Posts Tagged ‘Rogow’

A return journey – part 5

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lyd1-215 and immaculately restored Romanian trailer at Rogow, 15 May 2005. Photo BTWT.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

The item on the menu for Sunday 18 July was something which I had set my heart on months earlier – the Fundacja Polskich Kolei Waskotorowych (Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation) preserved 750mm gauge line at Rogow. A line lauded as probably the country’s best achievement of recreating the atmosphere of the narrow gauge in PKP days with the exception of steam – the line has a pair of Px48, but not in working order. That would seem fair enough: dieselisation of PKP’s narrow gauge set in quite early, with a fair number of narrow gauge railways going 100% diesel as at the early 1980s, or before. This was a big reason for my never hitherto having been to this line: it went all-diesel quite early, and my overriding reason for visiting Poland up to the early 1990s, was to see active steam. Though a narrow-gauge devotee, I skipped many narrow-gauge lines in those times, because of their steamlessness.

The line’s west-to-east 49 km, Rogow to Biala Rawska, is all still in situ, and the preservation undertaking is entitled to operate on all of it. It does so, on a very few days of the year. Most of the time, the line operates on summer Sundays only, over the 17 km from Rogow east to Gluchow. Two return runs per day: the earlier just 8 km out to Jezow and back, the later a return working all the way to Gluchow. We opted for the 13:15 Gluchow return train.

Rogow was reached, by car, in just nice time for departure of this working: a Bxhpi 1Aw in proper green livery, two semi-open bogie coaches rebuilt for tourists from coal wagons, and a bogie brankard guard’s utility van – this latter seemingly a standard component of all 750mm gauge tourist trains. Motive power was a tiny jackshaft-drive 0-6-0D, Lyd1-215 –of a class which I had met in the past on the 750mm system at Elk, where for many years they handled all traffic. Wanting to feel as authentic as possible, we took our places in the1Aw . The train set out, crossing on the ungated levelcrossing a little way out of Rogow across the trunk road eastwards from Lodz to Rawa Mazowiecka. We ran slowly, but steadily (Dyspozytor commented that the track had been improved) through pleasant tranquil gently undulating countryside. We passed the intermediate stations at Jezow and Bialynin, to arrive at Gluchow some 35 – 40 minutes after leaving Rogow.

There followed something that you don’t get at Devil’s Bridge or Dalegarth. The train’s amiable guard gathered up the passengers, and led them off to visit the village’s church – one was given to understand that this excursion was basically compulsory. Oh, well – pretend (in the spirit of the line’s basic period recreated) that it’s Communist times, when one was always being obliged to do assorted things, supposedly for one’s own good. Group-walk through the village to the church – in fact, a handsome edifice, dedicated (going by the statues on its outside) to Saints Peter and Paul. In the interior, beautifully decorated, the date 1786 was to be seen – presumably, that of the church’s founding. The guard addressed his ‘congregation’ for some ten minutes outside the church, and for another ten minutes within – where we could at least sit down. I could make out, from his orations, only a few place-names – deducing that some of his spiel, at least, was historical. For the rest – was he maybe a zealous Catholic, taking the chance to give a religious pep-talk to his punters? … I’ll never know…

Church-bash concluded, we were left free to explore the village, or make our way back to the station. The organised fun was not over, however. Dyspozytor, who had not taken part in the church trip, had during my absence kitted us out for the next phase of activities – which came about after we had travelled 9 km back westward, as far as Jezow. The train made a prolonged stop there, and on a green tree-ringed patch, with benches, close by the station, a bonfire was lit.

Dyspozytor explained that this was a particularly Polish thing – grilling sausages on sticks over the bonfire. (At the Gluchow grocer’s-and-general shop, he had purchased a couple of sausages for the purpose, and a few bottles of beer.) Very many Poles of all ages are / have been in their youth, involved with the Scout movement or its other-ideology alternatives; the ‘campfire / sausage’ ritual is one with many nostalgic associations from when folk were young, and it’s a something that Poles love doing. On both the other narrow gauge tourist trains on which I travelled during this holiday, sausage-grilling over a campfire featured at some stage of the proceedings. We duly grilled our sausages and ate them as we quaffed our beer. I wonder whether this would this work as a gimmick on certain minor British preserved lines?

Finally the ‘barbie’ was over, and the train returned to Rogow, getting there abouty 16:30. The line has an indoor museum at Rogow, which was unfortunately closed by the time of our return. For whatever reasons – some, probably not within their control – Polish heritage-railway undertakings do not always have their act together as well as they could. As well as the two Px48 mentioned earlier, there is at and around the Rogow narrow-gauge station, an assortment of motive power and rolling stock: including several class Lxd2 B-B locos (the loco type most commonly encountered now, on the Polish narrow gauge), a couple of elderly railcars, assorted freight wagons, and a few diminutive standard-gauge diesel shunters. A fairly quick look round this array; time then to head back to Lodz, for a necessary early start to Zbiersk and the Kalisz narrow gauge railway on the morrow.

…to be concluded

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Thieves spoil Rogow Railway Christmas

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Orstein and Koppel 0-4-0WT 7900 built 1920 (ex Starachowice steelworks) and and ZNKT Poznan 0-4-0D WLs75-94 – Rogów (ex Lesmierz Sugar Refinery) on display in the open air in Rogow.
Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.

The Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation (FPKW) is offering a reward of 2000 zloty for information regarding the identity of thieves who stole 780 screws and 260 base plates from the Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway in December. Thefts of track components and even rails are unfortunately all too common in Poland on lines that are only infrequently worked or are closed altogether.

Posters offering a 2,000 zl reward for information leading to the identification of the thieves put up by the FPKW in the area where the thefts took place. Photo ©FPKW.

Originally a 600 mm gauge Prussian military railway built to carry ammunition during WW II, the Rogow Railway dates back to 1915. In August 1954, it was re-gauged to 750 mm by PKP in 6 days! The last PKP passenger train ran on 9 June 2001, while freight services lingered on until September 2001. In December 2001, as a result of approaches made to the Rawa District Council by the FPKW, the District Council formally requested PKP for a transfer of the line. In November 2002, the Council obtained a licence to operate the line until the transfer of the freehold formalities could be complete. Seven years, later the transfer process is finally concluding.

With the line’s short steep gradients, much of the atmosphere of of a military railway still remains and the line deserves to be better known by the English-speaking enthusiast community. At the line’s base in Rogow, there is much to see: the overgrown remains of the line’s former interchange point with PKP, Poland’s second largest collection of narrow gauge rolling stock and a small museum dedicated to the history of the railway. Special trains can be booked any time over the whole 49 km of the line: Rogow to Biala Rawska. The FPKW also runs a scheduled service along the whole line in on one day in May in connection with the Rawa Mazowiecka Dni Rawy festival. In addition, on Sundays between April and October each year, the FPKW runs scheduled train services between Rogow and Jezow (7 km) and Rogow and Gluchow (16 km).

A short video by Krzystof Lysiak from the KolejRogowska channel on You Tube, featuring a visit to the PSMK railway museum in Skierniewice, the Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway and an ancient Jelcz bus.

Sources (Polish):

Rogow railway work rewards volunteers

Friday, 20 June 2008

Young volunteers replace a point sleeper in May 2008 (photo FPKW, click to see picture in its original context)

One of the problems faced by Polish heritage railways is a shortage of volunteers. Some railway managers argue that 50 years of communism have destroyed the volunteer ethos Others put forward the view that there is a shortage of youngsters. Yet others declare that they do attract youngsters, only to loose them when they get married. Our own view is that the problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are very few managers who know how to develop and nurture a volunteer work force.

One exception is Andrzej Tajhert who has been successfully developing a young volunteer workforce on the 49 km long Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway in the Lodz province. The Rogow Railway is a museum railway. It does not transport ordinary passengers or freight, but what it does do is to recapture the atmosphere of the Polish narrow gauge railways at their zenith in the 1960s. Many items of historic rolling stock have been carefully restored and painted in their correct colours. In the case of some of the freight rolling stock this has meant replacing the original planking plank by plank, In the case of some of the passenger rolling stock it has meant gutting the inside and starting again. Much of the work has been done by young volunteers.

It’s clear that Rogow’s volunteers enjoy their work. In return, they receive a number of special privileges and their efforts are recognized on the Rogow Railway website. The railway runs every Sunday from 27 April until 27 September. Trains depart from Rogow Osobowy Wask at 13.00 and run 17 km to Gluchow. Here there is an optional visit to the local church with the train guard acting as guide. On the return journey the train stops at Jezow where, provided you’ve remembered to bring your own garlic sausage and beer, you can enjoy a traditional Polish bonfire. Once a year trains run all the way to Biala Rawska in connection with the “Dni Rawy” festival at the end of May. Sadly, Rogow’s two Px48 steam locomotives both need extensive rebuilding before they could run again and the tourist trains are diesel hauled.

Rogow is a friendly railway which is easily accessible by train. It is no too far away from Warsaw and even closer to Lodz. If you are in Poland and you have not been to Rogow, do check it out for yourself as soon as possible.

Drunk in charge of a train

Friday, 21 March 2008

pcc5.jpg

PCC Rail locomotive 181.010-0

Yesterday’s Polsat TV News carried a news item about how passengers travelling on many trains on the Warsaw-Lodz line were seriously delayed after a PCC Rail diesel hauled freight train from Warsaw to Sosnowiec stopped mysteriously near Rogow. Single line working was in operation on this section because of the major rebuilding of the line currently in progress. Controllers at the Rogow signal box became seriously concerned as passenger trains began to stack up on both sides of the blockage and called out the police. The Police entered the cab and discovered both drivers fast asleep. Apparently they had a heavy drinking session the previous night. An interesting question arises, given that the train was actually stationary at the time the police boarded the locomotive, can they charge them with driving a train while incapacitated?

Perhaps some good may come from the incident? Passengers forced to sit for 5 hours or more on the back-breaking seats fitted in the new electric trains may be angry enough to complain. PKP Prewozy Regionalne bought 11 of the new trains for 171 m PLN from Pesa Bydgoszcz Holding SA with the assistance of funding from the EU.