Archive for the ‘Rewal’ Category

Shocking Skansen

Friday, 24 August 2012

These Romanian trailers look as if they were never painted since they were put into service by PKP in the 1970s. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

I hate skansens. This Scandinavian invention may have a place in preserving rural architecture; although personally I have never seen the point of plucking a building from its historic context and and transporting it to an entirely artificial setting, however carefully designed and landscaped.

Applied to the railway locomotives and rolling stock a skansen is a monstrous aberration condemning precision machinery and delicate woodwork to the ravages of its worst enemies: frost and water and a programme of accelerated decay.

A rustic retreat? No, a historic four wheel covered wagon left to rot in the ‘skansen’. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Nowhere is the bankruptcy of the Polish railway skansen meme demonstrated so effectively as the narrow gauge railway skansen in Gryfice. Adjacent to a thriving narrow gauge railway operated by the most prosperous gmina in Poland is a collection of decaying rolling stock the likes of which have not been seen since the last steam locomotive left Barry scrapyard.

Seen from the road the skansen looks neat and tidy with well-kept lawns trimmed bushes and locomotives which appear to be regularly repainted. Penetrate a little further and the condition of many priceless relics is heartbreaking.

Ex Grojecka Kolej Dojazdowa motor coach MBxd1-359 heads a line of rotting metre gauge motor coaches and trailers. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

The tragedy is that this need not have been so. The Gryfice workshops of the Pomeranian Narrow Gauge Railways were extensive and could easily have provided covered accommodation for much of this rolling stock. But someone decided that most of the accommodation was ‘surplus to requirements’.

Someone also decided that it would be inappropriate for Gmina Rewal to hold on to all the historic rolling stock left behind after the closure of the Pomeranian metre gauge network and it would be in better hands (= would provide more opportunities for private profit) if the bulk of the collection was retained by the Railway Museum in Warsaw.

Unidentified Romanian trailer, Vulcan Werke 0-6-2T of 1928 Tyn-3632, and a transporter wagon. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

And so it was that the Piaseczno and Gryfice narrow gauge railways were deprived of their own rolling stock and locomotives and had to stand idly by while part of their heritage rotted away.

Eventually, the authorities running the Railway Museum in Warsaw, embarrassed by the state of the items in their custody, and realising that – because of fuss stirred up by several infamous cases of dodgy sales elsewhere – the eagle eyes of Polish railway enthusiasts were upon them, decided to hand over the skansen to the Szczecin branch of the National Museum.

Unfortunately the Museum does not have the funds available to arrest the decay in the skansen, an in fact, has serious problems with its own collection of historic wooden fishing vessels which – displayed outdoors in Szczecin – have decayed so much that they are in danger of falling apart.

(left to right) Px48-3912, Tx7-3501, Tx7-3502, Ty6-3284, Txn8-3811, Px48-3916, Ty-9785.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Gmina Reval, the owners of the Gryfice Narrow Gauge railway now renamed the Nadmorska Kolej Waskotorowa (Coastal Narrow Gauge Railway), have made a bid to the National Museum to take over and restore the collection of historic fishing vessels. Is it too much to hope that they might bid to provide a better home for the skansen rolling stock as well?

Vandalised Bxhpi 00-450044328-0 trailer next to an unidentified trailer in Gryfice yard. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

Postscript

Sadly the EU-assisted project to upgrade the Gryfice Narrow Gauge Railway, while providing for a brand new station buildings and several covered platform awnings (where they had never been awnings before) did not envisage providing secure covered accommodation for the railway’s rolling stock. The effect of this can be seen in the act of wanton vandalism shown on the photograph above.

Dyspozytor

Polish heritage rail and EU funding

Friday, 18 February 2011

Too little trickles down to where its needed

EU project notice Karczmiska Station. Photo L Grabczak, Radio Lublin.

(Click image to see more photos taken recently at the Naleczow Railway’s Karczmiska headquarters.)

There seems something distinctly odd about the way that Polish heritage and tourist lines use EU funds. Only a handful of lines have actually benefited from EU funding, but those that have seem wary of spending much money on the basic ‘train set’. Rolling stock continues to be left out in the open and subject to the depredation of vandals and the Polish weather. Infrastructure and rolling stock gets hardly a mention. Track receives the absolute minimum attention. Unique steam locomotives are left to decay as ‘technical monuments’.

Meanwhile precious EU funding is focussed elsewhere. Station buildings are restored, or built from scratch, and paved platforms are built where there was once only a few kerb stones and a bank of ballast. Since it is unlikely that all local authority owners suffer from the same tunnel vision, could it be that this obsession with buildings is the result of implementing EU project guidelines set by the Ministry of Regional Development?

The Naleczow Railway is the beneficent of a 3.999 million zloty EU-assisted project. The station buildings at Karczmiska have been immaculately restored, yet the track, rolling and depot buildings continue to present a sorry sight. The railway has not been operational since SKPL ceased operating the line at the end of 2008.

Newly built platforms and station buildings at Hajnowka. From a photo at bialowieza-info.eu

(Click on image to see more photos of the Bialowiza Forest Railway on the bialowieza-info.eu website.)

The Bialowieza Forest Railway has built a new station, platform and prestigious office facilities at Hajnowka. Yet one historic HF ‘Feldbahn’ locomotive languishes in the open, while its sister, which is in near working order, rests in its shed unused for want of a boiler inspection.

Project for rebuilding Rewal Station
Visualisation © Ingeno Consult BPK Sp. z o.o.

(Click image to see more Ingeno design sketches. Click here to go to Ingeno Group website.)

A 47 million PLN (£10 million) EU-assisted project for the Gryfice narrow gauge railway envisages two brand new station buildings, platform awnings, paved platforms, ‘retro’ lamps, art galleries, museums, a library, cafés, cycle hire and bed and breakfast facilities. Yet the railway passes through some of Poland’s most developed seaside tourist infrastructure. Does Rewal Council need to finance all these facilities itself? Are they all necessary? Only 8 km of track of the line’s 40 plus km will receive attention as a result of the program and the railway’s solitary Px48 – borrowed from the Railway Museum in Warsaw – will not be augmented by any additional steam engine.

More on Rewal (in Polish):

Rewal correction

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

reval

Rewal Station after rebuilding
Visualisation © Ingeno Consult BPK Sp. z o.o.

First of all a sincere apology to all our readers. It’s not often that BTWT gets a story seriously wrong. If we get a lead, we always try to get a second source on the story. In many cases we write about developments that we have been tracking for some time. In many cases we have contacts who are on the ‘inside track’ and who can provide further confirmation.

In the case of the story about the Rewal n.g. railway, in our haste to bring you another exclusive scoop, we cut one corner too many and didn’t talk to our local stringer. We had been tipped off about the project in 2007 and had been following developments since then. But, what we did not know was that the chairman of the gmina Rewal (local municipality) had been persuaded that his narrow gauge railway was just a minor tourist attraction and that what he should be creating in the old stations were major attractions like art galleries, café’s or even holiday accommodation. He was also more than a little miffed that none of the neighbouring local authorities had expressed any interest in joining his project.

We now know that the first phase of the project – which is the only part for which funding has been committed – will be strictly confined within the boundaries of gmina Rewal. The project envisages: the relaying of only 6 kilometres of track between Pogorzelica and Trzesac; extensive renovation of the existing station buildings at Podgorzelica, Niechorze and Rewal (in the computer visualisations the old station buildings are are almost unrecognisable); and building new station buildings, in a similar style, at Sliwin, Trzesac and Niechorze Latarnia. The restoration of the link to Trzebiatow would be part of a possible latter phase as would be the building of a skansen, (an open air railway museum) at Podgorzelica. The latter proposal puts a serious question mark on the long-term future of the line to Gryfice! The first stage of the project does not include the restoration of any rolling stock nor does it contemplate the acquisition of a steam locomotive. The railway’s current steam locomotive, Px48-3916, is on loan from the National Railway Museum.

For those interested in seeing what the first part of the project will achieve here are the links to the computer visualisations prepared by the project’s consultants, Ingeno Consult BPK Sp. z o.o.

Existing stations

New stations

My sincere apologies to all readers for the inacuracies in the previous article.

Dyspozytor