Smigiel shock for SKPL


Robert Hall in Smigiel, 22 July 2010.
Photo Marek Ciesielski.

BTWT guest author Robert Hall, is visiting Poland, visiting narrow gauge railways and filling in the gaps in his travels over the Polish railway network.

On Thursday 22 July, he was in Smigiel where he met Wiktor Snela, the Mayor. Robert expressed his concern that the Mayor had blocked recent initiatives such as the proposed restoration of the Smigiel Railway’s own steam locomotive, Px48-1765. The mayor replied that the Council could not afford to make any investments in the railway, and were in any case thinking of not renewing the operating agreement with SKPL on its expiry in 2012, but setting up their own company to run the railway.

After talking to the Mayor, Robert was joined by Howard Jones and Wolsztyn Experience guests, Julian Maddock and Jeff  Nichols, and took part in a working party to paint a Romanian DMU trailer car. We look forward to publishing Robert’s own account of his recent railway travels across Poland in due course.

2 Responses to “Smigiel shock for SKPL”

  1. John Ball Says:

    I can’t help feeling sceptical about the Smigiel town council taking over the railway – what experience do they have available? Might property development not be a temptation?

  2. Geoff Jenkins Says:

    After a pretty impressive start at Smigiel SKPL seem to have suffered some set backs in recent years. The loss of freight traffic flows to Wielichowo and Wilkowo Polskie, together with the withdrawal of passenger trains between Smigiel and Wielichowo, have hit the railway hard. If there is now only minimal or no freight traffic between Stare Bojanowo the railway’s income must be pretty low. It’s hard to tell if SKPL’s battles with the local authority are a necessary part of the fight for survival or just a pointless exercise in biting the hand that feeds it.

    However, I don’t know if a local authority that is short of cash and having to deal with a recession would make a better job of things. If the railway survives under direct council control I suspect that, at best, it will become another tourist operation and the regular passenger traffic throughout the year will be lost.

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