Posts Tagged ‘PKP Cargo’

No deal. No steam.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Friday’s meeting between representatives of PKP Cargo and the Wielkopolska provincial government ended without agreement.

No further talks are scheduled until 18 April, and with no agreement, steam services will cease on 31 March.

Ol49-59 has the dubious honour of hauling the last service, the afternoon Wolsztyn to Leszno turn. After that the loco will return light engine to Wolsztyn with the return passenger working being completed by a diesel railcar.

Behind the Water Tower does not intend to sit idly by until 18 April. We encourage people to write to the main parties concerned and encourage them to work out a deal.  There is time for written representations to be delivered before 18 April.  A well written posted letter may carry more clout than an email and we would urge people to put pen to paper in the next few days so that it reaches the relevant parties before the meeting.

The main protagonists and stakeholders are:

Mr Jakub Karnowski
Prezes Zarządu
Polskie Koleje Państwowe S.A.
ul. Szczęśliwicka 62
00-973 Warszawa


Marek Woźniak
Marszałek Województwa Wielkopolskiego
al. Niepodległości 18
61-713 Poznań


With elections looming our editorial team have already heard from people who have openly said that  the current incumbents will not be receiving their vote given the current standoff. There may be an element of politics at play in all this. Who knows? The Wielkopolski Marszalek may be planning to pull a rabbit out of the hat and save the steam services as part of his election campaign. We hasten to add, that is pure speculation, however, if that is part of the strategy, it is a dangerous game to play.

If no agreement is reached on 18 April matters are likely to escalate up to Ministerial level. We would therefore encourage people to also write to:

Mrs. Elżbieta Bieńkowska
Ministerstwa Infrastruktury i Rozwoju
ul. Wspólna 2/4
00-926 Warszawa


The ‘Pirates of PKP’

Friday, 9 April 2010

Poster advertising operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan

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

Przewozy Regionalne (PR) and PKP Cargo (Cargo) have agreed to exclude the steam-hauled Wolsztyn-Poznan steam trains from the effects of any future disputes regarding outstanding payments and today PR made a credit transfer to the bank account of Cargo for the monies outstanding for the haulage of these trains. But steam haulage will not actually restart until Tuesday when the monies are actually due to arrive in Cargo’s bank account. Meanwhile PR is incurring penalty charges with respect to the Wielkopolska provincial government due to the fact that the steam trains are not running. In addition, Cargo is not receiving any income for hauling steam trains because for the moment they are being hauled by PR’s Su42 diesel. Still everything will be OK on Tuesday. Or will it? The Wolsztyn shed-master worries that PKP Energetyka will disconnect the electricity supply to the shed on Monday because Cargo have not been paying their electricity bills.

You couldn’t make it up!

Viareggio train explosion…

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Were PKP Cargo responsible for the tank wagon?


Fire rages after two railway gas tankers exploded in Viareggio, Italy
Photo rabendeviaregia, Wikipedia Commons

(Click photo to see original and for details of licensing.)

16 people have been killed and some 50 were injured last night in the Italian coastal resort of Viareggio after a goods train consisting of 14 LPG tank wagons derailed. The local fire brigade said that the gas spilt from the wagons had reached neighbouring houses before it exploded. The ensuing fireball engulfed people, vehicles and buildings like something out of a horror film. Several victims survived the blasts but were killed when their houses collapsed on top of them.

The train was travelling through Viareggio on its way from the port of La Spezia to Pisa. The driver of the train, who was only slightly injured, reported feeling a jolt some 200 metres after his engine had passed the Viareggio Station. Shortly afterwards, 5 wagons at the rear of the train derailed, some fell on their sides and the LPG started to leak out. There then appear to have been at least two major explosions.

Accident investigators will be concentrating on the condition of the wagons and the track at the point where the accident occured. There seems to be some confusion as to who was responsible for operating and maintaining the wagon that jumped the rails. The Times reported yesterday that the derailed wagons were registered to PKP Cargo and Deutsche Bahn, while The Independent reported that the lead derailed wagon – which suffered a buckled or broken axle – was owned by the US company, GATX Corp.

Koscierzyna security cover victory!

Friday, 6 March 2009


Pu29-3 4-8-2 passenger locomotive in the Koscierzyna museum
Photo PKP Cargo

(Following the closure of the museum at Koscierzyna, PKP Cargo have removed the link to the skansen’s page on their website, Clicking the picture will (for the time being at least) take you to the defunct page together with the slide show of which the above photograph is a part.)

Further to our last article about security cover being removed from the Koscierzyna Skansen we have been informed by a reliable source that PKP has extended the security contact to the end of the year. This will provide a breathing space for those parties interested in taking over the museum and its collections to continue, and we hope complete, their negotiations with PKP.

Our grateful thanks to all those who took part in our letter writing campaign. We have fired a useful warning shot. If any PKP Director ever again contemplates abandoning railway a railway museum without securing the future of its exhibits, as happened in the cases of Elk and Jaworzyna Slask, hopefully this time he will think again.

Scheduled steam to resume at Wolsztyn…

Friday, 27 June 2008

but no one knows how many trains and for how long.

Czeslaw Janus i Andrzej Panczak come off shed on 23.06.2008 © Wojtek Lis

(click for photo in original context, on Parowozy z Wolsztyna, WARNING – Polish and German text)

In an ‘off the record’ briefing, an official in the Wielkopolska province’s transport department told BTWT that as a result of meetings that had taken place last week between Wielkopolska officials and the passenger railway operator PKP Przewozy Regionalne, steam haulage of timetabled passenger trains could restart as early as August and the full three train a day service (one to Leszno and two to Poznan) would resume on 1st October.

The actual number of trains will depend on the price that PKP Cargo will ultimately demand for the provision of its steam engines and rolling stock. The price that has been quoted to Wielkopolska officials has risen from 15 PLN (about £4) to a horrendous 46 PLN (£11-50) per kilometre. Already a couple of UK-based railtour operators have complained that it is cheaper and easier to charter a steam train in Germany than it is in Poland.

The official also confirmed fears that badly maintained steam engines could start forest fires and pointed out that not all passengers wanted to travel in old coaches hauled by steam engines emitting black smoke, particularly in summer where the only form of ‘air conditioning’ was to keep the windows wide open.

Provided PKP Cargo plays ball, the arrangements now being put in place should keep steam haulage of scheduled services going until the end of 2008. As to the long-term future, that’s still anybody’s guess.

Wolsztyn steam – three more weeks!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Howard Jones (photo Rannoch Rail Adventures
click pic for more photographs)

Howard Jones’s last ditch talks with PKP (reported in our article on 11 June) to try to secure the future of steam haulage on the Wolsztyn – Leszno Service have brought partial success. In return for an additional payment from Wolsztyn Experience, PKP Przewozy Regionalne has agreed to let steam haulage of one Leszno train continue until 4 July. Wolsztyn Experience is already paying a subsidy to PKP Cargo to compensate for the additional costs the steam haulage.

Nobody involved in running WE has any illusions that this is no more than a short term fix. The future of Wolsztyn as a working steam depot servicing timetabled trains is in grave jeopardy. PKP Cargo have not made the necessary investments in the locomotives or the people maintaining and driving them to guarantee a reliable passenger service and that is what the Wielkopolska province Transport Director, Jerzy Kriger, wants. At the behest of the Chief Executive of Wielkopolska province Mr Kriger has scheduled a meeting next week with PKP. But the meeting is unlikely to agree terms for further scheduled steam operations at Wolsztyn, rather the meeting will be a first opportunity for the local authority to explore the terms under which it could to take over the Wolsztyn MPD from PKP. Give the scant regard shown by Mr Kriger, for WE’s customers Wolsztyn’s survival as anything more than a ‘skansen’ or museum is extremely unlikely.

Some of the many comments left on the Radio Merkury website:

First a 4 month break from steam haulage, next thing (I hope I’m wrong) steam trains will only be running for 2 months. Soon people will remember Wolsztyn as the last operational steam MPD in Europe. I can see that for PKP Wolsztyn is not a treasure to be cherished and promoted (not just for 2 weeks before the steam gala) but rather a burden. (translated)
Marcin Gadek (SKW)

I am a steam enthusiast from Dortmund. I think, it is a very bad decision to stop the steamtrains between Wolsztyn and Poznan. I canceled my trip to Wolsztyn in June, because there is now only one train to Leszno and back left with steam. That is not attractive enough for foreign visitors like me. Especially the 5.00 clock train in the morning to Poznan ist in summertime a very great train to do early morning pictures with sunrise. So, I hope, that the Steamlocomotives will be back soon on the line to Poznan. Best wishes
Uwe Jürgenhake

Please excuse my writing in English! Wolsztyn is famous around the world as the only place left where scheduled passenger trains are hauled daily by steam locomotives. I have been regularly visitng the town since 1989 to see the locomotives and travel on the trains. The town has changed a great deal in the past 20 years and I am sure that much of its current prosperity is due to the attraction of the steam locomotives. It is vitally important that the regular use of steam locomotives on the service to Poznan is resumed immediately. Please make sure that the officials in PKP understand how enthusiasts around the world are worried about the current situation regarding the continued daily use of steam locomotives at Wolsztyn.

=( bad

This should never happen! It is vitally important for this region to have steam around!
Andre from the Netherlands

Hello Radio Merkury. It is really sad for us steamenthusiasts if no steam for so long as 4 months. We are many Danes who go to Poland for one purpus only: Steam in Wolsztyn. Just imagine how much hard currency shops around Wolsztyn will miss. Another thing is missing publicity for the PKP Museum. A lack of judgement from PKP to lay down steam over holiday season in Europe. Hope to see steam again soon.
Best regards Poul Thor Hansen, Denmark

Reflections on Wolsztyn Loco Show

Monday, 5 May 2008

Hungarian visitor – ex Austrian Sudbahn 4-6-0 109 109

PKP Cargo announces on its new website

PKP CARGO S.A. plays an important role as a guardian of Poland’s railway technology heritage. Many rare steam locomotives, wagons and other railway equipment are gathered in three live museums of steam traction.

…and the three day “Locomotive Show”, that finished today at the Wolsztyn Motive Power Depot, is a worthy example of how PKP Cargo at its best can fulfil this role. Purists may grumble that Wolsztyn has cannibalised steam engines to harvest spares for its working locomotives and then cut the latter up for scrap when they were worn out, but its important to see the Wolsztyn operation in a wider context. Poland is a country that has done little to preserve the machines of its industrial heritage. When it comes to making hard pragmatic decisions regarding whether to cut up or scrap, Poland should be compared not to Britain today, but to Britain in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Examples of British heritage locomotive scrapping

1906 GWR, broad gauge Iron Duke, Lord of the Isles
1954 Festiniog Railway, single Fairlie, Moel Tryfan
1963 BR, 8P Standard pacific, Duke of Gloucester,
(sent to scrapyard, rebuilt by 71000 Locomotive Trust)
1964 BR, GWR County, County of Glamorgan
1965 BR, GWR Grange, Tidmarsh Grange, Toddington
Grange, Walton Grange, Crawley Grange

1966 BR, LNER-designed 8P6F A1 Peppercorn pacific,
Saint Mungo
1970 Severn Valley Railway, BR WR 15xx, 1502, 1509

The Wolsztyn Show was good news for Poland’s fledgling heritage railway movement. (The country’s first heritage railway, the Bieszczady Forest Railway, was only saved in 1997 and many people still associate railways in general, and steam engines in particular with the bad days of communism.) National radio and TV carried regular news items throughout the Show and these will do a great deal to build public awareness about the potential of railway heritage and make life easier for promoters of other projects. The PR aspect of the event was a triumph for PKP Cargo’s press officer, Jacek Wnukowski.

There was much else that was good. There was entertainment for all the family. The PKP employees were helpful and even the railway police stewarding the crowds were remarkably polite and restrained. Mirek Szymanski, Fundacja Era Parowozow‘s management team chairman, worked hard behind the scenes and on stage to make sure that all who visited the show had a really memorable experience.

BTWT would not be BTWT if we did not have one or two minor niggles. Given that this is the largest gathering of its kind in Poland, and that it attracts enthusiast from all around the world, why were  more representatives of Poland’s 30 or so railway societies not encouraged to have their own information stands? Why was there so little information about the actual steam trains running during the 3 days? Why, given that PKP Cargo moved 2 steam engines and two sets of vintage carriages from Chabowka, was there no connecting special train from Cracow? Why was there no connecting special train from Warsaw other than the VIP charter? Why, given the high public profile of the event, didn’t Wojciech Balczun, PKP Cargo Chairman attend the event. Or, if he was too busy working on the sale of PKP Cargo to Deutsche Bahn, why did he not send Witold Bawor, his Operations Director and the Chairman of the Trustees of Fundacja Era Parowozow, in his place?

Steam Show a Smash Hit

Saturday, 3 May 2008

report compiled by BTWT’s Assistant Editor


Son et lumière et vapeur on the Friday night

Dyspozytor is a confirmed curmudgeon with a propensity to rant about anything and everything that crosses his path. So it’s something of a surprise that he e-mailed back from the Wolsztyn Steam Show impressed with what he saw. The light show on Friday, now in its second year, was very popular, made more memorable by the participation of 109 109 (see photo above) from Hungary. Saturday had something for all the family. There was a bouncy castle and free balloons for the kids, a variety of live bands playing for mum and more steam engines in steam than you could possibly count for dad.

ex GWR small prairie 5521 showing the flag

Further prompting yielded the information that the catering in the VIP enclosure was first class. (How on earth editing ‘Behind the Water Tower’ gets anyone into the PKP Cargo VIP enclosure is a mystery.) His judgement might also have been influenced by the fact that he apparently spent a considerable amount of time chatting up a young female blogger from Poznan on the pretext that she was in a better position to photograph Bill Parker’s small GWR prairie than he was! (Dyspozytor is infamous for his unlikely chat up lines.) When he gets back from Wolsztyn we will no doubt get the usual grumbly post, till then it seems this year’s Wolsztyn Steam Show was a great hit.

Year by year the crowds get bigger, soon there will be no room for more.

PKP Cargo – new livery, new owner?

Friday, 2 May 2008

28.04.2008 – First Poland-Germany (Poznan-Seddin)
freight service hauled by TRAXX EU43 locomotive

PKP Cargo, part of the state-owned PKP Group, and Poland’s largest freight carrier, has a new logo. The logo is a derivative of the old logo, but with a cleaner, more modern appearance. When state-run industries start redesigning their logos and web pages it’s usually a good sign that privatisation is not far away. Sure enough, the Polish Sejm Infrastructure Committee is working flat out on a new Act to govern the privatisation of parts of the PKP railway empire. Our betting is that, sooner or later, the German state-owned railway company, Deutsche Bahn AG, will end up owning a controlling interest in PKP Cargo. PKP Cargo S.A. and Railion Deutschland AG have already signed a long-term cooperation agreement. Railon is owned by Deutsche Bahn AG. DB AG has also bought EWS, the UK’s largest rail freight carrier, so if the current difficulties regarding Channel Tunnel rail freight can be overcome, the prospect of moving some of the 1,000 Poland-UK HGV lorry loads onto rail becomes decidedly better.

Never let your left hand know…

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Pt47-106 during ‘cosmetic restoration’ at Wolsztyn

While PKP Nieruchomosci, the Polish State Railways property company, is getting ready to auction its railway relics, Fundacja Era Parowozow, the foundation set up by PKP Cargo, the Polish State Railways freight and motive power company, is getting ready to hold a public collection and aution at the Wolsztyn Steam Parade on May 3rd to preserve items of railway heritage.

As we have already revealed, if the auction plan goes ahead without any changes, many unique items of railway rolling stock will be sacrificied to the scrap merchant’s torch. Meanwhile, PKP Cargo’s special foundation, which is paying its trustees many thousands of zloty ‘consultancy fees’, is collecting money from members of the public to ‘paint and polyfilla’ worn out locomotives at Wolsztyn. Last year’s appeal brought in just under 2,000 zloty.

It’s time that PKP main holding company got its act together and, together with representatives of Poland’s railway heritage societies, drew up a ‘core list’ of historic items which must be saved at all costs. Granted that PKP couldn’t afford to restore everything on such a list, certain items could be to made available to railway societies or bona fide railway museums on a licence or loan basis on the condition that they were well looked after.