Ty42-24 passing through the signals on the erstwhile line to Konotop. Photo Marek Ciesielski.
(Click images to expand.)
Wolsztyn’s annual May parade took place on 3 May. A much smaller event than usual, which has cast doubts on whether or not the event will continue.
No German based locomotives were present. Poland’s fractured rail industry appears to have put paid to that. From what we understand, faced with swingeing track access charges and other fees, the German railtours could not break even for a sensible fare. Given that the fees levied on last year’s trains led to them making a loss, a decision was made by German railtour organisers not to risk making further losses this year.
Chabowka based Ty42-107 and TKt48-191 during the Parade. Photo John Savery.
Chabowka supplied 3 in ticket locos: Ty42-107, Ol12-7 and TKt48-191, all being moved from their southern Polish base. Wolsztyn could only muster 2 in ticket locos, Ol49-59 (making it’s last appearance before overhaul at Leszno), and Ol49-69. Quite why PKP allows Chabowka to keep 3 locos in working order (with the boiler for the OKz32 also standing by ready to fit) compared with Wolsztyn’s single remaining loco is beyond reason, given that the number of steamings and charters done by Chabowka is minimal, and is probably worth an article on its own.
Chabowka’s Ty42-107 and Pyskowice’s Ty42-24 in the shed at Wolsztyn. The devil is in the detail! Photo Marek Ciesielski.
Pride of the show was Ty42-24, restored in Pyskowice by Zbyszek and Krzysiek Jakubina. Making its debut at the Chabowka gala last year, the standard of restoration is exemplary, and the quality of the finish is far superior to that on Ty42-107, overhauled by full-time staff at Chabowka.
Also present were a Czech loco (2-8-2 Mikado 475- 179) and Club Albatross’ Slovakian 4-8-2 498-104.
Slovakian 498-104 during the Parade, 3 May 2014. Photo John Savery.
So what does the future hold?
Despite optimistic reports in this month’s Railway Magazine, there are no firm guarantees that steam will actually return to the daily services. As yet no deal has been reached, however it is clear that the lobbying by concerned supporters is hitting the mark. From what we have heard, at least one letter prompted by the appeal in BTWT has actually reached Jakub Karnowski, the boss of PKP, and he has charged the team looking at the Warsaw Railway Museum project to also look closely at the situation in Wolsztyn.
With the sun glinting off the gleaming paintwork, Ty42-24 prepares to return south to Wroclaw. Photo John Savery.
A team in PKP Cargo’s strategy unit is now working on a business plan to set up a cultural institute to take over long-term responsibility for the shed and its locos. In the meantime, it is probably not a bad idea to keep up the pressure! If you were thinking of writing a letter, but have not already done so why not drop a line to one or both of the people below. Physical letters are best, but you could also send a pdf file version of a properly formatted letter as an e-mail enclosure.
We believe that the cultural institute idea deserves support, however it is important to point out that what made Wolsztyn absolutely unique was the daily timetabled regular passenger service, hauled by the steam engines stabled there, and that it was this that attracted visitors to Wolsztyn from all around the world.
1. Chief Executive of Wielkopolska Provincial Government
Pan Wojciech Jankowiak
Marszałek Województwa Wielkopolskiego
al. Niepodległości 18
2. PKP Cargo Chairman
Pan Adam Purwin
PKP CARGO S.A.
ul. Grójecka 17