Finally, the last piece of the jigsaw falls into shape, but location No.12 actually raises more questions than it gives answers! ‘Slippy map’ courtesy Google Maps.
(‘Click and drag’ to scroll. Click on scale to zoom.)
Our final satellite view shows the crossing on the level of the standard gauge freight branch to the Lesmierz sugar refinery with the Ozorkow branch of the Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway. The Krosniewice system – the eastern portion of the erstwhile Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways – has been featured many times on BTWT. Standard gauge trains travelling over the crossing were protected by two semaphore signals on the n.g. line and these were visible from the main road, so it is doubly surprising that no reader managed to identify this location.
On the right edge of the picture, about a quarter of the way up from the bottom, a minor road forks off the route “1” main road and heads off towards Lesmierz; a narrow gauge branch also served the refinery, came off the line to Ozorkow, and ran alongside this road. So far so good, but now look at the layout here as shown on the Railmap – Kolejowa Mapa Polski website. Click on the link and when the map showing Sierpow and Sierpow Waskotorowy opens click the “RM Map” button – the last but one of the six buttons on the top right of the picture.
The new map – a hybrid of the Google Maps and the Railmap mapping – shows the narrow gauge Lesmierz branch peeling off in a northbound direction and running over the route taken by the standard gauge branch, rather than peeling off in a southbound direction and running alongside the road. Is this just a mapping error, or does Railmap indicate an earlier route.
What is more, the Railmap mapping (the map can be scrolled and zoomed just like Google Maps) shows the branch running much further than Lesmierz, and then splitting into three branches terminating at Janowice, Przewiska and Jackowice Waskotorowe. I had no idea that this system ever existed. Can any reader, more studied in the intricacies of the narrow gauge lines hereabouts cast any more light on the subject.
But that is not the only mystery! Looking at the Google Maps map at the head of this article and clicking the link “larger view” shows a standard gauge branch line apparently terminating in the hamlet of Lubien, the rubrik kopalnia rudy zelaza (iron ore mine) helpfully identifies the purpose of the branch – or does it?
Click the “satellite” view button. The standard gauge line terminates in a circular wooded area which could have been an opencast mine, now filled in with the rubbish of Lodz and planted over. There are some buildings to the East of the wood which look industrial. We will come back to this standard gauge line in a minute, but for the moment click “+” once to enlarge the picture and look at the centre of the bottom half. A narrow gauge formation peels of northwards, does a 90 degree turn and heads of to the South West.
Scroll the map by clicking and dragging, and follow the line. It crosses the standard gauge Lodz Kaliska – Kutno line at right angles and shortly afterwards makes a sharp 45 degree turn clockwise and heads due West. Given the proximity of the Lesmierz refinery, there can be little doubt that this was once one of the many feeder lines that mostly saw traffic during the sugar beet season. Follow the formation as far as it goes. It appears to stop in the village of Skromnica, the last 300m now taken over by a farm track.
Now a branch of the standard gauge branch comes into view. This line, substantially engineered with sweeping curves terminates in an airport. Google Maps shows no name or details. Using Wikipedia on the names of the nearest villages elicits no information. Though Poland left the Warsaw Pact some 22 years ago – this place, whatever it is, might as well not exist.
Oh and I nearly forgot – the results! This time you needed more than the answer, you had to be the first to submit the correct answer to win the point. Undoubtedly those players who had subscribed to our e-mail ‘early warning system’ had an advantage! Dyspozytor set three questions which baffled everybody, so he gets three points. Inzynier also scored three points (and got several more questions correct).
Waldemar Heise scored five points and is the overall winner!