(continued from: Gniezno District Railway, 1939 – Part 4)
On 5 July 2013, BTWT published the first part of the imaginary diary of a railway enthusiast exploring the magnificent narrow gauge railways of the Kujawy region of Poland in 1939. Carefully researched by ‘Inzynier’ and brilliantly presented by narrow gauge expert Ed Beale, they are an evocative recreation of a lost world.
At the start of the fifth day, we have a very early start to head East from Anastazewo…
A very early postcard view of Anastazewo station.
(Click to see the original image on fotopolska.eu)
Around 5am we are woken from our slumber in the loco depot at Anastazewo as work starts on preparing the loco and train for the 06:00 departure. Half an hour or so later we start to hear a train approaching from the east and at 05:48 the connecting service from Konin (Tuesdays and Fridays only) rolls across the level crossing and into the station. The locomotive is another 0-8-0T, bearing the number D1-345, while the train consists of two coaches (but no passengers), the usual van and three open wagons(31). One of the coaches appears to have been converted from a freight van, while the other is purpose-built. Mail bags are exchanged between trains (and one goes into the station building), while one of the wagons (presumably loaded, as it is sheeted over) is added to the Gniezno train.
At 06:00 No. 6 and its train depart westward. D1-345 takes water, shunts the other two wagons into the siding and couples up to the coaches, while the fireman prepares his fire for the journey ahead and the injector sings as the water level rises in the boiler. Unlike the Gniezno men, this crew from Konin do not have the luxury of a few hours’ sleep before starting the return journey; they ‘clocked on’ quite a few hours ago, set out from their home station at 03:35, and will not get back until 08:35.
All too soon for the fireman it is time to depart and we join the other three passengers who have arrived at the station to board the 06:12 departure. The train shuffles out of the station (the locomotive is fitted with a spark arrestor on the chimney, which muffles any real ‘chuff’) and back across the road as the next stage of our journey begins(32).
A much more recent departure from Anastazewo, at the turn of the 1980s/90s. Photo Milosz Telesinski.
(Click to see the original image on Baza Kolejowa)
So far all of our travels have been on railways owned and operated by the respective local authorities (Jarocin, Wrzesnia and Gniezno). Now we are on the state railway system but ironically the locomotive and coaches seem inferior to anything we have previously experienced. We briefly run alongside the road, cross over it again and run along the other side of it.
After about a kilometre a branch trails in on the right, this is Goslawice sugar factory’s 7 km line to beet loading points at Naprusewo(33). Our train trundles over a road junction and we find the road is on our right instead of left, but that soon changes when we cross to the other side again. Various other trackways are crossed and then we leave the road for a while. Curving to the left we cross a small river and another couple of roadways and arrive at Budzislaw Koscielny halt. Here another Goslawice sugar factory line trails in, this time from the left and with a loop; it runs 4 km to a loading point at Marszewo(34).
Anastazewo to Budzislaw-Koscielny and branches. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.
(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)
A small crowd is awaiting the train at Budzislaw and perhaps a dozen people board the train, most carrying baskets full of produce, while those with more bulky goods load them into the van. Within a minute or so we are on our way again, alongside a road for a couple of kilometres to the next halt at Nieborzyn, where the three waiting passengers quickly climb aboard.
Shortly after the halt, the road crosses to our other side, but roadside running remains the order of the day until we cross over again and then curve away from the road on the approach to Zlotkow. This halt has a loop and another handful of passengers join the train. There now follows a fairly straight section across open country, crossing the odd road or watercourse, to Dankow, another halt with a loading siding, at which another couple of passengers board.
Shortly after Dankow comes a pair of tight bends, then we cross a couple of streams and finally cross the road into Jablonka Slupecka, a quite sizeable station with loops and a number of sidings holding various wagons and vans, as well as the line from Sompolno trailing in from the east. The 14 km from Anastazewo have taken us 53 minutes to cover (16 kph or 10 mph), but the importance of Jablonka is underlined by the fact that the train pauses here for 17 minutes – the loco takes water and the fireman again tends to his fire, while another half dozen or so passengers join the train. Meanwhile, another 0-8-0T, number D1-332, is shunting wagons from one siding to another(35).
to be continued…
31) D1-345 was a ‘Brigadelok’ built by Henschel (works number 13312) in 1915 and initially numbered HF 349. It was amongst the locomotives inherited by PKP when the Kujawy system was taken over after the First World War. It remained on the system until the Second World War, when it became DR’s 99 1553, but was taken away from the system during that war and nothing further is known about it.
32) The Anastezewo – Maly Patnow section was built by Goslawice sugar factory in 1912 as a 750mm gauge ‘industrial’ railway. It was converted to 600mm gauge by the invading Germans in 1914, passenger services later started and the line was taken over by PKP after the First World War. It was converted back to 750mm gauge in the 1950s, but passenger services west of Jablonka Slupecka ceased in 1954/5. Jablonka Slupecka – Maly Patnow closed in 1965 as a result of brown coal mining in the area. Freight traffic on the remaining section gradually declined to zero, but it remained in place as a link between the Gniezno and Sompolno operations. Following cessation of PKP narrow gauge operations in 2001 it was officially transferred to the Gniezno division, but saw no regular traffic and sections have since been lifted to facilitate further brown coal mining.
33) Goslawice sugar factory’s branch to Naprusewo was built to 600mm gauge in the 1920s and regauged to 750mm in the 1950s. It closed in about 1975.
34) Goslawice sugar factory’s branch to Marszewo was built in the 1920s to 600mm gauge. It probably closed in the 1950s when the other lines were regauged.
35) D1-332 was a ‘Brigadelok’ built by Henschel (works number 12557) in 1914 and initially numbered HF 255. It was amongst the locomotives inherited by PKP when the Kujawy system was taken over after the First World War. It remained on the system until the Second World War, when it became DR’s 99 1548. It was taken away from the system during that war but later returned and became PKP’s Tx1-328. It went to Rogow about 1950, to Mlawa on 1st September 1954 and was withdrawn on 16th November 1955.