Archive for the ‘Pyskowice’ Category

Pyskowice – some good news at last!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

ty42-24_130618

The pride of the fleet, restored Ty42-24 steam test, 18.6.2013.
Photo Marek Ciesielski

On Monday 9 December the District Court in Katowice threw out the case brought by PKP SA against TOZKiOS, the railway society that is responsible for the Pyskowice railway museum. PKP SA were claiming that the society owed several tens of thousands of zloty in unpaid rent and were seeking a court order requiring the society to pay the back rent – or have its assets seized – and forcing TOZKiOS to quit the site.

The court found that the society had a perfectly valid agreement with infrastructure company PKP PLK and that it had kept its rental payments up to date. Of course, the court order does not provide TOZKiOS what the society most needs – security of tenure and access to the old roundhouse area of the  site, but it does buy time.

It is to be hoped that it may be possible to persuade both parties that the way forward is the path of conciliation and not litigation and that through constructive dialogue a solution can be found that represents a ‘win-win’ for both sides.

Waiting for some TLC, the Pyskowice engine shed. Photo BTWT.

For many years TOZKiOS has been prevented from accessing the old roundhouse site. Without an effective guardian, the engine shed has been deteriorating fast. Several years ago accumulated snow led to a roof collapse.

broken_door

Smashed down and stolen door. Photo TOZKiOS.

TOZKiOS have tried to keep the old shed area secure, but a week ago scrap thieves smashed down an old door and are now helping themselves to the metal contents inside the shed.

Ty42-24 – heavy overhaul complete

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

ty42-24_130618

Ty42-24 on the day of its steam test 18.6.2013.
Photo Marek Ciesielski

(Click image to enlarge.)

Ty42-24’s overhaul is complete. The locomotive passed its official steam test yesterday and now has a boiler certificate for the next 6 years. The locomotive’s heavy overhaul was carried out by TOZKiOS (the Pyskowice Railway Society) under the engineering leadership of the Jakubina brothers.

We offer our heartfelt congratulations to TOZKiOS on the completion of a very challenging task in very difficult circumstances – the court case brought by PKP against TOZKiOS continues to threaten the future of the collection of railway locomotives and rolling stock gathered together at the old MPD at Pyskowice.

ty42-24_before

Ty42-24 at Lazy before delivery to Pyskowice. Photo TOZKiOS.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Ty42-24 seems to have led a charmed existence, built in 1945 in Chrzanow to WWII German ‘Kreigslok’ plans, it worked in various locations in the general area of Silesia until 1968 when it was allocated to the MPD at Szopience. Here it was stationed for 16 years until, after a heavy overhaul in Pila, its has its last reallocation in 1984 (some sources give 1988) to Lazy. Here it seems to have some time as a stationary boiler. In 1991 it is officially withdrawn from service, but mysteriously stays on at Lazy, a boiler overhaul is started in 1992, but is suspended when the MPD receives a purpose-built central heating boiler.

Did the loco in those early days in Lazy have a guardian angel sufficiently senior in the local PKP management hierarchy to block any attempts to send it to a scrap yard? Some 6 years later, in 1998, Ty42-24 is ‘removed from the PKP inventory’, but remains in Lazy for the next 10 years, though in a rapidly deteriorating state. In 2005, ownership of the loco is transferred to TOZKiOS though initially the Society lacked the funds to move the loco and the local railwaymen are reluctant to lose a convenient source of scrap which can easily be converted to a few bottles of vodka.

When it was announced that Ty42-24 was to be restored there were many doubters who gave vent to their scepticism and said that the loco would never steam again. Now that they have been proved wrong we hope very much to see the locomotive at various railway events and hope that the attendant publicity may help to persuade the authorities to help the Pyskowice museum secure its future.

More:

Pyskowice – Last chance or last rites?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

TOZKiOS volunteers working on Ty42-24 in a secure workshop somewhere in Gorny Slask province. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

Following the recent unfavourable  court decision, the conclusion of PKP SA’s lengthy legal proceedings against TOZKiOS, the railway society operating the skansen at Pyskowice, the society has received a notice to quit the former wagon works next to the engine shed site.

It is not quite the end of the Psykowice project, for the society continues to rent the sidings outside the wagon works at a peppercorn rent from PKP PLK, Poland’s approximation for Network Rail. But it is a bitter blow. The move of the restored locomotives and rolling stock from the relative security of the wagon works to the sidings outside will subject them to the same sort of petty thievery as is affecting the remaining collection.

The cab of Ty42-24 in all its restored glory. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

This final blow is particularly painful as the society have almost completed the restoration to working order of Ty42-24. The 2-10-0 has passed preliminary pressure tests and needs only a few more months work before it can move under its own power.

The Pyskowice site. The engine shed with partially collapsed roof is in the foreground, some of the sidings leased from PKP PLK are just visible behind the shed, the wagon works is behind and completely hidden by the roundhouse. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

There is a last chance meeting between society officials and local government representatives this Monday morning 5 November. All of us at BTWT hope that the meeting goes well, but we are not holding our collective breath.

Pyskowice society loses court case

Friday, 5 October 2012

UPDATED

Happier days, Pyskowice in Oct. 2005. The engine shed roof is still intact, and TOZKiOS have use of sidings and covered accommodation at a peppercorn rent. Photo by J. Nowaczewski.

(Click image to see the original picture and for the rest J Nowaczewski’s photos of Pyskowice.)

We just heard that earlier today in Katowice, the court hearing the case brought by PKP’s real estate department, has ordered TOZKiOS to vacate the former wagon works at the Pyskowice MPD complex.

This is neither the end of TOZKiOS, nor the Skansen, because the society has a rental agreement on railway sidings leased from from the infrastructure manager, PKP PLK, but after 14 years of hard work on the site it will be a bitter blow to loose their secure covered accommodation.

We will discuss the current situation, and how BTWT could help, with the TOZKiOS management board and report back shortly.

UPDATE

I have just taken a call from the President and Vice-president of TOZKiOS. They will be drafting a high-profile appeal and we will be meeting within the next 10 days to brainstorm available options. WATCH THIS SPACE!

Dyspozytor

   

PYSKOWICE REPRIEVE!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Court case adjourned till October.

Yesterday the adjourned court case regarding TOZKiOS’s use of the former engine shed at Pyskowice was reconvened, only to be adjourned again till October! While we are not yet out of the woods, it looks as if the accumulating weight of letters received at the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Maritime Affairs, has thrown a spanner in the works and the society will not be receiving their marching orders just yet.

The good news is that local politicians are beginning to get involved and that there is the first glimmer of hope that PKP SA and TOZKiOS may be able to come to an agreement before the court case convenes for the third time. At least the October date gives us time to explore all available options, if PKP SA prove willing to negotiate in good faith. We have arranged to interview Zbyszek Jakubina, the Chairman of TOZKiOS on Thursday afternoon and will publish a detailed post on the subject of the Pyskowice Skansen as soon as possible thereafter.

Many thanks to all BTWT readers who took part in our letter writing campaign. It is only appropriate that I also acknowledge the debt of gratitude due to several senior figures in the international railway heritage movement who also took up their pens on behalf of Pyskowice.

My most sincere thanks to you all,

Dyspozytor

“Everything for sale”

Friday, 8 June 2012

Elk Ol49-80 for sale on the Allegro auction site.

(Click on image to go to the auction site.)

Ol49-80, which had been offered for sale by PKP Nieruchomosci (PKP Estate Department), has been snapped up by a ‘businessman’ and immediately offered for sale on Allegro, the Polish rival to the eBay Internet auction site. The seller is looking for around 50,000 euro, the locomotive has a 200,000 PLN ‘Buy it now’ price tag. Also on offer is a wooden bogie covered goods van dating back to 1935. Both are at the erstwhile skansen at Elk which is being liquidated by PKP.

We regard it as obscene that steam locomotives and items of historic rolling stock which have been set aside for preservation by PKP can be simply sold off like any surplus commodity with no thought to their future welfare. Moreover we are even more disgusted that when one PKP company has sought to protect its historic assets by donating them to a society that DOES care about their future another section of PKP does its best to destroy all the good work that has been done.

If, like us, you think that the commercial sale of items in PKP’s collection of preserved rolling stock is wrong and that the attempts by PKP Nieruchomosci to evict TOZKiOS from the the Pyskowice locomotive shed are immoral, why not tell the relevant authorities? A new Minister of Transport  and a new chairman of PKP have been appointed since BTWT’s last campaign. Their contact details are:

The Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Affairs

Sławomir Nowak
Minister Transportu, Budownictwa i Gospodarki Morskiej
ul. Chałubińskiego 4/6,
00-928 Warszawa
POLAND

tel. 00 48 22 630-1000

The Chairman of PKP SA

Jakub Karnowski
Prezes Zarzadu, Dyrektor Generalny
Polskie Koleje Państwowe S.A.
Centrala
ul. Szczesliwicka 62
00-973 Warszawa
POLAND

May Days – Spoilt for choice

Saturday, 28 April 2012

But not everyone is celebrating!

Chabowka Tkt48-191 at the 2010 Wolsztyn Parade. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

With so much going on during the Majowka (May Days) week for narrow gauge enthusiasts, it is only fair that BTWT should also cover some of the standard gauge attractions as well. When we look at something we look under the carpet as well, so be prepared for some critical comments!

Wolsztyn 28 – 29 April

The May festivities start with today’s annual Wolsztyn Steam Locomotive Parade. This is the biggest event of this kind in Poland and is attended by some 30,000 people. One would think that, with so many visitors coming from outside the area, the burghers of Wolsztyn would be enthusiastic supporters of the event. True, Wolsztyn Council does provide the security guards, but that is all.

How wonderful it would be to have some sponsorship from the town towards the costs of running steam specials from Warsaw and Wroclaw connecting with the event. (There is a special train from Wroclaw, but it is not steam-hauled; and one steam-hauled service from Poznan.)

The Council members appear to regard Parada Parowzow as a side show to their Dni Wolsztyna (Wolsztyn Days). They put on pop concerts, a sailing regatta, fishing competitions and support events put on by local schools. A couple of years ago the Mayor of Wolsztyn was overheard by one of our friends listing the attractions of Wolsztyn at a tourism promotion event in Warsaw. Not once did he mention the Steam Depot, the Steam Locomotive Parade or the steam-hauled trains to Poznan!

If today’s huge crowds, steam engines charging up and down a short piece of track and a light show are not your cup of tea, why not go to Wolsztyn tomorrow? The crowds and overseas steam locomotives will have gone, but there will be steam trains running from Wolsztyn to Stefanowo and Rakonowice and a chance to see Chabowka’s Tkt48-91 doing some useful work.

At the end of each year’s Parada Parowozow the same question is asked, Will there be another parade next year? And each year the answer is the same, With PKP Cargo on the verge of privatisation and with Wolsztyn Town Council being so laid back about their steam shed and steam trains, who knows?

Jaworzyna Slask – 28 April – 6 May

The Industry and Railways Museum at the old Jaworzyna Slask steam depot is running special attractions during the whole week. There will be conducted tours of the museum and its collection. Demonstrations of the turntable, a chance to ride in vintage coaches, and from 1 May a chance for a cab ride in the museum’s Tkt48-18.

The management of Jaworzyna Slask is not loved by the Polish railway enthusiast community. Some difficult decisions had to be made at the start of the museum’s existence, not dissimilar to the Festiniog Railway’s scrapping Moel Tryfan in 1954.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the affair, today the museum’s collection looks superb, Tkt48-18 (thanks to the generosity of Wolsztyn Experience) is in working order, and the museum’s approach to its paying visitors is 100% professional.

Koscierzyna – 2 May

Koscierzyna is one ex PKP Skasen that nearly got away. Its rescue is largely due to the efforts of Miroslaw Szymanski, the former Chief Executive of Fundacja Era Parowozow who lobbied tirelessly for its takeover by the local council.

The museum is open every day, on 2 May the Skansen celebrates its 20th birthday and entry will be free. There will be a railway themed concert and the unveiling of a statue commissioned by the council celebrating the line of 18° latitude. One wonders why the council could not have commissioned the restoration of a particular item or rolling stock instead?

Skierniewice – 5 May

The Polskie Stowarzyszenie Milosnikow Kolejowych (Polish Railway Enthusiasts Association) are holding an open day at Skierniewice on 5 May. The amazing collection of railway rolling stock at Skierniewice deserves to be better known outside Poland and this is one event which we would enthusiastically endorse with no reservations.

We do have one question which though we have asked the PSMK authorities several times has not been satisfactorily answered. Why – given the society’s very visible need for money – don’t they charge admission to their open days and raise income from ancillary activities like selling guides and refreshments? Or are they afraid that if they do the local council will turn round and hit them with local taxes levied at commercial rates?

Those not celebrating!

Chabowka

Amazingly, with a permanent staff of some 8 people, some 6 locomotives in working order and a full time official responsible for marketing, the Chabowka skansen  is not putting on anything special during the May Days holiday. It is true that the skansen despatched Tkt48-191 to Wolsztyn with a couple of coaches and its also true that Chabowka put on the annual Parowozjada steam gala in August, but given the resources devoted to the skansen we find it incredible that no attractions – however modest – are being put on during this period.

Just to show what the skansen team are capable of – when they put their mind to it – the official web pages boast that on 31 March a private freight train was run at the behest of a – presumably wealthy – German enthusiast from Chabowka to Nowy Sacz along this disused line.

We have long admired the engineering expertise of the technical team at Chabowka and their achievement in keeping so many engines in working order with minimum resources. It is a great pity that the people responsible for marketing the skansen do not have the same ‘can do’ attitude.

Karsnice

Images of Karsnice. Video by .

The Karsnice skansen is a very sad case. It was started by the manager of the railway workshops there in 1989 and a sizeable collection of locomotives and railway rolling stock was built up. His plan was to transfer the collection to a special trust, but he received early retirement (and a reduced pension!) before the trust could be set up.

When he left the Karsnice workshops the collection was left in limbo and then PKP’s real estate department, PKP Nieruchomosci, started selling the exhibits. One Ty2 went to the Lodz holocaust museum a couple of other locos were sold to the PSMK at Skierniewice.

A ‘Save Our Skansen’ campaign was run by the neighbouring town of Zdunska Wola and some leverage at ministerial level was provided by some international friends. Officially the skansen was repreived. The rolling stock and the land it stood on was transferred to the Zdunska Wola Town Council.

The council managed to raise some funds and obtain an EU grant to cosmetically restore some of the rolling stock. But Nieruchomosci transferred only the bare minimum parcel of land. The shed where the Karsnice vintage train of wooden four wheel carriages was not included. This great video by Lukasz Szyczyk shows the tragic result.

Elk

Sadly, the orphaned skansen here never found a local council ready to take it over with devastating results. Now Nieruchomosci are auctioning the surviving Ol49-80 and the remaining workshop equipment.

Wegerzewo – Ketrzyn railway line

This was Poland’s only ‘preserved’ standard gauge railway line. It was saved by the Stowarzyszenie Hobbystow Kolejowych (Society of Railway Enthusiasts) who persuaded the local council to take the line over.

There was a flurry of activity here in 2008 since then nothing!

Pyskowice

The threat of court action continues to hang over the skansen. There was a court hearing last week which was immediately suspended because key PKP witnesses had not attended. The next session will take place on July 10. Till the matter is resolved the Skansen remains closed. More BTWT readers are needed to assist with the lobbying effort that is going on behind the scenes. Please get in touch if you would like to help.

Skierniewice or Naleczow or both?

So where to go next week? It has been a while since I visited the Skiernievice Skansen so the open day there is a big temptation, but Gregorz Sykut writes that the Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Rozwoju Nadwislanskiej Kolei Wąskotorowej (Association for the Development of the Nadwislanska Narrow Gauge Railway) is running a special train followed by a film show at Karczmiska station.

The train, film show and car parking are free. The start is at 5.30 PM and the Society have a plan to finish at 9:30 PM. At the station there will be an  opportunity to purchase a meal from the grill and drinks. More details from: gsykut@gmail.com.

Hmm, narrow or standard gauge? Naleczow is not all that far from Skierniewice… it would be great to visit both!

Dyspozytor

Endgame at Pyskowice

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

by John Savery

Pt47-50 looking immaculate. Photo John Savery.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Weather wise, it may have been a bit damp, cold and grey, but that did not stop us from getting out and about and seeing at first-hand what is happening down in Pyskowice. A drive over to the ‘skansen’ brought a meeting with TOZKiOS Vice Chairman, Krzystof Jakubina, and another member of the society who were in the shed to ensure everything was in good order.

In the gloom of the former wagon shed we spotted, amongst other locos, Pt47-50, and Tkp4422. No lights or power here, and until the dispute with PKP is resolved, that will remain the case. On a positive, at least some of the engines are undercover, protecting them from the harshness of the Polish winters. The Pt47 has been cosmetically restored, and looks resplendent in its black livery.

A large proportion of the collection is stored outdoors, susceptible to the Polish weather, and, at this time of year, too inhospitable to work on. Various locomotives are in various states of cosmetic restoration, with others still bearing the battle scars of the collapsed roof of the main shed.

The main yard area. Photo John Savery.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

It is very evident that finding a resolution to the current dispute with PKP is paramount. Until the tenure of the site is secured, no progress can be made on the infrastructure of the site. If you have not already written, I would again urge you to do so.

On a more positive note, Tuesday saw an off-site visit to see the current progress on the restoration of Ty42-24. This really does show what the Pyskowice team are capable of. Working in co-operation with a local firm with rail access, the society has been given the use of covered working facilities so that they can carry on with the restoration of the Kriegslok.

The boiler has been retubed, in line with Polish regulations. The firebox is in remarkably good condition, as the loco had very little use between its overhaul in 1989 and withdrawal from service in 1991. The official water pressure test is due to be carried out when the remaining parts for the loco have been fabricated. With work progressing on the manufacture and reassembly of a myriad of parts, the intention is to carry out the water pressure test no longer than two months before the steam test, and then to proceed to final reassembly.

It is questionable how long that final reassembly will take what with the limited resources that TOZKiOS has available and the distractions of the ongoing court case.

Additional reporting by Dyspozytor

Since John wrote this article, I have received a letter from Zbyszek and Krzysztof Jakubina, the chairman and vice chairman of TOZKiOS respecvtively. Here is a translation:

Greetings!

Many thanks for taking up the cause of Pyskowice. Recently we had a meeting in the provincial government offices in Katowice where we met with the Deputy Governor, Mr Piotr Spyra. He expressed a great deal of interest in the idea of setting up a permanent railway museum in Pyskowice and offered us his support. We would therefore ask that, as well as appealing to your readers to send letters about the museum to the PKP Chairperson, Maria Wasiak, or the Minister for Rail, Andrzej Massel, similarly worded letters are also sent to him. Follow the link here for his contact details.

The next urgent matter relates to TKt48-23. We have received a letter from the owners of the engine informing us that they would like to sell the loco and are even prepared to sell it to a scrap merchant. They are hoping to raise some 17,500 Euros from the sale. Unfortunately we cannot afford to buy the loco, much as we would like it to remain in Pyskowice. We do not have another TKt48 in our collection. We don’t know what to do. It will be difficult to find anyone prepared to spend so much money. Nevertheless if the loco is not bought and secured it could be sold and scrapped. This would seriously damage the reputation of the skansen. Maybe it might be possible to set up a a special fund for this loco and to launch an appeal among overseas fans of Polish steam locomotives? Have you any advice that you could give us regarding this unusual case?

Best wishes

Krzysiek and Zbyszek Jakubina

It is clear now that the situation at Pyskowice is very serious indeed and that the battle for the future of this amazing railway museum will need more fire power than can be mustered by BTWT acting on its own. To this end I am meeting two senior representatives of the European railway heritage movement tomorrow to ask for their support and advice as to how to proceed.

More:

High Noon

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Pyskowice – Please help!

Abandoned by his townspeople, Marshall Will Kane (Gary Cooper) sets out alone to meet Frank Miller, his deadly enemy. Original publicity photo.

(Click image to learn more about High Noon on the IMDb website.)

BTWT was set up as a campaigning blog, and over the years our readers have responded generously to our various appeals. Now it really is ‘high noon’ for Pyskowice and I would urge everyone who has enjoyed our blog to write to Maria Wasiak, the head of PKP, and most important of all, send a copy of your letter to Andrzej Massel, the Minister responsible for Poland’s railways.

A a guide, a copy of John Savery’s own letter is reproduced below, but please write your own letters in your own words. Many thanks to everybody who responds to this appeal.

Dyspozytor


Maria Wasiak
Prezes
Polskie Koleje Panstwowe S.A.
Centrala
ul. Szczesliwicka 62
00-973 Warszawa
Poland

Copy to:

Andrzej Massel
Podsekretarz Stanu
Ministerstwo Transportu, Budownictwa i Gospodarki Morskiej
ul. Chalubinskiego 4/6
00-928 Warszawa
Poland

1 March 2012

Dear Madam Wasiak,

I am writing you to express my concern with the actions of PKP SA against Towarzystwo Ochrony Zabytków Kolejnictwa i Organizacji Skansenów in Pyskowice (TOZKiOS). My understanding is that PKP are currently engaged in a legal dispute with TOZKiOS, and are attempting to evict them from their base at the former locomotive depot at Pyskowice.

I visit Poland regularly to use, and view its railways and railway preservation societies. The current legal dispute, and the actions of PKP disturb me. TOZKiOS had an agreement in place with the local PKP management team to use the shed area for a nominal rent. By demanding a commercial rent, and back payments of rent dating back a number of years, the actions of PKP threaten the very existence of TOZKiOS, undoing the fantastic work that they have achieved over the last 14 years, in establishing a railway museum in the old depot at Pyskowice.

Not only do the actions of PKP threaten the existence of the society, they also threaten the existence of the remaining buildings at Pyskowice, which are on the register of historic buildings and monuments.

The museum at Pyskowice is well known to fans of Polish railways, both in Poland and abroad. It has the potential to be an excellent tourist attraction in the area, preserving historical artifacts. The actions of PKP threaten this.

I understand that PKP has a liability to pay taxes to the local authority for occupying the land, and that the payment of rent is designed to cover these taxes. I also understand that PKP is legally obliged to act in a commercial manner. The land at Pyskowice has an extremely limited commercial value, due to its location in a desolate industrial area. The lack of road access limits alternative uses.

The simplest solution would be to grant the title of the land to TOZKiOS, removing the obligation from PKP to pay the taxes to the local authority. This would reduce the tax liability on PKP, and provide the security of tenure that the society deserves and requires in order to be successful. I realise that in some localities that the transfer of redundant PKP assets has been done to the local authority, however my understanding of the Polish law is that there is nothing to stop the transfer taking place to a society or museum.

To me, this would result in a win-win situation. PKP wins and can be seen to be acting commercially by reducing its tax liability and disposing of land that has little commercial value. The society wins by having the security of tenure and a permenant base.

The next round of the court case is set for 21 April, in Gliwice. I would urge you to intervene before this date, drop the demand for a commercial rental on the buildings and land area, and grant TOZKiOS the tenure of the land and buildings free of charge.

Yours sincerely,

John Savery

Pyskowice – a miracle needed

Friday, 24 February 2012

by John Savery

The design on the special commemorative stamp issued by Poczta Polska on 12.8.2005, the 85th anniversary of the ‘Miracle on the Vistula’.

In 1920, just after the end of the First World War, on the plains of Poland near Warsaw, a decisive battle took place.  There on the Wisla and Wieprz rivers, the mighty Soviet Army, which had been cutting a swathe across Europe, was stopped against overwhelming odds by the Polish Army under the command of Jozef Pilsudski.  The underdog had triumphed, against the might of Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution.

Battle of Warsaw, the first stage. Map by by Hjaekel and by Halibutt.

(Click on image to enlarge. Click here to see original on Wikipedia and for details of licensing.)

Polish railway societies, often fighting on many fronts,  would do well to take heart and learn the tactics of this remarkable battle.  With dogged tenacity – and when all available forces are concentrated on the right strategic points – the underdog can triumph.  Regular readers of BTWT will be familiar with the plight of the railway museum at Pyskowice.  Without security of tenure, mains water, or electricity, and with the small inconvenience of a roof collapse back in 2006, TOZKiOS, under the leadership of Zbyszek and Krzysztof Jakubina, has steadily and gradually built up an impressive collection of some 70 items of rolling stock and motive power.

Now matters appear to be coming to a head.  The society is embroiled in a court case with PKP Nieruchomosci, the property division of PKP.  When the TOZKiOS started its operations at the old Pyskowice depot in 1998, it occupied the redundant premises at a peppercorn rent by agreement with the local management of PKP. But since PKP became ‘commercialised’ (split into hundreds of separate companies) the property division has been trying to force the society to pay a ‘commercial rent’. Now the dispute has escalated and PKP is pressing for the eviction of the society from the site.  An initial court hearing took place in Gliwice on 21 February.

Though at various times it seemed that a breakthrough between TOZKiOS and PKP was imminent, it appears that certain PKP officials are determined to frustrate and block any progress on a deal to secure and preserve the site.  Despite meetings being arranged between key stakeholders, including the governor of the Slask province, the Conservator of Historic Buildings and Monuments for Slask province, the board of the society, and various arms of PKP, the latter has only paid lip service to any attempt to find a solution. Tactics such as – making last minute changes to the people attending, sending only junior members of staff who have arrived under prepared and without the necessary authority – have ensured that no deal acceptable to all sides has been reached.

In contrast to this, the Conservator of Historic Buildings and Monuments is taking steps to have the whole site put on the register of historic buildings to give it greater protection.  The shed itself is currently afforded the Polish equivalent of listed building status.  At present, the ancillary buildings do not enjoy this protection; the process currently ‘in the works’ would see their status raised to the same level.

The next round of the court case is scheduled for 21 April, and at this stage it is unclear whether it will reach a conclusion on this date. PKP are demanding back-dated commercial rental for the area occupied by the society calculated at the rate of 5000zl per month (approx. £1000). If the court decides in favour of PKP, the Society will be bankrupted and if an official receiver seizes the rolling stock many items in the historic collection could be cut up for scrap.

Despite all of these distractions, the members of the society are still making progress with the restoration of rolling stock. Pride of the collection, Ty42-24, is nearing the end of an overhaul to mainline running order.

The start of Ty42-24’s overhaul in November 2008 at Pyskowice. Photo TOZKiOS.

It never rains but it pours

Meanwhile it would appear that the possibility that their locomotives could be legally impounded has prompted some of the overseas owners of locomotives to try to cut their losses. In particular news has reached us at BTWT that the future of TKt48-23 is looking decidedly insecure. Built by Cegielski in 1951, the 2-8-2 tank engine was withdrawn from service at Kluczbork in 1992, and is privately owned but currently resides at the Pyskowice skansen.

The current owners (who are not Polish) are looking to sell the loco, and if no private buyer or consortium is found, will let the loco go for scrap to realise its cash value.  The Pyskowice society realise how damaging this would be to their reputation.  Readers may remember the damage that was done to the credibility of the society attempting to save the Piotrkowska Kolej Dojazdowa when they scrapped Ol49-48 to raise funds.

The owners are asking in the region of EUR 17,500 for the loco, which they believe is a realistic scrap value.  We feel that this may be over-optimistic given the current economic climate and the recent fall in the value of scrap steel, and believe the 78 tonne loco to be worth somewhat less than this.

Despite the Polish economy still growing, we feel it unlikely that a local white knight will ride to the rescue and stump up the cash to buy the loco.  Whilst we recognise the right of the owners to dispose of their assets, we feel it would be a scandal if yet another of Poland’s locos should succumb to the gas axe and the increasing pressure of market forces.

Should any readers be interested in purchasing the loco outright, or forming a consortium to secure the future of the loco, please contact us at BTWT and we will put you in touch with the owners.

Please help

by Dyspozytor

We set up BTWT in 2008 to support the faltering Polish railway heritage movement, it was the latest of a series of initiatives carried out by a group of friends with experience of railway preservation in Poland and in the UK. Since then we have won a few battles, lost a few, and reached stalemate in others.

We do not campaign on our own account, but rather try to bring pressure to bear (through the pages of BTWT and through private channels) to support causes brought to our attention by Polish railway enthusiasts. This appeal is just such an occasion. Please help us help TOZKiOS win its battle with PKP by posting or faxing a suitable letter to Mariak Wasiak, the head of PKP, and also copying it to the Minister responsible for Poland’s railways.

The relevant addresses are:

PKP Chairperson

Maria Wasiak
Prezes
Polskie Koleje Panstwowe S.A.
Centrala
ul. Szczesliwicka 62
00-973 Warszawa
Poland

tel: (22) 47 49 101
fax (22) 47 49 102

The Minister for rail

Andrzej Massel
Podsekretarz Stanu
Ministerstwo Transportu, Budownictwa i Gospodarki Morskiej
ul. Chalubinskiego 4/6
00-928 Warszawa
Poland

tel. 22 630-14-00
fax 22 630-14-02

Please write or fax rather than sending an e-mail. I copied one letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs by e-mail and received a very courteous reply from his office exactly one year later :-)

An apology and correction.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

As number of our regular readers have pointed out the Psykowice Skansen is in the Slaskie province, not the Dolnoslaskie.

Behind The Water Tower prides itself on its accuracy. Our stories are obtained directly from first hand sources, or checked against multiple sources, if not. But occasionally we do get things spectacularly wrong. As we did with our Pyskowice story last week. My thanks to everybody who contacted me with the correct information. My sincere apologies to all our readers, particularly to those who put pen to paper and wrote to the Chief Executive of Dolnoslaskie province. See below for the correct address.

I must double-check addresses in future,
I must double-check addresses in future,
I must… X 100

Dyspozytor

Adam Matusiewicz
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Slaskiego
Urząd Marszalkowski
ul. Ligonia 46
40-037 Katowice
POLAND

tel. +48 (32) 20 78 290 ext. 290
e-mail: marszal@slaskie.pl

Pyskowice alert

Monday, 14 March 2011

CORRECTED

The cast iron window frame smashed by PKP contractors. Photo Arkadiusz Niedzwied.

TOZK, the railway preservation society who run the Skansen based at Pykowice and PKP SA have had an uneasy cease fire while the society try to persuade PKP to give them an affordable long-term agreement to use the former locomotive depot and carriage shed. Meanwhile PKP have been trying to get the depot buildings removed from the register of historic monuments so that they can proceed to demolish the remains of the old round house.

The bulldozer track leading to the window. Photo Arkadiusz Niedzwied.

Now it seems that PKP have upped the anti by hiring a subcontractor to remove the remains of the collapsed roof which lies within the shell of the old roundhouse. Unfortunately the first move of the subcontractor was to rip out a cast iron window frame and part of a wall in order to gain access to the interior of the shed. TOZK members reacted immediately to the damage which occurred last Monday morning by alerting the authorities in Wroclaw and Warsaw about the damage to the fabric of the historic building.

BTWT readers can help TOZK by writing to Rafal Jurkowlaniec, the Chief Executive of the Dolny Slask provincial government, urging him to prepare a long-term plan with PKP and TOKZ to save the depot and the historic collection of rolling stock which is gathered there. The address to write to is:

Rafal Jurkowlaniec
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Dolnoslaskiego
Urzad Marszalkowski Wojewodztwa Dolnosląskiego
Wybrzeze Slowackiego 12-14
50-411 Wroclaw
POLAND

email: umwd@dolnyslask.pl

tel: + 48 71 776-90-17; f
fax: +48 71 341-81-48

Adam Matusiewicz
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Slaskiego
Urząd Marszalkowski
ul. Ligonia 46
40-037 Katowice
POLAND

tel. +48 (32) 20 78 290 ext. 290
e-mail: marszal@slaskie.pl

Pyskowice Skansen – Is this the end?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Cash crunch and Polish laws driving railway heritage to extinction.

pyskowice_dusk

Shadows gather over the Pyskowice Skansen, December 2006.
From a photo ©Robert Dylewski

(Click on picture to see original on TOZK website.)

You would have thought that someone would have connected the dots by now.

In the early 1990s Poland experienced its first cash crunch as an IMF Adjustment Programme, dubbed locally as the ‘Balcerowicz Plan’, eroded the value of the zloty. Poland’s surviving railway heritage was hit badly as PKP responded by getting rid of its regional railway museums, withdrawing passenger services from its narrow gauge lines or closing them down altogether.

Fortunately, the Polish railway heritage movement developed to fill the gap. Inspired by the PSMK (The Polish Railway Enthusiasts Association) which was set up in 1987 and took over the roundhouse at Skierniewice, other societies sprang up to save their own narrow gauge lines or preserve standard gauge locomotives and rolling stock.

One such society was the Towarzystwo Ochrony Zabytków Kolejnictwa i Organizacji Skansenów w Pyskowicach (The Society for the Preservation of Railway Heritage and the Organisation of Skansens in Pyskowice). Known to its friends as TOZK , the Society led by the brothers Krzystof and Zbyszek Jakubina obtained access to the old roundhouse and carriage depot at Pyskowice. Here they gathered together an impressive collection of locomotives rolling stock, some owned by them and others owned by private owners who wanted to play their part in the Pyskowice project. Today Pyskowice is the home of 27 steam locomotives, 10 diesel locomotives, 8 passenger coaches and 12 freight locomotives. Many of the locomotives have been cosmetically restored and one Slask Tkp class steam locomotive has been restored to working order.

In 1999, PKP offered the TOZK the use of old roundhouse at a nominal rental and later suspended this agreement, but from 2002 allowed the Society to use the carriage depot at a peppercorn rent. Now, unfortunately, PKP has changed its tune and is demanding payment of a ‘commercial’ rent. The similarity with the plight of the Railway Museum in Warsaw is quite striking.

In the middle of a region of industrial decay and surrounded by railway land and without any road access the ‘commercial’ value of the railway depot is questionable. In fact there have been no expressions of interest from commercial interests during the ten years that the Society have been in residence. PKP would gladly transfer the land to the local Town Council, but fell that they cannot hand it over to a ‘private’ Society like TOZK. The Council do not want the railway depot with its attendant responsibilities…

PKP have now given TOKZ two weeks to clear the site or else to agree to pay a commercial rent back dated since the last agreement expired.

Time for another BTWT campaign?

PKP threat to Pyskowice

Thursday, 22 January 2009

pyskowice

Pyskowice volunteers pose by cosmetically restored Pt47-50

An SOS from Pyskowice informs us that a typically Polish game of ‘pass the parcel’ threatens the future of the railway museum there. Since 1998, a small band of volunteers, working under the umbrella of Towarzystwo Ochrony Zabytkow Kolejowych (Society for the Preservation of Railway Heritage), has been collecting vintage railway rolling stock and other railway artefacts, and storing them in the old Pyskowice motive power depot and carriage works.

The former depot is now home to 25 steam locomotives, 9 diesel locomotives and some 22 other items of rolling stock. Slask TKp 4422 0-8-0T is in working order and a couple of other steam locomotives only need light overhauls, or their paperwork sorting, in order to steam again.

Until the end of 2006 TOZK enjoyed the use of the old depot and sidings at a peppercorn rent from PKP Linie Kolejowe, the PKP Group’s track and infrastructure company. It was always the hope of TOZK that the Pyskowice Town Council would acquire the site from PKP in lieu of unpaid rent and that the council would licence the society to use the depot.

But Pyskowice is not a town which encourages ‘bottom up initiatives’. The Mayor is not interested in helping the Society. In the meantime, the site has been transferred from PKP Linie Kolejowe, to PKP’s real estate company PKP Nieruchomości, and the latter are demanding that the Society pay a commercial rent for the site backdated to the beginning of 2008.

The only hope for Pyskowice would appear to be with the Slask province governor’s office which in recent weeks has begun to take an interest in the future of the museum.

Letters

It’s been some time since we requested BTWT readers to engage in a letter writing campaign, but our friends in the British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership advise us that the situation at Pyskowice is serious enough to merit such action. It is still the case that letters from ‘the West’ carry more clout than correspondence from a Polish address, so lets do our best to help TOZK in their efforts to save the museum. This time we would ask you to write to the three key stakeholders involved in the future of the Pyskowice museum.

Letters should stress the heritage and tourist value of the former MPD complex and its collection of historic rolling stock. You may wish to make the point that ‘bottom up’ initiatives such as TOZK work in Pyskowice deserve support because, without them, much of Poland’s railway heritage will be destroyed. Please tailor each letter depending on who you are writing to.

Andrzej Wach is the Chairman of the PKP Group as a whole. Letters to him should point out that the Pyskowice Museum and Society is looking after an important part of PKP’s history and ask him to encourage PKP Nieruchomości to return to the earlier peppercorn rent arrangement with TOZK.

Andrzej Wach
Prezes PKP S.A.
Polskie Koleje Panstwowe S.A.
Centrala
ul. Szczesliwicka 62
00-973 Warszawa
POLAND

Waclaw Keska is Mayor of Pyskowice. Letters to him should point out that the collection at Pyskowice is of European significance and that news of the threat to the museum has spread far and wide. They could also express the hope that he will give the railway museum venture his wholehearted support.

mgr inż. Waclaw Keska
Burmistrz Miasta Pyskowice
Urząd Miejski w Pyskowicach
ul. Strzelców Bytomskich 3
44-120 Pyskowice
POLAND

Piotr Smigielski is the Governor of Slask province. Letters to him should point out that the collection at Pyskowice is of European significance that deadlock between PKP and TOZK threatens to destroy the museum. They could also express the hope that his office will take over the railway museum site and provide it at a peppercorn rent to the society.

Boguslaw Piotr Smigielski
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Sląskiego
Urząd Marszalkowski Wojewodztwa Slaskiego, ul. Ligonia 46, 40-037 Katowice

Work starts on Ty51-17 restoration

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Ty51-17 receives a coat of primer at Pyskowice

Members of the Pyskowice-based Society for the Preservation of Railway Heritage and Organization of Railway Museums, Towarzystwo Ochrony Zabytkow Kolejnictwa i Organizacji Skansenow, have started work on the painting of Ty51-17 which arrived in March from the so-called ‘skansen‘ (open air museum) at Krzeszowice.

TY45-125 after receiving the full Pyskowice treatment

Apart from having cab fittings and other moveable parts stolen or scrapped Ty51-17 had received no attention whatsoever during its 5 year sojurn at Krzeszowice. What a contrast to to the speedy start of cosmetic restoration work after its arrival at Pyskowice. Given the good work there being carried out by TOZK, it is hard to believe that the society have received no financial assistance from local government and that the future of Pyskowice Depot itself is far from secure.

The ‘skansen’ at Krzeszowice shortly before closure

The remaining Krzeszowice engines have been taken Chabowka, Krakow Plaszow and Pyskowice, Regrettably, the rescue mission came too late for TKp 3407, TKp 5905 and Ty45-345 which were cut up for scrap at Krzeszowice.

More photos (WARNING text in Polish):

More engines for Pyskowice

Monday, 14 April 2008

Ty2-1292, Ty42-24, TKp 15347 at Lazy awaiting departure 5.4.2008

The Jakubina brothers have successfully moved three more locomotives to their steam centre at Pyskowice. The locos. a Ty2, Ty42 and TKp had been stored in the open at Lazy for over 30 years. By creating ‘facts on the ground’ the brothers are hoping to strengthen their negotiating position vis-a-vis PKP Property regarding the future of the steam centre at Pyskowice. In December last year, Pawel Olczyk, the director of the PKP Property Company had his local director in Katowice petition the Katowice Province’s Curator of Heritage for permission to demolish the roundhouse at Pyskowice. The roundhouse was damaged in the winter of 2006/2007 when part of the roof collapsed under the weight of accumulated snow.

The Pyskowice Steam Centre is an interesting and worthwhile ‘living museum’ and its lack of long-term security is typical of much of Poland’s preserved railways and museums. One of the key problems is that the Jakubina brothers have been unable to secure the support of the Pyskowice Town Council. (Compare the similar situation at Krosniewice.) There are a number of overseas locomotive owners who keep their locomotives on the site. The key to resolving the problem would seem to be for the brothers to recruit their overseas ‘tenants’ (one of them Rik de Gruyter is the treasurer of Fedecrail) to join the committee that administers the site and to utilise their expertise in the negotiations that still remain to be concluded.

(Warning. Clicking on the picture above leads to more pictures of the Lazy engines and some commentary in Polish. Clicking on the picture below leads to some short You Tube videos of the move.)

You Tube Videos

Call to arms! – II

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway needs you!

5 km South of Krosniewice

A Krosniewice-Ozorkow special in 2006

The campaign to save the Krosniewice Railway is gathering momentum. A number of letters have already been sent to the Mayor of Ozorkow, with a copy to the Minister of Infrastructure and pledges that more letters will be written are coming in as well.

Can my letter make any difference?

Well yes, on the basis of previous experience, we know that letters sent from abroad do carry a great deal of weight with the authorities. Sometimes even a single letter can make all the difference.

The Extraordinary Story of Chabowka

The story of the PKP steam museums is a long and complicated one. Originally in the 1990’s PKP HQ in Warsaw planned three steam centres:

Wolsztyn Steam Centre

Wolsztyn (see above) – the principal centre
Klocko – for servicing

Jaworzyna Slask

Jaworzyna Slask (see above) – for storing steam engines.

Elk, a fourth, was added later.

Two more steam museums were initiatives of the regional PKP management:

Koscierzyna
Chabowka.

Another steam museum was established at Karsnice at the private initiative of the manager of the workshops there. By 2000 the senior management of PKP had changed and the cold winds of commercialisation were blowing through the corridors of PKP. It was decided to get rid of all the steam museums with the exception of Wolsztyn and to concentrate the best locomotives there.

An action committee was formed to save Chabowka. A group of experts from Krakow wrote a plan to develop tourism along the Chabowka – Nowy Sacz line, The National Foundation for Promoting Heritage Railway Trails was set up by Ryszarda Leszczynska. (see Papal Train) But all to no avail, by 2003 the Chabowka employees were given notice that the museum was going to close.

Enter the Englishman

It was at this stage that an Englishman called Mike Pease entered the scene. Pease, a director of the Spa Valley Railway and the Secretary of the New Europe Railway Heritage Trust (NERHT), was a descendant of Edward Pease, the banker of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. He had been following the Polish railway scene for some time and was the owner a Slask 0-8-0 shunting locomotive which he keeps at Pyskowice Steam Centre. He decided to write a letter of protest to the chairman of PKP, with a copy to the Minister of Transport. He also copied it for good measure to the chairman of the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce with the suggestion that the BPCC might like to organise a seminar on the tourism potential of Poland’s railway heritage.

At this point Pease struck lucky because the Chamber duly obliged! A seminar, Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage as a Tourist Attraction, held under the auspices of the NERHT and sponsored by the Chamber took place in October 2003. The morning session was held in the British Consulate, the afternoon session in the Warsaw Railway Museum. Nearly every Polish heritage railway sent a delegation. PKP sent a team of three people. NERHT sent three experts from Britain. Not long afterwards, the decision to close Chabowka was rescinded. Today 8 Chabowka engines are in working order and very good mechanical condition. Occasional steam trains are run on the Nowy Sacz line and around Cracow.

And the rest?

And what of the other railway museums? Wolsztyn is flourishing, although it’s reported that the mechanical condition of its locomotives is very poor. Nothing remains of Klocko. Jaworzyna was taken over by the local authority and then privatised. None of its engines are in working order. Elk is closed, but a great deal of rolling stock is still there and deteriorating fast. Recently two of its steam locomotives were transferred to the PSMK railway museum at Skierniewice. Koscierzna is run by PKP Cargo although none of its engines are in working order. The ‘forgotten’ museum at Karsnice lingers on in no man’s land, trapped by the reluctance of the PKP Estate Department to pass the custody of the engines over to the council of Zdunska Wola.

If the story of Chabowka does inspires you to put pen to paper, please write to:

Mrs Julianna Barbara Herman
The Mayor of Krosniewic
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

Last Krzeszowice Engines Saved!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

on their way to Pyskowice

On Sunday March 9 the final locomotives remaining at Krzeszowice, Ty45-158, Ty42-85, Ty51-17, were towed by PTK Holding’s TEM2-185 from the derelict ‘skansen’ at Kreszowice to the railway centre at Pyskowice. Ty45-158 had been based at the Pyskowice locomotive depot during its service life.

The Pyskowice Museum is administered by the Society for Preserving Railway Heritage and Organising a Railway Centre in Pyslowice, Towarzystwo Ochrony Zabytków Kolejnictwa i Organizacji Skansenów w Pyskowicach. The Society are fighting to save the Pyskowice Roundhouse from demolition and hope to acquire the freehold of the former depot buildings. The TOZKOSP website contains lots of pictures, but like many similar Polish sites, no English text.

See also: Kreszowice Finale.