Posts Tagged ‘railway closure’

Double blow for Krosniewice line

Friday, 9 May 2008

1.09.2006, Sugar refinery owned Wls150 750mm gauge shunter on a private siding at Brzeszcz Kujawski sugar refinery

Following the closure of the Krosniewice Railway on 1 April by the Mayor of Krosniewice, the National Sugar Association, the owners of the sugar refinery at Brzeszcz Kujawski have decided to close the refinery. Although sugar beet was no longer brought into the refinery by narrow guage rail, other raw materials such as coal were brought in, and refined sugar was taken out, loaded in standard gauge wagons carried on 750mm gauge transporter wagons.

The Wloclawek District Council is demanding a reversal of the decision.

Click here to access all our recent posts which refer to the Krosniewice Railway and its recent closure by the Mayor of Krosniewice.

More on Vivarais closure

Friday, 25 April 2008

Vivarais ‘large’ mallet pulls a mixed train through Clauzel Station

Further to our post about the Vivarais closure, we’ve found this rather nice photo. Click on pic for full size photo and scroll down to the comments section for some more information about the suspension of services.

Vivarais closure shock

Friday, 18 April 2008

Happier times – Chemin de fer du Vivarais in the 1960s

The Chemin de fer du Vivarais, arguably France’s premier narrow gauge railway, has announced that it is suspending operations. It seems that the line and its steam locomotives have failed to pass strict railway safety criteria. An attempt to keep services going during 2008 by importing a diesel locomotive from Poland came to nothing, because of the costs involved. The line is in deep financial difficulties. A translation of the official press release posted on the Vivarais website appears below.

PRESS RELEASE – April 10, 2008

The fate of the Vivarais Railway – a discussion with all partners.

The Vivarais Railway, a key element of the identity and heritage of the Ardeche region, is currently in real difficulties. Bearing in mind the importance of the railway in the economy of the region and the possible impact of any decision on the railway’s employees, the General Council – the majority shareholder of this private-public partnership company – invited all concerned stakeholders (local and other shareholders) to discuss the fate of the Vivarais Railway during a round table this April 10 at Privas.

Created in 2003, the Chemin de Fer du Vivarais management board faces a difficult situation:

– a recurring annual deficit because of the investment necessary to maintain the track and infrastructure,

– a considerable quantity of equipment under repair or awaiting movement,

– a new station must be built in the medium term in order to free up the aligment owned Reseau Ferre de France, between Tournon Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, that the SEM must return by 2011.

The General Council, a majority shareholder, has invested more than 2 million euros in the structure.

Despite all these efforts, the Vivarais is experiencing a real crisis.

Taking into account the elements of context and the history of the Vivarais, the chairman of the General Council, Pascal Terrace, wanted to analyse the situation along with the other players involved in the Mastrou (mayors of municipalities in Tournon, Saint-Jean – Muzols, Lamastre and Boucieu-le-Roi and other shareholders). Those present at the meeting reached a number of conclusions. These included:

– That safety is not negotiable and that the state of infrastructure and rolling stock is such that we cannot authorise operations,

– That it is technically impossible to resume the season with steam locomotives (which are the attraction of Vivarais). Operating without steam would be inconsistent with the information provided to customers, undermining the attractiveness, identity and the credibility of the Chemin de Fer du Vivarais,

– The 2008 season is heavily compromised.

It was these observations that lead the the partners who me ton April 10 to conclude that it would be impossibile to run the railway safety and, at the same time, meet customer expectations in full.

They agreed that there should be a pause in the railway’s operations. They also pledged to engage in a process of reflection, study and construction to define the conditions suitable for a subsequent resumption. This should be part of a project involving the various public and private stakeholders of the area so that the railway’s long-term viability and sustainability would be secure.

Vivarais Railway website.

Krosniewice, last train photos

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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Just received, I thought you should see them ASAP ‘as is’. I’ll might add captions and a proper commentary later today. Pictures by Tilo Rosner, who travelled all the way from Dresden to catch the last train.

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?