Kalisz trip report

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Photo report by Ed Beale

Zbiersk Cukrownia, SKPL mixed traffic special ready to depart. Photo ©Ed Beale.

(Click to enlarge.)

At 09:30 on Saturday 3rd December, around 25 people armed with cameras were waiting outside Kalisz station for the first part of the Mikolajki z TOWOS-em excursion on SKPL’s Kalisz narrow gauge railway. At 09:45 a historic San H100 bus appeared and we all piled on board and quickly departed. The bus drew all eyes as we drove through the centre of Kalisz – no one has seen its like for decades.

The first stop was at the site of the old Kalisz narrow gauge station on the northern edge of the town. The mainline station in Kalisz is badly located, but this one was in its day just as bad, being 2.5 km from the city centre and 5 km from the standard gauge station. But it closed many years ago and all there is to see now is a large flat empty site covered in low weeds. An LPG gas station occupies a tiny part of the site, but the rest remains empty.

One of several run-pasts. Photo ©Ed Beale.

(Click to enlarge.)

We continued on to Zbiersk, the HQ and engineering base of the railway, where we arrived at 10:35. The special train was waiting in the yard, consisting of Lxd2-287, two standard gauge bogie wagons on transporters, a brake van and a Romanian coach.

Departure from Zbiersk was at 11:00. The southward journey was broken up by a number of photo stops, seven of them in total, with run-pasts at most. The landscape the railway passes through is flat, but forests, a river, and some fine churches in villages close to the line add a bit of scenic interest. The line crosses numerous roads but as the railway is still well used, drivers were pretty good at stopping at the sound of the train horn and there was no need for staff in hi-vis jackets to hop out and stop the traffic.

Standard gauge wagons are unloaded from their transporters. Photo ©Ed Beale.

(Click to enlarge.)

We reached Opatowek, the standard gauge interchange station, at 13:40. Here the coach and brake van were shunted into a siding while the Lxd2 and SKPL’s standard gauge shunter transferred the two standard gauge wagons from the transporters back onto standard gauge track. This took around an hour, then the special train, now reduced to just the coach and brake van, departed back to Zbiersk at 14:50.

This time, due to the fading light, there were no photo stops, but we did have a long stop at Zelazkow where, to my very pleasant surprise, portions of bigos (delicious goulash style stew) and bread rolls arrived for everyone from the catering company on the other side of the road! With the bigos quickly finished off the train continued on into the dusk to Zbiersk, arriving at 16:35, in plenty of time for the 17:19 bus back to Kalisz.

Many thanks to Robert Matczak and his colleagues at SKPL for an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable event, and to Dyspozytor for booking my place.

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3 Responses to “Kalisz trip report”

  1. Ben Fischer Says:

    Flat? Flat! That’s one thing the Zbiersk line most certainly isn’t!

    Nantmor bank eat your heart out.

  2. Geoff Jenkins Says:

    Is there any freight running on the Kalisz line these days or is this another location where the rail traffic has quietly faded away to leave an unused, overgrown railway at the mercy of the scrap thieves?

    • Dyspozytor Says:

      No freight currently, but very occasional passenger ‘specials’. Currently on my list on ‘must visit again’ lines.

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