Białośliwie Special: 16 August 2013
Białośliwie Key Facts
- Gauge: 600mm
- Operating Length: 21km
- Total Length: 43km
- Status: Operating
Białośliwie to Wysoka Steam Special, Friday 16 August 2013
Update - 31 July 2013
Unfortunately the steam special on 16 August has had to be cancelled due to insufficient bookings. An alternative date (probably in spring 2014) will be announced soon.
This year, for the first time in 20 years, it is possible to run a train from Białośliwie to Wysoka, following a remarkable restoration over the last 3 years, during which the operational length of the railway has been extended from 3km to 21km. The distance of 21km means that it is now the longest 600mm gauge railway in Poland, although in its days under PKP control it was part of a much larger network, extending to 256km of connected lines in the 1950s. The final section of the railway was closed to regular traffic by PKP in 1993, and has lain abandoned in the undergrowth ever since, except for the first 3km stretch from Białośliwie to Kocik Młyn, which was maintained by the Polish volunteer society TWKP. In 2010 a group of German 600mm gauge enthusiasts visited the railway, which lies quite close to the German border, and formed an unusual but productive partnership with the owner of the line (Piła District Council, having taken control of the line from PKP) and the TWKP volunteer society, and have progressively restored the line, and lent locomotives for use on it. There is no scheduled service on the line beyond Pobórka Wielka at km 7, and I believe the special on Friday 16 August will be the first steam-hauled passenger train to traverse the entire reopened line.
The route is interesting and varied. It starts off from the standard gauge interchange station at Białośliwie at the edge of the wide Notec river valley where there is a locomotive shed, wagon works, and former coal transfer facility. From here the line climbs through a wooded valley alongside a small stream, passing the first station at Kocik Młyn where there are fishing lakes. The next station, Pobórka Wielka, is an area of orchards. Between Pobórka and Nieżychowo the line reaches open country and climbs up onto a gently rolling plain, then runs in the roadside to the larger village of Nieżychowo. Beyond Nieżychowo the line crosses the main A10 road, which was a big obstacle to reopening until a new level crossing was built earlier this year. At Zakłady Przemysłowe the red brick 19th century workers apartment blocks are all that is left of the former sugar works here. The railway has sidings crossing the road, the remains of a weighbridge, and a triangular junction for the line towards Polinowo, which is closed but mainly still in place. The reopened line continues northwards as a typical Polish rural roadside tramway, alongside minor roads and tracks, which are sometimes tree-lined avenues. At Jezioro-Kosztowskie, the railway leaves the roadside and skirts round the eastern edge of the village, then cuts across country beside a farm track towards Czajcze. At Czajcze there is another triangular junction. The route north-east towards Łobżenica is also closed but mainly in place. The branch to Wysoka passes a roadside cross, then continues in the roadside verge before leaving the road and cutting across country, to enter Wysoka from the south, terminating at the large station building to the north-west of the village centre.
Friday 16 August lies between the public holiday on 15 August and the weekend, giving a number of possibilities to combine the tour with other Polish narrow gauge railways, most of which only operate on weekends and public holidays. Railway connections to Białośliwie are good, via Bydgoszcz or Piła, including overnight trains from other parts of the country.
The special train will depart Białośliwie at 09:00, enabling connections from Piła or Bydgoszcz. (Piła 07:47 - Białośliwie 08:11; Bydgoszcz 07:44 - Białośliwie 08:45). The train will wait if either of these trains is late. The narrow gauge station is about 400 metres west of the standard gauge station, just past the level crossing. The train will run to Wysoka with several photo stops. At Wysoka, there will be a lunch which is included in the tour price, of grilled meat, bread and salad, cooked by Pension Rosa. Two drinks (beer or soft drinks) and coffee are also included in the tour price. Time-permitting, there will also be photo stops on the return journey. We aim to return to Białośliwie in time for the connections to Bydgoszcz at 16:11 and Piła at 16:38, but this cannot be guaranteed. There are later trains to Bydgoszcz at 18:35 and Piła at 18:49 in case the earlier trains are missed.
LAS Ty3471 is an 0-6-0 steam tank locomotive. It was built in 1957 in Sosnowiec. After a brief spell at KWK Radzionków, it spent most of its working life at KWK Wawel (Wawel coal mine), between 1957 and 1978. From 1978 to 1984 it was used as a stationary boiler at a dairy in Chrzanów. In the late 1980s it was bought by a private collector in Gostynia, was stored at Witaszyce for a time, then in 1995 was sold to Germany, re-gauged to 600mm and restored for use on the park railway at Tolk-Schau. It has recently been restored once again to superb condition at Interlok in Piła and was used at Białośliwie for the first time for the Zlot Miłosników Kolejek event from 30 May to 2 June 2013. More information.
The main coach to be used on the tour was built in 1912 in Königshütte in Chorzów. It was used on the Jarociń District Railway on trains between Witaszyce and Zagorów until 1991. Bought and restored by the Poznań Railway Modellers Club, the coach has been at Białośliwie since 2011 and is the oldest active 600mm gauge passenger coach in Poland. We will also use one or two smaller four-wheel brown vans adapted with bench seats. There will be no reserved seats and participants are free to sit anywhere.
The cost of the tour is £65 per person, including lunch and two drinks. Please send cheques, payable to Edward Beale, to 10 Stephen Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8BN. Please include your full name, postal address, and email address. If the booking is for more than one person, please give the name of each participant. Please send payment as soon as possible, and by 30 July at the latest. Early booking is recommended as the number of places on the train is limited and they will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you do not have a UK bank account or are otherwise unable to pay by cheque by 30 July, please contact me by email () to make alternative arrangements. I will announce the tour as a runner as soon as sufficient bookings have been received, and I will not cash any cheques until that point. In the event that the tour has to be cancelled, all cheques will be returned.
There are various accommodation choices in Piła and Bydgoszcz, from where it is easy to reach Białośliwie by train. For anyone wishing to stay in Białośliwie itself, there is only one option, Pension Rosa, where rooms for tour participants can be arranged. The Pension has rooms with 2, 3 or 4 beds (no singles - single-occupancy is possible but there is no discount on the full room price). Please contact me by email () if you would like to book a room at Pension Rosa.
Participants are responsible for obtaining suitable travel insurance to cover themselves.
Every effort will be made to run the tour on the full route and with the locomotive and stock as specified, however I cannot guarantee that everything will run exactly as specified, nor will I accept liability for any changes that have to be made.
Many thanks for your interest in this tour, and I hope to meet you at Białośliwie in August!