Archive for May 19th, 2011

Quest for new PKP SA chairman over

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Maria Wasiak stays in post.

Maria Wasiak. Photo PKP SA.

At an extraordinary general meeting of PKP SA shareholders held earlier today Maria Wasiak was appointed chairman of PKP SA. Ms Wasiak has been working as ‘acting chairman’ of PKP SA since 30 December 2010, following the dismissal of the previous incumbent, Andrzej Wach by the new Deputy Minister responsible for Poland’s railways, Andrzej Massel. Ms Wasiak will share the duties for which she has been responsible up to now with Romuald Bosakowski, who was appointed a board member today.

Ms Wasiak hails from Radom and studied law at Warsaw University and management at the School of Economics in Poznan. She was involved in local politics and became the Deputy Chief Executive of the Radom District Council in 1998 from where she moved to the political office of Tadeusz Syryjczyk, the Minister of Transport. She is seen as politically connected to Civic Platform, Poland’s governing party.

She joined PKP in 2000 in the role of ‘Project Director’. In 2001, she was promoted to the position of chairman of the PKP subsidiary responsible for regional services, PKP Przewozy Regionalne. In 2002, she became Head of PKP’s privatisation office. She was promoted to main board member with responsibility for ‘Promotion and Social Affairs’.

While some commentators regard the non-appointment of a suitably qualified ‘Rail Czar’ as a failure, it is unlikely that the Government, working through the Ministry of Infrastructure, looked very hard for an alternative. Maria Wasiak is seen as a safe pair of hands who will regard the privatisation of PKP SA’s assets as her top priority.

Her appointment and the ‘steady as she goes’ message that it conveys will have pleased the Ministry of Finance and received its tacit backing – the State Treasury controls the voting rights at PKP SA’s general meetings. A powerful external candidate may have upset the tacit understanding between the government, rail union bosses and top rail managers whereby everyone milks Poland’s railways for what they can and the network gradually decays until only a small core is left.

Less pleased will be PKP’s customers. Without fundamental changes to the way the railways are managed passengers will be left with even fewer overcrowded trains and with increasingly inaccurate and inadequate information. Freight operators will face rising rail access charges and deteriorating tracks. While wishing Ms Wasiak well with her appointment, we suspect that we will be continuing to be chronicling the decline of Poland’s railways for many more years to come.

Rogow chairman resigns

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Andrzej Tajchert presents the current state of the Rogow – Rawa – Biala narrow gauge railway at a meeting for local and national government officials held on 4 April 2011 in the museum building in Rogow. Photo © K. Boberek.

(Click on the image to link to an account of the meeting, with links to this and other photos, on the Ziemia Lodzka tourist portal.)

Andrzej Tajchert, who has been leading the project to restore the Rogow – Rawa – Biala narrow gauge railway for ten years has resigned from his position as chairman of the Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation (FPKW).

He had been associated with the line since 2001 when he and Pawel Mieroslawski, the chairman of the Polish Railway Enthusiasts Association (PSMK) first learned about PKP’s plans to close its remaining narrow gauge railways and started discussions with PKP and the local authorities.

Earlier this month he hosted a delegation from Fedecrail in Rogow and gave an excellent presentation about the FPKW’s achievements in Rogow and the challenges facing the line.

In an e-mail to friends and co-workers he wrote –

After 10 years I regret that I no longer have the ability or energy to look after the Rogow line in a manner which would accord with my understanding of the concept of responsibility.

50 kilometres of railway, rolling stock, staff, the Office of the Railway Transport, local authorities – all these demand someone working full-time. Something that I just cannot manage to do. That is why I have resigned from my position of chairman and board member.

I apologise for my many mistakes and pass on my best wishes the new board and its new chairman for success in further developing the railway.

BTWT salutes Andrzej Tajchert for his achievement in Rogow. The line is Poland’s premier volunteer-assisted preserved railway. We hope very much that  he will not only continue to be involved in developing  the line, but also that he will find a way of sharing his experience and knowledge with Poland’s wider railway heritage movement.