Archive for the ‘Wrzesnia’ Category

Wrzesnia District Railway, 1939 (Part 3)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

by ‘Inzynier’

(continued from: The Wrzesnia District Railway, 1939 Part 2)

After a long first day travelling north from Witaszyce to Wrzesnia via Pyzdry, we have slept well and are ready to continue our journey north towards Gniezno…


Wrzesnia and the freight-only narrow gauge railway north-east towards Kleparz. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

After a long day and an evening talking politics over a few glasses with the locals in our Wrzesnia hotel, we have slept well. We wake refreshed and have a hearty breakfast, for we have another heavy day ahead.

The Wrzesnia district railway, on which we reached the town the previous evening, is linked to the Gniezno district railway and, through it, with the main PKP Kujawy system. The link line to the Gniezno railway once had a passenger service, but this last ran in 1928. Fortunately, however, our discussion with the locomotive crew during our long wait at Pyzdry yesterday revealed that they were rostered for a freight train north from Wrzesnia today, and they have invited us to join them. So, after breakfast we pay our bill and walk back to the yard.

While the regular passenger service to Pyzdry warrants use of the railway’s most modern motive power, freight services on the line north are not required to adhere to a strict timetable and so the older locomotives are used. Consequently, we can see at the depot loco No. 3 raising steam, a Krauss 0-6-2T dating from 1897(13). A cheery wave from the crew hastens us across to join them.

Before we can depart, however, there is much shunting to be done, so we take the opportunity to have a look at the loco depot, where we see No. 2 standing cold inside the shed(14) and No. 4 outside undergoing boiler washout(15). An hour or more passes as wagons are moved from one siding to another and finally we are ready to depart with a train consisting of a couple of bogie wagons full of coal and half a dozen empties, plus the inevitable brake van.

Leaving the yard we pass the station and head north and north east(16). On the outskirts of town a siding runs back to the right, serving a dairy, and soon afterwards we cross on the level the standard gauge Wrzesnia – Strzalkowo line which, when the narrow gauge was built, was just a branch to a village near the border with Russia. Since the early ’20s, however, it has become part of the main line between Poznan and Warszawa; this may be one of the reasons why passenger trains no longer run on the northern part of the Wrzesnia system.

We cross the standard gauge with the main Wrzesnia – Gniezno highway on our right, and continue alongside the road (seeing a motor car as well as a bus) for a while before crossing it to set out into the countryside. We cross a watercourse and a couple of trackways to reach the halt at Sokolowo, with its loading loop, beside a large farm at a junction of trackways.

Continuing alongside a trackway (and beyond that a drainage channel), we pass the loading loop at Ostrowo Poludnie, the classic ‘halt in the middle of nowhere’. We soon curve left across another ditch, still alongside the trackway and then head right, leaving the trackway, across another roadway and enter Ostrowo Wask., another loading loop beside a large farm and junction of trackways, but this time a siding leads off from the loop to the farm on the left. Here there is a brief pause while the fireman rakes the fire and adds some more coal, then we continue eastward, across a couple of ditches, and curve slightly right before passing the loading loop at Ostrowo Wschod.


Kleparz, where the Wrzesnia and Gniezno narrow gauge systems officially joined. All three branch lines had closed by 1939. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

After another kilometre we turn sharply left to run alongside a road, noting as we do so a turnout to the right that was the start of a siding back alongside the road to Gutowo Male; this siding has obviously been lifted relatively recently. And so we arrive at Kleparz, 8km from Wrzesnia, the original ‘terminus’ of the Wrzesnia district railway, but on the same day that the line opened to here, the Gniezno district railway extended its Mierzewo branch to form an end-on junction with the Wrzesnia line.

The Kleparz – Mierzewo section seems to have been worked by the Wrzesnia railway from the outset, though quite when this was formalised by way of a lease is not entirely clear. What is clear, however, is that the heyday of Kleparz as a railway centre is now over, for although the loading loop survives (with a couple of empty wagons in it), along with the halt’s short ‘platform’, beyond it we pass remnants of two more recently dismantled lines: one runs back on the right, now only to the far side of the road crossing, while the other consists only of a diamond crossing with the main line and again the level crossing with the road. The first line used to run east and south some 3km to Gutowo Wielkie, crossing the standard gauge Poznan – Wrzesnia line and having a short branch to Gutowo standard gauge station, while the second ran north west for about a kilometre.

to be continued…


13) Wrzesnia no. 3 was Krauss works no. 3594. It was renumbered 5 in 1939 (I have assumed after the German occupation), and taken into PKP stock in 1949, becoming Pxb2-852. It went to Bialosliwie in 1957, became Pyb3-852 in 1961 and was withdrawn in 1963.

14) Wrzesnia no. 2 was another Krauss 0-6-2T, works no. 3593 of 1897. It was renumbered 1 in 1939, and became PKP’s Pxb2-851 in 1949. It went to Bialosliwie in 1957, became Pyb3-851 in 1961 and was withdrawn in 1966.

15) Wrzesnia no. 4 was a Krauss 0-6-0T, works no. 5156 of 1904. It was renumbered 2 in 1939 and became PKP’s Ty1-155 in 1949. It was sold to industry in 1955.

16) The Wrzesnia – Kleparz and Kleparz – Mierzewo sections opened in 1898 and were converted to 750mm gauge in 1957. Wrzesnia – Sokolowo closed in 1972, severing the remaining part of the Wrzesnia line from the main Kujawy system. Sokolowo – Mierzewo closed in 1979. Kleparz – Mierzewo reopened for the 1980 sugar campaign, but closed again the following year.

Wrzesnia District Railway, 1939 (Part 2)

Monday, 19 August 2013

by ‘Inzynier’

(continued from: The Wrzesnia District Railway, 1939 Part 1 )

Having started our narrow gauge exploration at 08:25 at Witaszyce, we are on the last leg of our first day’s travels – the 19:21 from Pyzdry to Wrzesnia – approaching the junction station of Zieliniec…


Zieliniec, the major junction on the system. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

After a couple of kilometres with the main road still on our right comes Zieliniec, clearly a major location in railway terms. We pass through the first loading loop alongside the road, then swing left, away from the road, and a branch comes in from the right – this runs some 4km to loading points and a farm at Bieganowo(10).

Then comes the station itself, alongside a road and with the passing loop straddling a trackway that leads off to the south. Here we wait for about 3 minutes, while the guard uses the telephone to get clearance for the section ahead. From the west end of the loop another branch heads back to the left, running 8km to Krzywa Gora. Curiously, this line initially runs south, parallel to the main line, before heading off west to serve various farms and loading points, with a couple of short subsidiary branches.

With permission obtained to enter the next section we start away again and curve right, across the minor road, and encounter the third part of the Zieliniec ‘complex’ as a siding to the left is followed by another loading loop, from which yet another siding branches back right to the estate farm. Now we head out across open country, the main Wrzesnia road now some way off to our right and gradually diverging from the railway.


Neryngowo station in 1970. Photo Andrzej Smigielski.

(Click to see the full size image on Baza Kolejowa)

Soon we pass the halt at Janowo, with a loading loop into which runs a field railway from the east, and shortly afterwards we cross a road and pause briefly at Neryngowo, which again has a loading loop and a short branch running in from the right, which was only built in the last year or so(11).

Setting off again, we soon lose the trackway that serves the loading point, and as we run across the fields we pass over a small river before reaching Nadarzyce, with another loading loop and a short branch heading off to the north east(12). We curve slightly to the left, following the slight valley of the Wrzesnica river, and cross another small river before reaching Kaczanowo halt – another loading loop but no branch this time.


Leaving Kaczanowo we cross a road and curve right to run alongside it, following the right and left hand curves of the road, crossing a few trackways and another watercourse as the buildings of Wrzesnia come into sight. A curve to the left brings us to Wrzesnia Miasto halt, its loading loop sandwiched in the fork between two roads. The location is obviously considered more convenient for the town than the standard gauge station, for it boasts a quite sizeable and very modern station building; a number of passengers alight here.

Leaving the halt we cross a fairly major road and after a few hundred metres turn sharply right across a more minor road and then there opens out a fan of narrow gauge tracks. On the left we pass the railway’s offices and a transhipment facility with the standard gauge tracks, while on the right a multitude of parked up wagons and vans partly obscures our view until, at the north end of the yard, we pass the workshops and four-track loco depot, accessed via a turntable in roundhouse style.

Our train, moving fairly slowly now, crosses a standard gauge siding serving the sugar factory on our right, while to the left is a range of standard gauge sidings forming part of the main station yard. We trundle over a couple of turnouts that give access to the narrow gauge sidings serving the factory, pass a run-round loop and weighbridge, cross a road and then grind to a halt at Wrzesnia station, consisting of another run-round loop, another weighbridge, a siding heading back to the sugar factory and a small ticket office.

The 24km from Pyzdry to Wrzesnia have been covered in 1 hour and 17 minutes, an average speed of just under 19kph (around 12 mph). A few passengers from our train walk across to the standard gauge station and, as the locomotive heads off for the shed, we gather our bags and walk to our inn for the night, fortunately not far from the station, for it is already after 20:30 and the day’s exploration has left us weary and ready for a quick meal, some beer and bed.

to be continued…


10) The Bieganowo and Krzywa Gora branches opened about 1911, were regauged to 750mm in 1957 and closed in 1966.

11) The Neryngowo – Gozdowo branch opened about 1938, but was closed in 1946.

12) The Nadarzyce branch opened in 1898, was cut back to a few hundred metres after 1945 and probably closed in 1957 when the rest of the railway was re-gauged.

Wrzesnia District Railway, 1939 (Part 1)

Monday, 12 August 2013

by ‘Inzynier’

(continued from: The Jarocin District Railway, 1939 Part 2 )

After a hot two hour walk we have enjoyed a couple of glasses of the local brew at Pyzdry, the southern terminus of the Wrzesnia District Railway…  .


Pyzdry, the southern terminus of the Wrzesnia District Railway. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

Pyzdry station is another relatively simple terminus, the railway having extended this far as recently as 1930. The track layout consists of the platform line, run-round loop and dead-end loading siding. The small lavatory is situated at a suitable distance from the main station building which, rather curiously, combines the waiting room, dispatcher’s office, locomotive shed and seemingly train crew lodging in a single block; access to the loco shed is via a turntable which is located, instead of the usual turnout, at the convergence of the platform line and run-round loop.

Compared to the Jarocin district railway, the Wrzesnia line’s timetable is extensive, with a daily service of three trains each way. A locomotive is stabled at Pyzdry overnight, with the first departure of the day being at 05.18 and the last arrival at 23.17. We reach the station in time to see a passenger train arrive shortly after 4pm, but we have a long wait until the next departure at 19.21.

The locomotive today is the almost new No. 5, built the previous year by the factory at Chrzanow(7). The crew see our interest in their steed and proudly show us all the ‘mod cons’ such as the superheated boiler which allows the 0-8-0 tender locomotive to develop no less than 110hp. The train of two bogies coaches and a van, however, are much older, dating from the opening of the line in 1898.


Wagons in the loading siding at Borzykowo II in 1970. Photo Andrzej Smigielski.

(Click to see the full size image on Baza Kolejowa)

During the layover, the crew take the opportunity to clean the fire, pull forward coal and fill up the tender water tank using the pump located beside the turntable and eventually the time comes for our train to depart. Soon we are off across the road and then swinging left to run alongside it(8).

On our way north west to Borzykowo we cross again the former border between Germany and Russia and, after 4km, comes our first stop at Borzykowo II station, once the frontier post, where a line trails in from the left. This was once the terminus of the line and the track leads to a run-round loop and loading siding. About a kilometre further comes Borzykowo I station, again once a terminus, but now just a loading loop. By this time of day there are few passengers and most station stops are brief.


Zydowo and the Gorazdowo branch. Extract from the WIG map of 1935.

(Click to download the full size map. Warning: Very large file)

Another couple of kilometres of running alongside the main road brings us to Kolaczkowo, a loop and a long siding off to the left leading to a farm complex, at which our train crosses the main road to Wrzesnia and then turns sharply to the right to run alongside it. Then comes Zydowo, where we cross the road and a branch heads back to the right for 2km to a loading point and distillery at Gorazdowo(9).

The halt has three tracks: the main line, a loading loop and the branch to Gorazdowo sandwiched between them and crossing the access track to the loading siding by means of a diamond crossing. On leaving Zydowo we cross back over the main road and shortly reach Sokolniki, with its loading loop and waiting shelter.



7) Wrzesnia no. 5 was Chrzanow works no. 727. It was renumbered 4 in 1939 (I have assumed after the German occupation) and taken into PKP stock in 1949, becoming Px2-805. It went to Bialosliwie in 1957 and to Myszyniec in 1958, initially became Px4-805 in 1961 and then Px38-805. It went back to Bialosliwie in 1972 or 1973 and later to Znin. The superheating was later removed and it became PKP’s last operational 600mm gauge steam locomotive. It is still at Znin and believed to be still operational.

8) The Wrzesnia railway opened the Wrzesnia – Borzykowo I line in 1898. In 1905 the line was extended to Borzykowo II; this section may have closed in 1920 but then re-opened and was extended to Pyzdry in 1930. The railway was regauged to 750mm in 1957 and closed in 1976.

9) The Gorazdowo branch opened in 1898, was regauged to 750mm in 1957 and closed in 1966.