A return journey – part 12

by

by Robert Hall

A special train organised for represntatives of the local authorities along the line, 23 June 2009. Photo BTWT.

I was up bright and early the following morning for my trip on the Przeworsk Railway on the 09:00 to Dynow. Pan Zelazny sold me my ticket at the narrow gauge station. All workings on this line nowadays are diesel-hauled. Lxd2-268 headed the tourist train, consisting of: four 1980s-Romanian-built railcar trailers; two semi-opens, converted from freight vehicles; and a guard’s / utility van. The gratifyingly well-filled train made a punctual departure.

Px48-1734 sits at Dynow station, looking attractive, but is. completely non-functional. Photo BTWT

The first part of the journey was across low-lying flat ground, though with pleasant rolling country to the side, and high hills tantalisingly ahead. Sharp bends, though, were a feature of the route right from the start. The most exciting scenery started some 35 kilometres out from Przeworsk on the 7 kilometre section between the tunnel (the only one on the Polish narrow gauge) and the penultimate station of Bachorz. To allow photographers to make the most of the scenery, there was a photo-stop at the tunnel’s southern end.

After some hard climbing, and and some wild loops and twists the last 4 kilometres run into Dynow was level, though the line ran between high and splendid hills.

The line has been described as Poland’s answer to the Darjeeling Railway. Photo BTWT.

Dynow – a municipality consisting of several large villages – was reached two-and-three-quarter hours after leaving Przeworsk. There was nearly three hours’ before the return train. The Polish tourist narrow gauge railway bonfire-and-sausages ritual, already described in Part 5, duly got under way, clearly delighting the many children who were travelling. For those who did not want to partake of the bonfire-and-sausages there was an alternative attraction – a short excursion (at no extra cost as the leaflet proudly informed) 4 kilometres back down the line to Bachorz. Here, adjacent to the station, there was a pleasant restaurant, Pod Semaforem, with a railway semaphore signal erected on the establishment’s road-facing forecourt. The excursion was accomplished by the loco, having run round the train, taking just the two semi-opens to Bachorz. For the return journey these were propelled back to Dynow. (Let’s not get into health-and-safety related musings.) The schedule was such that the participants had only forty minutes at the restaurant. One might reckon, that this was not much time in which to order and eat a meal, but the place seemed to be on the ball with quick and efficient service. In the light of potential language difficulties, I contented myself with a beer… [There was no danger in being left behind. The excursions to Bachorz were run association with the restaurant. D.]

Lxd2-257 runs round its special at Dynow, 23 June 2009. Photo BTWT.

14:30 saw the departure of the reunited whole train from Dynow, back ‘down the hill’. I had travelled up, in a semi-open coach, but with rain having set in, relocated myself to a Romanian closed vehicle for the journey back. An equally pleasant journey ensued, with the punters clearly enjoying the whole experience – there does seem to be a definite and appreciative local market for these tourist trains. As something of a railway purist, in theory I can feel this kind of scene to be downright ghastly; but in the case of the Przeworsk Railway I am more than willing to suspend my purism. The tourist trains are excellent fun, and their continuation for many years yet, is much to be hoped for.

At first sight, 46 km in two-and-three-quarter hours can seem ludicrously slow – a speed of roughly 17 km per hour. The basic fact is, though, that 750mm gauge trains do not travel very fast. In genuine-passenger-service days, a train between Przeworsk and Dynow took the same amount of time, as a 2010 tourist working. By the often-noticed ‘magic of the narrow gauge, with the vehicles being only a small distance above the ground, the rate of progress does not seem to be unduly slow. A very agreeable experience, in any case – who would want it to be over with in the blink of an eye?

The train arrived punctually at Przeworsk at 17:10, in nice time for the my 17:50 departure for Krakow, en route for another 750mm tourist line to be sampled on the morrow.

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