Archive for the ‘Jarocin’ Category

Locos on the move

Monday, 16 February 2015

1255 - Lorry

Ol49-61 after arriving at Dzierzoniow. Photo: John Savery

Ol49-61 now has a new home.  After many years languishing in Elk, the loco has now moved south, albeit on the back of a low loader.

Its new home from 8 February is Dzierzoniow, in Dolny Śląsk, at the former locomotive depot.  The former depot is to become an outpost of Muzeum Techniki i Przemysłu, which is based in Jaworzyna Śląsk.


Ol49-61 being readied for unloading. Photo: John Savery

The Ol49 joins TKt48-72, which was formerly at Jarocin.  Both locomotives were purchased at the PKP Nieruchomosci tender in 2014, along with a number of other vehicles, including Ol49-102 and Ol49-9.

The state of the loco’s meant a road move was preferable.  Given that the loading gauge on Poland’s roads is less than the rail loading gauge, the highest parts had to be removed for the trip, and were carried on the bed of the low loader.

1258 - Chimney and smoke deflectors

Items that put the load out of gauge for the Polish road system were taken off prior to the move. Photo: John Savery

Ol49-9 has also made the move in the past few days, with Ol49-102 expected to follow shortly.

An update from Jarocin

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

20140809_161333 - Turntable 2 - JS

TKi3-87 on the turntable at Jarocin. Photo: John Savery.

It has been a while since I wrote about what has been happening in Jarocin.  Part of my lack of articles (until the recent flurry) has been down to the amount of time spent in Poland, in part on railway based activities, and in the UK, also with railway activities, with a Polish flavour.

TKW, the society based at the former locomotive shed in Jarocin, have a good set up.  Not all Polish societies can boast accommodation on site, with running hot water (and showers) available, and with adequate power and light in the shed.  Granted, the main part is not heated, and even if it was, the cost of the fuel to heat it would be outside the society’s resources in the middle of winter.  Nevertheless, the society’s facilities are well ahead of most others.

Back in 2010, the society stepped in to provide accommodation to TKi3-87, formerly based at Wolsztyn, and the property of the Poznan Model Railway Club (PKMK).

The loco finished working in Wolsztyn in 2001, and was towed to Gniezno for storage.  Following the closure of the Gniezno workshops, the loco was moved outside, open to the elements, and anyone who wanted to help themselves to parts of it.  Fortunately, very little of the latter seems to have happened, however given the plight, TKW stepped in to offer accommodation, sponsors were found to pay for the move, and a long term loan agreement was reached with PKMK.

Gradually, a group of volunteers has been formed to start to prepare the loco for overhaul, and this has resulted in a spate of activity over the summer.

Whilst some parts had been removed prior to this year, regular working parties have progressed well.

The external boiler fittings have been removed, as have cab fittings.  This has allowed the cab to be lifted from the loco, and in turn, allowed the side tanks to be lifted.  The cladding has been removed from the boiler sides to give access to the boiler shell.

Additionally, the reverser mechanism has been removed to give access to the side of the firebox, and parts of the cab floor have also been lifted to give access to the mounting bolts for the reverser.

For the first time in over 15 years, someone has managed to squeeze into the boiler barrel, if only to assist with removing the regulator valve rods.

Regulator 1 - KC

Removing the regulator gland. Photo: Konrad Czapracki.

Much now will depend on the condition of the boiler barrel, and it is anticipated that the tubes will be removed, and boiler shell samples taken for analysis in the new year.  This should give an indication of the level of work required on the boiler.  The Polish regulations require samples to be cut from the plates, instead of non-destructive testing.

IMG_7671 - view down boiler - no cladding - JS

A view of the boiler without the cladding.  Note the holes in the side of the shell.  Samples were taken whilst at Gniezno, but never tested. Photo: John Savery.

It’s fair to say that it is unlikely to be a fast track restoration, and is likely to depend on the number of volunteers continuing to grow as visible progress is made.  Nevertheless, each journey begins with a single step, and hopefully the first ones in the restoration of this locomotive have now been taken.

The group can be contacted on

Metal thief strikes at Jarocin

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

TKt48-72 Jarocin-071

TKt48-72 in June 2012, shortly after its arrival in Jarocin. Photo Marek Ciesielski.

TKW, the preservation society based at the former loco depot at Jarocin, suffered at the hands of a scrap metal thief on 26 December.  The thief targeted TKt48-72, which had been stored outside the shed, stripping elements of the braking system from the locomotive.

By chance, a society member noticed a man behaving suspiciously, and contacted the police.  The police attended promptly and arrested a 52 year old man in connection with the theft.  Officers found a number of parts in the grass close to the locomotive, as well as parts laid out in some of the surrounding buildings on the site, indicating that this was not the first time that parts had been removed.  The man in question is already known to the police, and, if convicted, could be sentenced with up to 5 years in jail.

TKt48-72 was built in 1951 and was originally based at Bielsko Biala, and then predominantly at Jaslo.   Brief interludes at Chabowka, and Nowy Sacz followed by a stint at Zielona Gora.  The engine spent 24 years of its life at Kepno, before being moved to Gniezno in 2000.  In 1995, it was placed on the register of historic monuments, though today it is little more than a shell with many parts missing.

The society took the locomotive under its wing in January 2013, and at present leases the locomotive from PKP.

The theft highlights the risks to the remaining redundant steam locomotives in Poland.  Even those in the custody of recognised societies run the risk of being stripped of easy to remove parts if they are stored outside.  Whilst TKW Jarocin takes security reasonably seriously – it does have a system of CCTV cameras installed to monitor the grounds outside the shed – like other societies it is prone to people wandering through the external grounds and helping themselves to metal.

Poland would do well to learn from the UK’s recent approach to the sale of stolen scrap metal.  Since the UK banned “cash in hand” scrap metal transactions, metal (and cable) thefts have plummeted.  Unless a similar approach is taken in Poland, metal thefts will continue to be a serious problem.

Jarocin District Railway, 1939 (Part 2)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

by ‘Inzynier’

(continued from: The Jarocin District Railway, 1939 Pt. 1 )

The 08:25 from Witaszyce has just reached the junction station of Sucha…


Tx3-194 near Sucha in 1977. Photo Werner and Hansjorg Brutzer.

(Click to see the full size image on Werner and Hansjorg Brutzer’s flickr photostream)

The 08.25 from Witaszyce is shown in the timetable as train no. 1 and has taken 52 minutes to cover the 16km to Sucha, an average speed of just over 18kph (less than 12mph). Now it morphs into train no. 2B and after a few minutes sets off up the branch line to Robakow.


The Robakow and Lubinia Wielka branches. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

The 4km branch has one intermediate stop at Grab, with a single siding, and the terminus, reached after a 14 minute run from Sucha, features just a run-round loop and loading siding. Whilst Grab was a modest hamlet, the terminus of the branch seems to be a road junction in the middle of nowhere. Just down the road, across a branch of the Prosna river, can be seen the settlement of Robakow, about half a dozen cottages and a large farm.

A solitary passenger leaves the train and heads off down the road, while nobody joins the train – why would they? Anybody wishing to travel to Witaszyce would have to wait at Sucha for nearly four hours until the train returns from Komorze, while anybody wanting to travel to Komorze, or stations en route, would probably walk the 3km or so to the station at Lubinia Wielka to catch the train. The locomotive runs round and after ten minutes we are heading back to Sucha as train 2A.

Upon arrival at Sucha (another 14 minute, 4km run) the locomotive swiftly runs round the train again, resumes its identity as train No. 1 and sets off once more along the main line for Komorze. The next stop is Lubinia Wielka, where a freight line branches off to the left; it runs a couple of kilometres to end in the fields. Then comes Miniszew, a simple halt, followed by the halt and loop at Kretkow. The scenery along the way is once again open fields with the occasional block of woodland; a few passengers board or leave the train at these halts.


Przybyslaw and the freight branch towards Lgow. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

Then comes Przybyslaw, where a long loop forms the base of a triangular junction for the 8km freight branch to Lgow, off which a number of subsidiary branches run to various loading points, farms and at least one distillery(6).

At Przybyslaw itself a long siding leads from the loop to serve a dairy and distillery. Unlike Twardow, there is no sign of another train serving this branch, but perhaps during the two-hour layover at Komorze our locomotive will run down the branch to pick up a few wagons.

For the time being, however, we pause here only briefly as a few passengers alight, and then amble the final two kilometres to Komorze, another simple terminus with run-round loop and loading siding. Because of the diversion to Robakow, the 29km journey from Witaszyce has taken 2 hours and 23 minutes, an average speed of some 12kph (8mph); it is not surprising the train only runs twice a week.


Two narrow gauge railway termini: Komorze and Pyzdry. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

Beside the station at Komorze is the building of the long-defunct sugar factory – rendered redundant when the railway opened and beet could be transported to the much larger facility at Witaszyce – and beyond that another distillery. A separate field railway heads off north for a couple of kilometres alongside a cart track, to a nearby farm.

As the few passengers who have travelled this far wander off in various directions, we pick up our bags and set off on foot. Our destination is Pyzdry, terminus of the Wrzesnia district railway, but to reach the town we must cross the river Warta, and river crossings are few and far between.

Initially we head in a generally easterly direction, crossing the Prosna to Ruda Komorska. Traffic on this country road is light, consisting of a few horse-drawn carts and pedestrians; we see no motor vehicles. In crossing the Prosna, we cross what was, until 25 years ago, the border between Germany and Russia.

From Ruda Komorska we head north east, again along cart tracks, along the edge of the uncultivated Warta flood plain, to the main Kalisz-Pyzdry road and then, heading north west, reach the bridge over the river, crossing which brings us to Pyzdry itself. On this more major route we are passed by one light motor lorry and a motor charabanc, but otherwise the road traffic is much as it has been for the last century or so.

The walk has been pleasant enough but the hot sun and dusty roads have left our throats rather dry. Fortunately, however, we have plenty of time to slake our thirst on the local brew and partake of a late lunch in one of the town’s hostelries before walking up to the station on the north side of town.



6) The Lgow branch opened in sections between 1909 and 1911. It closed in 1979.

Jarocin District Railway, 1939 (Part 1)

Friday, 5 July 2013

by ‘Inzynier’

InWandering with WIG, published in Behind the Water Tower on 30 July 2010, Dyspozytor set a challenge: “Any readers out there fancy preparing a virtual exploration of the Kujawy Railways, about 1,000 kilometres in all?” Impressively, ‘Inzynier’ has taken up the challenge. Here, in the first of a multi-part article, we turn back the clock to 1939 and board the 08:25 at Witaszyce on the Jarocin District Railway…


Witaszyce, Jarocin District Railway. Extract from the WIG map of 1934.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

What was it like to travel on the narrow gauge railways of Poland in the 1930s? In an attempt to find out, let us take an imaginary journey over the Kujawy network in that uneasy summer of 1939. It is highly unlikely that anybody would have made such a journey – most passengers on these lines were using the train for relatively short, local journeys – but it is just possible that early railway enthusiasts may have made, at least, parts of this trip.

Whilst it will be necessary to travel both ways on a number of lines, the nature of the network allows us to make single directional trips over several routes. However, our narrow gauge travels begin one Monday morning on a line that was not actually part of the linked network – the 600mm gauge Jarocinska Kolej Powiatowa (Jarocin District Railway).

The line sees only one train each way (and even that only runs on Mondays and Fridays), with the morning departure from Witaszyce being at 08:25, allowing connections from a Poznan – Warszawa (via Ostrow Wlkp.) train at 08.00 and an Ostrow – Poznan service at 08.20. The little station of Witsazyce Wask. is quite busy as various local inhabitants avail themselves of this infrequent opportunity to make their journey. Many of them arrive at the station on foot and a few travellers walk across from the standard gauge station as the two connecting services depart.

Beyond the standard gauge line the sugar factory is quiet at this time of year, but in a few months the sugar campaign will start and the factory and railway will become hives of activity. At the brickworks to the north of the narrow gauge station there is some activity, but business is still not what it was before the depression.


Witaszyce station in 1976. Photo Helmut Philipp.

(Click to see the full size image on Baza Kolejowa)

Shuffling around the yard we can see the locomotive for our train, 0-8-0T No. 2, one of three such locomotives built by Hagans in 1901 for the opening of the line(1), while in front of the workshop 0-8-0T No. 4, a Borsig product of 1907, is receiving some attention(2). Standing at the platform are two coaches and a van, all bogie vehicles. Examination of the builder’s plates shows that one coach and the van were produced by Freudenstein for the opening of the line in 1902, while the other coach came from Goerlitz in 1918.

We board the train and soon the loco couples up and without great ceremony our journey begins, across the road beside the station and soon curving north away from the standard gauge(3). As we pass the village itself, we rumble across the flat crossing with the brickworks’ railway and shortly afterwards a bridge takes us over the main road between Jarocin and Pleszew. Then a siding branches off to the right, to some sort of quarry or similar industry.

The train ambles through fields, crossing a few tracks and minor roads, then crosses the biggest structure on the line, the brick arch bridge over the river Lutynia, before curving round the village of Wola Ksiazeca and pulling into the station.


Twardow and the goods line towards Czermin, Jarocin District Railway. Extract from the WIG map of 1934.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

As a few passengers leave and board the train, we notice a siding leading off right to some agricultural buildings in the village. Soon we are off again, running alongside a road to the next station at Twardow. A brief pause and we set off once more across fields and after a kilometre or so there is a loop where the goods line to Czermin branches off(4). Here we see locomotive No. 5, a Borsig 0-6-2T dating from 1913, waiting for us to pass before setting of to Witaszyce with a short rake of wagons that have presumably come off the branch(5).

After our next stop at Racendow the fields give way to forest for a while, but the trees then peter out and we pause at Lubinia Mala. Then we cross the road through the village and turn ninety degrees to the right, pass the village and after another couple of kilometres we reach Sucha, the main junction station of the system.


Lublinia Mala and the junction station of Sucha, Jarocin District Railway. Extract from the WIG maps of 1934 and 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)


1) Jarocin no. 2 was Hagans works no. 456. Its sisters were 455 and 457. They were built as 0-8-0Ts with the rear axle having a sliding arrangement to allow them to go round tight radius curves. This proved troublesome and was later removed (I have assumed in PKP days, but cannot find a date) to make them 0-6-2Ts with the trailing axle being the same diameter as the driven axles. They were taken into PKP stock in 1949 and numbered Txb1-264 to 266 and in 1961 the series designation became Tyb3 or Tyb1, but the running numbers (264 to 266) remained the same. They were all withdrawn in 1965.

2) Jarocin no. 4 was Borsig works no. 6281. It was taken into PKP stock in 1949 and became Tx3-429. In 1961 it became Tx4-563 and was withdrawn in 1967.

3) The Witaszyce – Komorze and Sucha – Robakow lines of the Jarocin railway opened in 1902. In 1943 the Robakow branch was extended by 24km to reach Trabczyn. In 1947 a further 6km section of line opened from Grabina (6km short of Trabczyn) to Zagorow and in 1949 the railway was taken over by PKP. Grabina – Trabczyn closed in 1979, Sucha – Komorze in 1987 and Witaszyce – Zagorow in 1991. All lines have been lifted.

4) The Czermin branch opened in 1915 and closed in 1979.

5) Jarocin no. 5 was Borsig works no. 8741. It was taken into PKP stock in 1949 and became Txb4-471 (or possibly Tyb4-471). It went to Mlawa in 1950 and was fitted with a tender, became Tyb5-471 in 1961 then went to Myszyniec in 1962 and to Bialosliwie in 1973. It was withdrawn in 1974 and is now in the museum at Wenecja on the Znin line.


Jarocin – Open Day

Monday, 6 June 2011

(Click to expand.)

We have been asked by the Towarzystwo Kolei Wielkopolski to give a plug for their first open day on 11 June and we are delighted to do so.  This will be the first time that members of the public will be able to visit the old Jarocin steam shed since PKP Cargo moved out.  During the day the shed will service the steam locomotive hauling the Ziemianin railtour. The train will be visiting Jarocin on its way around Wielkopolska. The steam engine is expected to arrive on shed at approximately 11:55.  This will be the first time that a steam locomotive has moved under its own power into the shed for many years.  The train, which starts at Poznan, is due to arrive in Jarocin at 11:46 and depart for Krotoszyn and Krobia at 13:20.

We are impressed that the organisers are targeting the event as a good day out for the whole family. As well much to see of railway interest there will also be a bouncy castle and trampolines for children. Other Polish railway societies please note.


TKW at Jarocin – how it should be done

Saturday, 21 May 2011

TKW’s first locomotive, SM03-348, built Chranow 1961, stationed at Bezwola Army Depot, donated to the Society by the Ministry of Defence in 2009. Newly arrived in Jarocin shed and photographed in the company of two PKP Cargo SM42s by Marek Ciesielski on 31 July 2009.

Articles about the toxic relationships between Polish railway societies and their local councils have appeared with depressing regularity on BTWT, so it makes a welcome change for us to report on a group that have been working successfully WITH their local council for several years to set up a brand new railway museum in Wielkopolska.

For several years the Jarocin Town Council have leased some space at the locomotive depot in Jarocin and allowed the Wielkopolska Railway Society (TKW) to store historic rolling stock there with a view to establishing a railway museum there when PKP Cargo ended their occupation of the site. In December 2010, PKP Cargo finally moved out and handed over the keys of the depot building to the Town Council who have asked TKW to administer the site.

As well as maintaining a good relationship with the Council the Society also understands the need to develop the interest of the local community. In a novel and interesting development, two theatrical performances are taking place this month, on 20 May, and 27 May in an area of the shed that was adapted in recent times for the maintenance of road vehicles.

The Jarocin project has lots going for it. It is only 90 minutes by car from Wolsztyn and can tap into the reservoir of talent that became disillusioned when PKP Cargo rebuffed the efforts of would-be volunteers who wished to paint some of the rusting steam locomotives that are languishing there. It is also close to some of Wielkopolska’s other historic railways, including the narrow gauge railways at Sroda, Pleszew and Zbiersk. Finally Jarocin is only 4 kilometres from Mieszkow, the junction for the branch to Czempin – the first 25 kilometres of which are disused; the remaining 20 kilometres (from Srem) carry regular freight trains run by SKPL.

We await to see what other progress takes place with this fledgling project, and wish the TKW the very best of luck with their endeavours.