Archive for the ‘Fundacja Era Parowozow’ Category

Looking back down the line

Sunday, 14 April 2013

5 km South of Krosniewice

A Krosniewice-Ozorkow special in 2006. Photo BTWT.

This post is the 1,000th article that I have posted on BTWT, though thanks to Ed Beale and John Savery it is actually our 1,029th post. It is not actually the 1,000th article that I have written for BTWT, because half a dozen or so of the articles that I have posted were actually written by Robert Hall. Robert is suspicious of computers and prefers not to have anything to do with getting his material on-line.

So maybe it is premature to be marking my personal milestone? Perhaps not? BTWT did have a brief existence on another blogging platform prior to migrating to and, if my memory serves me well, I posted there for a couple of months before making the move to WordPress – a move which in hindsight was very wise. WordPress has turned out to be a very reliable platform and does nearly everything that I want it to do.

There is now no trace of our former home, nor of those very early posts.  I console myself with the thought that those posts were rather self-indulgent and that their digital destruction was for the best. It is usual when passing such milestones to take look at what has gone before, so here for BTWT readers is a nostalgic trip into the past. Rereading the old posts, some seem remarkably prophetic!


Eurostar to Brussels about to depart. Photo BTWT.

The very first of my articles that survives, posted on Sunday, March 9 2008, extolled the virtues of the London – Poznan rail jouney via Eurostar and ongoing connections, and suggests that UK railway societies book steam railway trips through our friends Fundacja Era Parowozow. Some five years later, I actually got round to doing the trip – though not without some misadventures. I will be publishing a full account of my trip, though not necessarily some time soon!

Fundacja Era Parowozow  is still in existence and pays an allowance to its trustees for attending its monthly council meetings, but our friends who worked for the foundation have long since left, and the scheme of hiring out steam trains to rich foreign railway enthusiasts has long since gone to the scrapheap of bright ideas, driven out by the exorbitant track access charges levied by PKP PLK.

March 2008, also saw the demise of Poland’s busiest freight-hauling narrow gauge railway – the Krosniewice Railway and I published three articles deploring the decision by the Krosniewice Town Council to end the lease to SKPL and urging readers to put pen to paper.


Robert Stephenson’s office as restored by the Trust.
Robert Stephenson Trust Photo

Until was split out a separate blog – a decision that was probably not one of my brightest ideas – BTWT occasionally dealt with UK stories. On March 11 2009, in a post which was paradoxically prophetic of the problems about to be faced several Polish railway heritage ventures, I wrote about how the Robert Stephenson Trust were being forced out – by a massive rent hike – from their base in the world’s first locomotive factory.

The Society were being priced out of premises which – while much of Newcastle’s industrial heritage was being demolished – the Trust had managed to save and restore. The buildings had been acquired by a developer. After putting up a valiant fight, the Trust failed to obtain a rent that they could afford and had to move out of the premises that they had worked hard to restore to their former glory.


Germany spends ten times as much on its railway infrastructure (expressed as a % of GDP) than Poland.

Returning back to Poland, and another matter that remains perennially topical, on 30 March 2009, I published an article about how 7,000 km of the Polish railway network faced the axe. It seems that Poland spends about 0.15% of its GDP on railway infrastructure, the Czech Republic, 0.38%, Germany 1.28% and France just under 1.4%.

The Wolsztyn Gala on 2 May 2009. Photo BTWT.

By March 2010, BTWT was dealing with exclusively Polish topics. Tunnel Vision became Englishrail blog and fired one of its regular salvos against the harassment of railway enthusiasts by over zealous security staff, and poked fun at Gordon Brown’s instructions that Admirals and Generals should travel by second class.

In March 2010, BTWT broke the story that the Wielkopolska provincial government were planning to set up a separate company to run the Wolsztyn depot. (See BTWT, 1 April 2013 for latest update on this story.)

Other stories that month included an account how Undersecretary of State responsible for Poland’s railways, Juliusz Englehardt had vetoed Przewozy Regionalne’s plan for cheap InterRegio services between Poznan and Berlin.

There was also an account how PKP PLK had set up a ‘Train Operators Council’. Interestingly, at the time, I commented that for such a body to be effective – it should be independent and not the tame creature of PKP PLK.

I now hear that the principle train operators outside the PKP group are setting up their own body, Fundacja Pro Kolej (Pro Rail Foundation) to press the case for Poland’s rail infrastructure to receive a larger slice of the transport infrastructure spend than it receives at present.

A year later, BTWT had got into one of its periodic crisies, but I did find time to cover the story how Poland was being censured by the European Commission for trying to spend €1.2 billion of its EU rail funding on building roads!

The site of the collision on the following morning following the accident. Photo

By March 1012, BTWT had got back in its stride, we published some 14 posts that month. The biggest story that month – and one that will scar the image of Polish railways for many years to come – was the account of the head on collision between two passenger trains near Szczekociny on 3 March 2013.

So what of the future? The new targets are to get a new post published on BTWT every other day, and to put up a post on Englishrail blog every fortnight. With the help of our editorial team, Ed, John and Rob, as well as the leads and stories sent in by our readers, we might just do it. As British Rail used to say, We’re getting there!

Our mailbox is: railfan[at]go2[dot]pl . If you can solve the puzzle we would love to hear from you!

Thank you for your support over the last five years, here’s hoping you be reading BTWT for many more years to come!


Spring Deals in Electronics

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Save a Polish Steam Engine

Friday, 23 January 2009

BTWT exclusive!


Ty42-59 being cut up in Wolsztyn in March 2000,
Photo © loose_grip_99

(Click photo to see it in its original context on Click here to see all of loose_grip_99’s photos.)

If you are not Polish, buying a steam engine in Poland can be a tricky business. How do you confirm whether the fellow trying to sell you the locomotive is legally entitled to sell it? How do you find out whether or not the locomotive is listed as a heritage monument and cannot be repaired or moved without the consent of the Wojewodzski Conserwator Zabytkow? Who has got the boiler book and repair schedule? How much does the fellow want for the documentation? Can you trust your agent / interpreter / intermediary? Are they adding on their own 200% margin to the proceedings and also expecting a back hander from you?

Suppose you have now bought your steam engine? Where do you put it? How much will you have to pay to rent the space? What about covered accommodation? How much would it cost to repair? Can you trust your fitter to do a professional job?

Well if you would like to rescue a Polish steam engine, keep it in Poland and restore it either cosmetically or into full working order, now may just be the right time. Fundacja Era Parowozow is trying to put together a plan to rescue some of the steam locomotives that PKP deems to be surplus to its requirements.

PKP’s last go at reducing its park of redundant steam locomotives caused such an enormous stink that the FEP team reckon they have a good chance to persuade PKP bosses to let private groups look after some of Poland’s 200 or so ‘surplus’ steam locomotives. Two arrangements are envisaged: (i) outright purchase at scrap metal value; (ii) a licence arrangement transferring custody of the locomotive, subject to a legally binding condition that the locomotive remains in Poland and certain restoration conditions being met.

FEP are looking for expressions of interest from organisations or individuals with the means to make it happen. The Fundacja management team are genuine railway enthusiasts and are not looking to rip anybody off. Further details from either Miroslaw Szymanski, the Chairman of FEP, or Robert Dylewski his assistant.

Mirosław Szymański
tel:(022) 625 52 46


Robert Dylewski
tel:(022) 625 52 46


Fundacja Era Parowozow
Al. Jerozolimskie 125 / 127
02-017 Warszawa

Oh, and by the way, if you do get your proposal accepted by the Foundation and start getting round to looking for somewhere to keep your locomotive, do drop BTWT a line. You never know, we may just be able to help!


One of the locos for which FEP has already found a good home. Photo © Marek Ciesielski

The picture shows Ty2-559 and was taken on Thursday 15 January 2009 in the Dzierżno works of Przedsiębiorstwo Transportu Kolejowego Holding Spółka Akcyjna a private freight operator. The cosmetic restoration included a completely new cab, new coal bunker, boiler cladding and smoke deflectors. Ty2-559 was stored for a long time at Chojnice. The locos new custodians are the AGH mining and foundry university in Kraków, outside whose headquarters the locomotive will be plinthed.

The Steam Age Foundation

Sunday, 9 March 2008

The Steam Age Foundation

Having a celebration – birthday, wedding or a divorce? Why not do something different this year? Hire a steam train in Poland.

Poland is much more than cheap booze, beautiful women and drunken men. It’s a country with a glorious history. The 16th C Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth stretched from the Baltic almost to the Black Sea. The Polish alchemist Sendivogius discovered oxygen in the 17th C. Polish chefs have invented 1001 ways of serving cabbages and, most important of all, in Poland in 2008 you can ride in the cab of a steam engine hauling an ordinary service train!

So get out the railway maps and plan to start your celebration at St Pancras and then travel by Eurostar, Thalys, and ICE (or maybe even the LGV Est) to Berlin then by PKP EuroCity to Poznan and then by your own private steam train to wherever you fancy.

Details from the Fundacja Era Parowozow.