Steam, Snow, and Shunting!


Words and pictures by
John Savery

TKt18-18, built Cegielski 1950, at Jaworzyna Slask, 4 May 2011. Photo John Savery.

The Wolsztyn Experience now offers shunting courses run in the Skansen at Jaworzyna Slask.  Whilst over in Poland for the Wolsztyn Parade, and the TPWP special on the Sunday (plus a miriad of other excuses for another visit to Poland!) I had an opportunity to take part in a shunting course at Jaworzyna Slask, about 40km south west of Wroclaw.  The courses, operated by The Wolsztyn Experience, utilise TKt48-18, the loco previously used for the Wroclaw to Jelcz Laskowice footplate experiences.

For those not familiar with the former loco depot, it is now a privately run museum, and houses a wide range of railway and industrial artifacts, plus a collection of Harley Davidson motorbikes, and is worth a visit in its own right.

TKt18-18, simmering in the snow, 3 May 2011. Photo John Savery.

Retired Wolsztyn driver Czeslaw Janus accompanied our group for the visit, and provided his usual, welcoming style on the footplate.

For those that think pottering around on a shunting course would be a boring occasion, think again.  Carefully manoeuvring loco and wagons about the yard, coupling, uncoupling, and buffering up, watering the loco, as well as providing van rides for visitors is no mean feat, especially given that there are only inches to spare on the turntable for loco and wagon.  Equally enjoyable, the warming Goulash soup from the museum shop, and sausages cooked on the shovel in the firebox (bring your own!)

And the added ingredient – snow.  It may be May, and the temperature may have reached 25 degrees over the bank holiday weekend, but by Tuesday morning, the temperature had fallen to freezing, and 3 inches of snow fell onto the ground.  Magical.

Would I recommend it?  Absolutely.  But there’s no guarantee of snow!

A big thank you to Pan Czeslaw for his efforts on the day, as well as to the staff and crew from the museum in Jaworzyna.

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