Some grounds for cautious optimism
On a hot summer’s day in August 2012, Ol49-69 has just arrived in Wolsztyn with the service train from Poznan. Photo BTWT.
A number of readers followed up our appeal published on 8 November regarding the demise of weekend steam-hauled services between Poznan and Wolsztyn. Now, considerably later, the replies to readers’ letters and e-mails have started to come in. Here is the translation of a typical letter. It has been signed by Jerzy Kriger, the Director of Transport in the Chief Executive’s office of the Wielkopolska provincial government.
In answer to your email, regarding the matter of the withdrawal of weekend steam hauled passenger services from Poznan to Wolsztyn, I would like to inform you as follows:
Because of the limited financial means available to the province of Wielkopolska, and bearing in mind the high costs of steam-hauled railway services, as well as the introduction of a new railway time table from 9 January 2012, we have abandoned weekend working of services with steam haulage. However, it should be borne in mind that the current operations of the locomotive shed in Wolsztyn is based mainly on the operation of scheduled trains which are commissioned by the local government of Wielkopolska province. A different solution for example by retaining only weekend services could, on one hand attract a greater number of tourists, but on the other hand would cause problems for the current owner in covering the cost of the locomotive shed’s operations. An important matter which has to be borne in mind is that the steam locomotives released by this change will be able to serve a larger number of tourist services.
I would like to inform you that the local government of Wielkopolska Is currently working on a project to set up on the basis of the existing facility the Wolsztyn Locomotive Shed Company whose shareholders would include, among others, other local governments. The main object of the company would be tourist / recreational operations such as organising and running of steam-hauled specials and tourist trains as well as the operation of the locomotive shed. It is planned that the new organisation would operate scheduled timetable services as well as special services, particularly the operation of various kinds of chartered trains. The range of operations is intended also to include the provision of passenger services in the area of Wielkopolska.
Thank you for your interest in the matter. I would like to share with my hope that we will be successful in delivering this project. First of all, it would allow the Locomotive Shed to be preserved as part of our cultural heritage, and at the same time there will be a chance to increase the attractiveness and scale of the railway services hauled by steam.
Director of Department
- Jerzy Kriger letter – original Polish text (download)