Archive for February 26th, 2013

Boroń – new boss at Cargo

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

lukasz_boron

Łukasz Boron. From a photo by PKP Cargo.

On Monday 25 January, the PKP group announced that Łukasz Boron, the former Finance Director of PKP Cargo, has been appointed the Company’s new chairman, filling the vacancy caused by the resignation of Wojciech Balczun.

Adam Purwin, previously tipped for the top job in Cargo, and currently heading the PKP SA department responsible for privatisation strategy, moves into the Finance Director job vacated by Boron. Acting Chairman, Marek Zaleśy, formerly Sales Director retains his membership of PKP Cargo’s board.

At Monday’s press conference, Boron announced that his intention would be to continue the good work started by his predecessor Wojciech Balczun in getting PKP Cargo ready for its début on Warsaw’s stock exchange. At the end of January, Transport Minister, Sławomir Nowak authorised the partial privatization of PKP Cargo by the sale of up to 50% of the shares of PKP Cargo. PKP SA is to retain a controlling interest in PKP Cargo.

Boron announced that he had identified three priority areas. The first of these was ‘consolidating’ Cargo’s existing markets: carrying steel, coal and aggregates.  This is a sector where Cargo has lost traffic thanks to the heavy engine / long train tactics of new competitors such as DB Schenker and Freightliner PL. The second was expansion into fast growing new markets such as biomass and intermodal, including expansion abroad, not only into the countries that are Poland’s immediate neighbours, but also further afield as far as Hungary and Holland. The third was to continue streamlining the company and cutting costs.

Łukasz Boron has worked in the railway industry for 8 months. He is a mergers and acquisition specialist having worked for four years in that role with KPMG Corporate Finance, then from 2011 he headed the M&A department of Erste Group Bank AG Investment Banking in Vienna.

Pleszew – the end of an era

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Last regular n.g. passenger service in Poland ends

pleszew-shed

One year to go – railbus MBxd2-216 on shed at Pleszew Miasto on 1 December 2011. Photo Ed Beale.

On 7 December 2012, unnoticed and unreported, regular passenger trains on the Pleszew narrow gauge railway ceased, bringing to a close the long era of regular passenger services on the Polish narrow gauge.

The end of services was not announced on the SKPL Facebook page (now their only news outlet, since their old website closed down a couple of years ago), and only came to light as the result of a question posted on the 750mm.pl forum. The railway has not closed completely, and it is likely that occasional tourist specials will continue to run on the narrow gauge tracks, as well as regular freight on the standard gauge tracks.

The Pleszew railway, being just 4km long and dual-gauge throughout, seemed an unlikely candidate for Poland’s last regular narrow gauge passenger service, but it outlasted Smigiel by 2 years, and Krosniewice by almost 5 years.

The service survived with local authority funding, and using the staff employed by SKPL’s profitable freight business but, as we reported in September, when the local authority funding was cut last autumn and a through ticketing arrangement with Przewozy Regionalne fell through, the end of the passenger services was inevitable, and in the event it survived for only two months.

The 4km Pleszew Wask to Pleszew Miasto line is the surviving part of the Krotoszyn District Railway, which opened in 1900 and at its maximum extent ran 50km from Krotoszyn, through Dobrzyca and Pleszew, to Broniszewice.

The railway was operated by PKP until 9 June 2001, then closed for 5 years until it was reopened under the management of SKPL on 17 September 2006. As well as the station buildings at Pleszew Wask and Pleszew Miasto, and the locomotive sheds and plinthed Px48 steam locomotive at Pleszew Miasto, some remains of the rest of the railway exist, including another plinthed Px48 and train at Krotoszyn, and the station building at Dobrzyca.