Czarna Białostocka Forest Railway
- Gauge: 600mm
- Operating Length: 8km
- Status: Unknown
The last public tourist trains known to have run were in summer 2009. The timetable for these is shown below.
Runs on 11- 14 June 2009, and 26 July
|Czarna Białostocka O.K.L.||12:45||15:45|
|Czarna Białostocka Miasto||13:00||16:00|
|Czarna Białostocka Miasto||15:00||18:00|
|Czarna Białostocka O.K.L.||15:15||18:15|
Construction of the Czarna Białostocka forest railway (then called the Czarna Wieś forest railway) began in 1919. At its greatest extent it reached 145km of 600mm gauge track with branches running west, north, and east from Czarna Białostocka. It carried 160,000 cubic metres of wood per year and employed over 200 people. Steam locomotives were used until 1971-74 when eight V10C diesel locomotives were purchased. Growing competition from road transport led to decline in the 1970s and 1980s and the last remaining stretch Czarna Białostocka to Waliły (48km) ceased operating in 1990.
Early preservation efforts in 1989 led to the restoration of 'Feldbahn' loco Tx1112, which ran tourist trains in 1990 including a special train from Czarna Białostocka to Waliły on 5 October 1990 (see photos). Unfortunately a permanent operator for the line could not be found. Tx1112 moved to Hajnówka forest railway in 1991 and worked tourist trains there. The Czarna Białostocka forest railway closed completely in 1993.
In June 1999 the Foundation for Forest Narrow Gauge Railways (Fundacja Na Rzecz Leśnych Kolei Wąskotorowych) was formed to save and restore the Czarna Białostocka line. Their first success was to have the line registered as a historic monument in 1999. During the period of closure all locomotives and stock had been removed, and considerable amounts of track had been stolen. It took until November 2005 to reopen the first 8km section of the line to Czeremchowa Tryba, restore part of the locomotive shed to usable condition and obtain a working locomotive and stock. Special trains to order were advertised along with occasional public trains (the latter were advertised to run on 2 days in 2007, 4 days in 2008 and 5 days in 2009).
A grant of 300,000 zł was awarded by EcoFund in 2007 towards the reconstruction of the remainder of the line to Kopna Góra, with a 2 year timescale. Unfortunately paperwork and legal negotiations took over a year of this time, and subsequent progress on rebuilding the line, using mainly volunteer labour and with a shortage of track and sleepers, was slow. Rebuilding reached Zacisze Trojkat (10km) by the end of 2009, the end of the grant period. In addition there was friction between volunteers and the Foundation, and between the Foundation and a contractor who had not been paid. The grant period was extended until 19 July 2010, but apparently without the hoped-for results as in June 2010 an article was published in which the Director of State Forests in Białystok stated that he was unhappy with the neglected state of the railway and promised to terminate the operating contract. Discussions were ongoing, the article said, and as of March 2011 there still appears to be no concrete information about the fate of the Czarna Białostocka forest railway.
Czarna Białostocka is on the standard gauge Warszawa - Białystok - Suwałki / Grodno main line, between Białystok and Sokółka. All trains stop at the station, 8 trains on weekdays and 6-7 at weekends. See timetable 530 (Warszawa - Białystok - Suwałki / Grodno) or the online journey planner.
The narrow gauge station Czarna Białostocka O.K.L. is approximately 600 metres north-west of the standard gauge station.
The narrow gauge railway crosses the main line on a viaduct to the south of the station, runs through the main part of the town, with a stop at Czarna Białostocka Miasto, then continues south-east into the forest. The current terminus is at Cheremchowa Tryba (8km), though most of the track remains in place to Kopna Góra (20km).
- Fundacja Na Rzecz Leśnych Kolei Wąskotorowych - the operators of the line
- The Czarna Białostocka railway on Railmap
- Magazine articles about the restoration efforts (in Polish):
- 2003 article
- 2009 article - and photos
- 2010 article - dispute with the Director of State Forests, Białystok
- Restoration Photo Galleries: Gallery 1 - Gallery 2 - Gallery 3 - More Galleries
- Behind the Water Tower blog - Czarna Białostocka Posts:
- Forestry railway in Czarna Bialostocka, 6 August 2009
- Whispers and rumours, 4 February 2011
- Map of the line from Fundacja Na Rzecz Leśnych Kolei Wąskotorowych: