Archive for the ‘Przeworsk’ Category

Przeworsk Railway reopens for 2012

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Kanczuga Station, Przeworsk Railway. Photo Pabbloz.

(Click on image to enlarge, click here for details of licensing.)

After missing the traditional beginning-of-May start of the operating season, the SKPL-operated Przeworsk Railway commenced its 2012 passenger operations on 2 and 3 June. Trains will run every Saturday and Sunday during June, July and August; departing from Przeworsk at 09:00 and arriving at Dynow at 11:45. The return working departs from Dynow at 14:30 and arrives at Przeworsk at 17:10. In addition a free-of-charge shuttle is operated in association the the restaurant at Bachorz. The shuttle departs from Dynow at 13:00 and arrives at Bachorz at 13:10. It leaves Bachorz at 13:50 and returns to Dynow at 14:00. There is just time to sample the traditional Polish kotlet schabowy (pork chop) if you order promptly! During September trains will only run on Sundays.

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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UFO near Koluszki

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Railway spaghetti at Koluszki

I had a pleasant trip recently on a wonderful train that runs from Przemsyl Glowny to Poznan Glowny. My own journey took me only from Przeworsk to Lodz Kaliska, running through Krakow Glowny, Kozlow, Deba Opoczynska, Tomaszow Mazowiecki, and reaching Lodz Kaliska without the usual stop at Lodz Widzew.

Flying saucer to the Southeast

As I checked out Google Maps to trace my journey through the complex junctions at Koluszki and the freight relieving line at Lodz Olechow I noticed a plane heading for Lodz and a silver blur moving in the same direction, but slightly to the north. Stealth bomber? UFO? I have no idea.

As for my train the TLK 37104, that sadly is being abolished in Andrzej Massel’s timetable ‘reform’ being introduced from 1 March.

Blowing hot and cold in the Carpathians

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Bieszczady Railway, Majdan yard, November 2006. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Poland is experiencing a thaw and nearly all the snow has melted. Poland’s two narrow gauge lines in the Carparthian Mountains – the Bieszczady Forest Railway and the Przeworsk Railway are getting ready for the spring.

The Bieszczadzy Railway’s EU project has started. Some 1,442,000 PLN (approx £315,000) is being spent on restoring and improving buildings in the Majdan area, essential work on the track and building new passenger carriages. The engine shed and workshops are being insulated, which will enable fitters to work all year round. At the moment such staff are employed on a seasonal basis. This work will also make it possible for the railway to run special trains during the winter season. During the line’s heyday the principal engine shed was at Rzepedz, and the locomotive workshops, located inside the grounds of the timber mill at Nowy Lupkow, were heated by the mill’s district central heating system.

Some of the project money is being spent on restoring the historic station building at Majdan. When its outer cladding was stripped away, it became apparent that the main structural timbers were completely decayed. Without the support of the cladding, part of the station building collapsed. Meanwhile work on the Kp4 0-8-0 locomotive which the railway acquired in near ‘Barry Dock’ condition is continuing off-site. If everything turns out as planned, the Kp4 will join the railway in May.

Three new steam drivers recently passed out by taking their theory exam at the Railway Museum in Warsaw. [Why on earth is the Railway Museum responsible for passing out heritage railway drivers? D.] The Las locomotive which  featured in some of our earlier articles remains in service. So the Bieszczadzy railway will be  the only Polish narrow gauge line able to roster two operational steam locomotives.

The Bieszczadzy railways EU project is a Polish first – it is the first non-local-authority-owned line to benefit from an EU grant. But it is paying heavily for the privilege. Initially the railway will have to find 1 756 414 PLN (£384,000) being the value of the project plus VAT and, unlike local authority projects where only 25% has to be contributed as ‘own funds’, the railway will responsible for raising some 45% of the project budget itself.

Przeworsk Railway, Przeworsk yard, April 2009. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Meanwhile a meeting took place on 7 Febuary at the offices of the Chief Executive of Przeworsk district Council to discuss the future of the Przeworsk Railway. Among those present were: Mrs Anna Kowalska, the deputy chief executive of the Podkarpackie Provincial Government; Tomasz Strapagiel, the chairman of SKPL; Wladyslaw Zelazny, the general manager of the Przeworsk railway; Zbigniew Kiszka, the chief executives of the Przeworsk district Council; and Grzegorz Krupa of the Przeworsk railway’s supporters association.

The principal subjects discussed were the shortfall between income and expenditure on the railway’s operational account as well as the urgent need for substantial funding to carry out essential work on the railway’s infrastructure. While there have been several meetings before to discuss the future of the line, this was the first time that a meeting to discuss the future of the railway was attended by such a senior representative of the provincial government as Mrs Kowalska.

No final agreement was reached regarding the resolution of financial challenges that the railway faces. However, it was agreed that a meeting of all the local authorities concerned with the future of the line should take place at the offices of the provincial government in Rzeszow under the chairmanship of  Mirosław Karapyta, the new chief executive. All sides felt that significant progress had been made in securing the long-term future of the railway.

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Optimism at Przeworsk

Monday, 17 January 2011

Przeworsk Railway special train due to depart June 2009. Photo BTWT.

Several Behind The Water Tower readers responded to our appeal to write letters to the Chief Executive of the Podkarpackie provincial government requesting assistance for the Przeworsk Railway. All received a similar reply; a translation which follows.

Dear Sir,

In answer to your letter regarding the possibility of the provincial government providing financial and organisational assistance to the Przeworsk Railway I would like to inform you as follows:

Applications were invited under the auspices of the framework of the Regional Operating Program for the province for the period 2007 to 2013, axis 6 Tourism and Culture. 103 applications were submitted to the competition from which the provincial government selected 50 projects with a total value of some 100 million zloty. Unfortunately, neither the operator responsible for running trains, nor anyone else (e.g. the Przeworsk District Council) presented any application for funding. A similar project submitted by the Bieszczadzy Forest Railway received some 700,000 zloty of financial assistance. The selection process was carried out in 2009. As a result of the above it was not possible to provide any assistance to the Przeworsk railway from EU funds. Because the above-mentioned axis 6 funds are now exhausted, no further selections are being planned.

At the end of 2009, the Przeworsk district Council submitted an application to this office for funding from our own budgeted. Unfortunately, because of the modest means available from the provincial government’s budget, it was not possible to provide any assistance to the Przeworsk Railway.

Notwithstanding the above, in 2011 work will be carried out with the object of providing financial assistance to the Przeworsk railway. Any decision will be the responsibility of the management and the council of the Podkarpackie provincial government.

[stamp and signature]

Zygmunt Cholewinski
Chief Executive

The letter from the previous chief executive of the provincial government is actually more encouraging than the weasley-worded second paragraph would imply. It is a sad fact the various regional EU funded programs intended to encourage tourism development have largely failed to help Poland’s tourist railways.

The various rules governing EU funding in Poland could have been contrived to deliberately exclude these lines! One set of rules, administered by the Ministry of Regional Development, requires applicants to be the outright owner or have at least a five year lease of the object of the EU project. This automatically excludes SKPL whose 10-year operating agreements with local authorities mostly expire at the end of 2011. Local authorities, on the other hand, have open-ended licenses from PKP pending the transfer of of their railway’s freehold, come up against another regulation administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs which hinders them from investing in facilities which do not actually belong to them. Those lines that have managed to submit successful EU funding applications have either (Gryfice Railway) managed to facilitate the transfer of the property title to the local authority in record tome, or have owned their own line from the start (Bieszczady Railway).

Nevertheless, at least half the Przeworsk Railway has now been transferred to the ownership of the Przeworsk District Council and the new chief executive of the province is reputed to be more well disposed railway than his predecessors. Grounds for optimism indeed!

Przeworsk Action Alert

Monday, 8 November 2010

Help save the Przeworsk Railway


Permanent Way crew and trolley, Jawornik Polski, 1 April 2009.

I am appealing to all our seasoned campaigners to write to the Chief Executive of the PodKarpackie Provincial Government asking him to take action to help save the Przeworsk Railway. Here is the letter that I sent myself which contains all the contact details. Please modify the words to reflect what you would like to say yourself, rather than just copy my letter word for word.

Dyspozytor

–––

Mr Zygmunt Cholewinski
Marszałek Wojewodztwa Podkarpackiego
Urzad Marszalkowski
al. Lukasza Cieplinskiego 4,
35-010 Rzeszow
POLAND

Dear Mr Cholewinski,

I am writing to you to ask for your intervention in saving the Przeworsk Railway. The railway is one of the most scenically attractive tourist railways in Poland and the only one whose route includes a tunnel. I sincerely believe that – properly developed – the line could attract more tourists to the region and become a powerful catalyst for the revival of the area.

Over the last few years, I have attended many meetings with local authorities through whose areas the line runs. All have declared their willingness to contribute to the line’s finances. All have declared their willingness to meet together regularly to plan for the line’s revival. All have asked that for at least the first meeting you join us and help us develop a viable plan for the line’s future.

This year the line has suffered greatly because of flood damage and, without an urgent repairs, will not be able to run during the 2011. If the line does not run it will surely suffer the same devastation and theft that have destroyed many other narrow gauge railways that were left ‘in limbo’.

Accordingly, I would earnestly ask you to organise a meeting of all the line’s stake-holders, and with yourself at the head of the table, help us formulate a plan to secure the line’s continued future and further development as a ‘pearl’ of the Podkarpackie Region.

Yours sincerely

–––

Please if at all possible send the letter by post or fax. That way it will be formally logged in the mailbox of the Chief Executive’s office. The contact details are:

Urząd Marszałkowski Województwa Podkarpackiego
al. Łukasza Cieplińskiego 4
35-010 Rzeszów
skr. pocztowa 17
POLAND

tel: (017) 850 1700, (017) 860 6700
fax: (017) 850 1701
e-mail: marszalek@podkarpackie.pl

The letter should also be copied to the Chief Executive of the Przeworsk District Council, the line’s new owner:

Mr Zbigniew Kiszka
Starosta Przeworski
Starostwo Powiatowe w Przeworsku
ul. Jagiellońska 10
37-200 Przeworsk
POLAND

tel./fax.+ 48 16 6487009
fax. + 48 16 6489484
e-mail:starosta@powiat.przeworsk.pl


The terminus at Dynow, 1 April 2009. Both photos BTWT.

The fly and the fly bottle

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Ol49-32 in Gniezno shed. On Tuesday this locomotive was removed from the Wciaz pod Para database of surviving Polish steam locomotives. Photo ©Tomislaw Czarnecki.

(Click on image to go to Tomislaw Czarnecki’s on-line catalogue of Polish steam locomotives.)

Wittgenstein very fittingly compares a certain type of philosopher with a fly in a bottle, going on and on, buzzing about. And he says it is the task of his philosophy to show the fly the way out of the bottle. But I think it is Wittgenstein himself who is in the bottle and never finds his way out of it; and I certainly don’t think he has shown anybody else the way out.

Karl Popper

Poland’s railway heritage faces dark times. I have just taken part in a programme on Radio Rzeszow about the future of the Przeworsk narrow gauge railway. The radio programme was like a game of ‘pass the parcel’. The Chief Executive of Przeworsk District Council noted a distinct coolness on the part of the Podkarpackie Province regional government in rallying to the railway cause. The representative of the regional government used the opportunity to blame the District Council and SKPL. SKPL blamed everything on the lack of funding. Nobody discussed how the railway can get out of the current mess and move forward.

The situation around the country is little better. There is no agreed plan to safeguard the collection in Poland’s national railway museum, the Railway Museum in Warsaw, neither is there an accepted strategy for the future of the railway museum in Chabowka. The scheme that was being developed for the future of operations at Wolsztyn – a separate company to administer the shed – failed to win the support of members of the Wielkopolska provincial government. There is no project to resurrect the Krosniewice Railway. The narrow gauge railway at Jedrzejow faces the hostility of its local authority owners. The society maintaining the historic collection of rolling stock in the former locomotive dep0ot at Pyskowice continues to face eviction…

So what of Poland’s railway enthusiasts? A select few actually work on restoring railways and their rolling stock. Many more take photographs, or spend hours on rail-related Internet forums. However, only a tiny minority are prepared to actively ‘lobby’. They still have to learn how to develop an effective voice and how to use it to address Poland’s decision makers. If only half the effort that goes into on-line intercine warfare was focussed on the addressing the outside world…

So is there any way that those of us who are ‘outsiders’ can help? By the strange Alice-in-Wonderland relations that govern Poland, a letter or e-mail originating from the United Kingdom or United States can have a much bigger effect than a similar missive sent from Poland. An even bigger impact can be made when visiting Poland’s heritage railways – make an appointment at the town hall or municipal government offices and tell the Chief Executive how far you have come specifically to visit the railway.

It may take time, but the cumulative effect of such initiatives can be a powerful force for good.

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A return journey – part 12

Friday, 29 October 2010

by Robert Hall

A special train organised for represntatives of the local authorities along the line, 23 June 2009. Photo BTWT.

I was up bright and early the following morning for my trip on the Przeworsk Railway on the 09:00 to Dynow. Pan Zelazny sold me my ticket at the narrow gauge station. All workings on this line nowadays are diesel-hauled. Lxd2-268 headed the tourist train, consisting of: four 1980s-Romanian-built railcar trailers; two semi-opens, converted from freight vehicles; and a guard’s / utility van. The gratifyingly well-filled train made a punctual departure.

Px48-1734 sits at Dynow station, looking attractive, but is. completely non-functional. Photo BTWT

The first part of the journey was across low-lying flat ground, though with pleasant rolling country to the side, and high hills tantalisingly ahead. Sharp bends, though, were a feature of the route right from the start. The most exciting scenery started some 35 kilometres out from Przeworsk on the 7 kilometre section between the tunnel (the only one on the Polish narrow gauge) and the penultimate station of Bachorz. To allow photographers to make the most of the scenery, there was a photo-stop at the tunnel’s southern end.

After some hard climbing, and and some wild loops and twists the last 4 kilometres run into Dynow was level, though the line ran between high and splendid hills.

The line has been described as Poland’s answer to the Darjeeling Railway. Photo BTWT.

Dynow – a municipality consisting of several large villages – was reached two-and-three-quarter hours after leaving Przeworsk. There was nearly three hours’ before the return train. The Polish tourist narrow gauge railway bonfire-and-sausages ritual, already described in Part 5, duly got under way, clearly delighting the many children who were travelling. For those who did not want to partake of the bonfire-and-sausages there was an alternative attraction – a short excursion (at no extra cost as the leaflet proudly informed) 4 kilometres back down the line to Bachorz. Here, adjacent to the station, there was a pleasant restaurant, Pod Semaforem, with a railway semaphore signal erected on the establishment’s road-facing forecourt. The excursion was accomplished by the loco, having run round the train, taking just the two semi-opens to Bachorz. For the return journey these were propelled back to Dynow. (Let’s not get into health-and-safety related musings.) The schedule was such that the participants had only forty minutes at the restaurant. One might reckon, that this was not much time in which to order and eat a meal, but the place seemed to be on the ball with quick and efficient service. In the light of potential language difficulties, I contented myself with a beer… [There was no danger in being left behind. The excursions to Bachorz were run association with the restaurant. D.]

Lxd2-257 runs round its special at Dynow, 23 June 2009. Photo BTWT.

14:30 saw the departure of the reunited whole train from Dynow, back ‘down the hill’. I had travelled up, in a semi-open coach, but with rain having set in, relocated myself to a Romanian closed vehicle for the journey back. An equally pleasant journey ensued, with the punters clearly enjoying the whole experience – there does seem to be a definite and appreciative local market for these tourist trains. As something of a railway purist, in theory I can feel this kind of scene to be downright ghastly; but in the case of the Przeworsk Railway I am more than willing to suspend my purism. The tourist trains are excellent fun, and their continuation for many years yet, is much to be hoped for.

At first sight, 46 km in two-and-three-quarter hours can seem ludicrously slow – a speed of roughly 17 km per hour. The basic fact is, though, that 750mm gauge trains do not travel very fast. In genuine-passenger-service days, a train between Przeworsk and Dynow took the same amount of time, as a 2010 tourist working. By the often-noticed ‘magic of the narrow gauge, with the vehicles being only a small distance above the ground, the rate of progress does not seem to be unduly slow. A very agreeable experience, in any case – who would want it to be over with in the blink of an eye?

The train arrived punctually at Przeworsk at 17:10, in nice time for the my 17:50 departure for Krakow, en route for another 750mm tourist line to be sampled on the morrow.

A return journey – part 11

Thursday, 28 October 2010

by Robert Hall

Holding sidings close to the s.g./n.g. ramp at Przeworsk.
Photo SMPKW.

(Click image to see this and other photographs of the Przeworsk narrow gauge railway on the SMPKW website gallery page.)

There’s a wonderful overnight train plying between Poland’s north-westernmost corner at Swinoujscie (a hot contender for the country’s most unspellable and unpronounceable place name for foreigners), and its rival in these categories, at the opposite south-easternmost corner of the country, Przemysl. This train calls at Poznan, and at Przeworsk. At the former I wished to board it, and at the latter, to disembark. The train includes sleeping cars, however when Dyspozytor attempted to make a reservation by phone he was unable to get through to PKP InterCity’s telephone booking service. So, when I reached Poznan Glowny station, I made a bee-line to the PKP IC customer service office, only to be told that as the train had already left Szczecin it was now too late to make a sleeping berth reservation! I understand that sleeping berth upgrades are available from the attendant that travels with each sleeping coach. But being a rather timid character and with virtually no command of Polish, I settled for a still-vacant second-class seat on the crowded train when it arrived at Poznan Glowny at 23:10 on July 22nd. After a fairly forgettable night and an early morning, I reached Przeworsk around 10:30, some half an hour late, on Friday the 23rd.

The 46-km Przeworsk – Dynow 750mm gauge line is generally reckoned Poland’s best narrow-gauge section for scenery, save for the Bieszczady preserved forestry line still further to the south-east. Its current status is a little unusual. It is worked by SKPL, but is geographically far away from that firm’s Kalisz headquarters – a situation which has at times raised problems. Officially the line is open for freight traffic, of which a little does run at rare and unpredictable intervals; but most of the action nowadays takes the form of a one train-each-way-per-day tourist service which runs on summer Saturdays and Sundays. It is likely that SKPL will, after this year, give up the unequal struggle concerning this line, and relinquish its operating agreement. [SKPL sent a formal notice, resigning from their operating agreement, to the Chief Executive of the Przeworsk District Council earlier this week. D.] The local authorities in this area appear much more supportive of their narrow gauge railway than is usual in Poland, and there would seem to be a fair possibility of their taking it over and continuing the tourist workings, in years to come; but the line’s future is far from certain, and it seemed a good idea to take the chance to travel on it this summer.

I had briefly visited Przeworsk before, in 1984, but that trip had been focused on standard-gauge steam, with no time or attention available for the 750mm line. On this year’s visit, I noted a standard gauge locomotive plinthed at Przeworsk station – Ol49-8 – a representative of the class most prominent hereabouts a quarter-century ago. With the tourist train’s departure time being 09:00 – difficult to fit in with a same-morning arrival from the west – plan was to spend Friday night in Przeworsk. The place seems to be more significant as a railway centre, than as a civilian settlement; and lies some way away southward, from its stations – accommodation for rail-borne visitors, therefore a potential problem. Dyspozytor thus enlisted the local knowledge of the n/g line’s general manager, Pan Wladyslaw Zelazny. On my presenting self to him on arrival on Friday morning, he kindly drove me to the Hotel Zgoda, only a few minutes away by car; I was duly installed there, and we parted ways till the following morning.

The Zgoda, whilst undoubtedly a Godsend for rail travellers to these parts, was an experience. Had some of the traits of a nostalgia-trip back to Communist times, inadvertently I’m sure on the part of those who run it. Though the staff were pleasant and helpful, the general facilities were at best so-so. Shared bathrooms and toilets – no effete en suite arrangements here. In the showers, at least one shower-head proved to be totally detached from its fitment. The rooms were fairly Spartan. There were no towels provided, and the lighting was abysmally dim. An evening meal could be had, but the only sitting was at 18:00 hours which clashed with my planned expedition, so no use for me. Admittedly, the accommodation was commensurately cheap: 36 zloty (£9) per night for a single room.

I occupied Friday afternoon with a standard-gauge bash: a dose of nostalgia for something from steam days which I had read about, but never experienced. Until late in the steam era – 1989 or ’90 – the branch north-eastward off the main line here, to Belzec, was solidly steam on passenger, worked by Ol49 from Przeworsk depot. (Until the mid-to-late eighties, further steam from another division of PKP, made its appearance at Belzec.) My short 1984 visit had not involved this line: focus had been on the more dramatic steam route into Przeworsk from the north-west. Of this former 97km branch, 58km at present retains a passenger service, from the main-line junction as far as Horyniec Zdroj – a basic four workings each way per day, one of which nicely suited my movements.

Jaroslaw Station. Photo PKP S.A

I journeyed by main-line train to Jaroslaw, 15km to the east of Przeworsk. Here I took a break for lunch, the station being conveniently right in town centre. I then continued on the 15:28 departure down the branch. Once again, the train was a modern railmotor, SA109-010, an articulated double-unit, branded as running in the colours of Podkarpackie province. The workings were quite well patronised on the outward and the return run. Scenically, it was frankly a boring journey. This part of south-east Poland is virtually dead flat, though delectable hill country begins not far to the south. Unless the terrain changes dramatically beyond Horyniec Zdroj, this must have been a rather dull steam route, lacking in gradients and thus noise-and-smoke effects.

There was a delay at Munina, the actual junction point – awaiting a westbound main-line connection – which put the working behind time. The timetabled three-minute turn-round at Horyniec Zdroj was accomplished at lightning speed, giving me no opportunity to check out the status of the track on the passenger workings-less section on towards Belzec. It was the same picture as on standard-gauge branches elsewhere – seemingly no freight action, all intermediate goods yards overgrown and out of use. This trip was, however, as much in homage to how things had been on this line a couple of decades back, as for its own sake. The return working, departing Horyniec Zdroj at 16:47 as per the timetable, gave me a through run to Przeworsk, and then proceeded further along the main line to Rzeszow. And so after, a fairly effortless journey back, I returned to the rather penitential regime of the Zgoda.

Smigiel – a one year swansong?

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Narrow gauge – standard gauge transporter wagon siding at Stare Bojanowo. Photo U.M. Smigiel.

(Click photo to see more pictures of the Smigiel Railway on the Smigiel Town Council website.)

The Smigiel Railway is the last of its kind. Within one lifetime Poland has changed from a country which was covered by a dense network of narrow gauge railways, to a barren wasteland where most of the handful of narrow gauge survivors cling on to a precarious existence only kept alive by tourist trains in the summer. A handful of n.g. lines, all operated by SKPL, still carry freight. Following the closure of the Krosniewice Railway, the busiest of the freight lines is now the Kalisz Railway, now only operational between Opatowek and Zbiersk. The Przeworsk Railway carries the occasional truck of coal to Dynow. The Smigiel line still appears on the PKP Cargo list of freight depots, but its transporter wagons have stood unused since the spring. The Pleszew Railway is busy carrying freight, but on standard gauge rails (the railway is mixed gauge) so it doesn’t count. When it comes to regular public transport passenger workings over the list is even shorter – just Pleszew and Smigiel.

So Smigiel, which operates a regular passenger service during school term time and is theoretically still open for freight, really is the last of its kind. However, relations between SKPL and the Mayor of Smigiel are not good, and with the demise of the coal traffic earlier this year it looked as if SKPL would be withdrawing from its operating agreement at the end of the year. Now it looks as if Smigiel will have a final swansong – a contract to carry road stone is being negotiated which should see freight carrying resume in October. So Smigiel will have its swansong, maintaining for one more year its position as the last narrow gauge railway in Poland to run a regular passenger service and operate freight services. Perhaps BTWT should organise a study tour to witness the last days of the Smigiel Railway as a real working railway and also explore some of Poland’s surviving narrow gauge lines? Perhaps the itinerary should be something along the lines of Robert Hall’s recent journey?