Archive for the ‘Smigiel Railway’ Category

Smigiel winter special

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Operational line extended to Zegrowo

A winter journey from Smigiel to Stare Bojanowo in January 2010. Video by bosz112.

The Smigiel narrow gauge railway is planning a winter special on Saturday 2 February. The event will also see the opening of another short extension of the operational line, 1.8km from Nowa Wies to Zegrowo. This is one of the most scenic sections of the line, running through woodland to the attractive halt of Zegrowo. The plan for the day is as follows:

  • 11:00  Stare Bojanowo to Smigiel (waits for connections from Poznan and Wroclaw)
  • 12:00  Special train from Smigiel to Stare Bojanowo and back with diesel locomotive Lxd2-241 and snowplough. Numerous photo stops.
  • 14:00  Special train from Smigiel to Zegrowo and back with diesel railbus MBxd2-266. Several photo stops.
  • 15:10  Smigiel to Stare Bojanowo (connects with trains to Poznan and Wroclaw)

Anyone wishing to participate is asked to book a place before Monday 28 January by emailing kolejka@smigiel.pl or telephoning 696411584, giving your full name, contact telephone number, and whether you wish to use the optional Stare Bojanowo connecting trains. The cost is 40zl per person, plus an additional 5zl for each of the optional Stare Bojanowo transfers at 11:00 and 15:10.

Elsewhere on the Polish narrow gauge, the Bieszczady forest railway is operating regular winter trains for the second year in a row (see Narrow gauge trains in the snow). These depart Majdan station at 12:00 on Fridays and Saturdays during the Polish winter school holidays, running 6km to Dolzyca and returning to Majdan at around 13:15. And a special train is planned on the Znin narrow gauge railway on 30 March, including a connecting standard gauge special train and bus from Poznan.

More:

Smigiel tourist trains extended to Nowa Wies

Friday, 9 November 2012

Tourist train at Smigiel on 3 May 2012. Photo Pawel Jakuboszczak.

(Click to see the original photo and several others on www.750mm.pl)

The operating length of the Smigiel narrow gauge railway has been extended by 3km to Nowa Wies. The first public train will run over the reopened section this Sunday 11 November at 12:00. Together with the 5km from Stare Bojanowo to Smigiel this brings the total length in use to 8km of the 24km long line. There are also plans to reopen the 4km section between Nowa Wies and Bielawy.

The full plan for Sunday’s event is:

  • 10:00 Smigiel – Stare Bojanowo – Smigiel with photo stops.
  • 12:00 Smigiel – Nowa Wies – Smigiel with photo stops.
  • 13:00 Smigiel – Stare Bojanowo – Smigiel (no photo stops).
  • 14:00 Smigiel – Nowa Wies – Smigiel (no photo stops).

Diesel locomotive Lxd2-241 will haul the Stare Bojanowo trains, diesel railcar MBxd2-226 the Nowa Wies trains. Fares are 10zl for the trains with photo stops and 5zl for those without.

Details of Sunday’s event were published on the website www.kolejka.smigiel.pl on Wednesday 7 November, unfortunately giving prospective visitors just four days notice!

The first year of the tourist operation has been a mixed experience for the new local council operators. While some events proved very popular, especially the early season school specials which carried around 600 children, and the public trains on 3 May which carried a total of 300 passengers, numbers dropped to around 100 for the ‘Smigiel days’ event on 26 May, and several planned trains were cancelled, on 23 June, 12 and 15-19 August. Rail enthusiasts were also dismayed by the sale for scrap of most of the transporter wagons previously used to carry standard gauge freight wagons on the narrow gauge line, the abandonment of the lines running into the PKP passenger station and freight interchange, as well as by the sale of two of the line’s Lxd2 locomotives.

Little train to Sroda

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

‘Little Train to Sroda’ by David Doré

David Doré is a professional film maker. He has scores of films, many made for the railway industry, to his credit. He has made some of his work accessible on Vimeo and we look forward to exploring it together on the pages of BTWT.

David made this superb short film about the Sroda narrow gauge railway in 1996. Happily, although there have been some recent rumblings that all is not well at Sroda, there does seem to be some good news at last. The railway’s support society recently organised a study tour for the mayor of Sroda and some of his officials to visit the narrow gauge line in Zittau.

Shortly after that a decision was made by the Town Council to fund the overhaul of one of the line’s two Px48s! What a pity that the Smigiel Railway’s support society has not shown similar enterprise and seems to be content to merely act as a fan club for that town’s mayor!

The decline and fall of the Smigiel Railway

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Wielichowo, 6.8.2012. Spot the railway track!
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to expand.)

Smigiel looking towards Wielichowo, 6.8.12.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to expand.)

Smigiel looking towards Stare Bojanowo, 6.8.12.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to expand.)

Same photo as above zoomed in on the works.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to expand.)

Former block post in foreground.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to expand.)

The former snack bar is now a police station.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to expand.)

Smigiel Railway in its SKPL days – a steam train chartered by the Wolsztyn Experience. Photo Marek Ciesielski.

(Click image to expand.)

Heard behind the water tower

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Ol49-69 at Wolsztyn on 6.8.2012. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

The Sroda Narrow Gauge railway is fighting for its life. Both the Mayor of Sroda Wielkopolska (where the line starts) and the Chief Executive of Sroda District Council (who own the line) favour turning the bulk of the 14 km railway into a cycle path. and keeping just a stub of the line at Sroda as part of a ‘Wild West’ theme park.

The Smigiel Narrow Gauge Railway has cancelled the trains planned for August. No explanation appears on the railway’s website. Apparently during a recent meeting, the deputy Mayor of Smigiel announced that the Town Council have ‘no interest’ in developing the line as a tourist attraction.

The team of bankers that have been injected into PKP SA and its daughter companies have vetoed the plan to move the heavy maintenance of Wolsztyn-based steam locomotives to Chabowka. Meanwhile Leszno overhauled Ol49-69 (the boilerwork was done at Interlok in Pila) is acquiring a good reputation amongst Wolsztyn drivers for its powerful and reliable performance.

Many thanks to BTWT’s dedicated team of informers who keep their ears to the ground!

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.

More:

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.)

More:

Brake blocks and tranporter wagons

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Smigiel Railway Freight in 2008. Video by .

Good Friday starts with early morning phone call from France, Can you help us source brake blocks for the L45h (PKP-Lxd2) locomotive? Hmm. So who else runs an intensive train service using Lxd2s and might be wearing out their brake blocks?

Dark thoughts gather. There’s nothing like hauling heavy standard gauge wagons on top of narrow gauge transporter wagons to wear out loco brake blocks. When BTWT started, Lxd2s operated a regular SKPL-operated freight service on the Krosniewice Railway. Now that’s gone. They also hauled frequent freight trains on the Smigiel Railway, now that Smigiel Council has cut up the majority of the transporter wagons, that’s gone for good.

The Gryfice Narrow Gauge Railway – now ominously renamed Nadmorska Kolej Dojazdowa (The Costal Narrow Gauge Railway) – runs a passenger service along its coastal stretch with almost tram-like intensity and that is either Lxd2 or Px48 hauled. But Gryfice is a long way away and Zbiersk is nearer.

The Kalisz narrow gauge railway remains the last narrow gauge railway operating regular freight services in Poland. I call my SKPL contact, Your French friend is in luck we are about to place an order with the foundry to get the next batch of brake blocks cast.

I am pleased that I have been able to help the Frenchman, but I cannot fight the growing feeling of dark despondency, The battle to retain narrow gauge freight operations in Poland is virtually lost.

How long until the only active Polish transporter wagons will be scale models? Video by .<

Smigiel – Tourist trains from May

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Neat station but rusty rails at Smigiel. Photo John Savery

John Savery was in Poland a week ago and called into Smigiel while passing. He sent us some photos of the slumbering yard and shed, and reported that little had visibly changed since his last visit, apart from the loss of the majority of the transporter wagons.

Meanwhile, operating dates for tourist trains in 2012 have been announced on the new Smigielska Kolej Waskotorowa website. Public trains will run on the following dates:

  1. Thursday 3 May
  2. Saturday 26 May – Smigiel Days
  3. Sunday 27 May – Mother’s Day
  4. Sunday 3 June – Children’s Day
  5. Saturday 23 June – An evening ride to welcome the summer
  6. Saturday 14 July
  7. Sunday 12 August
  8. Wednesday 15 – Sunday 19 August – International Folklore Festival
  9. Sunday 16 September – Smigiel Railway anniversary
  10. Sunday 11 November

No further details have been released yet, including timetables or prices. It seems fair to assume that the trains will only run over the Smigiel to Stare Bojanowo section of the line.

The remaining transporter wagons. Photo John Savery

John Savery writes: Around the back of the shed are 4 surviving transporter wagons.  The remainder appear to have gone for scrap.  They were lined up in the station area when I last called in, and there is solidified molten metal on the ground (evidence of oxy-acetylene cutting).

Derelict Romanian railcar outside the shed. Photo John Savery.

The railcar that has been up on a transport wagon for years is still there, still sitting on a transporter wagon.

A glimpse inside Smigiel shed. Photo John Savery.

Piles of sleepers remaining to be used. Photo John Savery.

The large pile of sleepers, mentioned in Smigiel smiles in its sleep, is still there. They have not been used yet, and there was no sign of activity when I was around (it was a Sunday morning though).

Bad tidings from Smigiel

Friday, 17 February 2012

STOP PRESS

Two Lxd2 diesels ready to leave Smigiel Yard 16 February 2011. Photo 007.

We have just heard that two Lxd2 diesels belonging to the Smigiel Railway have been loaded on low loaders at Smigiel Station.

That the operation was carried out late at night does not bode well for their fate.

Local supporters of the Smigiel Railway fear the worst – that Smigiel Town Council has sold the engines.

We will publish updates on this story just as soon as more information is received.

Smigiel celebrates Independence Day

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Commemoration of Poland’s Independence Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 11 November 2005. Photo Daria2005.

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

On 11th November Poland celebrates Independence Day, the day in 1918, when – after 123 years of having been wiped off the map of Europe – the country emerged like a phoenix from the ashes of WWII. That it did so owes a great deal to General Pilsudski.

Those BTWT readers interested in discovering more about these remarkable events and their historical background are recommended to look up two works by Norman Davies, the best historian for those interested in an unbiased account of Poland’s past: the easy to read, Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland’s Present or the more technical twin volume work, God’s Playground, A History of Poland: Vol. 1: Origins to 1795 and God’s Playground, A History of Poland: Vol. II: 1795 to the Present: 1795.

Poland takes Independence Day very seriously; the commemoration was banned by the Nazis and Soviets during their WW II occupation of Poland and the subsequent Soviet-imposed communist government. The day is a bank holiday. As well as the main event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw countless parades and commemorative events take place all around the country.

In recent years the Warsaw commemorations have been disturbed by a small number of violent activists who seem determined to spoil the event and Poland’s reputation abroad. This year a march was targeted by several bus loads of ‘rent-a-mob’ agitators from Germany. While the effect – perhaps deliberate – of such antics is that many Varsovians stay at home other commemorative events take place unimpeded all around the country.

Several of Poland’s heritage railways run special trains on 11 November and this year was no exception. The Piaseczno Narrow Gauge Railway’s special train was heavily booked, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the reopening for two days – Friday 11 November and Saturday 12 November – of the Smigiel Railway.

Two trains ran on each day from Smigiel to Stare Bojanowo under the auspices of the line’s new operator – the town council’s own direct labour force. Trains only ran as far as Stare Bojanowo Miasto, Smigiel Council having refused to make the payment – previously made by SKPL – to PKP which would have allowed trains to run the final 300 yards into the PKP station.

This was the first time that a public train train ran from Smigiel to Stare Bojanowo since SKPL relinquished its role as operator of the line. Some 200 passengers were carried each day. Sadly none of our contributors were able to attend. However a very comprehensive photo report was published by on the naszemiasto.pl portal. A thumbnail of the article with a link to the original appears below.

Smigiel: The train departed just as in the good old days

Photo reportage of the inaugural day on poznan.naszemiasto.pl

(Click image to go to the original article and view all 15 photos on the poznan.naszemiasto.pl portal.)

The Smigiel Railway now has its own official website. Mysteriously it does not feature any photographs of the reopening day, nor are there any photographs on the railway’s page on the council’s own website.

We have regularly asked BTWT readers to put pen to paper to appeal for the rescue of part of Poland’s railway heritage. Our readers have been generous in their response to our appeals. Perhaps now might be a good time to write to the Mayor of Smigiel to congratulate him on the reopening of the line.

If you are considering dropping him a line, do take the opportunity to remind him that the restoration of the link to the PKP freight interchange is essential if he wants to acquire or borrow rolling stock from the outside world, and that cutting up the freight transporter wagons might turn out to be a very short-sited move.

Smigiel Railway in the 1960s

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Smigiel Railway hangs on to its future existence by a slender thread, so we thought it timely to remind BTWT readers what this railway was like in the 1960s: 13 trains each way with two two-coach train sets in operation. This delightful film was made by Lodz animation studio Semafor and uploaded onto YouTube by YamanKos.

Some 60 years later Smigiel Yard still had a track layout befitting the HQ of a major narrow gauge railway and the line between Smigiel and Stare Bojanowo still enjoyed a regular passenger service as seen on this video by bosz112. To see the present state of the line please see our recent post.

Smigiel Railway – inspection 17.09.11

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Does a retired railway employee still cut the grass? Stare Bojanowo Wask waits patiently for its next train, but Smigiel Council has decided to abandon this section of line. Photo BTWT.

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on the image.)

In order to save a small wayleave payment to PKP, Smigiel Council has abandoned the passenger main line beyond the semaphore signal and blocked the line to the PKP interchange on the right. Photo BTWT.

The new railhead – Stare Bojanowo Miasto. Photo BTWT.

Beyond the new railhead looking towards Smigiel. Is the track being used for grazing cattle? Photo BTWT.

The track is still visible here, SKPL had this section of track raised and relayed. Photo BTWT.

Looking back towards Stare Bojanowo, the track is overgrown beyond the bridge. Photo BTWT.

Would you guess that there is a railway under all that grass? Most of the line is heavily overgrown. Looking back towards Stare Bojanowo. Photo BTWT.

The same place looking towards Smigiel. Photo BTWT.

Thanks to the lobbying of SKPL and local management a new bridge was built here to accommodate the Smigiel by-pass across the railway. Photo BTWT.

Sadly Smigiel Council seems to have less interest in maintaining the integrity of the railway. Photo BTWT.

At Smigiel the Council carefully maintains the impression that nothing has changed since the line was run by SKPL. Photo BTWT.

Even the signs remain the same! Photo BTWT.

Defend the Smigiel Railway!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The new Stare Bojanowo ‘bridge’. Photo Albert Mikolajczyk.

If anyone doubts the need to defend the Smigiel Railway, just look at the photo above.

Strike a blow for Smigiel – part 2

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Aleksander Starzynski
Wielkopolski Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow
ul. Golebia 2
61-834 Poznan
POLAND

Dear Mr Starzynski,

Although I live in Great Britain, I write as someone who regards himself as a friend of Poland, the Province of Wielkopolska and Wielkopolska’s railway heritage. Over the years, I have visited the Smigiel area over a dozen times to photograph and ride upon the narrow gauge railway which today still survives between Wielichowo and Stare Bojanowo, but which – as recently as the 1970s – ran as far as Rakonowice and Krzywin.

It is with great sadness that I have watched the decline of the railway in the last few years. It was the last survivor of Poland’s once extensive narrow gauge railways which continued to operate an all the year round passenger and freight services.

Sadly, Smigiel Town Council seems not to know just what a precious asset it has in its custody. During the period that the Council has been responsible for the line, not only did it not invest any of its own money in its operation and conservation, but rather tried to sequester as much money as possible from the operating grant generously made available by the Chief Executive’s Office for other purposes.

Notwithstanding the historical significance of the line, the Mayor of Smigiel and other representatives of Smigiel Town Council have declared on recent occasions that were not interested in sustain its role as a ‘real’ narrow gauge railway only in developing the line as a kind of ‘fair ground’ tourist attraction. Yet their recent decisions will only demonstrate that they are not interested in developing the line at all:

  • Their financial shenanigans have driven away the line’s operating company, SKPL, who were willing to run the line at a very modest cost.
  • They have closed the popular refreshment rooms at Smigiel and turned them into a police station.
  • They have filled in a cutting thereby blocking the railway’s freight connection to PKP preventing the transfer of steam locomotives by rail. Steam traction on the Smigiel line has been in previous years a great crowd puller.
  • They have abandoned a key section of line linking the Smigiel Railway with the PKP station making it much more difficult for elderly or disabled people to access the line in the future.

Over the years the office of the Chief Executive of Wielkopolska province has taken a leading role in sustaining and developing Wielkopolska’s railway heritage. I understand that, even though this year no trains are running at Smigiel, it gave the Town Council a 60,000 zloty grant towards the upkeep of the railway. Sadly there is very little evidence that it is being spent on the line itself. Perhaps it will be used to fund the ‘party’ the Council plans to hold on the occasion of the line’s 111th birthday?

I and thousands of other industrial heritage enthusiasts around the world respectfully ask you to use whatever influence you can bring to bear to persuade Smigiel Town Council to safeguard and develop this precious asset.

Yours sincerely

 

This slightly reworded letter will be sent to the Province’s Conservator of Historic Monuments. Please write and mail your own letters. Again, please do not copy the above letter exactly, but by all means use it as a base which you edit to reflect your own thoughts about the line and its historic significance.

Contact details:

Aleksander Starzynski
Wielkopolski Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow
ul. Golebia 2
61-834 Poznan
POLAND

tel +48 61 852-80-03, 852-80-04,
fax 852-80-02
e-mail wosoz@poznan.uw.gov.pl

Strike a blow for Smigiel – part 1

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Marek Woźniak
Chief Executive of the Wielkopolska Province
al. Niepodleglosci 18
61-713 Poznan
Poland

Dear Mr Wozniak,

I write as someone who regards himself as a friend of Poland and the Wielkopolska Province, although I live in Great Britain. Over the years I have visited the Smigiel area over a dozen times to photograph and ride upon the narrow gauge railway which today still survives between Wielichowo and Stare Bojanowo, but which as recently as the 1970s ran as far as Rakonowice and Krzywin.

It is with great sadness that I have watched the decline of the railway in the last few years. It seems that during this period Smigiel Town Council did not invest any of their won money the operation and conservation of the line, but rather tried to sequester as much money as possible from the operating grant generously made available by your office for other purposes.

Notwithstanding the environmental and social benefits of maintaining a rail-link between the PKP main line and Smigiel, the Mayor of Smigiel and other representatives of Smigiel Town Council have declared on recent occasions that they are interested only in developing the line as a tourist attraction. Yet their recent decisions will only demonstrate that they are not interested in developing the line at all:

  • Their financial shenanigans have driven away the line’s operating company, SKPL, who were willing to run the line at a very modest cost.
  • They have closed the popular refreshment rooms at Smigiel and turned them into a police station.
  • They have blocked the railway’s freight connection to PKP preventing the transfer of steam locomotives by rail. Steam traction on the Smigiel line has been in previous years a great crowd puller.
  • They have abandoned the section of line linking the Smigiel Railway with the PKP station making it much more difficult for elderly or disabled people to access the line in the future.

Over the years your office has taken a leading role in sustaining and developing Wielkopolska’s railway heritage. I understand that, even though this year no trains are running at Smigiel, your office has given the Town Council a 60,000 zloty grant towards the upkeep of the railway. Sadly there is very little evidence that it is being spent on the line itself. Perhaps it will be used to fund the ‘party’ the Council plans to hold on the occasion of the line’s 111th birthday?

I and thousands of other industrial heritage enthusiasts around the world respectfully ask you to use whatever influence you can bring to bear to persuade Smigiel Town Council to safeguard and develop this precious asset.

Yours sincerely

 

The above is a first draft of a letter that I and my friends will be sending to the Chief Executive of Wielkopolska Province. Please write and mail your own letters. Please do not copy the above letter exactly, but by all means use it as a base which you edit to reflect your own thoughts about the line. From many years past experience letters and faxes (which have a legal status) receive more consideration in Poland than e-mails.

Contact details:

Marek Woźniak
Chief Executive of the Wielkopolska Province
al. Niepodleglosci 18
61-713 PoznanRoom 142, Building C
POLAND

tel +48 (61) 854-19-88, 854-18-47
fax + 48 (61) 854-17-17
e-mail: marszalek@umww.pl

Second Smigiel shock

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Both lines to the East of l.c. are now abandoned. Google Maps.

It hardly seems possible that only a few years ago the previous mayor of Smigiel was talking about his plans to reopen the first 7km of the Stare Bojanowo – Krzywin section and to link Smigiel with the man-made lakes near Woniesc. (Scroll the map to see the abandoned route of the line and its close proximity to the lakes.)

Of late, the only operational part of this section was the 1km kept open as part of the standard gauge interchange to the East of the main line. Smigiel Town Council have not only cut off the Smigiel Railway from its freight connection the outside world by filling-in the railway cutting to the interchange, they have decided to cut off its passenger connection as well by abandoning the section of line leading to the passenger station at Stare Bojanowo!

This is vandalism that cannot be allowed to continue without making our protests heard! Writing to Smigiel Town Council will do no good – their collective heads are buried in the sand. We must take up the cudgels elsewhere! See tomorrow’s post for names and addresses for letter-writing targets and other ways of helping.

Smigiel railway dies, but slowly

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The severed freight link. Photo Albert Mikolajczyk.

(Click the image to see the rest of Albert Mikolakczyk’s photographic survey of the current state of the Smigiel narrow gauge railway as posted on the 750mm.pl discussion forum.)

Any hopes that the tide was turning for the Smigiel Railway (see John Savery’s recent post on BTWT) have been swept away by some recent posts on the on the 750mm.pl discussion forum. The first of these posted on the 9 September was the program for the lines 111th birthday celebrations to take place on 25 September:

Family afternoon at the Smigiel narrow-gauge railwayThe event will take place on September 25, 2011
at the station in Smigiel – from 15:00 to 18:00.

The program includes:

Awarding honorary membership of the Society of
the Friends of the Smigiel Narrow Gauge Railway
Presentation of rolling stock
Performance by the band “Regent” from Czempin
An art contest for children and adults
A race for a “Railway friend” certificate
An exhibition of photographs
A visit to the workshops
Games, sports and recreation – a birthday cake

Any comment by BTWT would be entirely superfluous.

Even sadder are the photos posted by Albert Mikolajczyk of the ‘repair’ of the wooden bridge that used to straddle the erstwhile Krzywin branch at Stare Bojanowo. The new embankment cuts off the Smigiel Railway from the standard gauge interchange and kills off the possibility of any rail delivery of repaired locomotives and rolling stock.

Since the Mayor and Deputy Major have little interest in the line. I suggest sending angry letters to the Chairman of Smigiel Town Council. I will post the contact details tomorrow.

Smigiel smiles in its sleep…

Monday, 8 August 2011

John Savery contributes BTWT’s 800th post

Smigiel Yard on 5 August 2011. Molehills? Photo by John Savery

Actually spot resleepering! Photo by John Savery

Secondhand sleepers. Photo by John Savery

Transporter wagons await their fate.  Photo by John Savery

On 5 August, I called in to Smigiel on the way between Wolsztyn and Jarocin.  I had heard that there had been a tender for the sale of the transporter wagons (details are on the council’s website – see link) but was unclear if any had been sold or not.  As I was within a stone’s throw, I called in to see if there was any sign of them, half expecting to see someone cutting them up (even though the tender had been for rail use only.)

What I found, was a large number of transporters in the station area, all with lot numbers spray painted on.  As I drove down past the side of the station, I noticed a large pile of sleepers in the distance, and, curious as to what they were doing there (and partially fearing the worst – tracklifting) found they were all ex-standard gauge sleepers, and lots of them.  As I parked up, someone came out of the workshop, so I greeted them and asked them about the sleepers.  They explained that it was for remont and indicated the station area.  I said that there were no trains now, and the guy said that the railway was now owned by the town.  I asked who paid for the sleepers, and he replied that the town had bought them. (I assume that this means the council.)  I asked if there would be trains next year, and it got a half shrug, Byc moze.

There were a couple of guys in the workshop area behind the shed.  I didn’t actually see anyone physically working outside, but the activity looks very recent.  There was a clear single shiny line on one set of rails where something had been moved fairly recently.  I couldn’t work out what it was.

As far as the resleepering goes, the size of the pile tells its own story.  There are a fair few there, and I imagine that you could cut them in half and get two out of each one given the gauge difference.

As you can see in the photos looking down the yard, there are a good few excavations where sleepers are being changed.  Each one is marked with an “X” on the rail head.

The stock around the yard is more or less as it was left.  There is a broken window in one coach, the railcar or coach is still minus its bogie and stuck up on a transporter wagon (I don’t remember how many years it has been like that – a good few) and a diesel is still dumped outside the shed.  I’d guess that all the transporters have been moved to Smigiel as part of the tender process.

The Px48 is still there, although the tree behind it has collapsed in the winds (I asked the guy I spoke to about the tree and he said that it collapsed in the winds.)

More:

First Smigiel special since SKPL withdrawal

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Wolsztyn Experience and Smigiel Town Council – Updated



Special train 7 February, 2011. Photo ©Marek Ciesielski

On 7 February 2011, the Smigiel Railway has ran its first special train since responsibility for the line reverted back to Smigiel Town Council. The train was run under the auspices of the Wolsztyn Experience and was the first service to operate since the withdrawal of SKPL from its role of operator and infrastructure manager.

Both sides deny that this could this be the harbinger of things to come and stress that this was only a one off arrangement. Wolsztyn Experience explain that they have enough on their plate running their footplate courses and Smigiel Town Smigiel Town Council do not want to enter into any arrangements of this sort till March. However the thought does come to mind that if Smigiel Town Council – who are the line’s legal owners – were to act as infrastructure manager, and partner with another organisation, with the latter taking the role of operator, there would be no opportunity for the sort of buck passing that took place during SKPL’s tenure of the line. In addition, the Council are hardly likely to charge themselves local taxes, although these could be levied by Wielichowo Council for the rateable railway land and buildings which lie within their parish.

There are several heritage railway organisations in Poland who would be delighted – for an appropriate fee – to operate the Smigiel Railway. Wolsztyn Experience has the advantage of being head-quartered less than one hour away and has plenty of experience in promoting and running special trains. It also has access to a large group of people who work as volunteers in various capacities on UK heritage railways. If the Town Council are serious about running their railway as a tourist line, they could do no worse than consider a partnership with Wolsztyn Experience. Watch this space!