Posts Tagged ‘Piotrkow’

Autumn at Jedrzejow

Monday, 11 October 2010

Flat wagon loaded with bridge timbers at Jedrzejow, 10 October 2010.
Photo BTWT
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(Click any of the images accompanying today’s post to see a larger version.)

I love narrow gauge freight operations and was delighted to find this flat wagon loaded with bridge timbers in the yard at Jedrzejow station. Part of the line runs on a long viaduct across a marsh.

Open wagon at Jedrzejow, 10 October 2010.
Photo BTWT
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It has been a long time since this open wagon carried its last load of sugar beet, but it is still maintained in operating condition for photographic charters.

Passenger stock at Jedrzejow, 10 October 2010.
Photo BTWT

The passenger stock is maintained in tip-top condition. Unfortunately the Swietokrzyska Kolejka Dojazdowa like other Polish narrow gauge railways has no covered accommodation for its rolling stock.

Px48-1724 in its shed Jedrzejow, 10 October 2010.
Photo BTWT
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Although this was my third or fourth trip to Jedrzejow Px48-1724 had always eluded me, so it was a pleasant surprise when I was approached by a member of the operating team and asked whether I wanted to see the railway’s steam locomotive. Px48-1724 was buit in 1950 and after serving on various Polish narrow gauge railways ended up in a scrap siding at Opalenica as a donor of spares for the line’s other steam locomotives. From here it was rescued by a team of railwaymen from Jedrzejow and restored to working order in 1993.

Konrad Borowiecki at Jedrzejow, 10 October 2010.
Photo BTWT
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My guide turned out to be Konrad Borowiecki, one of the five men who keep the line running. Konrad’s service on the line dates back to PKP days. He spoke wistfully of the days when the line was part of a 716 km network and employed over 1,000 staff. He remembered how PKP planned to move the locomotive to Sroda Wielkopolska. Local residents joined railwaymen in organising a demonstration and the engine stayed at Jedrzejow.

Konrad spoke bitterly about the lack of support the line was receiving from the various local authorities who own segments of the line. At Pinczow one of the most picturesque sections of line running into a forest had just been lifted. He also mentioned the lack of recognition given generally to Poland’s narrow gauge railways. He also lamented the fate of the erstwhile Piotrkow narrow gauge railway’s two Lzd2 diesel locomotives. The engines – though missing radiators – had been kept in their shed at Piotrkow Trybunalski and were basically in working order. A few months ago they were sold for scrap.

The Sad Tale of the PKD

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

P.K.D. former H.Q.

The P.K.D. former headquarters at Piotrkow

The sad tale of the Piotrkow narrow gauge railway, the Piotrkowska Kolej Dojazdowa, should be carefully studied by the management of all of Poland’s heritage railways. This narrow gauge line was built in 1904 to connect the small town of Sulejow to the city of Piotrkow Trybunalski. For most of its life it carried commuters from Sulejow and lineside villages to work in the factories of Piotrkow. Passenger trains called at 7 intermediate stations and took 59 minutes to cover the 17 km from Sulejow Pilica to Piotrkow Wask. After WW II the line had a major renaissance carrying lime from Sulejow in standard gauge wagons mounted on 750 mm transporter wagons. The lime was used in the sulphur dioxide filters at the gigantic Belchatow Power Station.

Luciazy Viaduct

The viaduct across the River Luciazy

Time passed, someone decided that cleaning the suphur emissions from Belchatow was an unnecessary complication, then in 2001, someone else decided that PKP should rid itself of all of its narrow gauge railways. A preservation society, Towarzystwo Przyjaciol Kolejki Waskotorowej Piotrkow-Sulejow, took over the line and ran occasional tourist trains within the Piotrkow city limits. The line was featured in a catalogue of Poland’s industrial heritage attractions published by the Polish Tourist Organisation.

tourist train in Piotrkow

One of TKPW’s occasional trains

Just over 10 miles long, and running from Piotrkow, with its mainline connection, to Sulejow, with its many tourist attractions, (including a 20 km long artificial lake popular with sailors and fishermen) the line seemed an ideal candidate for preservation. But the Society failed to gain the support of the local authorities along the route, who had other plans. Whether this was the fault of the Society, the local authorities, or both, is a moot point! The Society lost much of its credibility when it acquired an Ol49 steam engine from PLP Cargo for a nominal price which is then promptly sold for scrap.

rails in the tarmac

The longest bit of track left outside Piotrkow

This episode lead to a huge row within the Society itself. Threats of a police investigation and court action lead to the Society’s implosion. The track between the Piotrkow city limits and Sulejow was lifted in 2005. The remainder of the track within the city limits was lifted in 2006, leaving just the Piotrkow Wask yard and a few bits of rail imbeded in the tarmac at former level crossings. The rump of the Society still meet at weekends at its Piotrkow base to drink vodka and talk about how things might have been. They talk about a possible skansen and dream of EU grants.

Engine shed and standard gauge wagon transporter

The engine shed still houses two Lxd2 diesel locomotives and a Px48 steam locomotive. Various items of rolling stock can be seen in the yard, but for how much longer?