Posts Tagged ‘Pomeranian narrow gauge’

Faint stirrings in Dobra Nowogardzka

Monday, 1 February 2010

Disused station at Dobra Nowogardzka. Photo Remigiusz Jozefowicz.

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

For over 5 years years now the Municipal Council at Dobra Nowogardzka has been negotiating with PKP S.A. to take over that portion of the Stargard Narrow Gauge Railway (Stargardzka Kolej Wąskotorowa, Pol.) (Saatziger Kleinbahn, Germ.) that lies within their boundaries. Simultaneously the the Stargard Municipality hasbeen negotiating to take over the section that lies within their boundaries. Sadly neither council saw fit to obtain a licence granting them pro tem rights to use the railway land prior to the conclusion of negotiations. In the meantime, without an effective custodian, a great deal of track has been stolen on both sections. Dobra council officials estimate that some 20% of the track may be missing on their section.

The Stargard Narrow Gauge Railway. Map Wikipedia Commons.

(Click on the map to see original and for details of licensing.)

Now the land acquisition is almost complete and the Internet has been buzzing with rumours that the Council are planning a major reconstruction of the railway with the introduction of regular passenger services. The facts are rather more prosaic. On completion of the railway transfer the council will ‘look for an investor who has the financial resources to rebuild the railway’. So another worthwhile railway gets parked in cloud cuckoo land.

It is a great pity. The Stargard Narrow Gauge Railway is a fragment of the Pomeranian narrow gauge railway network which at its greatest extent in 1939 stretched to 640 km. The Stepnica-Golczewo-Gryfice-Trzebiatow sections were the subject of my first attempt at railway preservation lobbying in the late 1960s. Whether my puny efforts effected the eventual outcome, I don’t know. The Stepnica branch was acquired by the municipal government of Stepnica and turned into a cycle path around 2005. The Gryfice-Trzebiatow section was acquired by the Reval Town Council who run steam-hauled tourist trains on 40 km of line between Gryfice and Pogorzelica.

Robert Hall has written a scholarly article for BTWT on the Pomeranian narrow gauge railway network. I am just waiting for the weather to clear so that I can take some photographs to accompany his text.

Stargard Szczecinski (Stargard Pom. Germ.) Station in 1903.
Photo Wikipedia Commons.

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

Rewal correction

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

reval

Rewal Station after rebuilding
Visualisation © Ingeno Consult BPK Sp. z o.o.

First of all a sincere apology to all our readers. It’s not often that BTWT gets a story seriously wrong. If we get a lead, we always try to get a second source on the story. In many cases we write about developments that we have been tracking for some time. In many cases we have contacts who are on the ‘inside track’ and who can provide further confirmation.

In the case of the story about the Rewal n.g. railway, in our haste to bring you another exclusive scoop, we cut one corner too many and didn’t talk to our local stringer. We had been tipped off about the project in 2007 and had been following developments since then. But, what we did not know was that the chairman of the gmina Rewal (local municipality) had been persuaded that his narrow gauge railway was just a minor tourist attraction and that what he should be creating in the old stations were major attractions like art galleries, café’s or even holiday accommodation. He was also more than a little miffed that none of the neighbouring local authorities had expressed any interest in joining his project.

We now know that the first phase of the project – which is the only part for which funding has been committed – will be strictly confined within the boundaries of gmina Rewal. The project envisages: the relaying of only 6 kilometres of track between Pogorzelica and Trzesac; extensive renovation of the existing station buildings at Podgorzelica, Niechorze and Rewal (in the computer visualisations the old station buildings are are almost unrecognisable); and building new station buildings, in a similar style, at Sliwin, Trzesac and Niechorze Latarnia. The restoration of the link to Trzebiatow would be part of a possible latter phase as would be the building of a skansen, (an open air railway museum) at Podgorzelica. The latter proposal puts a serious question mark on the long-term future of the line to Gryfice! The first stage of the project does not include the restoration of any rolling stock nor does it contemplate the acquisition of a steam locomotive. The railway’s current steam locomotive, Px48-3916, is on loan from the National Railway Museum.

For those interested in seeing what the first part of the project will achieve here are the links to the computer visualisations prepared by the project’s consultants, Ingeno Consult BPK Sp. z o.o.

Existing stations

New stations

My sincere apologies to all readers for the inacuracies in the previous article.

Dyspozytor

34 million PLN

Monday, 9 February 2009

for Rewal n.g. refurbishment!

niechorze

Lxd2-472 at Niechorze, train from Rewal to Pogorzelica.
Photo http://www.rail.pl

(Click photo to see original on Galeria Kolejowa website.)

A 34 million PLN project to rebuild the narrow gauge railway between Gryfice and Trzebiatow as a major tourist atraction has been launched by the Municipality of Rewal. The railway links many of the the holiday resorts of the Municipality such as Trzesacz, Rewal, Sliwin, Niechorze and Pogorzelica with the PKP main line system at Gryfice. As well as completely rebuilding the track; the project envisages restoring the station buildings, fitting Victorian ‘retro’ style station canopies and lighting; and providing enhanced facilities for tourists, such as cafes, museum galleries and cycle hire. A damaged bridge will be rebuilt and trains, which currently terminate 15 km short of Trzebiatow at Pogorzelice – will once again work through to the end of the line.

This will be the first major heritage railway restoration project in Poland. (The only other heritage railway to attempt anything of this sort was the Bieszczady Railway which sought EU funds to rebuild its 7km ‘missing link’ to the PKP main line at Lupkow. It received a small grant – in the order of 50,000 USD – from the private Carpathian Foundation and managed to relay some half of the target section of track.)

Many narrow gauge purists will see the plans – with their  Victorian style ‘retro’ accoutrements as way ‘over the top’, but the new railway is expected to work for a living and attracting more tourist visitors into the area. It is a fact of life that the average tourist is more interested in keeping the kids amused and keeping out of the rain than historical accuracy. Perhaps the project, which has some 13 million PLN coming from the EU, may encourage other other Polish local authorities to invest in their own narrow gauge lines?

The Gryfice Narrow gauge Railway is a fragment of the once extensive Pomeranian Narrow gauge railways – a network of metre gauge railways which once ran in ‘the top left hand corner’ of Poland. The system at its height comprised 555 route miles which survived almost in its entirety until 1989. Closures followed step by step until, like all PKP narrow gauge lines, the remains were ‘dumped’ by PKP in 2001. The 55 km section of line between Gryfice and Trzebiatow was taken over by the municipality of Rewal who set up their own operating division to operate 40 km (25 miles) as a tourist railway.

rewal

The Gryfice narrow gauge railway – the left hand loop
Map courtesy http://www.mapa.targeo.pl/beta/

(Click on map to open a new page with a map which can be zoomed and scrolled.)

Robert Skraburski, the chairman of the of the Rewal Municipality had hoped that neighbouring local authorities would join in the project and that more of the former Pomeranian narrow gauge railway network would be revived. Sadly, apart from the municipality of Trzebiatow, the other local authorities seem more interested in cycle paths than railways.

The Pomeranian narrow gauge railway system will feature in an special article by BTWT guest writer Robert Hall which will be published during BTWT’s first birthday celebrations in March.

Sources (Polish only):