Archive for the ‘Chabowka’ Category

Transwersalna closure puts charters in doubt

Thursday, 17 September 2015


The sudden decision to close the line from Kasina Wielka to Nowy Sacz to passenger traffic has taken several groups by surprise, not least Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Wolsztyńskiej Parowozowni (TPWP) who have a planned photo charter for 10 October.  The line from Chabowka to Nowy Sacz, part of the Kolej Transwersalna had recently been subject to renewed activity, due to the Małopolskie Szlaki Turystyki Kolejowej (Malopolska Railway Tourism), organised by the Nowy Sacz Railway Enthusiasts Society.  The society had recently received funding of 200,000 zl, (about £35,000) from the Malopolska regional government to run a series of charters along the line.  They too, have had to change plans, for trains later this month, and into October and November.

Ty42-107 on the closed section, 26 May 2013

Ty42-107 heads a special organised by the Nowy Sacz Railway Enthusiasts Society towards Chabowka, 26 May 2013.  Photo: John Savery

The decision, taken on safety grounds, was made by PLK, the business which runs Polish rail tracks.  With limited (if no) maintenance being undertaken on sections of the line, the permanent way is in poor condition.  The remaining part of the line, from Chabowka to Kasina Wielka remains open.

The line has been threatened with closure before however had a last minute reprieve.  With no scheduled freight service over the line, the closure is effectively a total closure over the scenic and heavily graded section between Kasina Wielka and Nowy Sacz.


Ty42-24 star of Chabowka Steam Gala

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The first part of Marek Ciesielski’s photoreport


Ty42-24 with its first train of fare-paying passengers after a 4-year overhaul. Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.


Everybody wants a view, of Pyskowice’s Ty42. Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.


A fun day for the whole family. Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.


The heroes of the day, Krzysztof and Zbyszek Jakubina of TOZKiOS. Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.

Our thanks to Marek Ciesielski for sharing his superb photos with us. All the images can be enlarged by the simple expedient of clicking on them.

Czech giant to grace Parowozjada

Friday, 23 August 2013

475.101, Šlachtična. Video zavadilvilem.

Šlachtična, a powerful mixed traffic 4-8-2 built by Skoda in 1947, will be a star attraction at this year’s Parowozjada. Other locomotives expected to be in steam include Chabowka’s own: Ol12-7, Tkt48-191, Ty42-107, and TKh49-1. Ol49-99 (ex Ol49-69) will be visiting from Wolsztyn. Polish railfans will be looking out for Ty42-24 which has recently completed a four year overhaul carried out by a small team of volunteers at Pyskowice.

Parowozjazda Tkt48-191-1000587-2

2-8-2T, TKt48-191 at Chabowka Station in August 2011. Photo BTWT.

Making a welcome return this year are the special vintage trains to bring guests to the gala. These will be running on Saturday 24 August from Dobra k. Limanowej and Zakopane. Ty42-107 is booked to haul the Dobra train, while TKt48-191 is scheduled to work the train from Zakopane. Sadly the special vintage trains which used to bring guests from Cracow have not been running for several years.

This year’s Parowozjada, the 9th such event, takes place in the Chabowka Skansen (open air railway museum), near Rabka Zdroj this weekend (24 & 25 August). Further details (in English) can be found on Milos Mazurek’s website, see below.


Last train to Nowy Sacz?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

IMG_4889 - departing shot

Departing shot Ty42-107, and its train. Photo John Savery.

The line from Chabowka to Nowy Sacz is on the list of lines to be closed that was published earlier this year.  The scenic line, with its twisting curves and steep gradients, is worth travelling.  With that in mind, coupled with the fact that I hadn’t travelled further east than Dobra, forced the decision to go out for the steam hauled special on 26 May, organised by the Nowosądeckie Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Kolei (Nowy Sacz Railway Society).  Tickets for the special sold out weeks before, however there were tickets left for the Chabowka to Nowy Sacz leg of the trip, which had been added as a working train, rather than an empty stock move.

A bright early morning start greeted Ty42-107, and the mixed train of retro and ryflak coaches.

IMG_4760-1 Heading to Mszana Dolna

The 5.30 departure didn’t deter people from turning out for the train.  The line is rarely used, and this showed on the stiff climb from Mszana Dolna to Skrzydlna, with the loco slipping to a stand on several occasions.  A wet railhead, along with a rarely used line proved a tough match for the Kriegslok, despite not having a heavy train.  Pausing at some stations on the way for 5 minute breaks, the train made slow progress to Nowy Sacz, but kept time.  Despite the weather, there were several groups of photographers out in force at the lineside.

A large crowd greeted the train at Limanowa, many of whom boarded.

At Nowy Sacz, the train was greeted by brass bands, singers, and a display of period soldiers.

I was fortunate enough to be with a friend who has a wide network in the Polish gricing community, which rallies together to help each other out.  Seeing a contact on the side of the line, a quick handwave, a few gestures, and a follow up text message secured 2 spaces in a car for the return trip.

IMG_4910-1 near Skrydlna

Special near Skrydlna. Photo John Savery.

Under worsening weather, the train returned to Chabowka, full, and stopping for approximately half an hour at intermediate stations, where there were festivities laid on.  With decreasing adhesion, the train stalled several times, making for a spectacular display.  At one stage the crew were forced to walk ahead of the loco in pouring rain, placing ballast on the railhead so that the engine could crush it and get a grip.

IMG_4944-1 Mszana to Rabka

Special on the section Mszana to Rabka. Photo John Savery.

Arriving in Chabowka, the passengers boarded waiting coaches to take them back to Nowy Sacz and the intermediate towns.

As we close for press we have heard that the line has been saved from closure as it is of national strategic importance.  There are no further planned workings over the line – the trains scheduled for Parowozjazda are only planned to go as far as Mszana Dolna, missing the steepest sections, and in some cases the most deteriorated parts of the line.  This could well be the last train to Nowy Sacz (via the Transwersalna).  Only time will tell.

IMG_4958 empty tracks, near Rabka Zaryte

Empty tracks near Rabka Zaryte. Photo John Savery.

(All photographs Ⓒ John Savery. Click on the image to view a larger picture.)

More photos of the trip can be seen on Flickr, and video on YouTube.

Poland’s TWO steam galas

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Behind The Water Tower

The ‘all hands on deck’ highlight of the 2013 Wolsztyn Steam Gala, Video by lukas125p .

There are TWO ‘mainline’ steam galas in Poland: the well publicised Parada Parowozow which takes place each year at Wolsztyn and the less well known Parowozjazda at Chabowka.

The Wolsztyn Gala, whose 20th anniversary was celebrated on the 27 April this year, is  undoubtedly the event which is responsible for keeping working steam locomotives in the public eye in Poland.

The Chabowka event deserves to be better known offering as it does the sight of a parade of vintage trains – freight and passenger – rather than just steam locomotives. A couple of steam specials offering photos stops for enthusiasts are also run on the Chabowka – Nowy Sacz line as far as Dobra k. Limanowej.

This year, the Chabowka gala is due to take place on 24 August and with the Nowy Sacz line on PKP’s closure list it may be the last year that steam specials operate over that line.

Highlights of the 2012 Parowzjazda. Video by rafstak.

Sadly, because of the lack of support from local councils, and lack of imagination from those responsible for marketing the event to potential stakeholders, Parowozjazda is now a pale shadow of days gone by.

Not so long ago, connecting specials ran from Cracow and Zakopane while the parade of vintage trains took place at Rabka Zaryte. Today, the sidings at Rabka Zaryte have been lifted and Parowozjazda takes place within the confines of the Chabowka ‘Skansen’.

With a hat tip to Mike Stollery of the Swanage Railway.


Spies of Warsaw

Sunday, 27 January 2013


David Tennant as Jean-Francois Mercier, 1944 built Ty2-911 as …? Publicity still.

(Click on image to see original on

The BBC and TVP have recently aired the film “Spies of Warsaw”.

Set in late 1930’s Warsaw, the film follows the exploits of a French spy, and his associates, amid the political manuvering in the build up to WWII.  Starring David Tennant (of Dr Who fame), the film was made with some scenes shot in Poland.

Purists will note that the railway scenes feature Chabowka’s Ty2-911, an engine not built until 1944.  The only appearance of a historically accurate locomotive is the scene showing OKz32-2 which is under overhaul in the works at Chabowka (with Ty2-953 seen in close proximity.)  Nevertheless, the railway scenes do feature some great shots of the Chabowka – Mszana Dolna – Nowy Sacz line, which formed part of the Galicyjska Kolej Transwersalna (Galician Transverse Railway).

The shots also include the platform at the Chabowka skansen (look out for Ol49-44  making a guest appearance at the end of the platform), and the station at Kasina Wielka.

The line itself has featured in film several times, notably in the opening scenes of Schindler’s List.  With glorious mountain views, and steep gradients, its clear why film makers use the line, as well as its proximity to Chabowka.

But wait, if film makers can see the benefit in the line, why can’t PKP?  With minimal services over it, and minimal use of the in-ticket engines at Chabowka, you would think that it would be the ideal place for tourist trips.  PKP Cargo seem unable to realise this, and for years have failed to market the line, which is closed to passenger and freight services, and clings to life by a thread.

Chabowka is a wasted asset.  A capable workshop and boiler facility with assets that are under utilised, and exhibits that rust outside in the Polish weather.  It should be a tourist goldmine, set in some of the most beautiful scenery, on a steeply graded line.

For some great photos of the line, see Michal “Doctor” Pawelczyk’s site.

Heard behind the water tower

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Ol49-69 at Wolsztyn on 6.8.2012. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

The Sroda Narrow Gauge railway is fighting for its life. Both the Mayor of Sroda Wielkopolska (where the line starts) and the Chief Executive of Sroda District Council (who own the line) favour turning the bulk of the 14 km railway into a cycle path. and keeping just a stub of the line at Sroda as part of a ‘Wild West’ theme park.

The Smigiel Narrow Gauge Railway has cancelled the trains planned for August. No explanation appears on the railway’s website. Apparently during a recent meeting, the deputy Mayor of Smigiel announced that the Town Council have ‘no interest’ in developing the line as a tourist attraction.

The team of bankers that have been injected into PKP SA and its daughter companies have vetoed the plan to move the heavy maintenance of Wolsztyn-based steam locomotives to Chabowka. Meanwhile Leszno overhauled Ol49-69 (the boilerwork was done at Interlok in Pila) is acquiring a good reputation amongst Wolsztyn drivers for its powerful and reliable performance.

Many thanks to BTWT’s dedicated team of informers who keep their ears to the ground!

PKP Cargo plans for Wolsztyn locos

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pociag do Wielkopolski 23.7.2012 – rail enthusiast produced Wielkoplska province TV programme.

According to Andrzej Jablonski, a Director of the Wielkopolska Division of PKP Cargo, the company wants to maintain 4 working steam locomotives to maintain a reliable Wolsztyn-Poznan service and cope with  steam specials.

Major overhauls will be moved from Leszno to Chabowka where there is already a team of steam fitters based at the ‘skansen’. Jablonski wants to keep two of the Wolsztyn Ol49s in service and also Pt47-67. He also has his eye on Ol49-100 in Chabowka, which – although out of service since 2006 – is reported to have a good firebox.

Jablonski also has a ‘wish list’ of locos that he would like to see in service which includes Warsaw Railway Museum-owned Pm36-2 Piekna Helena and 4-6-0 Ok1-359, but with the Pm36’s ticket due to expire (the loco will need a new firebox) and the Ok1 being not powerful enough for the Poznan turns, it is likely that, for the time being at least, his ‘wish list’ will remain just that.

With a hat tip to Podroznik for the story.

May Days – Spoilt for choice

Saturday, 28 April 2012

But not everyone is celebrating!

Chabowka Tkt48-191 at the 2010 Wolsztyn Parade. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

With so much going on during the Majowka (May Days) week for narrow gauge enthusiasts, it is only fair that BTWT should also cover some of the standard gauge attractions as well. When we look at something we look under the carpet as well, so be prepared for some critical comments!

Wolsztyn 28 – 29 April

The May festivities start with today’s annual Wolsztyn Steam Locomotive Parade. This is the biggest event of this kind in Poland and is attended by some 30,000 people. One would think that, with so many visitors coming from outside the area, the burghers of Wolsztyn would be enthusiastic supporters of the event. True, Wolsztyn Council does provide the security guards, but that is all.

How wonderful it would be to have some sponsorship from the town towards the costs of running steam specials from Warsaw and Wroclaw connecting with the event. (There is a special train from Wroclaw, but it is not steam-hauled; and one steam-hauled service from Poznan.)

The Council members appear to regard Parada Parowzow as a side show to their Dni Wolsztyna (Wolsztyn Days). They put on pop concerts, a sailing regatta, fishing competitions and support events put on by local schools. A couple of years ago the Mayor of Wolsztyn was overheard by one of our friends listing the attractions of Wolsztyn at a tourism promotion event in Warsaw. Not once did he mention the Steam Depot, the Steam Locomotive Parade or the steam-hauled trains to Poznan!

If today’s huge crowds, steam engines charging up and down a short piece of track and a light show are not your cup of tea, why not go to Wolsztyn tomorrow? The crowds and overseas steam locomotives will have gone, but there will be steam trains running from Wolsztyn to Stefanowo and Rakonowice and a chance to see Chabowka’s Tkt48-91 doing some useful work.

At the end of each year’s Parada Parowozow the same question is asked, Will there be another parade next year? And each year the answer is the same, With PKP Cargo on the verge of privatisation and with Wolsztyn Town Council being so laid back about their steam shed and steam trains, who knows?

Jaworzyna Slask – 28 April – 6 May

The Industry and Railways Museum at the old Jaworzyna Slask steam depot is running special attractions during the whole week. There will be conducted tours of the museum and its collection. Demonstrations of the turntable, a chance to ride in vintage coaches, and from 1 May a chance for a cab ride in the museum’s Tkt48-18.

The management of Jaworzyna Slask is not loved by the Polish railway enthusiast community. Some difficult decisions had to be made at the start of the museum’s existence, not dissimilar to the Festiniog Railway’s scrapping Moel Tryfan in 1954.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the affair, today the museum’s collection looks superb, Tkt48-18 (thanks to the generosity of Wolsztyn Experience) is in working order, and the museum’s approach to its paying visitors is 100% professional.

Koscierzyna – 2 May

Koscierzyna is one ex PKP Skasen that nearly got away. Its rescue is largely due to the efforts of Miroslaw Szymanski, the former Chief Executive of Fundacja Era Parowozow who lobbied tirelessly for its takeover by the local council.

The museum is open every day, on 2 May the Skansen celebrates its 20th birthday and entry will be free. There will be a railway themed concert and the unveiling of a statue commissioned by the council celebrating the line of 18° latitude. One wonders why the council could not have commissioned the restoration of a particular item or rolling stock instead?

Skierniewice – 5 May

The Polskie Stowarzyszenie Milosnikow Kolejowych (Polish Railway Enthusiasts Association) are holding an open day at Skierniewice on 5 May. The amazing collection of railway rolling stock at Skierniewice deserves to be better known outside Poland and this is one event which we would enthusiastically endorse with no reservations.

We do have one question which though we have asked the PSMK authorities several times has not been satisfactorily answered. Why – given the society’s very visible need for money – don’t they charge admission to their open days and raise income from ancillary activities like selling guides and refreshments? Or are they afraid that if they do the local council will turn round and hit them with local taxes levied at commercial rates?

Those not celebrating!


Amazingly, with a permanent staff of some 8 people, some 6 locomotives in working order and a full time official responsible for marketing, the Chabowka skansen  is not putting on anything special during the May Days holiday. It is true that the skansen despatched Tkt48-191 to Wolsztyn with a couple of coaches and its also true that Chabowka put on the annual Parowozjada steam gala in August, but given the resources devoted to the skansen we find it incredible that no attractions – however modest – are being put on during this period.

Just to show what the skansen team are capable of – when they put their mind to it – the official web pages boast that on 31 March a private freight train was run at the behest of a – presumably wealthy – German enthusiast from Chabowka to Nowy Sacz along this disused line.

We have long admired the engineering expertise of the technical team at Chabowka and their achievement in keeping so many engines in working order with minimum resources. It is a great pity that the people responsible for marketing the skansen do not have the same ‘can do’ attitude.


Images of Karsnice. Video by .

The Karsnice skansen is a very sad case. It was started by the manager of the railway workshops there in 1989 and a sizeable collection of locomotives and railway rolling stock was built up. His plan was to transfer the collection to a special trust, but he received early retirement (and a reduced pension!) before the trust could be set up.

When he left the Karsnice workshops the collection was left in limbo and then PKP’s real estate department, PKP Nieruchomosci, started selling the exhibits. One Ty2 went to the Lodz holocaust museum a couple of other locos were sold to the PSMK at Skierniewice.

A ‘Save Our Skansen’ campaign was run by the neighbouring town of Zdunska Wola and some leverage at ministerial level was provided by some international friends. Officially the skansen was repreived. The rolling stock and the land it stood on was transferred to the Zdunska Wola Town Council.

The council managed to raise some funds and obtain an EU grant to cosmetically restore some of the rolling stock. But Nieruchomosci transferred only the bare minimum parcel of land. The shed where the Karsnice vintage train of wooden four wheel carriages was not included. This great video by Lukasz Szyczyk shows the tragic result.


Sadly, the orphaned skansen here never found a local council ready to take it over with devastating results. Now Nieruchomosci are auctioning the surviving Ol49-80 and the remaining workshop equipment.

Wegerzewo – Ketrzyn railway line

This was Poland’s only ‘preserved’ standard gauge railway line. It was saved by the Stowarzyszenie Hobbystow Kolejowych (Society of Railway Enthusiasts) who persuaded the local council to take the line over.

There was a flurry of activity here in 2008 since then nothing!


The threat of court action continues to hang over the skansen. There was a court hearing last week which was immediately suspended because key PKP witnesses had not attended. The next session will take place on July 10. Till the matter is resolved the Skansen remains closed. More BTWT readers are needed to assist with the lobbying effort that is going on behind the scenes. Please get in touch if you would like to help.

Skierniewice or Naleczow or both?

So where to go next week? It has been a while since I visited the Skiernievice Skansen so the open day there is a big temptation, but Gregorz Sykut writes that the Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Rozwoju Nadwislanskiej Kolei Wąskotorowej (Association for the Development of the Nadwislanska Narrow Gauge Railway) is running a special train followed by a film show at Karczmiska station.

The train, film show and car parking are free. The start is at 5.30 PM and the Society have a plan to finish at 9:30 PM. At the station there will be an  opportunity to purchase a meal from the grill and drinks. More details from:

Hmm, narrow or standard gauge? Naleczow is not all that far from Skierniewice… it would be great to visit both!


Steam special to Nowy Sacz

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Take a trip – make a difference!

Video clip of the return leg of the Chabowka-Dobra kolo Limanowa-Chabowka steam special near Mszana Dolna hauled by Ty2-911 on 27 August 2011. Video Neohagrid.

On Saturday 12 November, there will be a rare (and possibly last) opportunity to ride a steam special along the entire length of the Chabowka – Nowy Sacz line. The railway is part of the Galician Transverse Railway. It was built in 1884, during the days when this region of Poland was part of the Austrio-Hungarian empire. The co-organisers are Fundacja Era Parowozow and Gnieznienskie Stowarzyszenie Sympatykow Kolei.

A number of senior local government officials have been invited to ride on the train. If it is heavily patronised, it will strengthen the case for retaining this line as a tourist railway run in association with the Chabowka railway museum. So by taking a trip on this train you can help to make a positive impact on the chances of saving the railway for future generations.

One of the people behind this initiative is Robert Dylewski. Robert was the instigator of the successful campaign to save Ty2-5680 from scrapping, he has also been a tireless fighter in the battle to save  the railway museum at Pyskowice.

Most steam specials on the Nowy Sacz line run from Chabowka to Mszana Dolna or Dobra Kolo Limanowa, this trip will be rare opportunity to ride the whole line. The special will depart Chabowka around 08:00 in the morning; arrival in Nowy Sacz is envisaged around 13:30. There will be a ‘stretch break’ at Nowy Sacz of about 1 hour and the train will return to Chabowka around 18:00. Several photo stops are planned for the outward leg. The train will be hauled by Chabowka-based Ty2-911 and the formation will include a buffet car. Bring along your own beer!

The cost of the trip will be 250PLN. Reservations are being taken on a ‘first come, first served basis’. Further details are available from Michal Swiatek on +48 727 554 611 from 09:00 to 20:00.


Film competition – part 10

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Ty23-299. A clip from Wezel by K. Karabasz.

The new fast bowler posed difficulties for our BTWT batsmen, none of whom managed to score during the last over. Gavin Whitelaw and Mark Judd both made brave attempts to play the ball, but – as no runs were scored – the point goes to Dyspozytor. The locomotive shown in our previous clip also caused a little puzzlement. It is Ty23-299, a pre-WWII 2-10-0.

The Ty23’s were the first Polish-designed heavy freight locomotives built for newly independent Poland. In 1923, Poland’s steam locomotive construction facilities were still being created, so the designer of the Ty23, Waclaw Lopuszynski, completed the detailed design work on the engine at the Schwartzkopff works in Berlin (BMAG). Schwartzkopff built the first 15 of the class (Ty23-1 to Ty23-15) and probably thought that they were home and dry to get the order to build the remaining locomotives of the first batch, which were needed urgently.

In the event, PKP went out to tender and the order was won by three Belgian companies. The builders of the next 60 engines were as follows: Cockerill, 26 engines, Ty23-16 – 41; St. Leonard, 19 engines, Ty23-42 – 60; and Franco-Belge, 15 engines, Ty23-61 – 75. The rest of the class were built in Poland: 164 engines by HCP, the H. Ciegielski works in Poznan, (1926 – 1932); 266 engines by WSABP, the Warsaw Steam Locomotive Construction Company (1927 – 1934); and 106 engines by Fablok, the First Locomotive Works in Crzanow (1929 – 1931).

Altogether 612 members of the class were built and they continued to be the basic Polish heavy freight locomotive fleet until 1937 when construction commenced of a more powerful 2-10-0, the Ty37. WWII dispersed the fleet among Germany and the Soviet Union. After the war, PKP was able to recover 312 locomotives.

Freight Yard at Tarnowskie Gory. Satellite photo Google Maps.

Three Ty23 locomotives survive ‘in preservation’, none in working order: Ty23-104 (HCP) in Chabowka; Ty23-145 (WSABP) in Jaworzyna Slask; and Ty23-273 (WSABP), rebuilt as a broad gauge locomotive, in Karsnice.

Wezel (Junction) – a short documentary film about the freight yard at Tarnowskie Gory – gives a rare insight into the inner workings of PKP in 1961. Each day the yard made up 200 freight trains, consisting of 7,500 goods wagons and carrying some 180,000 tonnes. Remarkably the freight yard continues in operation to this day.

Another metro still, but from which film?

Today’s still comes from a clip which takes a lingering look at an underground train. Who will be the first to identify the film?


  • Parowozy w Polsce – Ty23

Reverse Polish Logic

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Guest post

Illustration by Jan Marcin Szancer for Julian Tuwim’s poem Lokomotywa

(Click on image to order a copy of the book.)

As a railfan, I find the actions of PKP Cargo rather strange with respect to the custody of their steam locomotives. Whilst having a positive approach to the Wolsztyn depot to the degree that they are creating a new company with the Wielkopolska provincial government, at the same time they have said indicated that they want to dispose of the Chabowka museum at the earliest opportunity. Yet they have just found resources to fund two more major boiler overhauls on Chabowka locomotives.

Bear in mind that, while Wolsztyn continues to struggle with loco maintenance having had only one loco with a major boiler rebuilt in the last four years for its daily passenger services, Chabowka has had four locos in the last four years with major boiler repairs for its 20 or so trains a year.

Can anyone explain the logic in this to me?


Disgruntled of Poznan

(Name and address withheld at the author’s request.)

Rain dampens Parowozjada

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Chabowka engine Ol12-7 (former Austrian Railways 429.195). Photo ©Robert Dylewski.

Chabowka engines, Ty2-953 in front and Tkt48-191 at rear haul three coaches of the MAV-nosztalgia vintage train from Chabowka station to Chabowka Skansen. Photo ©Robert Dylewski.

Obscure Polish game involving Pt47-65, a fireman’s shovel and some coloured balloons. Experienced players heat the shovel. Photo ©Robert Dylewski.

The annual Parowozjada steam gala, which was held last weekend, was a bit of damp squib. Rain, and the very short notice at which the event was announced, kept away the crowds. The key local government decision makers, on whom the future of the Chabowka Skansen depends, were conspicuous by their absence.

Parowozjada 2010

Monday, 16 August 2010

Last of its kind, Tr12-25 at Parowozjada 2006 in Rabka Zaryte. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

This year’s Parowozjada, the annual steam gala organised by the Cracow division of PKP Cargo, will take place in the Chabowka ‘skansen’ on the weekend of 28 and 29 August. As well as the Chabowka engines, there will be a couple of international guest locos and 4-6-2 Pm36-2 and 2-8-2 Pt47-65 are booked to attend from Wolsztyn. Although all the main events will be taking place within the confines of the depot, there will be plenty of steam specials running to provide excellent photo opportunities for the most avid railway photographer.

On Saturday 28 August the following specials will be running:

Tkt48-191 Ty2-953 Ol12-7
Chabowka 07:20 07:20 17:30
Rabka Zaryte 07:36 17:45
Dobra k. Limanowa 08:39
Dobra k. Limanowa 08:55
Rabka Zaryte 09:59 18:05
Zakopane 08:43
Zakopane 09:25
Chabowka 10:14 11:06 18:20

On Sunday 29 August the following steam special will run:

Chabowka 11:41
Zakopane 13:13
Zakopane 14:28
Chabowka 16:17

We understand that tickets will be sold on board these trains on a ‘first come, first served basis’ and that no seat reservations are available.

In addition two vintage train steam photostop specials will run on Sunday 29 August hauled by Ty2-911 and Tkt48-191. Tickets for these are strictly limited and must be reserved before hand by e-mailing

The above programme is liable to change and you are recommended to check the Chabowka website for a complete and up-to-date list of events.


Ty2-911 to visit Skierniewice tomorrow

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ty2-953 hauling Chabowka’s vintage goods train at Raba Zaryte on 2 August 2006 at the Parowozjada steam gala. Photo BTWT.

There will be a rare occasion to see a working Ty2 at Skierniewice tomorrow. The locomotive and vintage train from Chabowka will be electric hauled from just outside Krakow to Piotrkow Trybunalski. If all goes well the train will then be steam-hauled from Piotrkow to Skierniewice. The train is due to depart Piotrkow about 12:00 (this time is very approximate) and arrive at Skierniewice at 14:45. The depot itself (with its recently refurbished turntable) will be open to the public from 18:15 to 20:00 when there will be a film show. The locomotive, train and actors dressed up as Polish volunteer soldiers will be commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw – a key event in securing – for 20 years at least – Poland’s newly found independence.

So if you live near Warsaw, take the day of work. Tell SWMBO that you are taking the children mushroom picking and secure a good vantage point along the line between Piotrkow and the junction at Koluszki. After the train passes you will have ample time to explore the woods and hunt for mushrooms, before taking the kids for a Pizza and moving on to Skierniewice shed. After photographing Ty2-911 on the Skierniewice, you may have to take the little horrors home, but if they are older they may well be interested in staying for the film show Polonia Restituta which will be shown at 20:00hrs in the depot. It you just cannot get to Skierniewice,you’ll have a chance to see the loco at the warsaw Railway Museum on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

And yes I know that Ty2s were built from 1942 onwards and that the Battle of Warsaw was faught in 1920. It appears that the locomotive that was originally booked for the leading role in the commemoration events – Chabowka based Ol12-7 had failed at the last minute.

5th Chabowka Steam Gala

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

V Parowozjazda, 4 – 5 September

V_Parowozjada2009 383

Pt47-65. Photo ©Robert Dylewski

V_Parowozjada2009 339

Ol12-7. Photo ©Robert Dylewski

V_Parowozjada2009 421

Ty2-953. Photo ©Robert Dylewski

More of Robert Dylewski’s photos of this year’s Chabowka Gala can be seen on the Fundacja Era Parowozow website.

Chabowka Gala to go ahead

Friday, 31 July 2009


Preserved Tr12-25 at the 2007 Parowozjazda in Raba Zaryte

The board of PKP Cargo have decided to go ahead with this year’s Parowozjazda, the Chabowka Steam Gala, which will take place on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September.

This year’s Parowozjazda will – unlike previous galas – will take place entirely within the confines of of the Chabowka Skansen. On Saturday 5 September, special vintage trains will bring guests from Krakow Glowny, Zakopany and Mszana Dolna. It is likely that the first of these will be operated by a vintage electric locomotive and that the others will be steam-hauled. The train from Mszana Dolna will be the only special train operating on the Chabowka – Nowy Sacz line this year.

The following locomotives are planned to be in steam: Ol12-7, Ty2-911, Ty2-953, TKt48-191, TKh49-1, Pt47-65 (Wolsztyn), Tr5-65 (Wolsztyn). This year, as well as the usual PKP steam gala attractions, a welcome addition will be conducted tours round the workshop and the possibility of seeing some of the equipment in action.

Our friends in the British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership are organising a study visit to Poland for a ‘long weekend’ from 3 to 7 September to include the Chabowka Steam Gala, and the Bytom, Przeworsk and Bieszczady Railways. Most of the travel in Poland will by train. If you are interested in going let us know.

Cycle track to Tymbark?

Thursday, 30 April 2009


Viaduct near Tymbark. Photo Pasieczkin

(Click on the photo to see the photo in its original context on the Krakowskie Stowarzyszenie Sportowe website.)

The news that PKP Cargo has suspended its steam specials from Chabowka for the 2009 season does not augur well for for the future of the Chabowka – Nowy Sacz line. If you follow the link you can see the pictures of some Cracow cyclists who have already tested out the line as a possible cycle track.

The Chabowka railway museum is due to be transferred from PKP Cargo to the custody ofthe Malopolska state governor’s office. Meanwhile there is a tug of war between the Chabowka management and the Wielkopolska division of PKP Cargo who would love to have the working Chabowka engines at Wolsztyn. There are even rumours that Fundacja Era Parowozow would be willing to sell some of the Chabowka engines.

Maybe the Chabowka team will be able to ward off these threats? Only time will tell.

Poland’s secret steam railway

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Hot work in the cab of Ty2-953
photo Michael Dembinski, W-wa Jeziorki blog

We really should have written about the Chabowka-Nowy Sacz line before, as PKP Cargo have been using it this summer to run ‘regular’ steam trains. Usually hauled by a Ty2, the trains run from Chabowka to Dobra-Kolo-Limanowej and back. Two trains ran in June, two in July and five are running in August. Chabowka publish an English language timetable giving details of all of this year’s regular steam workings. Fortunately, our memory was jogged by reading about a journey on the line on W-wa Jeziorki blog.

The place we stayed, an agroturystyka in a large village/small town called Dobra (between Nowy Sacz and Wadowice) was run by really lovely people, great cooking, flexibility at meal times and – at 50 zlotys (around 11 quid) for bed, breakfast, lunch and supper (40 zlotys for children) – a snip. Eddie noted that there was a railway station in Dobra, and given that the weather on Saturday morning was dismal, we thought it would be a good idea to stroll down there to take a look.

The walk through the village (small town really) was long; we got lost, had to ask the way, neared the station (up the hill) and as we neared it… the sound of a steam whistle! Eddie and I simultaneously broke into a jog (I’m delighted to say that this 50 year-old burdened with camera bag can still out-run his 12 year-old son up a steep hill). The whistling continued. Would we catch the train? We made it up to the station – and there it was – a 2-10-0 Kriegslok steam locomotive, manoeuvring around a rake of five two-axle coaches.

To our delight, it transpired that we were in good time for a steam train excursion from Dobra to Chabowka railway museum. A quick glance at the timetable showed that we were up for a three-hour steam-hauled trip with an hour’s museum visit all for the equivalent of ten quid! The line is spectacular (by Polish standards) for its mountain scenery. It was here that scenes from Schindler’s List were shot – both engine and coaches are 100% authentic for the period.

Chabowka itself for me was a sorry sight – lots of interesting exhibits resting and rusting, the owners (PKP Cargo) treating the whole thing as a bit of an embarrassment rather than a potential tourist goldmine (as heritage railways are run in the UK). I did not feel disposed to spend twice the price of adult museum admission to buy a film-and-photography ticket, so put my camera away during the hour’s (rainy) visit at Chabowka

Clicking on the photo on the top of this post will take you straight to the original article with all five of Michael Dembinski’s superb photographs accompanied by some well-researched captions. The extract is just a taster. I enjoyed reading this account of his steam trip, but we feel that his last paragraph (too many beers? too late at night?) lacks the accuracy and fair play that I have grown accustomed to on Michael’s blog. So, without any further ado, here is our redress.

Chabowka’s engines are looked after better than most of Poland’s steam engines. The steam centre carries out its own overhauls and boiler repairs, and Grazyna Sysiak, the General Manager, is justifiably proud of the standard of work achieved. Of course, the engines and rolling stock would be much better of under cover, but the lack of covered accommodation is a problem all over Poland, not just in Chabowka. In the meantime, the engines are protected as far as is possible with paint and thick grease. The ‘rusting’ exhibits are not Chabowka’s own, but are National Railway Museum engines, that have been recently towed to Chabowka from the infamous ‘skansen’ at Kreszowice. Until ownership or licensing issues are sorted out there is not much that Chabowka can do with them.

UK heritage railway volunteers will pull a wry smile at Michael’s comment that their lines are “tourist goldmines”. Yes, the biggest UK heritage lines have a £ million annual turnover from ticket sales and the all important ancillaries, but they also have a £ million annual expenditure and, if it wasn’t for a massive input of volunteer labour and donations from the members of their support societies, very few of them would last long. To put things in perspective, there are something like 2 million railway enthusiasts in the UK and around a hundred thousand are members of railway societies. In Poland there are a few thousand railway enthusiasts and only 200 or so are actively involved with any heritage railway.

Last of all, Michael jibes at having ‘to spend twice the price of adult museum admission to buy a film-and-photography ticket’ and decides to put his camera away while he visits the steam centre. I looked up Chabowka’s charges and compared them to those at Didcot, the nearest similar location to London.

Admission charges
Didcot Railway Centre Chabowka Skansen
Adult non-steam day
Adult ordinary day
4 PLN (£1-00)
Adult special event
Adult Parowozjazda
Child non-steam day
Child ordinary day
2 PLN (£0-50)
Child special event
Child Parowozjazda
Photography non-steam day
Photography ordinary day
10 PLN (£2-50)
Videoing non-steam day
Videoing ordinary day
25 PLN (£6-25)
Videoing & Photography
special event
Videoing & Photography

I have no doubt whatsoever that, even with the extra charges mentioned by Michael, the Chabowka Skansen offers excellent value for money. It does rather seem that Chabowka’s charging policy is aimed at making the steam centre as accessible as possible for Poles, while trying to get Western railway enthusiasts to pay a little bit more through the videoing and photography charges.

Incidentally, although no charges at all are made during the Parowozjazda steam gala, I have over the last two years always left a donation of several hundred zloty in return for the excellent hospitality received at Chabowka by members of UK heritage railways that I have taken to the event.

This year, I am guiding another trip organised under the aegis of the British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership. We meet at Cracow airport on Friday afternoon 5 September, spend two days riding trains and photographing engines at Parowozjazda, visit a couple of narrow gauge railways and the steam centres at Jaworzyna Slask and Pyskowice and say our fond farewells at Cracow airport on the afternoon of Thursday 11 September. There are a couple of places spare, if you would like to join us do contact me at:

Parowozjazda 2008 – first details

Friday, 15 August 2008

Parowozjada 2006 – After returning from Rabka Droj,
enginemen await orders at Chabowka Station,
photo BTWT

Dyspozytor received this e-mail from the Chabowka Skansen. The translation from Polish was done by ourselves.

The railway museum at Chabowka is pleased to invite you to attend attend our fourth Steam Gala. This year it will take place on 6 and 7 September in Sucha Beskidzka and Chabowka.

The procession of locomotives and the engine crew competitions will take place on 6 September at Sucha Beskidzka station. Each steam locomotive will pass through the station separately to make it easier for enthusiasts to take photographs. On the Sucha Beskidzka – Skawce section there will also be a procession of historic trains. These will include: passenger, goods and mixed goods/passenger. The trains will be hauled by steam locomotives: Ol12-7, Ty2-911, Ty2-953, TKt48-191, as well as three locomotives from Wolsztyn. Historic Polish railcar SN61-168 will be taking part, as will the only other operational member of the class SN161-183, which will be coming from Szczecin. Two steam locomotives and a vintage railcar will be coming from the Slowak Republic in order to take part in the festivities.

This year an additional attraction will be the special vintage trains that will be running to bring visitors to the Gala from Cracow, Lachowice, Mszana Dolna and Zakopane to Sucha Beskidzka. There will be a charge for travelling on these trains.

On Sunday there will be a demonstration of coaling and watering the steam locomotives. There will also be opportunities for cab rides throughout the day. Food and refreshments will be served throughout the day.

The Komarna model railway club will be presenting their 1:120 (TT) scale model railway in one of the vintage coaches.


As a result of many suggestions that we have received we will be running three special vintage trains, with photostops, on the non-electrified railway, line number 104 from Chabowka in the direction of Nowy Sacz. The three workings will be a passenger train, a goods train and mixed goods/passenger train. There will be additional ‘surprises’ on route which we believe will satisfy even the most demanding railway enthusiasts. There will be a charge for travelling on these trains.

Best wishes,

Milosz Mazurek