Archive for the ‘Krosniewice Railway’ Category

Krosniewice death watch

Monday, 11 August 2014

With perhaps, the future of the daily ex Wolsztyn steam services being the one exception, no campaign has mobilised BTWT readers as much as the battle to save the Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway. Alas it seems that all our attempts – as well as the stalwart efforts of local enthusiasts – have failed to influence the decision makers.

As the various local authorities prepare to take over sections of the line, rip up the track and convert them into cycle paths, on July 6 our reporter paid a last nostalgic visit to photograph the railway’s remains at Ozorkow and Krosniewice.

The text and photographs in this article may be republished under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Volunteers tidy the path leading to the narrow gauge platform at Ozorkow. An Open Day is held each Sunday afternoon at the station. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

(All photos can be expanded by double clicking on the images.)

In its heyday the Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways – comprising some 1,000 km of 600mm and 750mm lines – were Poland’s largest narrow gauge network. Starting from various independent agricultural and sugar beet railways the lines were expanded and connected together into a 600mm network for the purposes of supplying the Prussian forces during WW I.

When Poland recovered its independence the ‘main line’ was converted to 750mm. PKP constructed two new buildings at Krosniewice in the latest Art Deco style – the station building and the running shed.

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One of the attractions of the Sunday Open Days is the possibility of a ride on a platelayer’s trolley. Local volunteers pose with an itinerant Englishman. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

The Kujawy Railways survived WWW II and some of the remaining 600mm feeder lines were converted to 750mm gauge. At the start of 1991, PKP reorganised the Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways into three independent railways the Gniezno Narrow Gauge Railway, the Sompolno Narrow Gauge Railway, and the Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway.

The Krosniewice Railway and the Gniezno Railway – but not the Sompolno Railway – were two of the some two dozen railways that were rescued from the wholesale destruction of the remaining PKP narrow gauge lines in 2001.

Thanks to co-operation between the then Mayor of Krosniewice, and the former PKP general manager of the line, the Town Council decided to acquire the Krosniewice line from PKP.

 

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At first sight Krosniewice station appears to be open. Closer inspection reveals to two changes wrought by Barbara Herman, the Mayor of  Krosniewice – the removal of the level crossing barriers across the main road, and the grave-like display of flowers in the platelayer’s trolley next to the level crossing. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

While the legal formalities for the transfer of the ownership of the line proceeded, the Council obtained an operating licence from PKP SA granted which it sub-licensed to SKPL, a society set up with the objective of carrying on operations on the recently closed narrow gauge railways.

The line’s future seemed secure. SKPL operated a regular passenger service on weekdays linking Krosniewice to the PKP stations at Ostrowy and Krzewie. On market days the service was extended to Dabrowice and Wielka Wies Kujawska.

But the main work on the line was freight – carrying supplies to and refined sugar from sugar refineries situated on the network. At the peak of SKPL operations the line was carrying 100,000 tonnes of freight a year.

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Looking to the North – everything appears neat and tidy. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

The legal wheels turned but slowly – Polish law required PKP to recreate the missing deeds for all the parcels of land over which the line ran before a formal handover could be concluded with Krosniewice Council.

Meanwhile, as a gesture of good faith, PKP transferred the ownership of all the line’s rolling stock – including a working Px48 steam locomotive – to the Council.

Unlike PKP, SKPL received no central government subsidy. During the off-season it was sometimes difficult to find the money to purchase replacement parts for the diesel locomotives and pay staff.

Slowly, disused feeder lines began to vanish…  .

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But a peek across the wall shows that every piece of glass is smashed in the skylight of the workshop roof. Photo BTWT.

Meanwhile a group of railway enthusiasts started clearing the overgrown trackbed on the disused track bed between Ozorkow and Krosniewice. While senior SKPL management – based in the Zbiersk Cukrownia HQ of the Kalisz narrow gauge railway – backed their efforts, relations with management and staff at Krosniewice were strained.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of local railway enthusiasts was when GDDKiA (Poland’s Directorate of Trunk Roads and Motorways) decided that they needed to take over a section of the narrow gauge railway in the vicinity of Topola Krolewska to build a new wide viaduct across the Lodz-Kutno railway line. Thanks to the energetic lobbying of the enthusiasts, the GDDKiA ended up having to construct a brand new viaduct for the narrow gauge line as well!

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The narrow gauge freight wagons have received no attention since the line’s closure. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

In 2006, at special meeting in Ozorkow the supporters of the line decided to formally constitute themselves into the Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways Society. SKPL Chairman, Tomasz Strapagiel, attended the meeting and gave the venture his support.

The Society acquired a passenger coach from the defunct Piotrkow Trybunalski narrow gauge railway and restored it to running order. The Society’s volunteers cleared the trackbed from Krzewie to Ozorkow and, with the co-operation of SKPL, a number of special trains – which proved very popular – were run through to Ozorkow.

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The Art Deco building in the background is the running shed. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

Then in 2007 or thereabouts a new Mayor was elected in Krosniewice. Whereas the previous Mayor saw the Krosniewice Railway primarily as a transport undertaking, the new Mayor – Barbara Herman – saw the railway as a lucrative development opportunity.

Soon she visited the line, in the company of the local PKP property surveyor, and expressed an interest in demolishing the historic workshop buildings in order to make was for a major new property development – the General Wladyslaw Anders Centre.

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Recently repainted, the point lever and indicator adds a surreal touch. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

Mrs Herman requested that SKPL vacate the workshop buildings. The General Manager pointed out that SKPL needed the workshops to maintain the transporter wagons used to carry the standard gauge freight wagons. The Mayor countered that she had no interest in carrying ant freight though she might be prepared to countenance a small ‘fun fair railway’ somewhere on the site.

SKPL refused to vacate the workshop buildings. The Mayor countered by terminating SKPL’s licence to operate the railway.

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These coal trucks have a special compartment for a brakeman and were last used on sugar beet trains. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

The last train ran on 31 March, 2008. Ironically SKPL were in negotiation with a bulk aggregate supplier to deliver several hundred tonnes of roadstone required for building the A2 and A1 motorways. Ads a result of the Mayor’s decision roads in the Lodz Province were subject to tens of thousands of tonne km of unnecessary road traffic.

The Mayor’s decision provoked a massive storm of protest. Realising which way the wind was blowing, the Mayor trimmed her sails maintaining a public stance that she supported the reopening of the railway. She even allowed local activists to organise a couple of special trains from Krosniewice to Ozorkow to demonstrate her good intentions. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the Mayor continued her attempts to have the workshop buildings demolished.

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Barely visible under the undergrowth – a line of standard gauge transporter wagons. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

But the Mayor’s plans hit an unexpected obstacle in the form of the Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, Mr Wojciech Szygendowski. Mr Szygendowski refused to grant permission to have the historic listed buildings demolished.

With her plans apparently thwarted the Mayor decided to reverse her predecessor’s decision to acquire the whole of the Krsoniewice Narrow Gauge Railway from PKP. Instead she came up with the plan that each local council should acquire just that section of line that lay within the its own administrative boundaries.

Now the demise of the railway could become a collective affair – one council could use the line for a cycle path, another for road improvements… and as the line died section by section and the historic workshop buildings deteriorated she could try yet again to have them demolished.

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The low buildings were the machine shops. The smashed windows and doors tell their own story. Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) BTWT.

Without any maintenance, the workshop buildings deteriorate year by year. Unless a ‘white knight’ appears on the scene it seems increasingly like that Mrs Barbara Herman will succeed in her plan to bring about the final end of the Krosniewice Railway.

Further reading:

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Railway film festival at Krosniewice

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

STOP PRESS – TRAINS CANCELLED

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Krosniewice’s restored MBxd1-204 railcar, built in 1967. Photo Krosniewicka Kolej Waskotorowa.

(Click to see the original photo on Facebook)

The railway film festival to be held in Krosniewice from 24 to 26 May promises trains to Krzewie using restored Polish railcar MBxd1-204, pictured above. These will be the first public trains on the railway for several years. This is the first event following the setting up of the new Krosniewicka Kolej Waskotorowa (Krosniewice narrow gauge railway) Facebook page on 25 April 2013.

krosniewice-25-26-may-timetable

Krosniewice – Krzewie timetable for 25 and 26 May 2013

(Click to see the original on Facebook)

The timetable shows five return trains between Krosniewice and Krzewie, four of them connecting with Koleje Wielkopolskie’s local trains between Poznan and Kutno. The fifth train is an out and back ‘special’ including photo stops. Krzewie Wask is the narrow gauge platform on the south side of Krzewie station, reached by the same subway used to access the standard gauge platforms. Although the film festival is advertised as starting on Friday 24 May, the trains will only run on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May.

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Film Festival poster

(Click to see the original poster on Facebook)

The poster lists the other attractions of the film festival weekend, including the screening of Polish Film Chronicle material made by PKP between 1950 and 1960, the opportunity for visitors to bring and screen their own films, manual draisine rides, and snack and drinks stalls.

It is wonderful to see the return of railway activity at Krosniewice, and especially encouraging to see the list of organisations supporting or sponsoring the event, namely Krosniewice town council, the Lodz marshal’s office, PKP SA, the Lodz Society for the Protection of Monuments, the arts and cultural group NEO, and the Krosniewice narrow gauge railway volunteer group SKKW.

It is now just over 5 years since the regular scheduled railbuses to Wielka Wies, Dabrowice and Ostrowy, and the profitable freight traffic, ceased on 31 March 2008 when the mayor of Krosniewice terminated SKPL’s operating licence.  Since then, there has been little real activity on what was once one of the biggest and most active of PKP’s narrow gauge networks. Instead there has been much political wrangling behind the scenes. Elsewhere, the demand from tourists to travel on Poland’s remaining narrow gauge railways is growing strongly, so fingers crossed that this event will be the start of a new dawn for Krosniewice, and that the railway will continue to receive the support it needs from local politicians.

UPDATE

An update on the Krosniewice Kolej Waskotorowa Facebook page says that the planned Krosniewice-Krzewie trains using MBxd1-204 have had to be cancelled for technical reasons.

The film festival is going ahead, and there will be the possibility of platelayers trolley rides using either a Wmc diesel trolley or a manual trolley within the station area. Film festival attendees wishing to arrive at Krzewie should telephone 696 197 757 or 784 121 830 for replacement road transport. The event organisers sincerely apologise.

More:

The photography of the late Tomasz Wach

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A postscript to Early Sugar Beet Railways in Kujawy.

Lesmierz No 10, Borsig 10357/1918, 0-8-0T on a sugar beet train in January 1980. Photo ©Tomasz Wach estate.

(Click to see original on Wciaz pod Para.)

It seems like another age, yet it was not quite 50 years ago (1964 or 5), that a cousin took me to see  the yard (1) of the Gdańska Kolej Dojazdowa at Gdansk Wask and I had my first taste of Polish narrow gauge steam. Sadly, ten years later in 1974 the whole of the GKD on the left bank of the Vistula was closed and much, but not all, of the GDK followed suit in subsequent years.

During that same trip to Poland I found myself on a family organised visit to the palace to Wilanow to the south of Warsaw. In those days one went by tram to Wilanow, so I was happy enough, but when I discovered that the Wilanowska Kolej Dojazdowska ran from the gates of the park, I decided to pursue my own itinerary and, while the rest of my family went sight seeing at the palace, I and an attractive Warsaw cousin minder explored the WKD and the Grojecka Kole Dojadowa for the rest of the day.

We took a strange looking petrol(?) railcar to Piaseczno. I remember being disappointed that the line from the then terminus at Wilanow (the line had run once run as far as pl. Lubelski) ran as a roadside tramway through Powsin and Klarysew, but then the ride became more interesting as we passed the junction to Konstancin and I spotted some dumped 0-6-2Ts (2) before we reached Piaseczno Miasto. Miraculously three of these locos have survived and are now mouldering in the open at the skansen in Gryfice.

Piaseczno Miasto yard was bigger in those days (a few sidings have since been removed to make room for a road) and resembled a busy main line junction. Here we changed trains to ride in what I regarded to be a ‘proper train’ hauled by a Px48 as far as Warszawa Poludniowa. From here we took the tram back to the city centre. A few days later I had another Px48-hauled trip on the Marecka Kolej Dojazdowa from Warszawa Wilenska to Radzymin.

When Ed Beale brought my attention to the wonderful narrow gauge pictures of the late Tomasz Wach, as part of his photographic research for the Early Sugar Beet Railways in Kujawy article, all these memories came flooding back. We wanted to reproduce Wach’s photographs of engines working on the Dobrzelin and Lesmierz sugar beet railways to illustrate the article and corresponded with Tomislaw Czarnecki on whose website Wciaz pod Para Wach’s photos are hosted as well a contact that we had been given for a representative of Wach’s estate. Sadly, though at first our correspondence seemed to be leading to a positive conclusion, it then petered out without us receiving a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Wach’s collection goes back to 1962 and continues through to 1995. It includes pictures of narrow gauge engines working on the Gdańska Kolej Dojazdowa, the Grojecka Kole Dojadowa, the Mlawska Kolej Dojazdowa, the Nasielska Kolej Dojazdowa as well as on the narrow gauge railways belonging to the sugar refineries at Dobrzelin, Guzow, Lesmierz and Mala Wies. There are also preservation era photos of unusual steam working on the narrow gauge lines in Elk and Sochaczew. In addition there are some splendid pictures of – mostly older – standard gauge locos working in various locations.

Wach’s pictures are from a past era when railway photography was strictly forbidden and only a handful of photographers managed to record what was an an amazingly diverse steam scene. We publish this review to celebrate Wach’s achievement and courage. It would be wonderful if someone (maybe FPKW?) manages to secure the right to reproduce these pictures in print and so preserves this wonderful collection for future generations.

Dyspozytor

Notes

(1) Ty1-1096 caught in Gdansk Wask in 1963
(2) Tyb5-3386 at Iwiczna on the Grójecka KD in May 1962

More Tomasz Wach photos (links to Wciaz pod Para):

Acknowledgements

All photographs linked to in this article are from the collection of the late Tomasz Wach hosted on Tomislaw Czarnecki’s web site Wciaz pod Para. All the maps linked to from this article are courtesy Jaroslaw Wozny and Railmap – Kolejowa Mapa Polski. Thanks also to Ed Beale for doing the original photographic research.

Early sugar beet railways in Kujawy

Monday, 12 November 2012

by ‘Inzynier’

With thanks to Ed Beale for sourcing the photographs.

Brigadelok at Irena sugar factory in Lyszkowice.

(Click to see original image in Ziemia Lodzka, page 18)

As followers of BTWT will be aware, the First World War saw construction of many narrow gauge ‘field railways’ in what is now Poland, a number of which subsequently found use as common carrier railways under PKP.  While Austria and Russia built such lines, the vast majority were the German Heeresfeldbahnen (miltary field railways).

Of the lines (or networks) taken over by PKP, the Kujawy network is probably the most widely known today and, following eventual conversion to 750mm gauge, was the last of the classic former Feldbahnen to survive in operation; although the Zbiersk line was a First World War creation, it was always 750mm gauge and was built for economic rather than purely military purposes.

Apart from the Kujawy system, a significant number of other railways were taken over by PKP:

  • most of the Torun – Sierpc – Nasielsk line, with a branch to Rypin, was a 600mm gauge PKP railway with public services until the last sections were replaced by standard gauge lines in the mid 1930s;
  • the Mlawa railway was built as a 600mm gauge military field railway, taken over by PKP for civilian services, converted to 750mm gauge in the early 1960s and lasting for freight purposes until 2001;
  • the extensive Jedrzejow system has its origins in Austrian military railways of 700mm gauge, rebuilt as a 600mm gauge line still during the war, expanded by various local authority and private initiatives between the wars, regauged to 750mm in the 1950s and lasting with ‘regular’ traffic into the 1990s;
  • the Rogow line was another that survived, converted to 750mm gauge, until the end of PKP narrow gauge operations in 2001;
  • the system based around Myszyniec remained 600mm gauge until closed in the 1970s;
  • the Zwierzyniec – Bilgoraj line probably takes the prize for the number of different gauges, being originally built by the Russians on 750mm gauge, later a 600mm gauge line built during the war, converted to 750mm gauge by PKP in the 1960s and closed in the 1970s to be replaced by a standard gauge line that was later joined by a Russian gauge railway!

There were various other lines in present-day Poland which saw short-lived civilian service and also, largely forgotten today, PKP operated significant former Heeresfeldbahnen in those regions lost to the Soviet Union in the Second World War: the 90+km Dukszty-Druja line, the 66km Nowojelnia – Nowogrodek – Lubcz line, the Baranowicze network and the Iwacewicze – Janow – Kamien system (on which PKP still operated passenger services over 214 route kilometres in 1939) to name only a few.

Besides these significant lengths of railway for which a post-war use was found, there were as many, probably many more, which were redundant.  As these lines were dismantled; the track materials were sold off.  Furthermore, the German authorities had ordered around 2,500 of their standard 0-8-0T Brigadelokomotiven (commonly known in Britain as ‘Feldbahn’ locomotives), many of which were stored or still under construction when the war ended – locomotives were still being delivered to military stores depots well into 1919.  These locomotives were also soon on the market.

Transhipment from a Wisla barge on the Borowiczki sugar beet railway, 1941.

(Click to see the original image on plock24.pl)

Many forestry and industrial concerns in Poland took advantage of this ready availability of 600mm gauge railway equipment to build their own railways in place of horse and cart transport of raw materials and/or finished products.  The advantages of narrow gauge railways had been recognised by sugar factories in the German-controlled part of Kujawy from the 1880s, and those in the Russian-controlled areas had begun to follow suit before the war.

The 1920s saw an explosion in the construction of sugar factory railways.  Some, such as Ostrowite, chose 750mm gauge but for most the availability of Brigadeloks and other equipment led to 600mm gauge being selected.  Amongst the factories that developed 600mm gauge railways at this time were Klemensow, Mala Wies, Izabelin, Borowiczki, Cielce, Guzow, Dobrzelin, Chelmica, Mlynow, Irena and Lesmierz.

German 1944 1:2500 map based upon pre-war Polish WIG cartography showing the end of the Lesmierz line near Unjejow, in the yard of a private estate in Dominikowice. Did the Lesmierz line link up with an existing estate railway?

(Click to expand,)

Lesmierz sugar factory’s railway was built between 1920 and 1928.  The first section built was a link to Sierpow station on PKP’s 600mm gauge Krosniewice – Ozorkow – Strykow line, itself built as a Heeresfeldbahn.  Note that the standard gauge Kutno – Zgierz line through Sierpow did not open until 1924.  From Sierpow the railway was continued westward.

WIG maps show the railway’s most westerly terminus was Dominikowice, south of Uniejow, while there was a lengthy branch running north from near Pelczyska to Swinice and Kozanki.  In 1926, before completion of the network, the Lesmierz sugar factory railway was recorded as having 70km of track, 8 steam locomotives, 160 freight wagons and 2 passenger coaches.  Presumably the link to the PKP line served to deliver coal and limestone to the factory and take away finished sugar, while the lines further west served to bring in sugar beet and take out beet pulp.

Further to the east, Irena sugar factory in Lyszkowice, south of Lowicz, built a 600mm gauge railway in 1920-1 to Domaniewice station on the Lowicz – Lodz standard gauge line, presumably serving only to bring in coal and limestone and take away the finished sugar.  The railway of Mlynow sugar factory at Piatek, south east of Kutno, probably also dates from the 1920s.  The main line of this system ran to Jackowice station on the Lowicz – Kutno standard gauge line, but the fact that there were branches through Janowice to Balkow and through Przezwiska to Borow as well as other short branches (all shown on WIG maps) suggests that the railway transported beet and pulp as well as coal etc.  To the north of these lines Dobrzelin sugar factory also developed a quite extensive 600mm gauge railway between the wars.

German 1940 1:2500 map (reprinted 1944) based upon pre-war Polish WIG cartography showing the line to the sugar beet factory at Lesmierz, but not its WWII extension eastwards to Pokrzywnica.

(Click to expand,)

And then came German occupation.  In the First World War the Germans had created links between various sugar factory railways and they did so again in the Second World War.  In the north of Kujawy they converted the 900mm gauge Pakosc/Tuczno/Wierzchoslawice railway to 750mm gauge and linked it to the Matwy, Kruszica and Dobre systems of that gauge, and created various other links between those railways.

In the south east of this sprawling, still partly 600mm gauge network, they created a number of links.  From Lesmierz a line was built east to join the Mlynow system at Pokrzywnica.  From Domaniewice the Irena sugar factory’s railway was extended north west to join the Mlynow system at Walewice.  From Jackowice the Mlynow system was extended to Czerniew, where a connection was probably created with the Dobrzelin factory’s system.

Soon after the war these lines started to be divided up and partially dismantled.  Irena sugar factory closed in 1947 and although its railway may have been taken over by Dobrzelin, it was probably soon dismantled.  Most of the rest of the Mlynow system was taken over by Lesmierz.

In 1948 work started on converting PKP’s Krosniewice – Ozorkow line to 750mm, being completed in 1951.  Consequently, in 1952 the 3km section of the Lesmierz system linking the factory to PKP’s Sierpow station became mixed 600/750mm gauge; henceforth the beet and pulp were carried in 600mm gauge wagons and coal etc. in 750mm gauge wagons.  Two 750mm gauge locomotives were acquired by the factory to serve this short but vital link.

Lesmierz sugar factory in 1927.

(Click to see original image on fotopolska.eu)

The Lesmierz 600mm gauge network gradually shrunk. By 1950 it had already reduced from around 120km to 90km and by 1970 had declined to 60km.  In the latter year, however, there were 14 steam locomotives, 240 wagons, 2 coaches and 3 diesel locomotives.  The end of narrow gauge operations appears to have come in the 1980s or early 1990s.  The last year in which PKP supplied beet to the factory in narrow gauge wagons was 1986, when some 15,000 tonnes were brought in and almost 13,000 tonnes of pulp taken away.  By way of comparison, ten years later the Tuczno system carried 140,000t of beet and 36,000 tonnes of pulp.

The 600mm gauge steam locomotives of the Lesmierz system were as follows:

  • Lesmierz 1, LHW 1760/191, 0-8-0T Brigadelok HF 2416, still existed 9/72
  • Lesmierz 2, BMAG 6798/1919, 0-8-0T Brigadelok HF 2483, to playground in Kutno 1992
  • Lesmierz 3, LHW 1721/1918, 0-8-0T Brigadelok HF 2239, to Elk, then Skierniewice
  • Lesmierz 4, Fablok 1541/1947, 0-4-0T Rys, at Warszawa Railway Museum since 1994
  • Lesmierz 6, Borsig 10329/1918, 0-8-0T Brigadelok HF 2098, still existed 9/72
  • Lesmierz 7, O&K 8745/1919, 0-10-0T HF 2858, Mlynow, then Lesmierz, still there 9/72
  • Lesmierz 8, O&K 8721/1918, 0-10-0T, ordered as HF 2646 but delivered to Mlynow then to Lesmierz, still there 9/72
  • Lesmierz 9, Henschel 14921/1916, 0-8-0T Brigadelok HF 991, still existed 9/72
  • Lesmierz 10, Borsig 10357/1918, 0-8-0T Brigadelok HF 2294, withdrawn 1982, remains still existed 1987
  • Lesmierz 11, O&K 8692/1918, 0-8-0T Brigadelok HF 2456
  • Lesmierz 11, Schwartzkopff 6808/1919, 0-10-0T HF 2655, to PKP 1919 as Es 451 or E1-451, Mlawa, DR 99 1611, to Myszyniec by 1940, at Mlawa 1942, Rogow in early 50s as PKP Tx1-591, to Lesmierz 16/4/56, later heating boiler at Mlynow, to Sucha Beskidzka and then Chabowka

The 750mm gauge steam locomotives of the Lesmierz system were:

  • Fablok 1982/1949, 0-6-0T Las, to Bad Muskauer Waldeisenbahn, then Oberoderwitz
  • Fablok 1984/1949, 0-6-0T Las, Lesmierz 610, to PSMK Skierniewice about 1992

The 600mm gauge steam locomotives of the Dobrzelin system were as follows:

  • Dobrzelin 1, LHW 1719/1918,  0-8-0T Brigadelok, still existed, out of use, 9/72
  • Dobrzelin 2, Henschel 14471/1916, 0-8-0T Brigadelok, acquired 1920
  • Dobrzelin 3, Jung 2865/1919, 0-8-0T Brigadelok, still existed, out of use, 10/72
  • Dobrzelin 4, O&K 8691/1918, 0-8-0T Brigadelok, still at Dobrzelin 8/72
  • Dobrzelin 6, Schwartzkopff 6813/1919, 0-10-0T, M. Stern AG, Essen, for sale 11/22, to PKP as Es-1344, Zwierzyniec, DR 99 1621, then to Dobrzelin
  • Dobrzelin 7, Schwartzkopff 6806/1919, 0-8-0T Brigadelok. Probably sold to Dobrzelin by M. Stern AG, Essen, where it was for sale 11/22
  • Dobrzelin 8, Henschel 15523/1917, 0-8-0T Brigadelok, still existed 9/72
  • Dobrzelin 10, Jung 2864/1919, 0-8-0T Brigadelok
  • Dobrzelin 13, Henschel 15549/1917, 0-8-0T Brigadelok,  still existed 9/72
  • Dobrzelin 15,  O&K 8688/1918, 0-8-0T Brigadelok, Krasiniec or Ciechanow sugar factory 4, to PKP Mlawa 1949 as Tx1-350, to Dobrzelin 4/3/58
  • Dobrzelin 15, Schwartzkopff? 6803/1919, 0-8-0T Brigadelok, Krasiniec or Ciechanow sugar factory 4, to PKP Mlawa 1949 as Tx1-353, to Dobrzelin 4/3/50 or 4/3/58
  • Dobrzelin 17, Chrzanow 1625/1953, 0-6-0T Las, to Meldegen, Belgium
  • Dobrzelin 21, Fablok 3297/1954, 0-6-0T Las, to Meldegen, Belgium
  • Dobrzelin 24, Chrzanow 3444/1957, 0-6-0 Las, to De Bakkersmolen, Essen-Wildert, Germany

Stop press

Ex Lesmierz Fablok 1982/1949 0-6-0T Las, together with a sister engine, ex Plocicznow 3816/1958 Chrzanow have been repatriated to Poland and will be exhibited at the Krosnice Park Railway.

Footnote

Some splendid historic n.g. engine photographs by the late Tomasz Wach – including 8 photos of engines on the Lesmierz sugar beet line – used to be hosted by Tomislaw Czarnecki on his Wciaz pod Para website. Sadly the link to Tomasz Wach’s gallery no longer (as on 12.11.12) appears to work.

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Brake blocks and tranporter wagons

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Smigiel Railway Freight in 2008. Video by .

Good Friday starts with early morning phone call from France, Can you help us source brake blocks for the L45h (PKP-Lxd2) locomotive? Hmm. So who else runs an intensive train service using Lxd2s and might be wearing out their brake blocks?

Dark thoughts gather. There’s nothing like hauling heavy standard gauge wagons on top of narrow gauge transporter wagons to wear out loco brake blocks. When BTWT started, Lxd2s operated a regular SKPL-operated freight service on the Krosniewice Railway. Now that’s gone. They also hauled frequent freight trains on the Smigiel Railway, now that Smigiel Council has cut up the majority of the transporter wagons, that’s gone for good.

The Gryfice Narrow Gauge Railway – now ominously renamed Nadmorska Kolej Dojazdowa (The Costal Narrow Gauge Railway) – runs a passenger service along its coastal stretch with almost tram-like intensity and that is either Lxd2 or Px48 hauled. But Gryfice is a long way away and Zbiersk is nearer.

The Kalisz narrow gauge railway remains the last narrow gauge railway operating regular freight services in Poland. I call my SKPL contact, Your French friend is in luck we are about to place an order with the foundry to get the next batch of brake blocks cast.

I am pleased that I have been able to help the Frenchman, but I cannot fight the growing feeling of dark despondency, The battle to retain narrow gauge freight operations in Poland is virtually lost.

How long until the only active Polish transporter wagons will be scale models? Video by .<

Xmas/New Year Competition – Final

Saturday, 18 February 2012

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!

Local activists resume the battle for Krosniewice line

Saturday, 9 July 2011

SKKW committee members meeting outside Ozorkow Station on 9 July 2011. Photo BTWT.

When Barbara Herman, the Mayor of Krosniewice, kicked the Krosniewice Railway into the long grass, local supporters of the line suffered a crisis of confidence. The local activists had constituted themselves into society, Stowarzyszenie Krosniewickiej – Ozorkowej Kolei Waskotorowej (The Krosniewice – Ozorkow Narrow gauge Railway Society) and, in the days when the northern part of the line had been operated by SKPL, had single-handedly restored the southern part between Krzewie and Ozorkow.

Relations between the Society and SKPL’s local management had never been good and when Barbara Herman terminated SKPL’s operating licence SKOKW looked forward to a better relationship with the local council. But matters progressed from bad to worse. The Mayor repeatedly turned down the Society’s requests for permission to cut down the undergrowth or to conduct restoration work on rolling stock stored in the open. Over the last couple of years vegetation has taken over the track bed to the extent that in most places the railway line is not only impassable it is also unrecognisable as a railway.

The SKKW platelayers trolley being prepared for service. Photo BTWT.

Frustrated that Wojciech Szegendowski, the historic monument conservator for Lodz province, was blocking her bid to demolish the railway’s workshops to make way for a property development project, Mrs Herman began to plot for a way whereby she could take over the extensive railway lands in Krosniewice without the tiresome obligation of having to operate the line. The first part of her plan was to hand back the Krosniewice Railway to PKP and to support a plan whereby the local District Councils would take over the line from PKP and then hand it over unencumbered with any railway operating obligations to all the smaller councils over whose territory the line ran.

To counter Mrs Herman’s plans, the SKKW reconstituted themselves as the Stowarzyszenia Kujawskich Kolei Wąskotorowych and approached the offices of the Chief Executives of Lodz, Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Wielkopolska provinces with a bold plan to eventually restore the whole of the Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways of which the Krosniewice Railway was only the eastern section. The proposal was greeted with enthusiasm and for a time it looked as if all three provinces would back the plan and write it into their tourism development strategy plans. This was not at all what Mrs Herman wanted and she started to lobby extensively behind the scenes to demolish the SKKW’s credibility. The Chief Executive of Lodz province asked PKP to estimate the costs of restoring the Krosniewice Railway to running order and on receiving an estimate of several million zloty rapidly back-tracked and asked his officials to come up with several convincing reasons why Lodz province could not take over the railway.

The end of the cleared section 3 miles from Ozorkow. Photo BTWT.

Now SKKW members are hoping to interest another local council in taking over the whole line and to that end have started to clear the track bed starting from Ozorkow Station. Now after 3 working parties over 3 km of track have already been cleared.


Going, going…

Friday, 25 March 2011

The last 60 seconds of the journey of the 13:22 ex Kutno to Lodz Kaliska before it stops at Ozorkow station. Video BTWT.

Can you spot the overgrown trackbed of the Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway? The rails are still there under the grass.

The same section of line as shown on Open Street Map.

(An Open Street Map zoomable ‘slippy’ map of Ozorkow and the surrounding countryside can be seen by clicking on the map.)

The large chimney seen in the far distance in the video is part of an industrial complex dating back to before WW I. Standard gauge rail access was by a siding which left the main line – at a point clearly seen in the clip – and then crossed the narrow gauge line on the level before turning sharply to the East near the level crossing keeper’s hut. Though disused and overgrown, most of the siding remains in situ. Its route is shown on Google Maps.

Mbxd1-168’s last journey

Monday, 24 January 2011

Motor unit Mbxd1-168 draws up at Krosniewice station in December 2006. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Motor unit Mbxd1-168 (formerly Bxhpi 1719) rebuilt from a passenger coach at the Krosniewice Railway workshops in 1966, has been delivered to Milicz where a small outdoor railway museum has been established. The railway museum commemorates the former Milicz District Railway which in 1945 was extended to link up to the Wroclaw Narrow Gauge Railway.

For the last few years there were rumours that a section of this 750 mm gauge railway was going to be restored as an EU-assisted project, but the local authorities who own the line have now decided that most of the railway is going to be converted into a cycle path. It seems that those who supported the rebuilding of the railway are to be fobbed off with a ‘skansen’ with perhaps a short demonstration line.

Mbxd1-168 was bought by SKPL from the PKP property department in 2002 and for many years ran the lion’s share of the regular passenger workings which SKPL operated on the Krosniewice Railway. It also took part in many ‘specials’ and is seen in the picture above entering Krosniewice Station from Krosniewice yard, ready to operate a special train to Ozorkow on 2 December 2006

The motor unit was cosmetically restored by SKPL staff on the Pleszew Railway and delivered to Milicz on 22 January 2011.

Mbxd1-168 leaves Pleszew, 22.01.2011. Photo SKKW.

A return journey – part 2

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Przewozy Regionalne railbus at Miedzyrzecz station owned by Lubusz province.
Photo © Tomasz Nowak.

(Click on image to see more photographs taken at Miedzyrzecz station by Tomasz Nowak.)

The second part of Robert Hall’s return trip to Poland after a break of 16 years.

My journey would now take me over some of the northern reaches of the Magistrala Weglowa (Coal Trunk Line), opened in the 1930s to link the Upper Silesia mining and industrial area with Poland’s then only port at Gdynia. Some of the route between Gdynia and Koscierzyna was 1930s new build, other sections made use of the pre-World War 1 Prussian State Railways network. An hour and a quarter’s run through pleasant gentle hills brought us to Koscierzyna, and a neat connection there with single-unit SA 106-104, representing the 15:24 departure southward. This vehicle carried the markings of Kujawsko-Pomorskie province, whose local rail passenger services are at present operated by Arriva.

As we set off, my attention was unfortunately distracted from Koscierzyna railway museum’s steam locos outside the MMPD by an altercation with the railmotor’s guard. It appears that the Polrailpass no longer covers all of Poland’s passenger services but only those operated by PKP Intercity and other PKP subsidiaries. At first we headed due south along a Magistala Weglowa section opened in 1930, called at a couple of stations including Olpuch, then at Bak branched off south-westward on a line which was also new post-WW1. A pause of some length at Czersk, where connection is made with the Pila – Tczew cross-country route (once Prussia’s main line between Berlin, and Gdansk and Kaliningrad (formerly Konigsberg). As we waited for the connecting train I saw a loco-hauled train of single-deck stock, and a modern railmotor. At last, SA 106 moved on, to Szlachta junction where I was to change, and thence further south – though whether to Wierzchucin or right through to Bydgoszcz, I was unable to determine.

The pleasure of leisurely railmotor journeys over a quite intricate system of rural lines was marred for me by one big difference from my 1994 visit – all these country lines now appear to be devoid of freight services. Every station at which we called that afternoon, sported a grass-grown, disused goods yard – big or small according to the magnitude of the place concerned – with not a single goods wagon in revenue-earning service. I had observed the same on the Hel branch the previous day. Sixteen years previously, although very many lines had by then lost their passenger services, plentiful local freight action had been in evidence.

I find rural railways carrying no freight at all, and seeing no use other than by local passenger services, intensely saddening. In the Beeching era in Britain, some railway enthusiasts expressed the sentiment that they would rather see lines closed, than the trains on them running empty. My journeys in Poland this year bred similar feelings. My gut-reaction was that these lines were in a condition of death-in-life, hanging on by a thin and rather ludicrous thread, and that I would prefer to see the railway administration put an end to the farce, sweep the whole thing away, and do an honest job of ripping the tracks up and ‘having done’. I admit that this is an emotional, illogical and unfair reaction. All the services on which I travelled that afternoon, had a reasonable number of passengers. In fact, from Gdynia to Olpuch, the railmotors were positively crowded, thanks to a large contingent of Scouts-and-Guides, who disembarked at the latter point. The lines are seeing some use, but in a context which put me of wanting to undertake much further standard-gauge-branch-exploration in the days ahead.

One of the two saddest sights for me this year – both for the same basic reason – was the station at Szlachta, where I had an hour’s wait between workings. Szlachta was once a four-way junction, today three of the original four lines still meet here. Szlachta is a spacious station with four platforms and five platform roads. It has a large goods yard, now weed-grown and utterly deserted. There was plenty of grass growing over the passenger tracks, too. All this is protected by an elaborate array of semaphore signals, which are still solemnly operated for the passenger workings. The station building is decaying, with no public access except to the neglected waiting room. A notice on the former booking-office window stated, if I interpreted it correctly, that from a date in 2009, tickets would no longer be issued at Szlachta station; all ticket business to be transacted on-train. At the time of my visit, Szlachta still had a stationmistress; there for operational matters – dealings with passengers would appear to be no longer part of her remit.

I found the scene most horridly depressing and as my hour in the grave-like quiet of Szlachta junction wore on, disquieting fantasies began to set in. Was I to be marooned forever in this doleful spot? Perhaps my departed SA 106-104 was the last service ever to call here? The sight of a double-unit SA 134 coming into view from the east – the 16:36 ex Laskowice Pomorskie to Szlachta – to become the 17:39 return working. This working (again, operated by Arriva) waited for a while beyond its scheduled departure time, for a late-running railmotor to pop-in-and-out-again on a northbound counterpart working of my 15:24 ex Koscierzyna.

The other truly heartbreaking sight was Miedzyrzecz station, a few days later – de-staffed and seemingly deserted, all in very dilapidated physical condition. There was a big overgrown and totally empty goods yard. The only activity on rails was one just-arrived railmotor terminating there. A painful contrast to how things were at Miedzyrzecz on my isit there in 1980. The place was then a busy country junction, a focal point of an intricate net of branch lines, with a loco shed whose inhabitants – chiefly class TKt48 2-8-2Ts – worked those routes. Almost everything was steam, with frequent comings and goings. There was plenty of freight action. There were staff everywhere. Everything ran quite smartly, though in the rather dispirited fashion which was the norm in Communist days. The scene thirty years later, was a most wretched come-down.

As regards scenery, Szlachta to Laskowice Pom. was a delectable run of some 40 km through gently idyllic scenery, often traversing thick mainly-conifer woodland, and calling at a succession of sweet little towns. What a superb preserved steam line this could make, if such matters could be arranged in Poland, as they are in Britain. My aversion to dead railways, with nothing left except meagre railmotor services, was so acute that I decided against my original plan of travelling on yet another branch – the line from Laskowice Pom. to Grudziadz. The idea had been to stay overnight at Grudziadz, sample its metre-gauge trams on the morrow, before proceeding southwards on the secondary line which serves the town. I felt, though, that I had had enough of moribund branch lines. so I baled out at Laskowice Pom. on the Gdansk – Bydgoszcz electric old main line. An opportune southbound local emu showed up quite soon, and delivered me to Bydgoszcz at a not too late hour.

Bydgoszcz was another place that I had last visited in 1980. On exiting from the city’s Glowny Station, I was concerned to see tram tracks in the cobbles, but no masts nor wires. Had the city’s metre-gauge tram system been axed. In fact, the trams are still busily functioning, but the branch that ran right to the main station, has been axed. Next day with a morning to kill in Bydgoszcz – a nice enough city, but not prime tourist-bait – a tram ride was duly had, choosing a good long route from the centre, out to start of countryside on city’s eastern edge. Then a post-lunchtime departure on a Gdynia – Katowice through express, to reach Lodz early in the evening. I kept a sharp lookout on the run southward, for traces of the ill-fated Kujawy 750mm gauge system, but saw nothing – the tracks, were too overgrown to pick out in passing.

…to be continued

More photographs of Miedzyrzecz:

Krosniewice, the beginning of a new beginning?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A busy day at Krosniewice in PKP days, October 1996. Romanian Railcar (left) for Ostrowy and DIY Polish railcar (middle) for Cetty.
Photo © Andrew Goodwin.

(Click on image to go to the Krosniewice section of the Polish Narrow Gauge Railways website by Andrew Goodwin, Stephen Goodwin and Dave Meller. This shows many Polish narrow gauge lines in the period before PKP abandoned its narrow gauge operations.)

There was much celebration at BTWT headquarters yesterday and our emergency ration of Zubrowka was raided when the news was confirmed by two reliable sources that the Lodz provincial government is taking over the Krosniewice Railway from PKP. This remarkable turn of events will scupper the plans of Krosniewice Mayor, Barbara Herman, who wanted to divide the railway salami fashion among all the local authorities through which the railway ran.

So far, the Lodz provincial government hsa shown remarkably little interest in its railway heritage and the railway enthusiaststo whom I broke the news could not at first believe it!. There are several unsung heroes in the battles for the future of the Krosniewice Railway and it is appropriate to mention some of those to whom credit is due. First of all, Wojciech Szegendowski, the Conservator of Heritage for Lodz province, who stood up to pressure from Mrs Herman to remove heritage listing status from much of the track and buildings at Krosniewice. Secondly, Pawel Papierz and the members of the SKOKW railway society who lobbied hard for the future of the railway. Thirdly, David Morgan, the President of Fedecrail who met with Polish ministers in 2008 to emphasise the importance of the Krosniewice Railway to the international heritage railway community, and last all those BTWT readers who supported our letter writing campaign to the Mrs Herman with copies to the Ministries of Infrastructure and Culture!

However, it is much to early to relax. One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy, as Aristotle used to point out. The provincial government could take over the railway, secure the future of the historic buildings, restore a short museum line, and convert the rest of the railway into a long-distance railway or cycle track! I won’t be happy until the provincial government has agreed a business plan for the revival of the railway. So now dear reader, it is time to write the most important letter of all. Here is one way you could approach the task. (Please do not use this exact text, but express these points, plus any others you feel it may be appropriate to add, in your own words. If you have already written to Mrs Herman and received no reply, it would probably be a good idea to also make this point and also to enclose a copy of that letter.)

Dear Mr Fisiak,

I am a British national who regularly comes to Poland to learn about your country’s history and to travel on your unique heritage railways. I would like to congratulate you on your decision to end the uncertainty regarding the future of the Krosniewice Railway by taking over the track from PKP. The Kujawy Railways – of which the Krosniewice Railway is a part – are an absolutely unique part of Poland’s railway history and have an enormous future potential as a tourist attraction.

I hope very much that it will be possible for the Krosniewice Railway to become a working railway – there are many preserved tourists lines in Europe – what makes Poland special, and draws railway enthusiasts from all over the world, is the opportunity to see vintage railway machinery performing real work.

Yours sincerely

Please send the letter to the Chief Executive of the Lodz provincial government:

Wlodzimierz Fisiak
Marszalek wojewodztwa lodzkiego
Urzad Marszalkowski w Lodzi
al. Pilsudskiego 8
90-051 Lodz
P O L A N D

More:

High noon at Krosniewice

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Krosniewice station and yard at dawn on the last day of operation 31.03.2008.
From a photograph by  Tilo Rösner.

(Tilo Rösner’s evocative photographs of the last day of the Krosniewice Railway are well known. Click on the image to see the complete set of pictures taken by Tilo as hosted by Drehscheibe Online.)

Will the Krosniewice Railway ever see a new dawn? Or is the railway about to loose its last battle? This is the first and arguably biggest ’cause’ for which BTWT readers have campaigned and many will be familiar with the story. In order to refresh memories, here is a brief timeline showing the line’s preservation history and subsequent demise:

2000 Waldemar Kacprzak, the line’s general manager, on hearing about PKP’s plans to withdraw from all of its narrow gauge railway operations, starts lobbying the then Mayor of Krosniewice that the Town Council should take over the Eastern section of the Kujawy Railways, the Krosniewicka Kolej Dojazdowa (KrKD).
2001 PKP withdraws freight services and closes the railway.
2003 Krosniewice Town Council acquires a licence from PKP to use the railway formation and agrees to take over the freehold when land title matters are complete. It appoints SKPL to be the line’s operating company.
2003 In December, SKPL run their first freight train on the KrKD. The train consists of wagons from the Czech Republic which are carried on transporter wagons as far as Cetty station.
2004 SKPL reintroduces daily passenger services for schoolchildren and commuters travelling to Krosniewice
2006 The first special train runs through to Ozorkow.
2007 Barbara Herman, the new Mayor of Krosniewice, visits the railway in the company of PKP officials and announces her interest in developing the Krosniewice station and workshop site. SKPL are asked to vacate the workshops and confine their activities to the engine shed area. SKPL refuse, pointing out that the workshops are essential for the maintenance of the transporter wagons on which the freight service depends. The Mayor says that she is ‘not interested’ in the freight services, but would support a short ‘museum railway’.
2007 SKPL are offered a major contract to carry heavy aggregate on the KrKD.
2007 SKPL ask the Mayor for an extension of their license so that they can make the necessary investment in new facilities and equipment to carry the aggregate.
2007 The Mayor issues a notice to quit to SKPL.
2008 The line closes at the end of March.
2008 The Mayor withdraws from the 2003 agreement whereby Krosniewice Town Council take over the whole line and promotes her own plan whereby each of the dozen or so municipal authorities through whose territory the line runs take over their section of line independently. The Mayor maintains that the line would have needed a major subsidy to remain open. In fact SKPL were actual paying part of their income from the line to the Council!
2009 Apart from a couple of special workings from Krosniewice to Ozorkow initiated by local railway enthusiasts, the KrKD remains closed.
2009 The Mayor threatens to withdraw entirely from taking over ‘her’ fragment of the KrKD unless sizeable portions of the Krosniewice railway site are excluded from the designation of ‘operational railway land’.
2010 High noon for the KrKD

We understand that PKP are only weeks away from chopping up the line’s real estate salami fashion and transferring the freehold of each section to the municipal authority through whose territory each segment runs. We also understand that there is concern in some quarters of the office of the Chief Executive of Lodz province that such a development would run counter to any long-term to revive a significant section of the Kujawy railway as a major tourist attraction.

Please take a few minutes to write to the Chief Executive of the Lodz province urging that the provincial government take over the whole line in order to safeguard its integrity. Only the provincial government has the credibility and ‘clout’ to bring the various local authorities – each of which has their own ideas for their section of railway – into line.

Please write to:

Wlodzimierz Fisiak
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Lodzkiego
Al. Piłsudskiego 8
90-051 Lodz
P O L A N D

More:

Death by a thousand cuts

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Roadstone being unloaded at Krosniewice on 9 July, 2007

(Click on picture to see it in its original context on the SKPL’s website.)

PKP Cargo have a national freight forwarding agreement with SKPL. SKPL’s goods stations (both narrow gauge and standard gauge) appear on PKP Cargo’s List Tariffs. A prospective customer can look up his intended departure and arrival points in the List, multiply the resulting tariff by the tonnage to be carried, and will then know how much it will cost to transport the goods by rail. The next step is to ring the nearest PKP Cargo freight office and arrange the details. For long-term carriage of large consignments PKP Cargo is prepared to offer attractive discounts.

If the goods depot lies on a railway line served by SKPL, it makes no difference. The customer deals with PKP Cargo who then pay SKPL a fixed percentage of the total tariff in return for SKPL originating or terminating the journey on its tracks. In the case of SKPL’s narrow gauge railways, such as the Kalisz or Smigiel Railway, SKPL, carry the standard gauge wagons, a la Calthorpe, on narrow gauge transporter wagons.

As the Mayor of Krosniewice has not appointed another operator since terminating the operating agreement with SKPL, there is now nobody to terminate the traffic at the goods stations on the Krosniewice Railway. Accordingly, PKP Cargo have announced their intention to remove the Krosniewice Railway freight handling points from the list of tariffs. A pity – a major aggregate company was planning to carry 100,000 tonnes of roadstone by the Krosniewice Railway – a traffic which would have done a great deal to revive the railway’s fortunes. Now it will all have to go by road. In 2,000 lorry loads!

If you think this is crazy, please write to

Mrs Julianna Barbara Herman
The Mayor of Krosniewice
Urzad Miejski
Poznanska 5
99-340 Krosniewice
POLAND

and send a copy to:

Mr Cezary Grabarczyk
The Minister of Infrastructure
ul. 4/6 Chalubinskiego
00-928 Warszawa
POLAND

The copy to the Minister is vital. The Minister is only the person who can ensure that the conditions under which the control of railway was transferred to Krosniewice Town Council are enforced. For those who are have become readers of BTWT recently, you will find some background reading about our campaign to save the Krosniewice Railway as a working railway (not just as a short tourist line) by clicking on the links below:

Krosniewice Campaign gets serious

Friday, 18 April 2008

31.3.2008, end the line for the KR? (photo Tilo Rosner)

Our campaign to save the Krosniewice Railway is getting some serious support, with the British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership putting their weight behind the campaign and a major article in today’s New Warsaw Express.

Battle to Save Historic Railway

NWE, April 17, 2008

A small group of Brits and their Polish friends are campaigning to save an historic narrow-gauge railway line about 50 kilometres north of Łódź threatened by local government indifference and new development plans. The group, known as British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership, believes the railway is an asset worth preserving, not ballast to be dumped.

“We want to help Polish officials connect the dots,” says Andrew Goltz, the group’s spokesman. “For many Polish officials a narrow gauge railway is just a pile of junk. They have no idea that just over the border in former East Germany or Slovakia local authorities are investing their own money and EU grants to develop such lines into major tourist attractions.”

In Poland a handful of narrow gauge railways struggle to maintain their existence despite the lack of interest, and sometimes active opposition, of Polish officials. Until the end of March, one such survivor was the Krosniewice Railway – a 100 km fragment of a once 1,000-kilometre network of narrow-gauge lines. The Polish State Railways (PKP) had closed their remaining narrow gauge lines in 2001, and they were then handed over to local authorities to decide whether to run them as transport facilities, tourist attractions, or just get rid of them.

Local government elections brought in a new mayor of Krośniewice, Barbara Herman. She did not want a narrow gauge railway with extensive workshops in the centre of her town, being more interested in a new shopping centre and housing estate. SKPL, the line’s operator, pointed out that the workshops had been listed as heritage buildings by the province’s monuments conservator. Faced with this obstacle to her plans, Herman gave notice to SKPL that their operating agreement was terminated.

SKPL ran their last service train on March 31. The end of the line? Not if the BPIRHP have their way.

(Complete NWE article here.)

See also our other posts which will give you the gen on how YOU can join our campaign to save the Krosniewice Railway:

Krosniewice Railway at Fedcrail Conference

Krosniewice the end?

A letter from you, and…

Last train photos

We hit a ton!

Our road map