Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

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.

Our 100th post

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Cumulative daily visits each month in April and May

Today’s article is our 100th post. We have now been publishing Behind The Water Tower for three months in its present form as a campaigning blog. (An earlier test version was started a month earlier on another site.) In May we had 3,183 hits which averages out at 100 visits daily.

Rather than bask in out own glory we would like to dedicate today’s post to all the professional men and women who work on our railways and to all the volunteers who work to rescue closed railways and then keep them going. People like Moira Cross.

Moira Cross at Swanage Station (c) Andrew Wright

Moira took part in the original campaign, launched in 1968, to stop the Swanage Railway closing and helped petition the authorities. From 1972, she provided secretarial assistance to the Swanage Railway Society – the pioneers of the project to reopen the Swanage Railway. She was a committee member of the Swanage and Wareham Railway Group – the local resident’s campaigning group – without whose efforts the Society’s efforts would have come to nothing.

When the trains started to run she helped run the railway shop and helped set up the team that ran the refreshment stall. For over 30 years, Moira has been helping the Swanage Railway as an unpaid volunteer. On 6 September, 2002 Moira’s dedication was recognised by the Swanage Railway and Virgin Trains when she was asked to name a Virgin Voyager trainset – the first mainline train to travel down the Swanage line for over thirty years. To Moira, and the hundreds of thousands of men and women, who work our railways, whether as transport links, heritage lines, or both, our grateful thanks.