Christmas Competition – No. 5


Another mystery triangle courtesy Google Maps

Sorry for the hiccup in BTWT postings, but I have been busy fighting pro-rail battles on another front and can feel some satisfaction that after many setbacks some measurable progress at last has been achieved.

I must admit that the last location is a place on a line with which I have some emotional attachment. I first came across the Stepnica – Gryfice branch of the Pomeranian narrow gauge railways in the 1960s when I was bawled out by the station master at Stepnica for photographing one of his trains. Alas, though I succeeded in keeping my film and camera the film then  went astray before I could develop it.

While still a schoolboy I visited the manager of the Szczecińskie Koleje Dojazdowe (Szczecin Area Local Railways) and told him the story of the Talyllyn Railway and the other Welsh narrow gauge lines. I remember when his secretary came into his office with a sheaf of letters and a massive rotary holder of rubber stamps and he carefully chose the right stamp and then ‘signed’ each letter by stamping it!

I also visited the head Department of Transport of the Szczecin area local goverment – in those days an English passport could get you to see quite important officials – and told him the same story.

In the 1970s, I revisited the line a number of times. Stepnica port acted as a short of headshunt for the timber yard and I befriended one of the engine crews. One year they ‘kidnapped’ my girl friend while I was photographing their engine and charged off with her in their Px48 to the timber yard at top speed. On the way the driver told her that the fireman had recently been released from jail after serving a sentence for assault and battery.

Another place I explored was Golczewo with its remarkably sharp curve – the remains of a triangle and former branch to Samlino and Sniatowo. I remember the track being well-fettled when I first saw it. Alas all is weeds and devastation today. The Mayor of Stepnica sold the track materials of the section of line in his municipality for peanuts.

After the political changes in 1989, I tried to interest a number of politicians in the idea that the waterways around Szczecin and the port of Stepnica would form an ideal extension to the inland waterway cruising area around Berlin. Wealthy German tourists could moor their luxury motor cruisers and then take the historic narrow gauge railway to the attractions of the coast.

For years the Stepnica branch carried timber. The local road hauliers eyed the business with jealousy. Their interest and the fact that the line crossed the busy Szczecin – Swinoujskie Route 3 trunk road sealed the line’s fate. However, thanks to the initiative of the Mayor of Reval at least the section of railway from the line’s HQ at Gryfice to the coast has been preserved.

Both Waldemar Heise and Michael Friedrich came up with the right answer on Saturday. Waldemar came in first by a couple of hours and so takes the point.

The curve at Golczewo. ‘Slippy’ map courtesy Google Maps.


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