SKKW committee members meeting outside Ozorkow Station on 9 July 2011. Photo BTWT.
When Barbara Herman, the Mayor of Krosniewice, kicked the Krosniewice Railway into the long grass, local supporters of the line suffered a crisis of confidence. The local activists had constituted themselves into society, Stowarzyszenie Krosniewickiej – Ozorkowej Kolei Waskotorowej (The Krosniewice – Ozorkow Narrow gauge Railway Society) and, in the days when the northern part of the line had been operated by SKPL, had single-handedly restored the southern part between Krzewie and Ozorkow.
Relations between the Society and SKPL’s local management had never been good and when Barbara Herman terminated SKPL’s operating licence SKOKW looked forward to a better relationship with the local council. But matters progressed from bad to worse. The Mayor repeatedly turned down the Society’s requests for permission to cut down the undergrowth or to conduct restoration work on rolling stock stored in the open. Over the last couple of years vegetation has taken over the track bed to the extent that in most places the railway line is not only impassable it is also unrecognisable as a railway.
The SKKW platelayers trolley being prepared for service. Photo BTWT.
Frustrated that Wojciech Szegendowski, the historic monument conservator for Lodz province, was blocking her bid to demolish the railway’s workshops to make way for a property development project, Mrs Herman began to plot for a way whereby she could take over the extensive railway lands in Krosniewice without the tiresome obligation of having to operate the line. The first part of her plan was to hand back the Krosniewice Railway to PKP and to support a plan whereby the local District Councils would take over the line from PKP and then hand it over unencumbered with any railway operating obligations to all the smaller councils over whose territory the line ran.
To counter Mrs Herman’s plans, the SKKW reconstituted themselves as the Stowarzyszenia Kujawskich Kolei Wąskotorowych and approached the offices of the Chief Executives of Lodz, Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Wielkopolska provinces with a bold plan to eventually restore the whole of the Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways of which the Krosniewice Railway was only the eastern section. The proposal was greeted with enthusiasm and for a time it looked as if all three provinces would back the plan and write it into their tourism development strategy plans. This was not at all what Mrs Herman wanted and she started to lobby extensively behind the scenes to demolish the SKKW’s credibility. The Chief Executive of Lodz province asked PKP to estimate the costs of restoring the Krosniewice Railway to running order and on receiving an estimate of several million zloty rapidly back-tracked and asked his officials to come up with several convincing reasons why Lodz province could not take over the railway.
The end of the cleared section 3 miles from Ozorkow. Photo BTWT.
Now SKKW members are hoping to interest another local council in taking over the whole line and to that end have started to clear the track bed starting from Ozorkow Station. Now after 3 working parties over 3 km of track have already been cleared.