By steam from Zbaszynek

by

Warsaw Railway Museum Tp3-36 plinthed at Zbaszynek,  built by Hanomag in 1913 as Prussian State Railways 4832 (4804 after 1920) renumbered by DR as 55 2199 in 1925, taken into PKP stock in 1945 and withdrawn from service in 1970. Photo BTWT.

The Wolsztyn Steam Parade has just taken place (29 – 30 April), but I gave the show a miss this year. There is an element of artificially about the event which I do not like, and – with the Smigiel Railway closed – a large part of the reason for making the annual pilgrimage to this corner of Wielkopolska has evaporated.

I heard through the grapevine that this year for the first time PKP Cargo had arranged to bring its VIP guests from Warsaw by motor coach rather than train – a decision which speaks volumes about the sad state of Polish railways.

PKP Cargo operated, Warsaw Railway Museum owned, Pm 36-2 pacific Piekna Helena (Fablok 1937) just coming off the 11:13 arrival (10:41 ex Wolsztyn) at Zbaszynek on 16 March 2011. Photo BTWT.

Instead of visiting the Steam Parade at the end of April I travelled to Zbaszynek a fortnight earlier to ride on the regular Zbaszynek – Wolsztyn – Leszno steam turn. (The steam service has been relocated to this line while the Wolsztyn – Poznan track is upgraded.) While waiting for the arrival of the morning steam turn from Wolsztyn there was time to admire the ex Prussian Railways, Tp3-36 plinthed opposite the old railway works at Zbaszynek.

PKP Cargo EU43-005 (Bombardier TRAXX 2007). Photo BTWT.

Within a minute of seeing PKP Cargo’s oldest operational locomotive arrive at Zbaszynek I was treated to the sight of its newest loco travelling ‘light engine’ in the opposite direction.

The Pm36-2 is kept in spotless condition. Photo BTWT.

While Pm36-2 is kept in immaculate condition, sadly the same cannot be said of its pair of ‘double decker’ coaches which were very dirty and in poor condition. Justifiably they are not very popular with local residents and are due to be replaced by overhauled ‘single decker’ coaches from the New Year.

With no operational turntable at Zbaszynek the the Fablok pacific suffers the indignity of working its train tender-first as far as Wolsztyn.

Pm 36-2 is coaled… Photo BTWT.

The Przewozy Regionalne Osobowy 11:50 ex Zbaszynek  arrived in Wolsztyn at 12:35. Here I cadged a lift on the footplate as far as the shed where the engine was coaled, watered and turned.

55 minutes later, Pm36-2 and its two ‘double deckers’ continued their journey as the 13:30 ex Wolsztyn Osobowy arriving in Leszno at 14:35.

…and having been turned on the Wolsztyn turntable is watered. Photo BTWT.

With 75 kilometre trip from costing only 15.60 zloty (about £3.40) the Zbaszynek to Leszno journey must be the best value steam-hauled trip in Europe.

Checking Pm36-2’s motion. Photo BTWT.

After the loco is coaled at Wolsztyn shed a new crew take over the engine for the rest of the journey to Leszno. Their first duty is to check the bearings and oil the engine.

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3 Responses to “By steam from Zbaszynek”

  1. Dampfmeisteren Says:

    Nice. I was there just before Easter.
    Some pictures can be seen here:
    http://www.damplokomotiv.dk/Polen2011/

  2. Alex Says:

    Is there a turntable in Zbaszynek?

  3. Dampfmeisteren Says:

    When I was last there in 1998, there was a turntable.
    But it is probably out of use now.

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