Archive for the ‘Railway Safety’ Category

OUT with the old rail transport department – IN with a new railway department… oops Centre

Monday, 28 July 2014

Updated

The new location is unlikely to be popular with students. Map Google Maps.

In a breath-taking move that has left defenders of the Silesian University of Technology’s existing Department of Rail Transport wrong-footed, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Andrzej Karbownik, has announced that the University and PKP SA will be setting up a new Centre for Railway Research and Teaching. The Centre will have the status of a department of the University. According to PKP SA Chairman, Jakub Karnowski, the Centre will become a ‘strategic partner’ of PKP SA.

The Centre will be located in a new off-campus location in the disused buildings of the currently unused historic railway station at Sosnowiec Maczki. The extensive station buildings were constructed in 1848, when the station lay on the border of The Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. The buildings will be restored and adapted to serve the needs of the new Centre which is intended to have a research and a teaching role.

Just over a fortnight ago, the University authorities announced that the existing Department of Rail Transport was to be closed with students and staff being moved into a new Department of Road and Air Transport. A shortage of suitably qualified staff and poor financial results were given as the reasons for the changeover. Yet, the under its Head, Professor Marek Sitarz, the Department generated a substantial extra income from external outside contracts, such as running courses on rail safety for UTK, the Polish rail regulator. Professor Sitarz himself is a internationally respected authority on rail transport and popular with his staff and students.

The new Research and Teaching ‘Centre’ is due to start teaching 1st year students in October 2016. Meanwhile, current rail transport students already at the University will be expected to finish their degrees in the ‘Road and Air Transport’ department. Why the two-year hiatus in rail teaching? Could it be that it is part of a clumsily disguised move to remove Professor Sitarz from his position of head of department?

The professor is well known for being a stalwart champion of rail transport and for his uncompromising stance with respect to railway safety – a dangerous position to be in given the low priority given by the government to its railways.

sosnowiec

The 1848 building of Sosnowiec Maczki station formerly on the border of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. Photo (CC BY-SA 3.0) W. Grabowski.

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Head on collision in Warsaw

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Polish rail

The crash scene. Local PKP PLK director, Jan Telecki, describes the movements of the two trains immediately before the accident. Video by .

A head-on collision between two early morning commuter trains in Warsaw on Thursday morning (24 May) brought back memories of the head-on train collision near Szczekociny – Poland’s worst train crash in 22 years – which killed 16 people and wounded 57. This time, the relative velocity of the two trains was small and the lead coaches only suffered minor damage. Two people were injured; one sufficiently seriously to need hospital treatment.

The accident occurred at 05:45 in the vicinity of Warszawa Praga station. The trains involved were KM 1521 – an EN76 trainset belonging to Koleje Mazowieckie running from Warszawa Gdanska to Ciechanow, and SKW 40222 – a 19WE trainset belonging to Szybka Kolej Miejska running from Legionowo to Warszawa Gdanska.

According to The Warsaw Voice, a report published by the European Railway Agency, shows that Poland’s railways have the worst safety record* in the EU. There were 449 rail accidents in Poland in 2010. Germany was second with 297 accidents followed by Romania with 271.

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