Posts Tagged ‘Wielichowo’

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.

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Smigiel Railway – first letter to Mayor

Friday, 18 September 2009

by Robert Hall

the_end_of_the_line

The end of the line – Wielechowo Station. When Dyspozytor first travelled on the Smigiel Railway the track was still in place from here to Rakonowice. How long will it be before the rest of the line looks like this? Photo BTWT.

(Click picture to enlarge.)

The first of what we hope will be many letters from BTWT readers to the Mayor of Smigiel regarding the future of his railway. Thanks Robert! D.

Sz.P.
Wiktor Snela
Burmistrz Smigla
Urząd Miejski Smigla
pl. Wojska Polskiego 6
64-030 Śmigiel
POLAND

17 / 9 / 2009

Dear Sir,

Being a British citizen with a great love of Poland and its national heritage – and who has taken many enjoyable holidays in Poland, including visiting Śmigiel and travelling on its narrow-gauge railway – I hope that my writing this letter to you will not cause offence.

I learn that the Śmigie Town Council, having lately become the owners of the land and infrastructure of the 750mm gauge railway serving Śmigiel and surrounding area, are now proposing to charge the railway society SKPL of Kalisz, who in recent years have been operating the railway, a large sum of money in local rates, relating to their occupation of the railway land – charges which were waived under the previous arrangement. I understand that in view of this situation and its ramifications, SKPL will be unable – with these terms applying – to continue to operate the railway.

This prospect is a distressing one for me, and for many people throughout Europe and, I am sure, beyond – who are interested in Poland’s railway heritage. I would beg of you and the Town Council, to reconsider this matter, and to reverse the decision to hit SKPL with this punitive financial demand – so that they may be able to continue operating the local railway.

If the railway could continue the operation of its passenger and freight services – plus, as has happened in the past few years in co-operation with the “Wolsztyn Experience”, ran regular steam-locomotive-hauled services visitors from much of Europe, whose time spent in the area would enrich the local economy.

Here in Britain for example, we now have absolutely nothing like the Śmigiel local narrow-gauge railway (a narrow gauge railway providing a genuine public transport service) – lots of us would love to come to Poland, to enjoy there, what we cannot enjoy back home. Should the line continue to run in years ahead – as well as and providing useful service for people in the area, it would draw many railway-interested tourists, who would spend money in Śmigiel.

Entreating you to give the local railway a chance, doing which would benefit all concerned.

Yours truly

ROBERT HALL

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.

two_railcars

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.

sharp_curve

That curve really needs some attention.

off_to_wielichowo

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 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.)