Bluffing at Bialystok


German WW I ‘Feldbahn’ 0-8-0T, built Borsig 1918. Photo BTWT.

A quick dash to attend a meeting in Bialystock yesterday left me with some time on my hands. While waiting for my preferred return train to Warsaw, the Tour de Pologne, a glance out the station window revealed this fine example example of a Prussian military light railway (Feldbahn) 0-8-0T plinthed in the forecourt.

TX 100? Actually Tx 201! Photo BTWT.

As sometimes happens in railway circles, the engine currently carries a false identity. As far as I was able to ascertain, ‘PKP TX 100’ was never part of PKP’s operational stock list. According to the locomotive’s history as published on Tomislaw Czarnecki’s excellent on-line data base Wciaz pod para… after the locomotive finished its war service it worked for a time on the Reseau de la Marne in France and then in 1945 was acquired by the Forestry Department at Czarna Bialostocka where it worked on their 600 mm forestry railway.

The loco and bar coach are kept very smart. Photo BTWT.

Needless to say the loco was never ‘TX 100’ but was allocated the stock number ‘Tx 201’, though whether it ever physically carried this number is a matter of conjecture. Certainly, when the locomotive was withdrawn to spend the first part of its retirement on the Zloty Stock housing estate in Bialystock, it carried the name ‘Basia’ (the diminutive of ‘Barbara’) painted on its tank sides.

Divorcing narrow gauge steam locomotives from the railways on which they used to run is a strange Polish custom. Is it to much to ask that one day the engine might be able to return to the forestry line at Czarna Bialostocka?

One Response to “Bluffing at Bialystok”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    My curiosity by the mention of this loco’s having worked post-World War 1 on the Reseau de la Marne in France. Referring to W.J.K. Davies’s “Minor Railways of France”, gives cause for wondering about what 600mm gauge there might have been in the Departement of Marne, in that era. Davies tells of a shortish period (approx. 1918 – 26) when further north-west, in the areas which had truly been devastated by WW1, France’s “Ministere des Regions Liberees” fostered the temporary common-carrier use of 600mm lines which had been built for military purposes during the war.

    From what I read in Davies, however, Departement of Marne was less wrecked by the war; and its narrow-gauge system, totally metre-gauge, was – though somewhat battered by wartime events – quite speedily put together again on m/g, post-1918. Would be most interested to hear otherwise, re 600mm involvement.

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