Przeworsk – SKPL withdrawal shock

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No light at the end of the tunnel?
Works train passes through Poland’s only narrow gauge railway tunnel.

Video by Grzesiek, SMPKW.

Citing mounting losses, SKPL – Poland’s last freight narrow gauge railway operator, has informed the Chief Executive of Przeworsk District Council that it intends to resign its agreement to operate the Przeworsk narrow gauge railway. Though tourists have long since replaced sugar beet as the line’s principal traffic the line still carries a vestigial freight traffic, making it one of Poland’s last three surviving freight carrying narrow gauge railways.

Unfortunately, passenger and freight receipts are insufficient to cover all costs. Over the years, the local councils representing the communities along the line have clubbed together to hire special trains to boost the line’s takings, but the gap between income and expenditure has still remained significant. Local council leaders had hoped that the shortfall – some £22,000 – would be met by a grant from the regional government of Podkarpacie Province. So far Zygmunt Cholewinski, the Chief Executive of the regional government, has refused to counter any kind of financial support from regional government budget.

In 2010, the line suffered from the torrential storms and subsequent flooding which affected many parts of Poland. In several places, embankments were undermined by rivers that had burst their banks – suffering similar damage to that which had closed the Corris Railway in 1948. Through the herculean efforts of General Manager, Wladyszlaw Zelazny and his small team. the breaches were patched and the line continued operating throughout the 2010 season. But now major repairs are long overdue and without additional funding a serious question mark must be raised over the operation of the line in 2011.

If you think that the Podkarpacie Province regional government should keep the line running by providing financial support please write to:

Zygmunt Cholewinski
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Podkarpackiego
al. Lukasza Cieplinskiego 4
35-010 Rzeszów
POLAND

e-mail: urzad@podkarpackie.pl

Przeworsk Station, the end of the line. Photo by Grad.

(Click image to see original on Wikimedia and for details of licensing.)

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4 Responses to “Przeworsk – SKPL withdrawal shock”

  1. Michael Dembinski Says:

    That tunnel is quite something! Let’s hope they can keep this unique Polish line going.

  2. John Says:

    This part of Poland needs financial support. Could the railway be linked to rural regeneration and EU funds ?

  3. Geoff Jenkins Says:

    Surely not too much of a shock? There has been talk about SKPL withdrawing from Przeworsk for some time. I think that you mentioned something to that effect on BTWT a year ago. With SKPL it is difficult to work out what is definitely going to take place and what is just a negotiating tactic but once they have threatened to walk away from a particular line one cannot be too surprised when it appears that this may actually happen.

    I just hope that a new operator can be found. It is a lovely line and it would be a great shame if it went the way of so many other Polish narrow gauge railways

  4. Robert Hall Says:

    Looking at the matter in confessedly selfish and personal terms: I am just extremely glad to have been able to travel on this line in July this year.

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