Posts Tagged ‘skansen’

Shocking Skansen

Friday, 24 August 2012

These Romanian trailers look as if they were never painted since they were put into service by PKP in the 1970s. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

I hate skansens. This Scandinavian invention may have a place in preserving rural architecture; although personally I have never seen the point of plucking a building from its historic context and and transporting it to an entirely artificial setting, however carefully designed and landscaped.

Applied to the railway locomotives and rolling stock a skansen is a monstrous aberration condemning precision machinery and delicate woodwork to the ravages of its worst enemies: frost and water and a programme of accelerated decay.

A rustic retreat? No, a historic four wheel covered wagon left to rot in the ‘skansen’. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Nowhere is the bankruptcy of the Polish railway skansen meme demonstrated so effectively as the narrow gauge railway skansen in Gryfice. Adjacent to a thriving narrow gauge railway operated by the most prosperous gmina in Poland is a collection of decaying rolling stock the likes of which have not been seen since the last steam locomotive left Barry scrapyard.

Seen from the road the skansen looks neat and tidy with well-kept lawns trimmed bushes and locomotives which appear to be regularly repainted. Penetrate a little further and the condition of many priceless relics is heartbreaking.

Ex Grojecka Kolej Dojazdowa motor coach MBxd1-359 heads a line of rotting metre gauge motor coaches and trailers. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

The tragedy is that this need not have been so. The Gryfice workshops of the Pomeranian Narrow Gauge Railways were extensive and could easily have provided covered accommodation for much of this rolling stock. But someone decided that most of the accommodation was ‘surplus to requirements’.

Someone also decided that it would be inappropriate for Gmina Rewal to hold on to all the historic rolling stock left behind after the closure of the Pomeranian metre gauge network and it would be in better hands (= would provide more opportunities for private profit) if the bulk of the collection was retained by the Railway Museum in Warsaw.

Unidentified Romanian trailer, Vulcan Werke 0-6-2T of 1928 Tyn-3632, and a transporter wagon. Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

And so it was that the Piaseczno and Gryfice narrow gauge railways were deprived of their own rolling stock and locomotives and had to stand idly by while part of their heritage rotted away.

Eventually, the authorities running the Railway Museum in Warsaw, embarrassed by the state of the items in their custody, and realising that – because of fuss stirred up by several infamous cases of dodgy sales elsewhere – the eagle eyes of Polish railway enthusiasts were upon them, decided to hand over the skansen to the Szczecin branch of the National Museum.

Unfortunately the Museum does not have the funds available to arrest the decay in the skansen, an in fact, has serious problems with its own collection of historic wooden fishing vessels which – displayed outdoors in Szczecin – have decayed so much that they are in danger of falling apart.

(left to right) Px48-3912, Tx7-3501, Tx7-3502, Ty6-3284, Txn8-3811, Px48-3916, Ty-9785.
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Gmina Reval, the owners of the Gryfice Narrow Gauge railway now renamed the Nadmorska Kolej Waskotorowa (Coastal Narrow Gauge Railway), have made a bid to the National Museum to take over and restore the collection of historic fishing vessels. Is it too much to hope that they might bid to provide a better home for the skansen rolling stock as well?

Vandalised Bxhpi 00-450044328-0 trailer next to an unidentified trailer in Gryfice yard. Photo BTWT.

(Click to enlarge.)

Postscript

Sadly the EU-assisted project to upgrade the Gryfice Narrow Gauge Railway, while providing for a brand new station buildings and several covered platform awnings (where they had never been awnings before) did not envisage providing secure covered accommodation for the railway’s rolling stock. The effect of this can be seen in the act of wanton vandalism shown on the photograph above.

Dyspozytor

Karsnice Skansen taken over by Zdunska Wola

Thursday, 21 January 2010

PKP hands over Skansen in return for unpaid local taxes

Sign of better times to come? The noticeboard at the entrance to the Karsnice Skansen. One of the ex Gubalowka cable railway coaches can just be seen peeping through the foliage in the background. Photo Marian Maroszek.

(Click above to see more pictures of the Karsnice Skansen on the blog Marian Maroszek – turystycznie…)

Good news for the ‘Forgotten Railway Museum’ at Karsnice. Kolejowa Oficina Wydawnica (The Railway Publishing House) reported on Monday that at long last negotiations between The Town and Municipal Authority of Zdunska Wola and the PKP Estates Department had concluded and that as a result the Authority had acquired a perpetual right to use the railway land, valued at 604,000 zloty (approx. £130,000), occupied by the Skansen. At the same time PKP transferred the ownership of locomotives and rolling stock worth, some 354,000 zloty (approx. £75,000).

The Skansen is the brainchild of one man, Marian Fijolek, the former General Manager of the locomotive repair works at Karsnice. Mr Fijolek set himself the task of collecting one example of every steam locomotive that ever worked on the Magistrala Weglowa (Coal Trunk Line) between Upper Silesia and Gdynia. Mr Fijolek also collected numerous small exhibits, a working model railway and a complete vintage train of ancient four wheel carriages. Other exhibits at Karsnice include a portable steam engine, a giant wheel lathe and the old coaches from the cable-hauled railway on Gubalowka in Zakopane. Sadly all the large exhibits, including the steam locomotives, but not the vintage coaches are – as is common in all Polish railway museums – stored outside in the open.

At its peak Mr Fiolek’s collection included 9 main line steam engines and3 small industrial steam engines. Sadly, during the protracted negotiations, some of the locomotives were sold by PKP and have gone elsewhere, while a number of locomotives are owned by Warsaw Railway Museum which reportedly wants them back! Nevertheless, the exhibits being handed over for safe keeping to the Town Council include 5 steam locomotives (including Ty 42-9, Ty 45-39, Ty 43-1), 3 diesels (SM 41-175, SM 30-39, SM 03-41) and one electric locomotive (ET 21-01).

Let’s hope that under the custody of the Council the decaying locomotives and rolling stock at Karsnice will be properly looked after and that the Skansen will be forgotten no longer.

Koscierzyna security cover victory!

Friday, 6 March 2009

pu29_3

Pu29-3 4-8-2 passenger locomotive in the Koscierzyna museum
Photo PKP Cargo

(Following the closure of the museum at Koscierzyna, PKP Cargo have removed the link to the skansen’s page on their website, Clicking the picture will (for the time being at least) take you to the defunct page together with the slide show of which the above photograph is a part.)

Further to our last article about security cover being removed from the Koscierzyna Skansen we have been informed by a reliable source that PKP has extended the security contact to the end of the year. This will provide a breathing space for those parties interested in taking over the museum and its collections to continue, and we hope complete, their negotiations with PKP.

Our grateful thanks to all those who took part in our letter writing campaign. We have fired a useful warning shot. If any PKP Director ever again contemplates abandoning railway a railway museum without securing the future of its exhibits, as happened in the cases of Elk and Jaworzyna Slask, hopefully this time he will think again.

Call to arms! – II

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway needs you!

5 km South of Krosniewice

A Krosniewice-Ozorkow special in 2006

The campaign to save the Krosniewice Railway is gathering momentum. A number of letters have already been sent to the Mayor of Ozorkow, with a copy to the Minister of Infrastructure and pledges that more letters will be written are coming in as well.

Can my letter make any difference?

Well yes, on the basis of previous experience, we know that letters sent from abroad do carry a great deal of weight with the authorities. Sometimes even a single letter can make all the difference.

The Extraordinary Story of Chabowka

The story of the PKP steam museums is a long and complicated one. Originally in the 1990’s PKP HQ in Warsaw planned three steam centres:

Wolsztyn Steam Centre

Wolsztyn (see above) – the principal centre
Klocko – for servicing

Jaworzyna Slask

Jaworzyna Slask (see above) – for storing steam engines.

Elk, a fourth, was added later.

Two more steam museums were initiatives of the regional PKP management:

Koscierzyna
Chabowka.

Another steam museum was established at Karsnice at the private initiative of the manager of the workshops there. By 2000 the senior management of PKP had changed and the cold winds of commercialisation were blowing through the corridors of PKP. It was decided to get rid of all the steam museums with the exception of Wolsztyn and to concentrate the best locomotives there.

An action committee was formed to save Chabowka. A group of experts from Krakow wrote a plan to develop tourism along the Chabowka – Nowy Sacz line, The National Foundation for Promoting Heritage Railway Trails was set up by Ryszarda Leszczynska. (see Papal Train) But all to no avail, by 2003 the Chabowka employees were given notice that the museum was going to close.

Enter the Englishman

It was at this stage that an Englishman called Mike Pease entered the scene. Pease, a director of the Spa Valley Railway and the Secretary of the New Europe Railway Heritage Trust (NERHT), was a descendant of Edward Pease, the banker of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. He had been following the Polish railway scene for some time and was the owner a Slask 0-8-0 shunting locomotive which he keeps at Pyskowice Steam Centre. He decided to write a letter of protest to the chairman of PKP, with a copy to the Minister of Transport. He also copied it for good measure to the chairman of the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce with the suggestion that the BPCC might like to organise a seminar on the tourism potential of Poland’s railway heritage.

At this point Pease struck lucky because the Chamber duly obliged! A seminar, Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage as a Tourist Attraction, held under the auspices of the NERHT and sponsored by the Chamber took place in October 2003. The morning session was held in the British Consulate, the afternoon session in the Warsaw Railway Museum. Nearly every Polish heritage railway sent a delegation. PKP sent a team of three people. NERHT sent three experts from Britain. Not long afterwards, the decision to close Chabowka was rescinded. Today 8 Chabowka engines are in working order and very good mechanical condition. Occasional steam trains are run on the Nowy Sacz line and around Cracow.

And the rest?

And what of the other railway museums? Wolsztyn is flourishing, although it’s reported that the mechanical condition of its locomotives is very poor. Nothing remains of Klocko. Jaworzyna was taken over by the local authority and then privatised. None of its engines are in working order. Elk is closed, but a great deal of rolling stock is still there and deteriorating fast. Recently two of its steam locomotives were transferred to the PSMK railway museum at Skierniewice. Koscierzna is run by PKP Cargo although none of its engines are in working order. The ‘forgotten’ museum at Karsnice lingers on in no man’s land, trapped by the reluctance of the PKP Estate Department to pass the custody of the engines over to the council of Zdunska Wola.

If the story of Chabowka does inspires you to put pen to paper, please write to:

Mrs Julianna Barbara Herman
The Mayor of Krosniewic
Urzad Miejski
Poznanska 5
99-340 Krosniewice
POLAND

and send a copy to:

Mr Cezary Grabarczyk
The Minister of Infrastructure
ul. 4/6 Chalubinskiego
00-928 Warszawa
POLAND

Krszeszowice Finale

Sunday, 9 March 2008

krzesz.jpg

I don’t usually celebrate the closure of a railway museum, but the liquidation of the so-called Skansen at Krzeszowice is a cause for rejoicing. The Skansen had been the brainchild of Jerzy Rechziegel who set up the Ogolnopolskiej Fundacja Ochrony Zabytkow Kolejnictwa, National Foundation for the Preservation of Railway Heritage. He persuaded several distinguished senior PKP executives to become executives of the Foundation, leased the railway yard at Kreszowice station and collected a total 14 steam locomotives and various items of rolling stock. The locomotives included engines which were the property of the Railway Museum in Warsaw. He also received locomotives from PKP and various industrial concerns. Railway enthusiasts became alarmed when he also set up a scrapyard on the site and locomotives in his collection started vanishing. Attempts by Polish railway enthusiasts to persuade the Malopolska Conservator of Monuments to list the locomotives as heritage items failed because key documents were missing or unavailable. Meanwhile the state of the remaining exhibits rapidly degraded and everybody in the Polish railway heritage scene expected the remaining locomotives to be cut up and the site liquidated.

In October 2007, PKP Cargo took the lead to sort out what had become a national scandal. A railway track to the yard was restored and the Warsaw Museum engines were prepared for a move. Meanwhile volunteers from Pyskowice worked on the other engines. In January, the Warsaw Museum engines were moved by PKP Cargo. A few in reasonable cosmetic condition went straight to Chabowka, the others finished their journey at the PKP Cargo railway workshops in Krakow. Finally on 2 March Ty43-1, Ol49-15, TKp 2261 reached Pyskowice Railway Centre courtesy PTK Holding S.A., which is an enthusiastic sponsor of the Museum project.

Dyspozytor