Strike a blow for Smigiel – part 1

by

Marek Woźniak
Chief Executive of the Wielkopolska Province
al. Niepodleglosci 18
61-713 Poznan
Poland

Dear Mr Wozniak,

I write as someone who regards himself as a friend of Poland and the Wielkopolska Province, although I live in Great Britain. Over the years I have visited the Smigiel area over a dozen times to photograph and ride upon the narrow gauge railway which today still survives between Wielichowo and Stare Bojanowo, but which as recently as the 1970s ran as far as Rakonowice and Krzywin.

It is with great sadness that I have watched the decline of the railway in the last few years. It seems that during this period Smigiel Town Council did not invest any of their won money the operation and conservation of the line, but rather tried to sequester as much money as possible from the operating grant generously made available by your office for other purposes.

Notwithstanding the environmental and social benefits of maintaining a rail-link between the PKP main line and Smigiel, the Mayor of Smigiel and other representatives of Smigiel Town Council have declared on recent occasions that they are interested only in developing the line as a tourist attraction. Yet their recent decisions will only demonstrate that they are not interested in developing the line at all:

  • Their financial shenanigans have driven away the line’s operating company, SKPL, who were willing to run the line at a very modest cost.
  • They have closed the popular refreshment rooms at Smigiel and turned them into a police station.
  • They have blocked the railway’s freight connection to PKP preventing the transfer of steam locomotives by rail. Steam traction on the Smigiel line has been in previous years a great crowd puller.
  • They have abandoned the section of line linking the Smigiel Railway with the PKP station making it much more difficult for elderly or disabled people to access the line in the future.

Over the years your office has taken a leading role in sustaining and developing Wielkopolska’s railway heritage. I understand that, even though this year no trains are running at Smigiel, your office has given the Town Council a 60,000 zloty grant towards the upkeep of the railway. Sadly there is very little evidence that it is being spent on the line itself. Perhaps it will be used to fund the ‘party’ the Council plans to hold on the occasion of the line’s 111th birthday?

I and thousands of other industrial heritage enthusiasts around the world respectfully ask you to use whatever influence you can bring to bear to persuade Smigiel Town Council to safeguard and develop this precious asset.

Yours sincerely

 

The above is a first draft of a letter that I and my friends will be sending to the Chief Executive of Wielkopolska Province. Please write and mail your own letters. Please do not copy the above letter exactly, but by all means use it as a base which you edit to reflect your own thoughts about the line. From many years past experience letters and faxes (which have a legal status) receive more consideration in Poland than e-mails.

Contact details:

Marek Woźniak
Chief Executive of the Wielkopolska Province
al. Niepodleglosci 18
61-713 PoznanRoom 142, Building C
POLAND

tel +48 (61) 854-19-88, 854-18-47
fax + 48 (61) 854-17-17
e-mail: marszalek@umww.pl

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