Shocking Skansen

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These Romanian trailers look as if they were never painted since they were put into service by PKP in the 1970s. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

I hate skansens. This Scandinavian invention may have a place in preserving rural architecture; although personally I have never seen the point of plucking a building from its historic context and and transporting it to an entirely artificial setting, however carefully designed and landscaped.

Applied to the railway locomotives and rolling stock a skansen is a monstrous aberration condemning precision machinery and delicate woodwork to the ravages of its worst enemies: frost and water and a programme of accelerated decay.

A rustic retreat? No, a historic four wheel covered wagon left to rot in the ‘skansen’. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Nowhere is the bankruptcy of the Polish railway skansen meme demonstrated so effectively as the narrow gauge railway skansen in Gryfice. Adjacent to a thriving narrow gauge railway operated by the most prosperous gmina in Poland is a collection of decaying rolling stock the likes of which have not been seen since the last steam locomotive left Barry scrapyard.

Seen from the road the skansen looks neat and tidy with well-kept lawns trimmed bushes and locomotives which appear to be regularly repainted. Penetrate a little further and the condition of many priceless relics is heartbreaking.

Ex Grojecka Kolej Dojazdowa motor coach MBxd1-359 heads a line of rotting metre gauge motor coaches and trailers. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

The tragedy is that this need not have been so. The Gryfice workshops of the Pomeranian Narrow Gauge Railways were extensive and could easily have provided covered accommodation for much of this rolling stock. But someone decided that most of the accommodation was ‘surplus to requirements’.

Someone also decided that it would be inappropriate for Gmina Rewal to hold on to all the historic rolling stock left behind after the closure of the Pomeranian metre gauge network and it would be in better hands (= would provide more opportunities for private profit) if the bulk of the collection was retained by the Railway Museum in Warsaw.

Unidentified Romanian trailer, Vulcan Werke 0-6-2T of 1928 Tyn-3632, and a transporter wagon. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

And so it was that the Piaseczno and Gryfice narrow gauge railways were deprived of their own rolling stock and locomotives and had to stand idly by while part of their heritage rotted away.

Eventually, the authorities running the Railway Museum in Warsaw, embarrassed by the state of the items in their custody, and realising that – because of fuss stirred up by several infamous cases of dodgy sales elsewhere – the eagle eyes of Polish railway enthusiasts were upon them, decided to hand over the skansen to the Szczecin branch of the National Museum.

Unfortunately the Museum does not have the funds available to arrest the decay in the skansen, an in fact, has serious problems with its own collection of historic wooden fishing vessels which – displayed outdoors in Szczecin – have decayed so much that they are in danger of falling apart.

(left to right) Px48-3912, Tx7-3501, Tx7-3502, Ty6-3284, Txn8-3811, Px48-3916, Ty-9785.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Gmina Reval, the owners of the Gryfice Narrow Gauge railway now renamed the Nadmorska Kolej Waskotorowa (Coastal Narrow Gauge Railway), have made a bid to the National Museum to take over and restore the collection of historic fishing vessels. Is it too much to hope that they might bid to provide a better home for the skansen rolling stock as well?

Vandalised Bxhpi 00-450044328-0 trailer next to an unidentified trailer in Gryfice yard. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

Postscript

Sadly the EU-assisted project to upgrade the Gryfice Narrow Gauge Railway, while providing for a brand new station buildings and several covered platform awnings (where they had never been awnings before) did not envisage providing secure covered accommodation for the railway’s rolling stock. The effect of this can be seen in the act of wanton vandalism shown on the photograph above.

Dyspozytor

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One Response to “Shocking Skansen”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    Oh, dear ! Extremely depressing reading. A sorry contrast to my visit to the same venue 18 years ago — the place was then fascinating and well-kept. I often feel strong temptation nowadays, simply to write off the entire Polish rail scene, and pay no more attention to it. Bad becomes worse, in so many ways, the entire time; with very little “upside” of any kind.

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