Archive for the ‘Krosnice’ Category

New 750mm line opens!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Px48-1907 undergoing trials on the Krosnice N.G. Railway in 2012. Video by Krośnicka Kolej Wąskotorowa.

Although purists will grumble that it is not a real narrow gauge railway, the formal opening of the Krosnice  Narrow Gauge Railway, which takes place over the weekend of 25-6 May is a burst of sunlight in an otherwise murky landscape. Px48-1907, which graces the line, has been immaculately restored to a no-expense-spared finish.

Let us hope that Interlok at Pila have done as good a job on the boiler and moving parts of the loco as they have done on its external appearance. The engine will perform on new track laid on a brand new trackbed so, hopefully, given the light loads that the engine will now haul, everything will work perfectly for many years to come.

Px48-1907 on the Zulawy Railway in autumn 2010. Video by LukaszWMG

It may seem strange that, while some local authorities with narrow gauge lines would like nothing better than to dispose of them, Krosnice has built itself a brand-new line, albeit only a park railway, and have graced it with a real live Px48. However, given the way the Polish grapevine works, if the Krosnice Railway is successful, it may influence other local authorities to look again at their own lines.

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Celebrations at Maltanka

Thursday, 16 August 2012

… but mixed fortunes for Poland’s other park railways

Borsig approaching Maltanka station, 4 May 2012.
Photo Ed Beale.

(Click image to expand.)

On 21 July this year the Maltanka park railway in Poznan celebrated its 40th birthday. It was opened on 21 July 1972 as the successor to the first park railway in Poznan, the Scouts Children’s Railway (Harcerska Kolejka Dziecieca). It is 600mm gauge and runs the full length of Lake Malta, from Maltanka station at the western end of the lake near the Rondo Srodka tram stop, to Zwierzyniec station beside Poznan zoo, a total of 4km. Ptys station near the middle of the line serves the new Termy Maltanskie baths. On certain dates of the year the line’s Borsig 0-4-0 steam locomotive is used on one of the two trains. All other trains are hauled by one of the three small diesels, all built by ZNTK Poznan to a standard design used on many industrial narrow gauge railways around Poland. These are WLs40-100 built in 1952, Wls50-1225 built in 1961, and WLs50-1563 built in 1964.

The weekday timetable sees hourly departures from either end of the line, on the hour from Maltanka, and on the half-hour from Zwierzyniec, from 10:00 to 18:30, while at weekends and in the summer holidays there are half-hourly departures in each direction, with the two trains passing at Balbinka station. The line is very popular, especially on sunny days when the plastic coach sides are rolled up.

The Borsig loco, Bn2t-2, was built in 1925 and worked at a chemical plant, Zaklady Azotowe in Chorzow, until 1977 when it was plinthed in a park beside the works. It was brought to Poznan in 1990 by the Railway Modellers Club of Poznan and restored to operating condition in 1999. Steam-hauled trains run every other weekend during the summer. The remaining steam dates this year are 25 and 26 August.

A second steam locomotive, the much larger 0-8-0 tank locomotive Tx26-423, is plinthed at Maltanka station, but has never worked here. It was built in Chrzanow in 1926 and worked on the Jedrzejow system while that was 600mm gauge, and then on the Jarocin District Railway until withdrawal in 1978.

Another item of historic rolling stock which used to run on the Maltanka railway was single-ended railbus MBxc1-41 built in 1934. It originally worked on the Bydgoszcz District Railway, then at Witaszyce from 1953 to 1991, before coming to Maltanka where it worked off-peak trains between 1994 and 2002. Unfortunately it is now out of service and is currently stored at Forteczna tram works in Poznan Staroleka. From photographs it appears that sadly it is being stored in the open and its condition is deteriorating. It was a highlight of my first visit to Maltanka in 2001 and a rare survivor of the railbuses which were once common on Poland’s 600mm narrow gauge lines, so I hope it returns to traffic.

Myslecinek remains, 7 June 2012. Photo Ed Beale.

(Click image to expand.)

Elsewhere in Poland, park railways are suffering very mixed fortunes. The fire that destroyed virtually all the rolling stock on the Myslecinek park railway in Bydgoszcz was reported in Behind the Water Tower on 25 September 2011. After the fire the majority shareholder in the line, PKP Cargo, was not sufficiently interested in the railway to invest several hundred thousand zloty to restore it, and Bydgoszcz city council did not have the money to restore it either, so the railway was placed into administration seeking a buyer. When I visited in June I found the stock abandoned in the open next to the charred footprint of the old shed. The four coaches which were not affected by the fire had been vandalised, and the rails lay abandoned and rusting.

Chorzow WPKiW park railway, 8 July 2011.
Photo Ed Beale.

(Click image to expand.)

The future of the Chorzow WPKiW park railway is also now uncertain after the park authorities terminated the operating contract of SGKW, the society based at the Bytom narrow gauge railway, earlier this year. This is the oldest surviving park railway in Poland, originally built as a metre gauge line in 1957 and converted to the unusual gauge of 900mm in 1966. When I visited in July 2011 I found the railway to be in a fairly run-down state. Wesole Miasteczko station at the southern end of the line close to the tram stop was covered in graffiti and had no timetable on display, the track was overgrown with weeds, and trains were running with just a single coach and far from full.

Px48-1907 on test at Krosnice. Video by Jan Krosnicki.

On a brighter note though, the new park railway at Krosnice, reported in Behind the Water Tower on 11 October 2011, is nearing completion. A total of 4.7 million zloty have been spent on the construction of the railway, which is expected to be complete by October. In a surprise move, the Krosnice railway recently purchased steam locomotive Px48-1907, which previously ran at Nowy Dwor Gdanski but was privately owned. While a boon to the new park railway, this sadly leaves the Nowy Dwor Gdanski railway without a steam locomotive, a further blow to that railway following the recent track theft that closed the Tuja extension.

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Rails for Krosnice

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A new park railway takes shape…

Well drained base and firm foundation

A brand new narrow  gauge railway in Poland! This is Alice in Wonderland story seems almost too good to be true. But as these photos – sent to us by a BTWT reader – show, the new railway is actually taking shape. Although, like the adventures of Alice, the actual story has a bitter twist.

The new junction takes shape.

The municipality of Krosnice (not to be confused with the town of Krosniewice!) is building a 3.2 km park railway around a sports and recreational complex which it is developing with the help of EU Regional Development funds.

The total project is to cost about 6.6 m PLN and involves the digging of several lakes as well as building the railway. The budget is as follows:  building several lakes – 1.26M PLN, building the narrow gauge railway – 3M PLN, track materials – 0.8M PLN, fitting out 6 halts – 0.2M PLN, purchase of rolling stock – 1M PLN, purchase of steam locomotive 0.6M PLN.

Trackwork complete.

But the project is but a faint echo of a much grander project which fell by the wayside. When the potential of EU-funded tourist development projects was first realised several ambitious Welsh Highland style railway restoration projects were pencilled in for Dolny Slask province.

One of these was the rebuilding of the rack railway in the owl mountains. Another – which made a great deal of progress in the early stages – was a partnership by three local authorities to restore a section of the Wroclaw narrow gauge railway between Pracze – Milicz Wask. – Bracław.

The section of the Wroclaw Narrow Gauge Railway which was to have been restored. Map courtesy Google maps (maps.google.com). Railway mapping courtesy Railmap (mapa.kolej.one.pl).

(Click map to enlarge.)

Sadly a series of legal obstacles prevented the rebuilding of the Wroclaw line. The section is now being developed as a ‘railway themed‘ cycle path. But the local authority whose base was furthest from the line – Krosnice – was so taken with the idea that they decided to go-ahead and build a railway of their own! (Oh yes, I nearly forgot. I did have a long talk with one of their officials some 3 or so years ago.)

Dyspozytor

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