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.
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to PKP in 1945 and worked in various locations in south western Poland, ending up stationed at Wrocław Gądów where was withdrawn from active service in 1972.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.