Sad stations

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Goniadz station in 2007. Photo M Lenka.

(Click on the image to see the rest of M Lenka’s photos of the stations seen on her journey from Bialystok to Elk in July 2007.)

Crafting posts for BTWT follows a logical pattern. The story comes first. Then comes the hunt for the header picture. Sometimes it is difficult to find a suitable photo and Google is pressed into service, sometimes one is spoiled for choice. Today’s post started as a search for photos to illustrate an article about how Poland’s state railway company, PKP SA, forming yet another daughter company. The new company will manage Poland’s biggest railway stations. Yet somewhere along the line I became distracted. I came across some interesting photos on M. Lenka’s Dla Przyjaciol blog and discovered her pictures of stations between Bialystok and Elk. Remarkably the passenger service between the two towns – some 6 trains a day – is still running. Her pictures illustrate the sad plight of so many of Poland’s railway stations, boarded up and decaying. One good picture is worth a thousand words, so click on the header picture now and see the rest of her photos.

Surely somebody in a senior position in PKP could come up with a scheme to get the local communities involved in looking after their local railway stations? The UK’s community rail partnerships immediately come to mind. Sadly when a local group comes up with an initiative PKP officials seem determined to destroy the enthusiasm that motivates the volunteers. In March, a scout troop worked hard to earn enough money to buy paint and tools, then they gave up a whole weekend to paint the inside of Swiebodzice station. They made some enlargements of old postcards which showed the early history of the Wroclaw Swiebodzki-Swiebodzice railway line and put them up on the newly painted walls. The local mayor applauded the scouts’ efforts and provided funds to buy some new benches. And PKP? They sent the scouts a bill for the use of ‘advertising space’ on the station premises.

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