Archive for the ‘Rudy’ Category

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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Exciting future for Rudy

Saturday, 10 March 2012

by Ed Beale

Test run between Rudy and Stanica. Video by.

On Saturday 3 March, Lyd2-101 made a test run from Rudy to Stanica with a Romanian coach and several passengers. Everything went smoothly, and depending on the weather, the official opening of the 2012 season could take place before the end of March.

The Rudy narrow gauge railway, near Kuznia Raciborska in Upper Silesia, is a surviving remnant of the once extensive Upper Silesian 785mm narrow gauge network. The passenger service between Gliwice and Rudy was both the busiest and the last surviving on the network, with the exception of the summer tourist trains at Bytom.

At its height in 1954, the line carried 1.8 million passengers, and annual passenger numbers did not fall below 1 million until 1964. The Gliwice to Rudy passenger service ceased in 1991 and even in that year it carried 90,000 passengers, or around 250 passengers per day, which would be a healthy figure for some of Poland’s standard gauge branches in 2012!

Today Rudy’s locomotive sheds, yard and station buildings have been turned into a successful museum which is operated by the Municipal Centre of Culture, Sport and Recreation (MOKSiR) of Kuznia Raciborska and enjoys strong local authority support. 6km of the railway remains open, between the stations of Paproc, Rudy and Stanica. During the tourist season which runs from spring to autumn, trains run from Rudy to Paproc daily except Mondays when the museum is closed, and trains also run to Stanica on Sundays.

The Rudy museum has been going from strength to strength in the past few years. Visitor numbers have increased dramatically from 5,000 in 2009 to over 20,000 in 2011. Local authority funding enabled the repair of some of the dilapidated station buildings and the museum has obtained a fairly impressive collection of 785mm gauge rolling stock. 0-6-0 steam locomotive Las 49 was restored to working order in 2010 and is steamed on summer Sundays. Lyd2-101 was regauged from 750mm to 785mm gauge over the winter and had its first test runs in January.

At the end of January, Rudy obtained the three remaining Lxd2 diesel locomotives from the closed Huta Pokoj (Pokoj steelworks) railway in Ruda Slaska: HP-Lxd2-08, 09 and 11. Most exciting of all, in October 2011 the four municipalities of Gliwice, Pilchowice, Kuznia Raciborska and Rybnik signed a joint agreement on a preliminary feasibility study into reconstructing the Gliwice to Rudy line, and constructing a new line from Rudy to Rybnik. There are obviously huge challenges to this project which would certainly require external funding, but it is an exciting possibility.

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Railway remains at Rudy

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Gliwice – Raciborz railway in its heyday.
Slideshow by concordia1923.

On March 25 1899, the railway from Gliwice to Rudy was opened. This 23.5 km section of line was the first stage of a project to build a 785 mm gauge railway from Gliwice to Raciborz. The line was extended in stages and the last section to Raciborz was opened on 17 May 1903. The total length of the railway was 51 km.

The railway connected small towns and villages which would otherwise have had very poor links with the outside world. By 1945, the line was carrying up to 700,000 passengers a year. But its heyday was in the period 1949 – 1963 when the railway never carried less than 1 million passengers. Its all time record was set in 1954 when it carried 1,834,400 passengers. During the 1960s and 70s competition from buses and motor cars began to eat into its passenger traffic. In 1991, the last year of operation under the auspices of PKP, 90,292 passengers were carried.

After the railway closed, the entire line from Gliwice to Raciborz was listed in the provincial register of historic sites and from 1 March 1993 enjoyed the protection of the law. Sadly this protection was not sufficient to stop the plundering of some very efficient scrap thieves and the activities of a rather dubious railway preservation society.

Now most of the track has been lifted and two steam locomotives have ended up overseas. Today the section of line within the boundaries of Kuznia Raciborska has been taken over by the municipality and the future of this section at least seems secure.

Tourist trains are operated over a 6 km section of line: Poproci – Rudy – Stanica. Michal Fita, the Director of the Municipal Sport, Culture and Recreation Centre, is confident that the line could be developed into a major tourist attraction.

The tragedy is that all those who saw a new future for the railway were unable to stop the devastation which occurred since PKP withdrew. How much more of Poland’s priceless railway heritage must be destroyed before the adequate measures are enacted to halt the destruction?

The Gliwice – Raciborz railway today.
Slideshow by concordia1923.

More photographs:

Contact:

  • Zabytkowa Stacja
    Kolejki Waskotorowej w Rudach
    ul. Szkolna 1, 47-430 Rudy
    tel.: 0048 500 282 732
    e-mail: kontakt@kolejkarudy.pl
  • WWW – http://www.kolejkarudy.pl