Posts Tagged ‘Rewal’

The magic of steam

Saturday, 4 April 2009


2008 built, Peppercorn A1 pacific, 60163 approaches Newcastle on Saturday 31 January 2009, hauling her first main line train carrying passengers, The Peppercorn Pioneer. Photo Wikipedia Commons.

(Click to see original high resolution photograph and details of licensing.)

There is a great article in today’s Times by Michael Binyon which nicely captures the magic of steam. It is steam that draws people to ride on heritage railways. It is steam that brings tens of thousands to Wielkopolska to photograph Europe’s last scheduled main line steam service and it is steam that could yet come to the rescue of Poland’s crumbling heritage railways.

All aboard for the new age of steam

Tornado, the engine that has brought back the romance of rail travel, is a hit across the length and breadth of Britain

Wherever it has ventured, it has attracted crowds of people. As it raced up to the North or cruised down to Southampton, thousands turned out to wave and cheer. Children were hoisted aloft. Men hung from bridges and stood on car roofs.

Enthusiasts waited hours in muddy fields for a fleeting view. At King’s Cross throngs blocked the platforms and when it blew a cloud of steam over the Duchess of Cornwall in York, the Prince of Wales burst out laughing.

Indeed, in its six short months of life, Tornado, the first mainline steam engine built in Britain for almost 50 years, has been a film star, splashed across newspaper pages and filmed in action by the thousands who contributed to its £3 million cost and waited 18 years to see an A1 Pacific locomotive running on Britain’s main lines again.

Click here, for the rest of the article.

Alas, too many of Poland’s historic steam engines are not chuffing along the lines to which they belong. Instead they are ‘plinthed’ outside railway stations, or locked up in skansens, or stored in sidings known only to scrap thieves. Open air storage, particularly in Poland’s extreme weather conditions, means slow death to a complex iron and steel machine.

Binyon’s article should be translated into Polish and be sent to all Polish local authorities that own narrow gauge railways that are operated by Romanian diesel locomotives. It makes my blood boil that the Mayor of Rewal who has launched a 34 million PLN EU assisted project to restore his fragment of the Pomeranian narrow gauge railways is spending most of the money on buildings and not a single zloty is earmarked for acquiring a steam engine or rolling stock restoration.

Meanwhile a few people have seen the light. The Mayor of Smigiel is meeting Howard Jones on Monday to discuss the possible restoration of Px48 1765 to working order. The Mayor of Krasne, the custodian of the Mlawa Railway, would love to hear from a ‘well off Englishman’ or a consortium of Brits who would wish to become a ‘godfather’  to his derelict Px48 1758 and help him restore the locomotive to working order. Favourable terms available. He would even consider alternate years working on the Mlawa Railway and the narrow gauge railway of the benefactor’s choice. I guess that depending on how much work was actually carried out by consortium members, such a project would cost some 200,000 – 250.000 PLN, approximately 41 – 50,000 GBP.

So how about it BTWT readers? We can’t all build a main line pacific, but we could restore a narrow gauge Px48 to active life!

Mława Railway videos:

Rewal correction

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


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.


34 million PLN

Monday, 9 February 2009

for Rewal n.g. refurbishment!


Lxd2-472 at Niechorze, train from Rewal to Pogorzelica.

(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.


The Gryfice narrow gauge railway – the left hand loop
Map courtesy

(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):