Posts Tagged ‘Ujazd’

Smigiel 110 anniversary

Monday, 20 September 2010

Photos by Marek Ciesielski and Albert Mikołajczyk

Crowds gather in Smigiel station yard. The smoke coming from the dead Px48 is from a burning rag in the smokebox and is there just for show. Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.

Lxd2 pulling the Smigiel ‘tourist train’. Note the difference between the height of the original Smigiel Railway rolling stock and the Romanian imports. Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.

Tourist train followed by railcar. Photo ©Albert Mikolajczyk.

Three trains at Stare Bojanowo. Photo ©Albert Mikolajczyk.

Listening to the politicians. Photo ©Albert Mikolajczyk.

Strongman entertains the crowds. Photo ©Albert Mikolajczyk.

Friday 17 September was the 110th anniversary of the opening of the Krzywin – Stare Bojanowo secction of the Smigiel Railway to freight traffic. The line from Krzywin, through Stare Bojanowo and Smigiel, to Wielichowo was actually opened to passenger traffic on 30 October 1900 and the section from Wielichowo to Ujazd was opened on 1 September 1901. Though the Krzywin – Stare Bojanowo section was cut back to Zgliniec on 1 July 1979, and closed altogether on 27 May 1990, the 17 September 1900 date was sufficient excuse for Sunday 19 September to become the ‘official’ 110 birthday of the railway.

SKPL pressed all its operable passenger rolling stock into service and ran an intensive train service between Smigiel and Stare Bojanowo. At times three trains ran in quick succession one after another operating on a line-of-sight basis similar to that used on tramways. The Smigiel Town Council took care of the entertainment side of the ceremony providing the public with free soup, a band and a strongman. Later it transpired that the costs of the Town Council’s ‘contribution’ are to be paid for from the grant that the Town Council receives from the Wielkopolska Provincial Government towards the costs of running and maintaining the railway.

Smigiel Railway services cut back

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Rumanian railcar waiting to depart for Sniaty and Wielechowo from Smigiel

Brief history

The Smigiel Railway started life as a metre gauge line. It opened from Krzywin to Wielichowo in 1900 and from Wielichowo to Ujazd in 1901. The section from Lubnica to Ujazd was closed in 1905 because there was insufficient traffic and a branch from Wielichowo to Rakonowice was opened in 1910 utilising much of the material from the dismantled Lubnica – Ujazd section. The Wielichowo – Lunica section continued in operation until 1924. For most of its history it was owned by the local authorities, however, in 1949 it was taken over by PKP. It was re-gauged to the PKP standard (Russian) narrow gauge of 750mm betweem 1952 and 1953.

Death by many little cuts

By 1973, the secretary of the Communist Party in Rakonowiec decided that narrow gauge railways were unfashionable and ordered the Smigiel Railway cut back to Wielichowo. At a stroke, he deprived the railway of the principal destination for much of its passenger traffic. The railway struggled on from year to year passenger services being cut further back. In 1979 the Zgliniec – Krzywin section was closed to make way for a new reservoir and in 1990 the section from Stare Bojanowo to Zgliniec was closed.

The end of the PKP Era

Passenger services were withdrawn completely on 22 June 2001, this being the last day of normal passenger trains running (as opposed to special trains) on PKP’s narrow gauge railways. Freight traffic continued until PKP closed all its narrow gauge operations in December 2001.

A new beginning

The line was taken over by the local authority who entered into an operating agreement with Stowarzyszenia Kolejowych Przewozow Lokalnych, (SKPL). Passenger trains using Romanian-built railcars started running again in February 2002, and freight services followed some time later.

In September 2002, with the start of the new school term the timetable was increased, and the passenger services returned to Wielichowo for the first time in a decade. By October freight traffic had also increased, with coal being carried on a daily basis from Stare Bojanowo to Smigiel, Witowo Polski or Wielichowo. In 2007 and 2008, a Px48 steam locomotive, leased by Howard Jones from the Gniezno Railway appeared at Smigiel and hauled certain trains as part of Howard’s “Wolsztyn Experience” product.

And another cut

From 1 April this year, SKPL has been forced to withdraw all services beyond Smigiel because of the state of the track. Two promised grants, one from the Smigiel Town Council and the other from the Council of Wilkopolska Province have not been forthcoming. If you know the Smigiel Railway and consider it is worthy of financial assistance then it would be very helpful if you made your views known to the relevant authorities.

The Mayor of Smigiel:

Sz Pan Wiktor Snela
Burmistrz Smigla
Urząd Miasta i Gminy Smigiel
Smigiel 64-030
pl. Wojska Polskiego 6
POLAND

e-mail: burmistrz@smigiel.pl

tel: +48 65 518 98 23 or 518 01 39 or 518 00 03

The Chief Executive of Wielkopolska Province:

Sz Pan Marek Wozniak
Marszalek Wojewodztwa Wielkopolskiego
Al. Niepodleglosci 18
Pokoj 142 Budynek C
61-713 Poznan

e-mail: marszalek@umww.pl

tel: +44 61 854-19-88 or 61 854-18-47
fax: +44 61 854-17-17

The Smigiel Railway currently extends from Stare Bojanowo to Wielichowo. (The map can be moved, expanded or changed to satellite view.)