Archive for the ‘Nowy Dwor Gdanski’ Category

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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Narrow gauge line reopened…

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

… but closed again one week later!

The first train reaches Tuja on 7 June. Photo Wojciech Lemanski – www.750mm.pl

(Click to see the original photo and discussion forum, in Polish.)

On 7 June the Nowy Dwor Gdanski narrow gauge railway opened a 6km extension south-west from Nowy Dwor Gdanski to Tuja. Trains had not previously run on this line in preservation apart from the short stretch to Nowy Dwor Cemetary, to which some All Saints Day special trains ran in previous years. Following weed cutting and repairs to the line, two trains daily ran to Tuja over the June long weekend, 7 – 10 June, via the intermediate halts of Cmentarz Komunalny, Tuja Mleczarnia and Orlowko.

Just a week later on Sunday 17 June, the railway had been invited to take part in the Childrens Day festivities at Tuja, and planned to run a special train with 130 seats for children and their parents. The train was to have departed at 12:30 from Nowy Dwor and returned after the festival at 18:30. At 10am a draisine ran to check the track. Disaster! A 30 metre stretch of track near Tuja Mleczarnia had been stolen. The Childrens Day train sadly had to be cancelled and the Tuja line is now once again closed until further notice.

Thirty metres of track stolen at Tuja Mleczarnia. Photo PTMKZ

(Click to see the original on the PTMKZ website.)

Track theft remains a major problem for Poland’s narrow gauge railways. Rogow, Bytom, Piaseczno and now Nowy Dwor Gdanski have all suffered from it in the past six months alone. Most railways do not have the resources to replace stretches of track immediately so any theft can bring trains to a complete halt for weeks or months.

Nowy Dwor Gdanski’s main ‘T’ shaped network running north from Nowy Dwor to Stegna with branches west to Prawy Brzeg Wisly and east to Sztutowo, is unaffected by the theft, however, and trains are now running daily until 2 September.

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May Holiday – A Narrow Gauge Feast

Friday, 20 April 2012

Updated

Crossing one of the long viaducts on the Jedrzejow line. The operating season at Jedrzejow starts on 1 May. Photo Ed Beale.

(Click image to enlarge.)

The first week in May is traditionally a holiday week in Poland with its two public holidays on 1 and 3 May. Many narrow gauge railways start their operating seasons during this week with trains at the weekends or on 1, 2 or 3 May. This year, 17 narrow gauge railways will be operating during the May holiday week. The special train at Przeworsk on Saturday 5 May must be booked in advance by email to smpkw [at] wp.pl before 22 April. The other trains do not need to be booked in advance.

  1. Bieszczady Forest Railway: 28 and 29 April, 1, 3, 5 and 6 May at 10:00 (to Przyslup) and 13:00 (to Balnica).
  2. Elk: Tuesday 1 May at 10:00.
  3. Hajnowka Forest Railway: 1-5 May at 10:00, 14:00 and 17:00.
  4. Hel Military Railway: 1, 3, 5 and 6 May.
  5. Jedrzejow: Tuesday 1 and Sunday 6 May at 10:00.
  6. Karczmiska: Thursday 3 and Sunday 6 May at 11:00.
  7. Koszalin: Tuesday 1 May at 11:00.
  8. Nowy Dwor Gdanski: 28 April to 6 May at 09:00, steam on 1 and 2 May.
  9. Piaseczno: 29 April, 1, 3 and 6 May at 11:00.
  10. Plociczno Forest Railway: Daily from 1 May at 13:00.
  11. Przeworsk: Special train with historic stock on Saturday 5 May (bookings by email to smpkw [at] wp.pl before 22 April).
  12. Rogow: 29 April, 1, 2, 3 and 6 May, four trains daily.
  13. Rudy: 28 and 29 April, eight trains to Paproc. 1, 3, 5 and 6 May, six trains to Paproc and 2 trains to Stanica.
  14. Smigiel: Thursday 3 May.
  15. Sroda: Tuesday 1 May, festival at Sroda Miasto station with short train trips to Kipa between 15:00 and 19:00.
  16. Starachowice: 1 and 6 May at 14:00 from Starachowice, 1-3 and 6 May at 14:00 from Ilza.
  17. Znin: Daily from Saturday 28 April, six trains each day.

More:

Regulator sets up n.g. portal!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The ‘World of Narrow gauge Railways’ according to UTK.

(Click on image to go to the UTK interactive map.)

With no effective umbrella body representing or promoting Poland’s tourist and heritage railways, it has fallen to Poland’s railway regulator, Urząd Transportu Kolejowego (Office of Railway Transport) to publish the first Polish language on-line atlas of operational narrow gauge lines.

Although we welcome this atlas, it does seem a somewhat bizarre thing for the UTK to publish. Have they not got more urgent priorities in the wake of the Szczekociny disaster?

Inevitably as always occurs with ‘first editions’, there are some omissions and inaccuracies. At first glance, two operational n.g. lines have been missed out, and one no-longer-operational line has been included.

We invite readers to submit their own corrections to BTWT. We will consolidate the corrections into one document and forward it to the UTK.

For readers planning their own visit to Poland we also recommend accessing Ed Beale’s own Narrow Gauge Railways in Poland portal for up to date information regarding operations in 2012. For information about the history of the lines Andrew Goodwin’s Polish Narrow Gauge Railways – though now somewhat dated – remains an invaluable resource.

(With a hat tip to Prezes for the link.)

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Your questions answered

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Geoff Jenkins asks –

FPKW open carriages

Close up of two open passenger coaches
built on goods van chassis by the FPKW

There are a number of narrow gauge lines lines that are of interest. Obviously, Krosniewice is a major concern at the moment. I understand that a few more letters are heading from Britain to the Mayor of Krosniewice. It would also be interesting to know more about the situation at Starachowice. This seems to be another case where the local authority and the operating organisation have had a disagreement.

The Starachowice Powiat, broadly equivalent to a UK District Council, are backing the plan to restore the Starachowice – Ilza line, but the council were dissatisfied with the rate of progress being achieved by the Fundacja Polikich Kolei Waskotorowych (Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation). A breakaway group of FPKW volunteers approached the Council directly and criticised the FPKW’s President Pawel Szwed. He had been managing three projects: Starachowice, the Pionki Forest Railway and a skansen at Janow Lubelski, so he had little time to watch his back. Things came to a head when a group of FPKW volunteers took out an engine on a trip that was supposed to be a working party, but in fact was a private picnic. Szwed took away their key to the loco shed and the volunteers went bleating to the council. Since breaking with the FPKW the Council have been looking for a new operator to run the line.

Tourist train, Zulawy Railway, 2007

Do you know what has happened at Nw Dwor Gdanski? When I visited it a few years ago the preservation group seemed to be very ambitious about opening up as much of the system as possible and had restored some equipment to a very high standard. However, I have been told that the local authority was more interested in developing the railway near the coast rather than reopening towards Malbork.

The original preservation society Pomorskie Towarzystwo Milosników Kolei Zelaznych (PTMKZ) considered that the 20km line to Malbork was an essential part of the project to restore some 50km of the Zulawy Railway. Malbork is a tourist hotpot with an amazing 14th C. castle built by the Teutonic knights. In March 2006, the Powiat Nowodworski (Nowodwor District Council) citing internal disagreements within the Society broke with the society, utilised 2.5km of the track formation for road improvements, and appointed a new operator. This left 30km of railway operational. The local authority is however unhappy with the new operator and a rapprochement with the PTMKZ seems increasingly likely.

800px-opalenicka_kd_1920_fot26.jpg

Opalenica Engine Shed, about 1920

Finally, on a more historic note, what happened to the preservation attempt at Opalenica?

The line provided the local towns along its route with a useful link to the main line system and carried increasing amounts of freight on transporter wagons until the link was severed with the main line around 1995. This was supposedly only temporary as part of the EU financed Poznan-Slubice main line upgrading works, but in fact the link to the transhipment sidings at Opalenica was never restored. In spite of this PKP built a new locomotive shed in Opalenica! Later that year PKP withdrew the passenger services as well.

A group of railway enthusiasts based in Poznan mounted a preservation attempt. The line was acquired by the local authority and listed by the Province’s Conservator of Monuments. Some special trains were run until 2002. Meanwhile the extension of the A2 motorway was being planned, by-passing Poznan and running on towards the German border. The Design, Build and Operate contract was won by Autostrady Wielkopolskiej SA which is controlled by Jan Kulczyk, Poland’s richest businessman. Mysteriously a key section of the railway — which would have needed an 1expensive motorway bridge — was suddenly removed from the Conservator’s listing. After the de-listing it was not long before the remainder of the rolling stock was removed, the track was lifted and the motorway built across the trackbed without any bridge.But this is not quite yet the end of the story. A group called Stowarzyszenie KOLD partly financed by the EU Leader programme is investigating ways of boosting agrotourism in the area. One of the options being examining is the possibility of using a rebuilt railway to carry tourists!

( 1British readers might like to reflect that when plans were being drawn up to extend the M3 from Popham to Southampton, the promoters of the Mid Hants Railway were promised a ‘fast track’ Light Railway Order if they abandoned the original plan of running through to Winchester. This would have required a bridge to take the M3 over the line!)