Archive for October, 2015

Chabówka grabs Tr5 – threat to Wolsztyn plan

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Disturbing news has reached BTWT that the manager of PKP Cargo’s open air railway museum at Chabowka, Maciej Panasiewicz, has played a masterstroke in his attempts to undermine the agreement between the four parties (PKP Cargo, Wielkopolska Provincial Government, Wolsztyn District Council, and Wolsztyn Town Council) that are planning to take over Wolsztyn shed and run it as a cultural institute.

While this is not the first time that news of Panasiewicz’s attempts at sabotage have reached our ears, it did not seem appropriate to dignify his previous efforts (dragging out overhauls of Wolsztyn steam locos, not releasing more Chabowka  locos for the last Wolsztyn parade, or interfering with the management of the Parade’s steam specials) by reporting them in our blog. This time we will not remain silent, his latest surprise move has shocked all Wolsztyn stakeholders, and it threatens the foundations of the agreement between PKP Cargo and the three local authorities regarding the future of the engine shed.

Just as lawyers are reaching the end of their work on the text of the agreement and constitution which are to give life to the new body which is to become the long-term custodian of Wolsztyn shed, Panasiewicz has arranged with PKP Cargo’s operational management to snatch Tr5-65 from Wolsztyn and move the loco to Chabówka.

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Tr5-65 at Wolsztyn coaling stage. Photo courtesy Wojtek Lis.

Designed for heavy freight haulage, Tr5-65 is hardly mission critical to Wolsztyn’s unique role in maintaining a fleet of steam locomotives capable of maintaining the tight schedules of diesel-hauled passenger trains, nevertheless its future is significant to the success of the plans for shed.

Tr5-65 was originally built by Orenstein & Koppel in 1921, as a Prussian Railways G8 class 0-8-0. It was rebuilt as 2-8-0 at Schneidemühl (Piła) in 1938. It was transferred to PKP in 1945 and worked in various locations in south western Poland, ending up stationed at Wrocław Gądów where was withdrawn from active service in 1972. It was then moved around various locations in the character of a ‘pomnik techniczny’ (literal translation technical monument) before going to the railway works in Piła in 1993. It emerged from Piła having undergone a complete rebuild in 1994, was stationed in Jaworzyna Śląska until 2002 after which it was moved to Wolsztyn. It is currently awaiting an intermediate overhaul.

While railfans wanting to see the loco restored to working order might welcome the move to Chabówka which has considerable expertise in overhauling historic railway locomotives, we understand that an offer to fund the restoration of the loco has been made by a long-standing friend of Wolsztyn. Removing the loco just before the new arrangements to run the depot go operational is at best incredibly tactless, and at worst could seriously undermine the trust between the parties concerned – a trust which is critical if the new venture is to be a success.

See also: Wolsztyn Shed – Wielkopolska Vote ‘Yes’Wolsztyn Institute plan gets ‘green light’

Dyspozytor

Expansion of Pendolino services

Monday, 5 October 2015

PKP InterCity have taken delivery of their twentieth and final Pendolino unit.  The EMU’s were built by Alstom at their Savigliano plant in Italy.  Introduced to the timetable in December 2014, and branded as Express InterCity Premium (EIP), they have been working scheduled services on the Warsaw – Czestochowa – Wroclaw, and Gdansk – Warsaw – Krakow routes.  With their top speed in public service of 200 km/h they have cut journey times between the Polish cities.

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A Pendolino waits in Wroclaw Glowny for a departure to Warsaw. 8 February 2015.  Photo: John Savery

InterCity have now announced plans to expand the routes, with Jelenia Gora and Kolobrzeg joining the network.  The Jelenia Gora to Wroclaw route has recently been modernised, with PLK spending a quoted 400 million zloty on works since 2010.  The result is a reduction in the journey time to Wroclaw of approximately one and a half hours, compared with five years ago.

For those not familiar with the route, the line follows a fairly straight run down to Jaworzyna Slask, before winding its way up the climb to Walbrzych, and onwards to Jelenia Gora at the foot of the Karkonosze range.  The twisty windy route would be well suited to the tilting Pendolino’s.  Sadly PKP InterCity cut the tilting element from the Pendolino project at design stage, and so passengers will not be able to take advantage of this or the potential for increased speeds on this stage of the journey.

The introduction of the through services to Warsaw (using Pendolinos) is due to take place at the December timetable change.