Jarocin District Railway, 1939 (Part 2)

by

by ‘Inzynier’

(continued from: The Jarocin District Railway, 1939 Pt. 1 )

The 08:25 from Witaszyce has just reached the junction station of Sucha…

tx3-194-near-sucha

Tx3-194 near Sucha in 1977. Photo Werner and Hansjorg Brutzer.

(Click to see the full size image on Werner and Hansjorg Brutzer’s flickr photostream)

The 08.25 from Witaszyce is shown in the timetable as train no. 1 and has taken 52 minutes to cover the 16km to Sucha, an average speed of just over 18kph (less than 12mph). Now it morphs into train no. 2B and after a few minutes sets off up the branch line to Robakow.

sucha-robakow

The Robakow and Lubinia Wielka branches. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

The 4km branch has one intermediate stop at Grab, with a single siding, and the terminus, reached after a 14 minute run from Sucha, features just a run-round loop and loading siding. Whilst Grab was a modest hamlet, the terminus of the branch seems to be a road junction in the middle of nowhere. Just down the road, across a branch of the Prosna river, can be seen the settlement of Robakow, about half a dozen cottages and a large farm.

A solitary passenger leaves the train and heads off down the road, while nobody joins the train – why would they? Anybody wishing to travel to Witaszyce would have to wait at Sucha for nearly four hours until the train returns from Komorze, while anybody wanting to travel to Komorze, or stations en route, would probably walk the 3km or so to the station at Lubinia Wielka to catch the train. The locomotive runs round and after ten minutes we are heading back to Sucha as train 2A.

Upon arrival at Sucha (another 14 minute, 4km run) the locomotive swiftly runs round the train again, resumes its identity as train No. 1 and sets off once more along the main line for Komorze. The next stop is Lubinia Wielka, where a freight line branches off to the left; it runs a couple of kilometres to end in the fields. Then comes Miniszew, a simple halt, followed by the halt and loop at Kretkow. The scenery along the way is once again open fields with the occasional block of woodland; a few passengers board or leave the train at these halts.

przybyslaw

Przybyslaw and the freight branch towards Lgow. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

Then comes Przybyslaw, where a long loop forms the base of a triangular junction for the 8km freight branch to Lgow, off which a number of subsidiary branches run to various loading points, farms and at least one distillery(6).

At Przybyslaw itself a long siding leads from the loop to serve a dairy and distillery. Unlike Twardow, there is no sign of another train serving this branch, but perhaps during the two-hour layover at Komorze our locomotive will run down the branch to pick up a few wagons.

For the time being, however, we pause here only briefly as a few passengers alight, and then amble the final two kilometres to Komorze, another simple terminus with run-round loop and loading siding. Because of the diversion to Robakow, the 29km journey from Witaszyce has taken 2 hours and 23 minutes, an average speed of some 12kph (8mph); it is not surprising the train only runs twice a week.

komorze-pyzdry

Two narrow gauge railway termini: Komorze and Pyzdry. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

Beside the station at Komorze is the building of the long-defunct sugar factory – rendered redundant when the railway opened and beet could be transported to the much larger facility at Witaszyce – and beyond that another distillery. A separate field railway heads off north for a couple of kilometres alongside a cart track, to a nearby farm.

As the few passengers who have travelled this far wander off in various directions, we pick up our bags and set off on foot. Our destination is Pyzdry, terminus of the Wrzesnia district railway, but to reach the town we must cross the river Warta, and river crossings are few and far between.

Initially we head in a generally easterly direction, crossing the Prosna to Ruda Komorska. Traffic on this country road is light, consisting of a few horse-drawn carts and pedestrians; we see no motor vehicles. In crossing the Prosna, we cross what was, until 25 years ago, the border between Germany and Russia.

From Ruda Komorska we head north east, again along cart tracks, along the edge of the uncultivated Warta flood plain, to the main Kalisz-Pyzdry road and then, heading north west, reach the bridge over the river, crossing which brings us to Pyzdry itself. On this more major route we are passed by one light motor lorry and a motor charabanc, but otherwise the road traffic is much as it has been for the last century or so.

The walk has been pleasant enough but the hot sun and dusty roads have left our throats rather dry. Fortunately, however, we have plenty of time to slake our thirst on the local brew and partake of a late lunch in one of the town’s hostelries before walking up to the station on the north side of town.

cont/…

Notes:

6) The Lgow branch opened in sections between 1909 and 1911. It closed in 1979.

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2 Responses to “Jarocin District Railway, 1939 (Part 2)”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    Delightful article. It would have been wonderful to experience the journey recounted; though at the time in history at which it is set, a guarantee of getting safely out of Eastern and Central Europe, after making the trip, would have been desirable…

    In my own travels some half a century later, I mostly missed out on Poland’s 600mm gauge. My top priority was to go where the steam was. I saw the Witaszyce 600mm gauge line only once, in passing through the town on a main-line train in 1990; with more urgent goals, I had no time to get out and investigate. And of course, the line closed the following year.

  2. John Says:

    Off topic but whilst Warszawa Centralny is now pigeon free, why is there not a single public phone in the place (or in the new ‘gallery’ next door. No foreign newspapers for sale as there used to be.

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