl
  • WWW – http://www.kolejkarudy.pl
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One Response to “Railway remains at Rudy”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    Most interesting material. My first-hand experience of Upper Silesia has, been minimal; never ‘did”‘ the Gliwice line in its regular-passenger days, or since (unusual gauge, notwithstanding). The ‘in its heyday” slide-show is utterly fascinating, and prompts strong thoughts of “Oh to have been able to be there, then”.

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