The International Steam Pages
Steam in Poland late 1999/2000
Click here for the 1998 Polish reports
Click here for the early 1999 Polish reports
Click here for the 2001 Polish reports
Andreas Illert reports (14th September 2000): "Significant changes to the Sroda narrow gauge: a new timetable (valid from Sep 1, just three departures from Sroda: 6:07, 13:38 an 16:36) and new traction! Railcar Mbxd2 229 worked all trains at our visit on Sep 4. Three steam locos were stored at Sroda shed. The driver of the railcar stated that the replacement of steam happened due to an order from the Warsaw head office, in view of saving staff costs. The people at Sroda shed hope to revert to steam in mid September, but taking the financial situation of PKP into account this seems not likely to me." Ralf Mandera was here in October and the service had reverted to steam (8th November 2000). He also adds "Wolztyn had 2 (steam) passenger and 1 (steam) freight usually in a day."
Christoph Oboth was here in December 1999:
"Although steam activity continues, there are some changes for the worse. First, there were 3 SU45-Diesels standing overnight in the shed-area, which not only looked dreadful, but - even worse - they were terribly due to the long running engines all night. So, with only 3 working steam engines (one hidden behind the closed shed-doors), the atmosphere was totally changed. Still impressive, but really different.
The early morning trains to Zbaszynek have been cancelled, so there is only one passenger to Poznan at 11.12 and one to Leszno at 12.20 (Mo-Fr further on to Wschowa). From 18th to 21st December 1999 the working locos were OL49.69 and PT 47.65. As everyone should know, the PT is too long for Wolsztyn´s turntable, so at least one train leaving Wolsztyn is tender first. Freight service was done by TY45.20(!!!!), on loan from Jaworzyna museum, therefore, Tki3 was off for Jaworzyna.
All in all, in late December with its restricted daylight, there was one passenger and the freight a day worth taking photos. BUT: Mo-Fr ALL trains to Leszno seem to be tender first (very limited time in Leszno), so your only chance is to check out the Wschowa-line.
Other bad news from the ng-lines: Diesel-only line at Smigiel is NO longer working on weekends. Gniezno has changed from steam to diesel with steam on specials only. At least steam continues at Sroda, but by order from 08.11.99, the second train (leaving Zaniemysl 10.19) has been cancelled. Obviously, the service on weekends seems to have restarted! Photography at Sroda loco shed still is charged, but the prices have been reduced from 10 PLN to 2 PLN. World-famous railway-dog Pikus is still alive and is getting more and more oil-coloured..."
Dave Meller was here in July 1999 (13th September 1999) "You might like to know that a visit to Gniezno narrow gauge depot (Polen) on 29/7/99 found two Px48 steam locomotives had been joined in the shed by Lxd2-313. The following day the diesel worked a train of two standard gauge coal wagons and a two-axle standard gauge van (and narrow gauge brankard) as far as Witkowo, then continued with one coal wagon and brankard to Powidz. Timetabled passenger services are now running at weekends Gniezno - Anastazewo."
Leo Sullivan has made another visit (6th June 1999): "Wolsztyn continues. Pt 47-65 now returned and used on regular turns. Pm-36-2 went to Chrzanow Thurs. 05.00 (100th anniversary of loco works) otherwise all Ol 49. Gneisno now, 31 V, advertises weekend tourist service which consists of adding an open carriage. Diesel use doesn't seem imminent. New TT advertises conditional service on many NG lines including Gniesno." Arne Pietsch also says (6th June 1999): "On my recent visit I found the operation as usual with 3 engines under steam (Ol49-100 & Ty2-406 & Pt47- 65) on 26. of May. The line north from Wolsztyn to Zybasynek is under construction so that the steam trains don't reach the main line and turn in Stefanowo! Pm36-2 left on May 27th in the morning in the direction of Leszno (to an exhibition)."
Christoph Oboth has provided (17th May 1999) a brief report of a recent tour, while Keith Chester reports (13th April 1999): "30-31 March : the Wolsztyn circus continues much as reported, with nos. Pm36-2, Ol49-23/81 & Ty2-406 active. 2) 1 -2 April : Sroda surprisingly retains much of its charm, but an early visit may be advisable. Loadings, tho' reasonable, are well down on 10 years ago, the track is rough & the boilers of the two current locos (Px48-1902/20) are due for inspection within the next year. A driver told me that whether the line survives or not depends largely on whether money is approved for the overhaul of dumped Px48-1756. The current service consists of four trains Mo. - Fri., depart Sroda 06.07, 09.07, 13.38 & 16.35. In early May the weekend service should be reinstated with three trains a day. The hotel just outside Sroda ng station is recommended at 150 Zl a night - completely renovated, I remember it as a dire worker's hostel ten years ago!"
Leo Sullivan reports (20th Nov 1998) "Was in Sroda and Wolsztyn last week. Sroda now weekdays only, same schedule. Traffic seemed pretty heavy and, the track though bad is better than on some diesel lines. Pm 36 02 returned from Gniezno on 6 Nov., and was in use immediately. Pm 36 02 was used to Leszno/Wschowa on 9 Nov., out tender first then returning smokebox fwd. with very spirited running on the straight from Wschowa-Lasocice. Otherwise, advertised services (at least) are run but, vary according to immediate factors. Grodzisk goods 4-5 times a week, often Sat.. others 'as needed'. I understand that the Wschowa turn may be regular, meeting a diesel shortage and, also heard of, but, did not see an evening Zbaszynek, said to facilitate turning the Pm36, which is too long to turn at Wolsztyn."
John Hobbs was here in early September 1998 and Wolsztyn and Sroda seemed to be operating 'normally', presumably the loco crews are back from holiday. There are a number or reports on Poland which I have tried to put together on one page, but I confess I haven't had time to really sort them as they need! I don't know whether Wolsztyn depot counts as working or preserved, either way it must be a great place to visit. From time to time I get updated diagrams for these operations so check out the date at the top of this page. Also the steelworks, Huta "Malapanew", Ozimek.