Posts Tagged ‘SKPL’

Rainy morning in Smigiel

Friday, 29 May 2009

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Busy scene in Smigiel yard on a rainy morning on 29.06.2009 in preparation for running three trains in simultaneously! The newly refurbished Romanian railcar will form the service train to Stare Bojanowo while the Lxd2 will haul the second of the day’s two special trains to Wielichowo. All photos BTWT.

(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

Smigiel Town Council and PKP have completed the lengthy legal process of transferring the ownership of the line to the Town Council. Whilst this should be a cause for celebration – in theory the way is now clear for the Council to apply for EU funds – the Polish reality is more prosaic – long discussions will now commence between the Council and SKPL regarding the latter’s operating agreement. High on the Council’s agenda, is a demand that SKPL pay council tax in respect of the railway land.

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Most unprototypical! The special to Wielichowo (nearest camera) and the service train to Stare Bojanowo wait in the same road. In PKP days trains to Stare Bojanowo would have used the right hand road.

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The driver of the service train gives his railcar a last minute check.

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That curve really needs some attention.

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The first special crosses the main road.

Freight traffic on the Stare-Bojanowo – Smigiel line seems to be bearing up with two rakes of standard gauge freight wagons expected shortly. If arrangements proceed as planned the Px48 from Gniezno hired by the Wolsztyn Experience will visit the line in September and October.

More information:

  • Timetable – pdf download
  • Contact – tel/fax: +48 65 518 00 10  mobile: +48 694 023 432

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Smigiel railcar makeover

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

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The Smigiel Railway’s Romanian diesel railcar is having a makeover.

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All the seats have been renewed and upholstered

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Well nearly all the seats!
All photos courtesy of SKPL

Smoke and mirrors

Sunday, 21 September 2008

BTWT EXCLUSIVE!

Today’s 11.40 Ozorkow-Leczyca shuttle at Strykow

The Krosniewice Railawy came briefly to life this weekend during a festival at Leczyca thanks to the lobbying of SKOKW (The Krosniewice-Ozorkow Narrow Gauge Railway Society) . An intensive shuttle service bewteen Leczyca and Ozorkow was operated on both days.

Andrzej Olszewski interviewed for the local TV news

The two day festival would not have been possible without the enthusiasm of the Mayor of Leczyca, Andrzej Olszewski. Mrs Barbara Herman, the Mayor of Krosniewice, agreed to the ‘reopening’ of the railway for the two days of the festival. On Sunday afternoon she graced the proceedings in order to establish her bona fides as a supporter of the railway. Unfortunately none of the media present asked the obvious question – if she supports the railway, why did she close it?

The Mayors of Leczyca and Krosniewice

Mrs Herman’s predecesor as Mayor had obtained a licence from PKP (Polish State Railways) for Krosniewice Council to manage the railway, granted an operating licence to SKPL and was in the process of acquiring the freehold to the railway land. But Mrs Herman had other plans and she closed the railway in March 2008. A month earlier she had given notice to SKPL, the railway’s operator, that their operating agreement was to be terminated. Since then she has made no moves to appoint another operator.

Krosniewice Town Council’s agreement with PKP was subject to a condition that the railway would be used for transport purposes. Mrs Herman regards this condition too restrictive and recently met with representatives of councils through whose land the railway runs to press the case for her own plan whereby each local authority along the line would takes over their local section of railway land from PKP without any transport condition being imposed. The danger of this plan is that it gives each local council a free hand as to what they might eventually do with the railway land. (Mrs Herman has friends who want to redevelop the railway station and workshop site at Krosniewice.) We already know that other local councils at the northern end of the line are more interested in building a cycle path than owning and running a railway.

Is this to be the sad future of the Kujawy Railways? The banner says “The Ozorkow-Leczyca-Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway”.

The Krosniewice Railway is a 110 km fragment of the former Kujawy Railway Network which in its heyday comprised some 2,000 kilometres of narrow gauge lines of both 750 mm and 600 mm gauge. The network comprised a core network of PKP operated common carrier railways and many hundreds of kilometres of private sugar beet railways. When PKP closed the network in 2001, the Kujawy Railway was split up into three sections based on Gniezno, Sompolno and Krosniewice.

Whereas railway enthusiasts were successful in persuading local councils in Gniezno and Krosniewice to take over their sections of line, they were less successful with the central section at Sompolno. The well equipped railway workshops were gutted by scrap thieves and this once important railway junction now resembles a wilderness. The Gniezno section is beong operated purely as a tourist line. Meanwhile SKPL, with its regular service which linked the sugar refinery at Breszcz Kujawski to the PKP network, maintained the Krosniewice Railway as Poland’s last narrow gauge rail servicing the sugar beet industry.

When Mrs Herman was elected Mayor, she immediately started making difficulties for SKPL demanding that the society hand over monies for rents which her predecessor had prevented it from collecting. She then demanded that SKPL vacate the railway workshops and when the society objected she terminated their operating agreement. From our own moles in PKP we know that Mrs Herman has threatened that if she does not gain control of the railway land she wants for redevelopment she will let the whole railway “go to the dogs”.

SKOKW Chairman, Pawel Papierz

During the festival Pawel Papierz, SKOKW chairman, said that this year there had only been one weekend of operation on the Krosniewice – Ozorkow branch, but that next year there would be trains every weekend during the operating season. It was significant that the line’s ‘owner’ Mrs Herman made no such promise, nor has her council entered into any agreement with SKOKW or any other potential operator.

The train at Leczyca about to return to Krosniewice

Smigiel Resleepering at Robaczyn

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Between 12-14 July, SKPL platelayers relaid 80 sleepers and restored the track geometry of a length of line at Robaczyn, near Stare Bojanowo, on the Smigiel Railway.

Photos, © Andrzej Cichowicz, SKPL

Railway To Let

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Desirable narrow gauge railway available on licence

Karczmiska Station ©M Stateczny
(click for original context on NKD POLISH website)

It’s not often that the chance comes up to acquire an European operational narrow gauge railway as a going concern. But when the railway is 100 km from the capital city, is next door to a major tourist hotspot, runs past the grounds of a country’s foremost private health spa, and comes unencumbered of any loans or bad debt, the opportunity is unique.

At the end of the 2008, SKPL will be terminating its agreement with Opole Lubelskie district council regarding operating the 750 mm gauge Naleczowska Kolei Dojadowa (Naleczow Local Railway). The railway, makes a deficit of approximately 50,000 PLN (12,500 GBP) per annum. There is considerable scope for improvement, as an estate agent would put it. The strength of SKPL is in running freight trains on the USA ‘short line’ model while the Naleczow Railway’s future potential is undoubtedly as heritage railway focussing on tourists, rather than as a commercial ‘common carrier’ railway.

Anybody wanting to operate the railway would have to decide whether they would want to operate on their own or partner with an existing organisation like the Fundacja Polskich Kolei Waskotorowych (Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Association). Partnering with an existing Polish organisation makes sense – the Polish organisation knows its way round Polish bureaucracy and also knows how much goods and services should really cost in Poland.

The next stage would be to prepare a business plan and then persuade the local authority that they have the skills and resources to implement it. The final step would be to negotiate the details of the operating licence. Realistically, if you don’t have a minimum of £100,000 to invest, then its unlikely that your offer would be successful. Serious enquiries to: railfan(at)go2.pl

NKD route map (lines coloured red are closed)

 

Steam engine wanted

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

750 mm gauge passenger train and standard gauge freight train side by side on SKPL’s mixed gauge tracks at Pleszew, photo SKPL

(click to see picture in original context. WARNING Polish text)

SKPL, Stowarzyszenie Kolejowych Przewozow Lokalnych – best known for operating Poland’s last freight carrying, common carrier, narrow gauge railways – are looking for a steam engine. SKPL also operate freight on a number of standard gauge railways and have started negotiations to operate the Srem – Czempin line in Wielkopolska province. SKPL are planning to expand their special services aimed at international railway enthusiasts. A guest 750 mm gauge Px48 is already a regular visitor on the Smigiel Railway, courtesy of Howard Jones and the the Wolsztyn Experience.

If you, or someone you, has a small goods locomotive in ticket, which is not getting the use that it deserves, why not consider bringing it to Poland? A Hunslet ‘Austerity 0-6-0ST, or GWR 57xx pannier tank 0-6-0PT, or LMS Jinty 0-6-0T would be ideal. This is a genuine partnership opportunity. SKPL is looking to share in the costs and profits of the venture.

If you are interested in following this up, please, in the first instance e-mail Dyspozytor at:

Meanwhile in Austria

Monday, 7 July 2008

Unloading standard gauge wagons from 760 mm gauge transporters at Jenbach on the Zillertalbahn in Austria, August 2007. Video Pete Murfet

So what did you think of the technology for carrying standard gauge wagons on narrow gauge tracks employed by SKPL? A quaint Calthropian anachronism? Well actually the same technique is employed on the ultra-modern Zillertalbahn in Austria. What’s more the Stiermärkische Landesbahn has just ordered some brand new transporter wagons. Our thanks to fellow WordPress bloger korschtal who publishes the Railway Misadventures blog. It was he who found Pete Murfet’s video on You Tube and wrote about it on his latest post.

The video is a detailed study of ZTB transporter wagon operations. It seems to show a whole train being unloaded so it’s 8 minutes long, but it’s interesting that even on the relatively high-tech ZTB the method is still to take the brakes off on the standard gauge wagon and give it a shove. By the way, keep an eye open for the new red transporter wagons on loan from the Stiermärkische Landesbahn (STLB). The ZTB were using them for a bit, but the STLB will soon be starting new transporter services with them – it can be done.

Incidentally do have a look at some of Pete Murfet’s other narrow gauge railway films on You Tube. They are superb!

Pleszew – new timetable

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Standard gauge, narrow gauge and mixed-gauge at Pleszew

The new timetable (click for pdf download)

SKPL chairman resigns

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

SKPL management left to right: Wladyslaw Kacprzak, former General Manager Krosniewice Railway; Tomasz Strapagiel, outgoing Chairman; Karol Waszak, former Secretary, now chairman

Tomasz Strapagiel has resigned from his position as chairman of the Stowarzyszenie Kolejowych Przewozow Lokalnych (SKPL). He will remain a member of the SKPL Board. He has explained that he has resigned for personal reasons and that he hopes one day to be able to return to his former position. He has endorsed his confidence in the new board led by former SKPL secretary, Karol Waszczak, and said that he believes that SKPL has a great future before it.

Krosniewice Campaign gets serious

Friday, 18 April 2008

31.3.2008, end the line for the KR? (photo Tilo Rosner)

Our campaign to save the Krosniewice Railway is getting some serious support, with the British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership putting their weight behind the campaign and a major article in today’s New Warsaw Express.

Battle to Save Historic Railway

NWE, April 17, 2008

A small group of Brits and their Polish friends are campaigning to save an historic narrow-gauge railway line about 50 kilometres north of Łódź threatened by local government indifference and new development plans. The group, known as British-Polish Railway and Industrial Heritage Partnership, believes the railway is an asset worth preserving, not ballast to be dumped.

“We want to help Polish officials connect the dots,” says Andrew Goltz, the group’s spokesman. “For many Polish officials a narrow gauge railway is just a pile of junk. They have no idea that just over the border in former East Germany or Slovakia local authorities are investing their own money and EU grants to develop such lines into major tourist attractions.”

In Poland a handful of narrow gauge railways struggle to maintain their existence despite the lack of interest, and sometimes active opposition, of Polish officials. Until the end of March, one such survivor was the Krosniewice Railway – a 100 km fragment of a once 1,000-kilometre network of narrow-gauge lines. The Polish State Railways (PKP) had closed their remaining narrow gauge lines in 2001, and they were then handed over to local authorities to decide whether to run them as transport facilities, tourist attractions, or just get rid of them.

Local government elections brought in a new mayor of Krośniewice, Barbara Herman. She did not want a narrow gauge railway with extensive workshops in the centre of her town, being more interested in a new shopping centre and housing estate. SKPL, the line’s operator, pointed out that the workshops had been listed as heritage buildings by the province’s monuments conservator. Faced with this obstacle to her plans, Herman gave notice to SKPL that their operating agreement was terminated.

SKPL ran their last service train on March 31. The end of the line? Not if the BPIRHP have their way.

(Complete NWE article here.)

See also our other posts which will give you the gen on how YOU can join our campaign to save the Krosniewice Railway:

Krosniewice Railway at Fedcrail Conference

Krosniewice the end?

A letter from you, and…

Last train photos

We hit a ton!

Our road map