Posts Tagged ‘Gniezno’

The fire goes out in the last Tr5 in the World

Thursday, 10 December 2009

2-8-0 Tr5-65 simmers quietly in Wolsztyn shed on the night of 4/5 December prior to its last run in service. Photo ©Tomasz Domzalski.

(Click on the picture to see some more of Tomasz Domazalski’s photos of Tr5-65’s last night in steam.)

Bearing in mind that nearly 700 locomotives of this class were constructed in Germany and that they worked in Austria, East and West Germany as well as Poland it is strange turn of events that the last example of this class found itself last week completing its last service run from Wolsztyn to Sieniawa Lubuska via Zbaszynek and Toporow.

Tr5-65 started life in 1921 as Prussian State Railways 5312, an 0-8-0 goods engine, a member of the G8-1 class. It was built at the Berlin-Drewitz works of Orenstein & Koppel and initially based in the Stettin (Szczecin) division. In all some 5,000 G8-1s were built. They were designed by Robert Hermann Garbe, Head of the Construction of Superheated Steam Locomotives and Tenders at the Prussian Railway Central Office in Berlin, as a more powerful development of the Prussian G8 class. In this guise they had two main drawbacks, a maximum speed of only 55 km/h which made their use impractical on passenger services and an axle load of 17.5 tonnes which prevented their use on many lightly laid branch lines.

Between 1934 and 1941 the Deutsche Reichsbahn rebuilt a total of 691 former G8-1s as 2-8-0s. The boiler was raised and extended forwards, the front of the frames was extended and fitted with a Bissel pony truck. The original cylinders and motion were retained, the resulting offset between the centre of the cylinders and the new position of the chimney giving the locomotives a somewhat ungainly appearance when viewed from the side. The result was the Deutsche Reichsbahn Class 56 steam locomotive. The pony truck make the Class 56s stable at 70 km/h and enabled them to be used on passenger workings. Their 16.2 tonne maximum axleload, made possible by sharing the weight of the engine across the 5th axle, allowed the engines to be used on a greater number of branch lines. Tr5-65, then Deutsche Reichsbahn 55 5607, emerged in its new guise as Deutsche Reichsbahn 56 511, after being rebuilt in Schneidemühl (Pila) in 1938.

During WWII the engines were dispersed over a large part of Europe; many of the engines being assigned to the Eastern Front and many of these undoubtedly perished. After the War, most of their duties were taken over by the ubiquitous Deutsche Reichsbahn Class 52 ‘Kriegsloks’ 2-10-0s, which had a 15.0 tonne maximum axleload; and their demise was swift. The fate of the surviving engines in the Soviet Union is undocumented. The 5 engines that were taken over by Austrian Railways were all withdrawn by 1956. The Deutsche Bundesbahn took over 368 engines and withdrew them all by 1968. The East German Deutsche Reichsbahn kept last examples running upto 1969. PKP took over 66 locomotives giving them the classification Tr5. After initially working all over Poland they were concentrated in the Wroclaw and Katowice areas being allocated until the end of their working lives to the sheds at Legnica, Opole, Rybnik and Tarnowskie Gory. A few soldiered on into the early 1970s being employed on shunting duties.

The very last example was dumped at Jaworzyna Slask in 1972 to wait for better times. 22 years later it was chosen to be one of the engines that was take part in celebrations commemorating the 150th anniversary of railways in the territory of Poland that were to take place in 1975. Its restoration to working order was carried out in the rolling stock workshops at Pila.

In spite of undergoing an intermediate overhaul in Gniezno in 2004, and a heavy overhaul at the same works in 2007, Tr5-65 has a worn out boiler and its ticket expired on 5 December this year. That day it hauled a farewell special organised by the ‘Friends of Wolsztyn Steam Depot’ which ran from from Wolsztyn to Sieniawa Lubuska. So ends the latest chapter of Tr5-65’s history. It joins a long line of Wolsztyn engines waiting for better times: Ol49-111, Pm36-2, Pt47-112, Ol49-23, Ol49-69, Ok1-359, Ok22-31 all of which were in working order only a few years ago.

Sources (text in Polish) and photos:

Kraina Zywych Maszyn – Tr5
Wciaz pod para – Tr5-65
Parowozy z Wolsztyna – Parowoz Tr5-65

Smoke and mirrors

Sunday, 21 September 2008

BTWT EXCLUSIVE!

Today’s 11.40 Ozorkow-Leczyca shuttle at Strykow

The Krosniewice Railawy came briefly to life this weekend during a festival at Leczyca thanks to the lobbying of SKOKW (The Krosniewice-Ozorkow Narrow Gauge Railway Society) . An intensive shuttle service bewteen Leczyca and Ozorkow was operated on both days.

Andrzej Olszewski interviewed for the local TV news

The two day festival would not have been possible without the enthusiasm of the Mayor of Leczyca, Andrzej Olszewski. Mrs Barbara Herman, the Mayor of Krosniewice, agreed to the ‘reopening’ of the railway for the two days of the festival. On Sunday afternoon she graced the proceedings in order to establish her bona fides as a supporter of the railway. Unfortunately none of the media present asked the obvious question – if she supports the railway, why did she close it?

The Mayors of Leczyca and Krosniewice

Mrs Herman’s predecesor as Mayor had obtained a licence from PKP (Polish State Railways) for Krosniewice Council to manage the railway, granted an operating licence to SKPL and was in the process of acquiring the freehold to the railway land. But Mrs Herman had other plans and she closed the railway in March 2008. A month earlier she had given notice to SKPL, the railway’s operator, that their operating agreement was to be terminated. Since then she has made no moves to appoint another operator.

Krosniewice Town Council’s agreement with PKP was subject to a condition that the railway would be used for transport purposes. Mrs Herman regards this condition too restrictive and recently met with representatives of councils through whose land the railway runs to press the case for her own plan whereby each local authority along the line would takes over their local section of railway land from PKP without any transport condition being imposed. The danger of this plan is that it gives each local council a free hand as to what they might eventually do with the railway land. (Mrs Herman has friends who want to redevelop the railway station and workshop site at Krosniewice.) We already know that other local councils at the northern end of the line are more interested in building a cycle path than owning and running a railway.

Is this to be the sad future of the Kujawy Railways? The banner says “The Ozorkow-Leczyca-Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway”.

The Krosniewice Railway is a 110 km fragment of the former Kujawy Railway Network which in its heyday comprised some 2,000 kilometres of narrow gauge lines of both 750 mm and 600 mm gauge. The network comprised a core network of PKP operated common carrier railways and many hundreds of kilometres of private sugar beet railways. When PKP closed the network in 2001, the Kujawy Railway was split up into three sections based on Gniezno, Sompolno and Krosniewice.

Whereas railway enthusiasts were successful in persuading local councils in Gniezno and Krosniewice to take over their sections of line, they were less successful with the central section at Sompolno. The well equipped railway workshops were gutted by scrap thieves and this once important railway junction now resembles a wilderness. The Gniezno section is beong operated purely as a tourist line. Meanwhile SKPL, with its regular service which linked the sugar refinery at Breszcz Kujawski to the PKP network, maintained the Krosniewice Railway as Poland’s last narrow gauge rail servicing the sugar beet industry.

When Mrs Herman was elected Mayor, she immediately started making difficulties for SKPL demanding that the society hand over monies for rents which her predecessor had prevented it from collecting. She then demanded that SKPL vacate the railway workshops and when the society objected she terminated their operating agreement. From our own moles in PKP we know that Mrs Herman has threatened that if she does not gain control of the railway land she wants for redevelopment she will let the whole railway “go to the dogs”.

SKOKW Chairman, Pawel Papierz

During the festival Pawel Papierz, SKOKW chairman, said that this year there had only been one weekend of operation on the Krosniewice – Ozorkow branch, but that next year there would be trains every weekend during the operating season. It was significant that the line’s ‘owner’ Mrs Herman made no such promise, nor has her council entered into any agreement with SKOKW or any other potential operator.

The train at Leczyca about to return to Krosniewice

Słupsk Depot Demolition

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Two mechanical diggers make quick work of Slupsk MPD
picture by Glos Pomorza click photo for more pictures

The Motive Power Depot in Slupsk closed in the winter of 2001 and 2002. For the first couple of years, the railway police kept watch over the complex, then after a time nobody seemed to care. Scrap thieves helped themselves liberally to whatever items they fancied, if they were fixed they they utilised a little mechanical help. Police turned a blind eye. One of the roundhouses burnt down in mysterious circumstances in 2003, now the rest of the depot is being demolished, only the two round towers, which are listed as historic monuments, will remain.

Other locomotive depots whose fate remains uncertain include Pila, Gniezno and Pyskowice. A splendid MPD existed in Warsaw in Praga Poludnie. There were suggestions that it be developed into a new home for the national railway museum and that the items in the national collection be moved there under cover. In the event Praga Poludnie was demolished and the national collection rolling stock continues to deteriorate in the open.

Warsaw Railway Museum’s EP05-01 stored in the open