Archive for the ‘Rogow’ Category

Rogow railway rebuilt!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

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The last missing piece restored. Photo FPKW.

(Click to see the full track repairs photo gallery).

Over the June long weekend, 30 May to 2 June, FPKW volunteers repaired the last missing section of track on the 49km line from Rogow to Biala Rawska. Works draisine Wmc-009 , pictured above, became the first rail vehicle to reach the end of the line since autumn 2011.

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Work begins. New sleepers being laid. Photo FPKW.

The final missing link on the route was a length of stolen rail at km 33.7 near Konopnica. As the sleeper fixings had also been stolen along with the rail, this required completely new sleepers.

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Lifting the first rail into place. Photo FPKW.

The repair was only possible thanks to donations from Rawa Mazowiecka district council, PKP PLK, and the National Sugar Company, as well as the many individual donors to FPKW, including those Behind the Water Tower readers who gave money through FPKW’s PayPal donation facility during our campaign to help restore the railway. Thank you to all.

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Double celebrations at Rogow

Friday, 30 November 2012

Return to Gluchow – the first train since the track was damaged by thieves almost a year ago. Photo FPKW.

On Saturday 17 November the Rogow narrow gauge railway celebrated the 10th anniversary of the first trains in preservation. PKP ceased passenger operations on the Rogow narrow gauge railway on 9 June 2001 and freight operations at the end of September 2001.

It took a year for PKP to hand over responsibility for the line to Rawa Mazowiecka district council and for the council to conclude the necessary licence with FPKW, The Polish Narrow Gauge Railways Foundation, with the formalities complete in October 2002. The first public passenger trains under FPKW ran on the All Saints Day public holiday, 1 November 2002.

Track repairs on the Rogow narrow gauge railway. Photo FPKW.

This year’s event was more than a celebration of the 10th anniversary; it was also a celebration of the reopening of the line beyond Jezow, where in December last year thieves stole 11.5 tonnes of rail bolts and chairs, and in the process damaged 460 sleepers.

Behind the Water Tower readers supported the campaign to raise funds for the repair of the line, and the foundation also received support from the Rawa Mazowiecka district council, and donation of materials from PKP PLK. In the end the task was too large to be completed by volunteer labour so contractors were employed to repair the line between Jezow and Gluchow, while volunteers repaired other smaller areas of damage that had occurred beyond Gluchow during the period that the line was closed.

Tenth anniversary special train on the bridge over the river Rawce. Photo FPKW.

The special train on 17 November consisted of diesel locomotive Lyd1-215, van, traditional Polish 1Aw passenger coach and brake/postal van. Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers the train was able to reach not only Gluchow, but all the way to Zamkowa Wola, the first station beyond Rawa Mazowiecka, 32km from Rogow. Congratulations to all at FPKW and Rogow for this fantastic achievement.

However, the work is not yet complete – there is more damage to repair beyond Zamkowa Wola. FPKW have again appealed for help in raising the money to restore the final 17km of the railway between Zamkowa Wola and Biala Rawska. Any donations would be gratefully received. Behind the Water Tower readers who would like to make a donation can do so without incurring bank transfer fees by using the PayPal donation button on the FPKW homepage.

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May Holiday – A Narrow Gauge Feast

Friday, 20 April 2012

Updated

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

(Click image to enlarge.)

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

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

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Thieves hit Rogow Railway

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Let’s Help Repair the Line!

by Ed Beale

The track after the theft. Photo FPKW.

(Click image to read the article on kolejrogowska.pl .)

The Rogow narrow gauge railway suffered serious damage in December 2011. Thieves stole 11.5 tons of rail bolts and baseplates from a stretch of line between Jezow and Bialynin. The theft, which was discovered on the morning of 21 December, also left 460 sleepers damaged. Loss adjusters have estimated the total damage at 88,885 PLN (About £18,000)

FPKW do not have the funds to make good the damage, so Poland’s longest operating narrow gauge railway, 49km long in total, has been reduced to an operating length of just 8km. The whole line is being regularly patrolled to try to prevent any further thefts, which become more likely when a section of railway railway is seen to be completely disused for any period of time.

FPKW are appealing for donations to help repair the damage. Donations can be made by PayPal from the FPKW website. The linked page is in Polish, though it will switch to English when you enter your card and address details. The instructions should be fairly familiar to those who have previously used PayPal, but here are the detailed instructions for people who live in the UK:

1. Click on the PayPal banner on the FPKW homepage.
2. Enter the donation amount in zloty under ‘Kwota Darowizny’ (the current exchange rate is approximately 5 zl to £1).
3. Click the update button: ‘Aktualizuj sume’.
4. A second screen will appear. Check the donation amount in the top bar.
5. If you have a PayPal account, enter your login details in the box on the right, email address and password (‘Haslo’), then click ‘Zaloguj sie’ (log in).
6. If you don’t have a PayPal account, click ‘Kontynuuj’ above the credit card symbols to pay by credit card. On the next screen, UK citizens should select ‘Wielka Brytania’ for ‘Kraj’ (Country). This will change the rest of the form to English. Enter the rest of your payment and address details. Click ‘Review Donation and Continue’.
7. Whether you have logged into your PayPal account or entered your credit or debit card details, the next screen shows the donation amount in pounds sterling. This is the amount that will be taken from your credit/debit card. Check that you are happy with it then click the ‘Donate’ button.

Autumn magic, Lyd1 and train. Photo FPKW.

(Click the image to see the original on kolejrogowska.pl .)

In the meantime, the tourist season will commence as planned on 29 April, but trains will run on a modified timetable using only the Rogow to Jezow section of the line. Four return trips will run every Sunday until 30 September, and also on 1, 2 and 3 May.

Click the link at the end to make a donation to the FPKW’s appeal: www.fpkw.org

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A return journey – part 5

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lyd1-215 and immaculately restored Romanian trailer at Rogow, 15 May 2005. Photo BTWT.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

The item on the menu for Sunday 18 July was something which I had set my heart on months earlier – the Fundacja Polskich Kolei Waskotorowych (Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation) preserved 750mm gauge line at Rogow. A line lauded as probably the country’s best achievement of recreating the atmosphere of the narrow gauge in PKP days with the exception of steam – the line has a pair of Px48, but not in working order. That would seem fair enough: dieselisation of PKP’s narrow gauge set in quite early, with a fair number of narrow gauge railways going 100% diesel as at the early 1980s, or before. This was a big reason for my never hitherto having been to this line: it went all-diesel quite early, and my overriding reason for visiting Poland up to the early 1990s, was to see active steam. Though a narrow-gauge devotee, I skipped many narrow-gauge lines in those times, because of their steamlessness.

The line’s west-to-east 49 km, Rogow to Biala Rawska, is all still in situ, and the preservation undertaking is entitled to operate on all of it. It does so, on a very few days of the year. Most of the time, the line operates on summer Sundays only, over the 17 km from Rogow east to Gluchow. Two return runs per day: the earlier just 8 km out to Jezow and back, the later a return working all the way to Gluchow. We opted for the 13:15 Gluchow return train.

Rogow was reached, by car, in just nice time for departure of this working: a Bxhpi 1Aw in proper green livery, two semi-open bogie coaches rebuilt for tourists from coal wagons, and a bogie brankard guard’s utility van – this latter seemingly a standard component of all 750mm gauge tourist trains. Motive power was a tiny jackshaft-drive 0-6-0D, Lyd1-215 –of a class which I had met in the past on the 750mm system at Elk, where for many years they handled all traffic. Wanting to feel as authentic as possible, we took our places in the1Aw . The train set out, crossing on the ungated levelcrossing a little way out of Rogow across the trunk road eastwards from Lodz to Rawa Mazowiecka. We ran slowly, but steadily (Dyspozytor commented that the track had been improved) through pleasant tranquil gently undulating countryside. We passed the intermediate stations at Jezow and Bialynin, to arrive at Gluchow some 35 – 40 minutes after leaving Rogow.

There followed something that you don’t get at Devil’s Bridge or Dalegarth. The train’s amiable guard gathered up the passengers, and led them off to visit the village’s church – one was given to understand that this excursion was basically compulsory. Oh, well – pretend (in the spirit of the line’s basic period recreated) that it’s Communist times, when one was always being obliged to do assorted things, supposedly for one’s own good. Group-walk through the village to the church – in fact, a handsome edifice, dedicated (going by the statues on its outside) to Saints Peter and Paul. In the interior, beautifully decorated, the date 1786 was to be seen – presumably, that of the church’s founding. The guard addressed his ‘congregation’ for some ten minutes outside the church, and for another ten minutes within – where we could at least sit down. I could make out, from his orations, only a few place-names – deducing that some of his spiel, at least, was historical. For the rest – was he maybe a zealous Catholic, taking the chance to give a religious pep-talk to his punters? … I’ll never know…

Church-bash concluded, we were left free to explore the village, or make our way back to the station. The organised fun was not over, however. Dyspozytor, who had not taken part in the church trip, had during my absence kitted us out for the next phase of activities – which came about after we had travelled 9 km back westward, as far as Jezow. The train made a prolonged stop there, and on a green tree-ringed patch, with benches, close by the station, a bonfire was lit.

Dyspozytor explained that this was a particularly Polish thing – grilling sausages on sticks over the bonfire. (At the Gluchow grocer’s-and-general shop, he had purchased a couple of sausages for the purpose, and a few bottles of beer.) Very many Poles of all ages are / have been in their youth, involved with the Scout movement or its other-ideology alternatives; the ‘campfire / sausage’ ritual is one with many nostalgic associations from when folk were young, and it’s a something that Poles love doing. On both the other narrow gauge tourist trains on which I travelled during this holiday, sausage-grilling over a campfire featured at some stage of the proceedings. We duly grilled our sausages and ate them as we quaffed our beer. I wonder whether this would this work as a gimmick on certain minor British preserved lines?

Finally the ‘barbie’ was over, and the train returned to Rogow, getting there abouty 16:30. The line has an indoor museum at Rogow, which was unfortunately closed by the time of our return. For whatever reasons – some, probably not within their control – Polish heritage-railway undertakings do not always have their act together as well as they could. As well as the two Px48 mentioned earlier, there is at and around the Rogow narrow-gauge station, an assortment of motive power and rolling stock: including several class Lxd2 B-B locos (the loco type most commonly encountered now, on the Polish narrow gauge), a couple of elderly railcars, assorted freight wagons, and a few diminutive standard-gauge diesel shunters. A fairly quick look round this array; time then to head back to Lodz, for a necessary early start to Zbiersk and the Kalisz narrow gauge railway on the morrow.

…to be concluded

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Thieves spoil Rogow Railway Christmas

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Orstein and Koppel 0-4-0WT 7900 built 1920 (ex Starachowice steelworks) and and ZNKT Poznan 0-4-0D WLs75-94 – Rogów (ex Lesmierz Sugar Refinery) on display in the open air in Rogow.
Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.

The Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation (FPKW) is offering a reward of 2000 zloty for information regarding the identity of thieves who stole 780 screws and 260 base plates from the Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway in December. Thefts of track components and even rails are unfortunately all too common in Poland on lines that are only infrequently worked or are closed altogether.

Posters offering a 2,000 zl reward for information leading to the identification of the thieves put up by the FPKW in the area where the thefts took place. Photo ©FPKW.

Originally a 600 mm gauge Prussian military railway built to carry ammunition during WW II, the Rogow Railway dates back to 1915. In August 1954, it was re-gauged to 750 mm by PKP in 6 days! The last PKP passenger train ran on 9 June 2001, while freight services lingered on until September 2001. In December 2001, as a result of approaches made to the Rawa District Council by the FPKW, the District Council formally requested PKP for a transfer of the line. In November 2002, the Council obtained a licence to operate the line until the transfer of the freehold formalities could be complete. Seven years, later the transfer process is finally concluding.

With the line’s short steep gradients, much of the atmosphere of of a military railway still remains and the line deserves to be better known by the English-speaking enthusiast community. At the line’s base in Rogow, there is much to see: the overgrown remains of the line’s former interchange point with PKP, Poland’s second largest collection of narrow gauge rolling stock and a small museum dedicated to the history of the railway. Special trains can be booked any time over the whole 49 km of the line: Rogow to Biala Rawska. The FPKW also runs a scheduled service along the whole line in on one day in May in connection with the Rawa Mazowiecka Dni Rawy festival. In addition, on Sundays between April and October each year, the FPKW runs scheduled train services between Rogow and Jezow (7 km) and Rogow and Gluchow (16 km).

A short video by Krzystof Lysiak from the KolejRogowska channel on You Tube, featuring a visit to the PSMK railway museum in Skierniewice, the Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway and an ancient Jelcz bus.

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Rogow to Rawa

Saturday, 23 May 2009

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Ready to run? Px48, 1Aw and brake van, May 2009. Photo BTWT

A group of us visited Rogow last weekend. The scene resembles a typical Polish narrow gauge railway during Poland’s post-war minor railway boom.  Coaches and goods wagons are scattered around the yard. A couple of Px48s wait their turn in the distance. It just needs a scenographer to dress the film set, apply some dirt and grime to the rolling stock, insert a couple of smoke cartridges into the smokeboxes and the illusion would be complete.  No wonder special trains for wedding parties have become popular here. It is a journey back in time to the days when the Catholic Church and the Communist Party were locked in a fierce battle for the nation’s souls, and traditional Polish family values prevailed.

There is much to admire at Rogow. The standard of restoration – nearly all carried out by volunteers – is very high and most of the rolling stock actually runs. Sadly the two Px48s are static exhibits only. There is a small museum which helps put the railway into its historical context. (The line started as a German 600 mm gauge military railway. The 48 kilometres from Rogow to Biala Rawska were laid down in one month – March 1915!) Nor are all the attractions just for dedicated railway enthusiasts – a small platelayers’ trolley is available for children most weekends. On a UK heritage railway, the safety officer would have apoplexy. Here, however, the watchful eye of a member of staff aided by the efforts of anxious fathers provides an effective safety system.

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Don’t try this at home! Platelayers at work

One thing that does strike a UK visitor as odd – although this is hardly a complaint – is the lack facilities for visitors to spend their money. There was no charge for car parking, no charge for entry, no charge for the trolley rides and no charge for the museum. This was particularly striking as earlier in the day we had visited the ‘Jurassic Park’ at Kolacinek a few miles distant. Here dinosaurs were few and far between, but many and varied were the ways of additional charge attractions. By the time we had added the money spent on refreshments, souvenirs and toys to the car parking, entry and ride charges, we worked out that each family had spent over 100 zloty. This is over £20 and is a lot of money in a country where earnings are about one fifth of what they are in the UK. Perhaps, given the lack of funding from official sources, Polish heritage railways need to become equally adept at parting visitors from their money. At Rogow, we had a quick whip round and each family made a donation of 10 zloty (about £2) to the railway man on duty who seemed quite embarrassed about taking our money.

From 26 April to 4 October, trains run each Sunday from Rogow to Jezow a distance of 8km (5 miles) , departing at 11:15; also from Rogow to Gluchow, 17 km (10 miles) departing at 13:15. Four days each year it is possible to ride the whole line from Rogow to Biala Rawska, 49km (30 miles). The first opportunity will be this coming weekend on 30 and 31 May in connection with the Dni Rawskie (Rawa Days) festival. Here is the 2009 timetable which includes the details of the four scheduled workings along the whole line.

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a) Runs on Sundays from 26 April to 4 October 2009 and on 1, 2 May.
If there are insufficient passengers the train may be cancelled.
b) Runs on 30, 31 May – “Rawa Days”.
c) Runs on 18 July, 15 August – “Heritage Trail Train”.
“o” = odzajd = departure;  “p” = przyjazd = arrival

Please note this is a copy of the timetable (and translation of the footnotes) available as a pdf download from the Rogow Railway website timetable page. Behind The Water Tower cannot take responsibility for and mistakes or changes. Before travelling you are recommended to check the running of your train with the Rogow Railway first.

e-mail – info@kolejrogowska.pl    tel – 0 46 874 8023

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