Pyskowice volunteers pose by cosmetically restored Pt47-50
An SOS from Pyskowice informs us that a typically Polish game of ‘pass the parcel’ threatens the future of the railway museum there. Since 1998, a small band of volunteers, working under the umbrella of Towarzystwo Ochrony Zabytkow Kolejowych (Society for the Preservation of Railway Heritage), has been collecting vintage railway rolling stock and other railway artefacts, and storing them in the old Pyskowice motive power depot and carriage works.
The former depot is now home to 25 steam locomotives, 9 diesel locomotives and some 22 other items of rolling stock. Slask TKp 4422 0-8-0T is in working order and a couple of other steam locomotives only need light overhauls, or their paperwork sorting, in order to steam again.
Until the end of 2006 TOZK enjoyed the use of the old depot and sidings at a peppercorn rent from PKP Linie Kolejowe, the PKP Group’s track and infrastructure company. It was always the hope of TOZK that the Pyskowice Town Council would acquire the site from PKP in lieu of unpaid rent and that the council would licence the society to use the depot.
But Pyskowice is not a town which encourages ‘bottom up initiatives’. The Mayor is not interested in helping the Society. In the meantime, the site has been transferred from PKP Linie Kolejowe, to PKP’s real estate company PKP Nieruchomości, and the latter are demanding that the Society pay a commercial rent for the site backdated to the beginning of 2008.
The only hope for Pyskowice would appear to be with the Slask province governor’s office which in recent weeks has begun to take an interest in the future of the museum.
It’s been some time since we requested BTWT readers to engage in a letter writing campaign, but our friends in the British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership advise us that the situation at Pyskowice is serious enough to merit such action. It is still the case that letters from ‘the West’ carry more clout than correspondence from a Polish address, so lets do our best to help TOZK in their efforts to save the museum. This time we would ask you to write to the three key stakeholders involved in the future of the Pyskowice museum.
Letters should stress the heritage and tourist value of the former MPD complex and its collection of historic rolling stock. You may wish to make the point that ‘bottom up’ initiatives such as TOZK work in Pyskowice deserve support because, without them, much of Poland’s railway heritage will be destroyed. Please tailor each letter depending on who you are writing to.
Andrzej Wach is the Chairman of the PKP Group as a whole. Letters to him should point out that the Pyskowice Museum and Society is looking after an important part of PKP’s history and ask him to encourage PKP Nieruchomości to return to the earlier peppercorn rent arrangement with TOZK.
Prezes PKP S.A.
Polskie Koleje Panstwowe S.A.
ul. Szczesliwicka 62
Waclaw Keska is Mayor of Pyskowice. Letters to him should point out that the collection at Pyskowice is of European significance and that news of the threat to the museum has spread far and wide. They could also express the hope that he will give the railway museum venture his wholehearted support.
mgr inż. Waclaw Keska
Burmistrz Miasta Pyskowice
Urząd Miejski w Pyskowicach
ul. Strzelców Bytomskich 3
Piotr Smigielski is the Governor of Slask province. Letters to him should point out that the collection at Pyskowice is of European significance that deadlock between PKP and TOZK threatens to destroy the museum. They could also express the hope that his office will take over the railway museum site and provide it at a peppercorn rent to the society.
Boguslaw Piotr Smigielski
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Sląskiego
Urząd Marszalkowski Wojewodztwa Slaskiego, ul. Ligonia 46, 40-037 Katowice