Archive for January 17th, 2011

Optimism at Przeworsk

Monday, 17 January 2011

Przeworsk Railway special train due to depart June 2009. Photo BTWT.

Several Behind The Water Tower readers responded to our appeal to write letters to the Chief Executive of the Podkarpackie provincial government requesting assistance for the Przeworsk Railway. All received a similar reply; a translation which follows.

Dear Sir,

In answer to your letter regarding the possibility of the provincial government providing financial and organisational assistance to the Przeworsk Railway I would like to inform you as follows:

Applications were invited under the auspices of the framework of the Regional Operating Program for the province for the period 2007 to 2013, axis 6 Tourism and Culture. 103 applications were submitted to the competition from which the provincial government selected 50 projects with a total value of some 100 million zloty. Unfortunately, neither the operator responsible for running trains, nor anyone else (e.g. the Przeworsk District Council) presented any application for funding. A similar project submitted by the Bieszczadzy Forest Railway received some 700,000 zloty of financial assistance. The selection process was carried out in 2009. As a result of the above it was not possible to provide any assistance to the Przeworsk railway from EU funds. Because the above-mentioned axis 6 funds are now exhausted, no further selections are being planned.

At the end of 2009, the Przeworsk district Council submitted an application to this office for funding from our own budgeted. Unfortunately, because of the modest means available from the provincial government’s budget, it was not possible to provide any assistance to the Przeworsk Railway.

Notwithstanding the above, in 2011 work will be carried out with the object of providing financial assistance to the Przeworsk railway. Any decision will be the responsibility of the management and the council of the Podkarpackie provincial government.

[stamp and signature]

Zygmunt Cholewinski
Chief Executive

The letter from the previous chief executive of the provincial government is actually more encouraging than the weasley-worded second paragraph would imply. It is a sad fact the various regional EU funded programs intended to encourage tourism development have largely failed to help Poland’s tourist railways.

The various rules governing EU funding in Poland could have been contrived to deliberately exclude these lines! One set of rules, administered by the Ministry of Regional Development, requires applicants to be the outright owner or have at least a five year lease of the object of the EU project. This automatically excludes SKPL whose 10-year operating agreements with local authorities mostly expire at the end of 2011. Local authorities, on the other hand, have open-ended licenses from PKP pending the transfer of of their railway’s freehold, come up against another regulation administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs which hinders them from investing in facilities which do not actually belong to them. Those lines that have managed to submit successful EU funding applications have either (Gryfice Railway) managed to facilitate the transfer of the property title to the local authority in record tome, or have owned their own line from the start (Bieszczady Railway).

Nevertheless, at least half the Przeworsk Railway has now been transferred to the ownership of the Przeworsk District Council and the new chief executive of the province is reputed to be more well disposed railway than his predecessors. Grounds for optimism indeed!