Steam and Narrow Gauge Railways in Poland
May 10th to 24th, 2007

Don Winter

Trains Unlimited Tours is running a trip to Poland that offers mainline steam operations out of both the Wolsztyn (wol-shtin) and Chabowka (ha-bov-kah) mainline steam centers, as well as visits to a number of narrow-gauge lines for both steam and diesel operations. Since the tour both starts and ends in Berlin, we have chosen to add an extra full day before hand in that city, to permit us to visit some additional sites as well as attend a Berlin Philharmonic Concert at the Philharmonie the night before the tour starts.

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Departing Los Angeles

Our flight arrangements to Berlin comprise American Airlines to London (Heathrow), and British Airways thence to Berlin (Tegel). We leave Tehachapi at noon, driving down to Los Angeles, with a stop in South Pasadena to see if Bristol Farms has the packages of Equal Tablets that we've been unable to find in Tehachapi—they don't. As I planned, we're on the 3 pm Flyaway bus from Union Station to LAX, and are at the latter comfortably in time for our flight a little after 6 pm.

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Arriving Berlin

After a four-plus hour layover at Heathrow, with the Flight Connections hassle between Terminals 3 and 1 (and the need for a small quantity of Sterling to purchase food and drink while we're there), we fly on to Berlin. On the flight, I'm hailed by Bob Frank, and asked if we're on the TUT trip. He and his Polish-born wife, Barbara (Basia) will also be on the tour with us. We arrive in rainy Berlin before 7 pm, to discover that one of our bags hasn't kept up with us. We duly report this to the appropriate authorities before taking a taxi to our hotel, which turns out to be in the commercial heart of the former West Berlin. The hotel is above the commercial buildings at street level, and requires taking one elevator up to the seventh-floor reception area, and then another down to our fourth-floor room! After a light snack, we go to bed to finish the time adjustment process.

Saturday, May 12th, 2007


Because we're in the former West Berlin, the appropriate form of transportation turns out to be the bus services centered on the bus station adjacent to the Zoo railway station, so we purchase day passes for these. But before heading off for the day, we buy some replacement toiletries, lest the missing bag remains missing tonight. Then we head off east on Kantstrasse on bus route M48, followed by route 200 along the south edge of the Tiergarten, past the Philharmonie (a trial run for this evening), through Potsdamer Platz and then north to Unter den Linden, where we leave the bus at the Friedrichstrasse stop.

We walk south on the latter, in the intermittent showers, turning east into Gendarmenplatz to look at the buildings there, including the Berlin Konzerthaus, the German "Dom", and the French "Dom", the latter the center of Huguenot worship when that community moved to Berlin on its expulsion from France in the 17th century. The two "Doms" (they're not really cathedrals) have very similar external architecture. I want to go inside the French Dom, but it doesn't open until noon, and the rain is starting to fall quite heavily, so we go instead to the nearby St. Hedwig's Cathedral, a circular edifice with marvelous acoustics, where a choir is rehearsing a choral work. We later return to the French Dom and admire it's interior baroque-style architecture.

We walk back to Unter den Linden, and head east, past the State Opera, to the Berlin Cathedral on Museum Island, where we hear the organ as the organist is warming up for a wedding, and admire the sculptures, paintings, and interior architecture. After some lunch, we walk back west, past the Brandenburg Gate, and on through the Tiergarten  to the Siegessäule (Victory Column), in the center of a large traffic roundabout, where today there is a charity walking-race going on. The latter disrupts the bus service, so when we decide to take a bus back to the bus station and then hotel, we have to wait 25 minutes for the next bus, on a 10-minute interval service! We visit the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church—the tower that is all that remains of the old bombed-out church, and the post-war replacement sanctuary where yet another musical rehearsal is taking place, before taking the bus back to the hotel.

We eat dinner at a Thai restaurant on Kantstrasse before taking the bus(es) back to the Philharmonie for the evening's concert. This vineland-style concert hall was built in the early 1960s, and proves to have an excellent acoustic, producing the greatest volume of sound either of us has ever heard in a concert hall. The music making—Mariss Jansons conducting the complete Stravinsky ballet Petrouchka and Mahler's First Symphony—is excellent, also, with the whole experience enhanced by the clarity with which we can hear the music as a whole, and every instrument in particular. (In fact, one can hear the sound of the musicians shuffling their feet.) After the concert, we again ride the two bus routes back to the hotel, dodging the rain puddles and the raindrops along the way.

Architecture in Berlin

Berlin was very much a provincial city until the rise of Prussia following the religious wars of the 17th century. Its earliest important architecture dates from the 18th-century, with another round of important building taking place after the city became the capital of newly-created Imperial Germany in 1871. Much of what was built in those years had to be restored or rebuilt-in-kind following the devastation of WWII..

The French "Dom" in the Gendarmenmarkt was built for Huguenots taking refuge in Berlin after their expulsion from France. The church dates  from 1701 to 1705, The tower and porticos were added in 1785. The externally similar German "Dom" was built in 1708 for the old German Protestant Reformed Church. The tower was added in 1785. Burned down in 1945, the church was finally rebuilt in 1993. The late neoclassical Konzerthaus was built between 1818 and 1821, and reconstructed as a concert hall after WWII

St. Hedwig's Cathedral, at the rear of a square on the south side of Unter den Linden,  was built between 1747 and 1778, and is the cathedral of Roman Catholicism in Berlin (since 1930). It was built for the Archdiocese which served the Catholic population of Silesia, when that territory became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1742. The design was similar to the Roman Pantheon. The palace across the square used by Humboldt University was built in 1753 for the brother of Frederick the Great. The Berlin State Opera on the south side of Unter den Linden is an early neo-classical building dating from 1741-3, with its interior restored in 1843 and 1844  after a fire, and rebuilt from 1952 to 1955. The neoclassical Brandenburg Gate dates from 1796, and was modeled on the gate to the Acropolis in Athens. It dominates the west end of Unter den Linden.

The Berlin Cathedral on Museum Island was built in neo-Baroque style between 1894 and 1905, and was rebuilt following severe damage at the end of WWII. The central copper dome is 321 ft. high (the Siegessäule would fit inside the church and dome). One of the bells in its bell tower dates from 1522, and another of the original bells, now cracked and in a museum, dated from 1471. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is the remains of a neo-Romanesque church dating from 1895 that was destroyed by bombs in 1943. The adjacent new octagonal church was designed in 1961.

The Philharmonie is the new concert hall built for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, on the south side of the Tiergarten in West Berlin between 1960 and 1963, during the era when that part of the city was isolated as a western enclave among a Soviet satellite. The Philharmonie is a festival marquee in stone, with the interior arranged on the 'vineyard' principle with the orchestra's performing platform surrounded by seating arranged on a number of terraces.

Potsdamer Platz is a jewel of modern architecture built on a wasteland of rubble left bare for decades after WWII that had to wait for the reunification of Berlin for its new construction in the 1990s...

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

The TUT tour starts

The Trains Unlimited Tours activities begin at a hotel adjacent to the Ostbahnhof, so we take a taxi over to that hotel, where we join the gathering group. We run into Greg Molloy, heading out of the building for some photos, and Bruce Anderson, sitting in the lounge with some other people, and meet the tour leaders Dale Brown and Bernd Vollmer. The activities will start with a bus tour around Berlin, using a vintage (1964) double-deck bus, onto which we first load the luggage (at the rear of the lower deck) before going upstairs to view the sights. The starting point is right where the Berlin Wall once ran, and for the first few minutes, the bus runs along the route of the wall, which is now a linear park between the streets that had run along each side.

Then, we turn into the former West Berlin, driving through what had been the American Sector out to the 1930s buildings at Tempelhof Airport, and then around the southwest side of the city center, passing the south side of Potsdamer Platz and heading out past the south side of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church onto the Kurfürstendamm—the major shopping street of what had grown to be the center of West Berlin, turning north onto Leipzigerstrasse and continuing into the Tiergarten area for a short stop at the Siegessäule. Then we head north and turns east past the Reichstag, seeing the new Hauptbahnhof across the river (with a lecture from the Berlin guide on its uselessness for local transportation connections), and turning south for a short stop at the Brandenburg Gate.

Then we drive south and east, past a remaining segment of the wall, Potsdamer Platz itself, and the rebuilt Checkpoint Charlie, turning north through Gendarmenplatz (but not stopping there), and east along Unter den Linden to the front of the Berlin Cathedral, which we also do not visit, heading to the banks of the river Spree to board the boat on which we're served lunch while cruising a segment of the river down to the Tiergarten area and return, meeting up with Pete and Sylvia Smykla on that boat. The bus then takes us out past the rump of the Anhalter Bahnhof to the Technical Museum located in the former roundhouses of that station (which became disused because it was in West Berlin, while all of the destinations it served were in East Germany).

Full size locomotives preserved in the exhibits in the two roundhouses include:

Borsig-Lok steam locomotive "Beuth", builders number 24, built by Borsig in 1842
Crampton-Lok steam locomotive "Die Pfalz", builders number 134, built by Maffei in 1853
Südbahn  steam locomotive class 29 GKB 680 builders number 513, built by StEG Wien, 1860,
Tenderlok steam locomotive "Kiel", builders number 996, built by Hanomag, 1872
Prussian State Railways steam locomotive class T0, Hannover 1907/1602, built Henschel, 1883
Württemberg steam locomotive class T T.1005, builders number 374, built by Heilbronn in 1899
Prussian State Railways  steam locomotive class T3 GASAG 1/1435, built by Schwarzkopff  in 1901
Siemens-Ellok electric locomotive Güterbahn 3/70418, built by vdZ & Charlier/Siemens in 1901
Prussian State Railways 2-6-0T steam locomotive class T9.3 PKP Tk13.112, Hohenzollern 1903
Kittellok steam locomotive KL.2/3481, built by Esslingen in 1908
Prussian State Railways 4-6-0 express steam locomotive, class S10 17.008/4760, Schwarzkopff 1911
Prussian State Railways C-C electric locomotive class E 00 E900.02/5837, built by Hanomag in 1911
Engadinbahn-Ellok electric locomotive RhB 193, built by SLM/AEG in 1913
Radische steam locomotive class X.b, Etat Belge 9184/2032, built by Karlsruhe in 1918
Prussian State Railways 4-6-0 steam locomotive, class P.8 PKP Ok1.296/2739, Schichau 1919
Württemberg steam locomotive class Hz 97.504/4142, built by Esslingen in 1925
Garratt articulated steam locomotive SAR 78/10630, built by Hanomag in 1929
German Railways 4-6-2 express steam locomotive Class 01 01.173/22721, built by Henschel in 1936
German Railways streamlined electric locomotive class E 19.01/5000, built by AEG in 1938
German Railways 2-10-0 steam locomotive class BR 50 50.001/24155, built by Henschel in 1939
German Railways 4-6-2 express steam locomotive Class 01.10 01.1032/11338, built BMAG, 1940
German Railways electric locomotive class E 44, E44.131/26116, built by Henschel in 1942
Treidellok "diesel" locomotive TAG 26, built by Teltow-Werft/Siemens in 1942
Rangierdiesellok diesel locomotive class V36, RCt 36629/36629, built by KHD in 1943
German Railways 2-10-0 steam locomotive, class 52 'Kriegslok', 52.4966/14036 built MBA, 1944
Tagebaulok electric locomotive PREAG6/25219, built by Henscehl/Siemens in 1950
German Federal Railways diesel railbus, class VT 95, 795465-4/140963, built by MAN in 1954
German Federal Railways diesel locomotive class V200, 220.018-6/2000018, Maschinenbau, 1957
German Federal Railways four-system electric locomotive E410.012/4838, Krupp/BBC, 1967
German Federal Railways diesel power car DE 2500, 202.003-0/11405 Henschel/BBC 1973, r. 1982

From the museum, we head across the city center to the new Hauptbahnhof, where we board our train to Szczeczin (an Inter-City train from Amsterdam) as it reverses in the lower level of that station 


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-13-07 DB (IC 143) 1726 Berlin-Angermünde InterCity DB Electric
5-13-07 DB (IC 143)   Angermünde-Szczecin InterCity (same train) 233 321-9

In the lower level of Berlin Hauptbahnhof, there are four or five island platforms, located below a roughly ground-level circulating area with many shops and cross-bridges, above which are the upper-level platforms at right angles to those at the lower-level. At the 'north' end of the low-level platforms, the tracks enter tunnels. The track on which we're traveling emerges in the vicinity of the Berlin-Wedding S-bahn station, as one of the westernmost pair of tracks, heading east-northeast. (There is also a track connection from the north end of the Hauptbahnhof's lower-level to the same line, heading west, somewhat to the west of where our train emerges.).

The line passes Berlin-Gesundsbrunnen station, where the crosstown S-bahn line coming north from Berlin Friedrichstrasse station joins in on the south side, resulting in a station with 5 island platforms serving ten tracks. Our train passes through track 10, and the line then curves northeast. There's a major interchange station at Bornholmer Strasse, with tracks on two levels. The line we're on continues northeast, with our train no longer on the west side of the now four-track formation, past Berlin Pankow, Pankow-Heinersdorf (an island platform between the westernmost pair of tracks only), Berlin Blankenburg (likewise an island platform between the westernmost pair of tracks only), a flying junction at which one pair of tracks head away northwest, a pair passes beneath on a northwest-southeast alignment, and another pair trails in from the southeast, and then Berlin-Karow, another station with an island platform on the westernmost pair of tracks only.

A non-electrified line departs on the northwest side of the line, and the main line continues northeast in a four track (actually two pairs of tracks) formation, with stations as island platforms serving the western pair of tracks only at Berlin Buch, Röntgenthal, Zepernick, as the line turns east-northeast, and Bernau-Friedenstel, followed by an S-bahn yard on that side. At Bernau by Berlin, there are two island platforms, for interchange, as the S-bahn line ends. The remaining pair of tracks turns northeast again, past Rüdnitz (two side platforms), Biesenthal (2 side platforms), as the line turns north-northeast, Melchow (2 sides), a freight yard on the west side, a non-electrified line heading away west, and Eberswalde Hauptbahnhof (2 islands), after which  a non-electrified line heads east at a wye.

The line turns northeast past Britz (2 side platforms), wye with a non-electrified line heading north on the west side, wayside stations at Chorin Kloster, Chorin and Herzspring, where the line turns north-northeast again, Angermünde (2 islands and a locomotive depot on the east side of the line), where it turns north with a non-electrified line trailing in from the southeast, south of the station, one heading northeast, north of the station and an electrified line heading northwest, north of the station, with a connector from that line trailing in on the west side before the line turns north-northeast again, past wayside stations at Welsow Bruchhagen and Schönermark before reaching the end of the electrification at Passow, where there are two side platforms and the electrified line curves away to the east.

The now single track non-electrified line continues north-northeast, and passing Schönow, Casecow (west side platform), Petershagen, where it turns northeast, Tantow, where it turns north, and a freight only station at Rosow, where it turns north-ortheast again, crossing the Oder River and the border with Poland. The line turns east into Szczecin Gumieńce, where a line trails in from the west, where there are two side platforms and Polish catenary begins, and then reaches Sczcecin Glowny, which has three island platforms and a large footbridge at the western end, which reaches city streets on the north side, but descends to track level on the south side.

The train changes from an electric to a diesel locomotive (233 321-9) at Angermünde, the last stop in Germany, where several of us get off to photograph the locomotive exchange. While we're on the train, Bernd comes around, collecting dollars that tour members want to convert into Polish Zlotys, an action that also enables him to ask everyone's name. We cross the Oder river into Poland, with the German and Polish authorities coming through the train to examine and stamp passports, and making Chris surrender her passport to go to the toilet at the end of the car, to reach Szczecin Glowny (Stets-in Glov-ny), the latter town's main station, where we leave the train to cross the footbridge to where our motor coach for the next five days is awaiting us (on the south side). The footbridge has steps only, so I stop (since I can't lift the bags up the stairs due to both chest surgery and artificial hip) while Chris takes the first set of bags up the stairs. Bernd sees this, and grabs my bags, carrying them to the bus for me (up one set of stairs, and down another).

The bus takes us to a most peculiar 'hotel' on the edge of a college campus in town, where there are no elevators (our room is upstairs, so Bernd helps again), and the included dinner proves to be cold cuts which have a remarkable resemblance to what is served for breakfast the following morning.

Monday, May 14th, 2007


After breakfast, the bus heads north out of town (without stopping for tram photos), dropping one of Bernd's assistants, Peter, at the local airport to meet an incoming tour member, on the way northeast to Gryfice (Gri-fitse), where there is both a narrow-gauge railway and a museum with many narrow-gauge steam locomotives. Along the way, Bernd hands out the zlotys that he had acquired in exchange for the dollars, overnight. After about a half hour touring the railway's workshop (where its steam locomotive, Px48 3916, that we can't use because of a dispute about its quality of restoration, is stored), we board the train with two open air cars and one closed car, for our ride out to the Baltic Sea coast.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-14-07 Gryfice narrow-gauge 1030 Gryfice-Niechorze Tourist cars Diesel LxD2 473
5-14-07 Gryfice narrow-gauge 1415 Niechorze-Gryfice Tourist cars Diesel LxD2 473

The Gryficka Kolej Waskotorowa ia a meter-gauge line, opened (in Germany, as this area was until 1945) in 1896 (as a 750 mm gauge line, but later widened), which once extended 182 km (in 1913), but now has a route length of 54 km. The section we rode heads west from Gryfice, 4.1 km to Popiele, then west-northwest to Rybokarty (8.87 km), where it turns north for 7.8 km, northwest past Paprotno (18.75 km), Karnice (22.83 km) and Dreźewo (26.88 km), and then 3 km further, east along the coast past Rewal (30.99 km) to Niechorze (32.31 km), some 3.13 km short of the end of the line. (John Snyder provided the information on the narrow gauge railways, and Tom Tiemann the pointers to the distance information.)

There are many photo-runbys (two in the fields, one with the stork at Paprotno, one south of Dreźewo, one at the Rewal depot) along the way, to Niechorze, where we have been assured that many seafood restaurants will be available for lunch. In the event, on a Monday in mid-May, we find only one bar and one restaurant open. Many of us take a walk to the local lighthouse, on the coast above the beach, and some even make the quick climb up the the lighthouse's balcony. There are more runbys (just north of Paprotno, at Rybokarty mill, and from the standard gauge embankment in Gryfice) on the way back. On our return to Gryfice, we have time to go around the museum before the bus departs.

The narrow-gauge steam locomotives at the museum in Gryfice, the vast majority of them being German in origin (because they were built before 1945) are:

Ty6 0-6-0T 3284
Tyo6 0-6-0T 3326
Tyb6 0-6-2T 3408
Tx-7 0-8-0T 3501
Tx-7 0-8-0T 3502
Tyn-6 2-6-2T 3632
Tyn-6 2-6-2T 3636
Tyn-8 2-8-2T 3811
Px48 0-8-0 3901
Px48 0-8-0 3912
Pt6x48 0-8-0 3915
Ty 0-6-0T 9785

Another tour member joins us here, and at Płoty, we stop to wait for a local standard-gauge train that brings us Peter and the final member of the tour, who arrived at that airport. We then drive southeast, using both side roads and a main road, through the gathering rainstorm, to our hotel in Piła (Pee-wa), which proves to be a big improvement on the previous night's hotel. As we arrive, and for some time thereafter, a heavy thunderstorm unfolds. We eat dinner (at the included dinner) with Keith Jensen and Greg Currivan.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Piła and Znin

The first thing we do this morning, after breakfast, is visit the former PKP (Polish State Railways) steam locomotive workshops at Piła, now operated by Interlok, a private contractor who both repairs steam locomotives and builds new ones! We see various restoration and construction activities in the workshops located in a former roundhouse. Among the steam locomotives we see here are:

Kriegslok 2-10-0 52.100, built during WWII
Ol49 2-6-2 59, built by Fablok in 1953
Tkt48 2-8-2T 191, built by Fablok in 1957

Then we head east of of town, turning south after a while to reach Białośliwie, where we ride in vintage cars on the Wyrzyska Kolejka Powiatowa (WKP) narrow-gauge railway, a trip of some 4 km (each way) west-northwest and north-northwest from the railway's home base, with runbys along the way.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-15-07 WKP   Białośliwie-Kocik Młyn Vintage cars Diesel
5-15-07 WKP   Kocik Młyn-Białośliwie Vintage cars Diesel
5-15-07 ZKP   Znin-Gasawa Tourist cars Px38 805 0-8-0
5-15-07 ZKP   Gasawa-Znin Tourist cars Px38 805 0-8-0

The Wyrzyska Kolejka Powiatowa (WKP) narrow-gauge railway is a 600 mm gauge line opened in 1895, that had its largest extent in 1908, at 149 km, and now has 29 km available for operation. To this, 10 km will be added in 2007 and 14 km in 2008 or 2009. The section we ride on heads west-northwest from Białośliwie, turning north-northwest to reach the first siding at Kocik Młyn, 4 km from the start of our journey. Here, the locomotive runs around the train and we return to our starting point.

On our return from this trip, we head back north to the main road, and then east and south to Znin, eating our packed lunches along the way. At Znin, where rain is falling again, we hang around the ZKP station area for awhile before boarding our steam train to head south into the countryside. At Biskupin, some of the group depart for a historical walking tour of sites dating several centuries BC, while the rest of us continue to Gasawa, where the steam locomotive runs around the train and we have a couple of runbys. Back at the meeting point, we have time to get something to drink before the walking tour returns. We then head back towards Znin, stopping along the way for another runby (at a house and crossing), then at Wenecja, a site which has another narrow-gauge steam railway museum, which we visit, and then for two more runbys at the depot at Ryllowa.

The 600 mm gauge Zniʼnska Kolej Powatowa narrow-gauge railway was opened in 1894, had a maximum extent of 78 km in 1950, and has 12 km operational today. From Znin Waskotorowe, the line heads southeast, and then turns southwest to Rydlewo (2.2 km), where a line once left to the east, southeast and then south-southwest to Podgórzyn (3.3 km) and Skarbienice, cursing slowly southeast and then sharply southwest to Wenecja (6.5 km), where the museum is located on the west side of the line and then west to Biskupin Odcinek (7.6 km).  The line then turns south to Biskupin Wieś (8.0 km), south-southeast and then south again to Gasawa Majętność and south to the current end of the line at Gasawa (11.9 km).

The museum at Wenecja has the following narrow-gauge steam locomotives

PKP 4-6-2 1
PKP 0-6-0T 2
PKP 0-6-0T 4 (from 1915)
PKP 0-6-0T 6
PKP 0-4-0T  ?? (from 1950)
T1 0-4-0T 009
T2 0-4-0T 71
T49 0-4-0T 114
Tx26 0-8-0T 422
Tx65 0-6-0 471
Tx6 0-8-0T 502
T 0-6-0T 531
Tx4 0-8-0 564
Px27 0-8-0 775
Tx 0-8-0 1116
Tx 0-8-0 10660

Returning to Znin, we reboard the bus for the short drive to tonight's hotel in Gniezno. This is located between a narrow street on one side and a pedestrian area on the other, in several old houses that have been joined together. Some of the rooms, including ours, are located on the second floor (two floors up), in an area with no elevators. By the time we've got the luggage to the room, dinner has started, but no-one has told us that the time is earlier than on the printed itinerary! We find out when Chris goes downstairs (because I'm uncomfortable with us doing things in the room), and Pete Smykla calls me to tell me 'my soup is getting cold'!

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Gniezno and Wolsztyn

After breakfast this morning, some of the tour members go on a walking tour of historic Gniezno, while the rest of us go for a ride on another of northwest Poland's narrow gauge lines, starting with a short bus ride from the town square at the end of that pedestrianized street by the hotel.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-16-07 Gniezno (GKW)   Gniezno-Witkowo Open plan cars Diesel (Lxd2 369)
5-16-07 Gniezno (GKW)   Witkowo-Gniezno Open plan cars Diesel (Lxd2 369)
5-16-07 PKP   Wolsztyn-Leszno Vintage cars Ok1 4-6-0 359 and Tr5 2-8-0 65
5-16-07 PKP   Leszno-Wolsztyn Vintage cars Tr5 2-8-0 65 and Ok1 4-6-0 359

The 750 mm gauge Gnieźnieńska Kolej Waskatorowa narrow gauge railway was opened in 1896 as a 600 mm gauge line, and later widened. It had a maximum extent of 77 km in 1916, and is currently 38 km in length. The line starts out heading just west of south from Gniezno Waskotorowe, and then turns southeast, past Ogród Witkorii (2.04 km), Jelonek (3.75 km), Zelaskowo (7.23 km), and Niechanowo (9.3 km), where a line once headed south, east-southeast to Miroszka (11.47 km), south-southeast to Malachowo (13.24 km) and then southeast again to Witkowo (15.08 km).

After the 15 km each way train ride and photo runbys (false start from Gniezno, km 12, Niechanowo, Witkowo, one on the way back), we reboard the bus, and pick up the walkers at the local bus station. The bus then heads south to the nearest entrance on the east-west autobahn, and west on that autobahn, as we eat our packed lunches, to the western end of the existing segment of high-speed road, where it turns south again to Wolsztyn. Here, we leave the bus in another bus station, across the road from the railway station, while we ride a double-headed steam-hauled charter train on the PKP line south to Leszno and return, making one stop, at Nowa Wieś Mochy, for a meet with an opposing diesel train (on this single track line), a meet with an opposing steam train (Ok22 4-6-0 31, at Włoszakowice), and two photo-runbys (false start from Nowa Wieś Mochy, north of Włoszakowice).

From Wolsztyn (km 46.1, east side plus two island platforms, with station buildings to the east and two footbridges overhead), the single-track, non-electrified line heads south, with the motive power depot on the west side of the line and a grade crossing just to its south. The line to Poznan then climbs up on the west side and crosses overhead on a bridge, while the Leszno line continues south, past Nowy Widzim (km 42.0), Wroniawy (km 39.1), and Nowy Solec (km 35.3) to Nowa Wieś Mochy (km 32.9), where the station buildings are on the west side, turns southeast, past Perkowo (km 29.0) and Blotnica (km 26.4), just east of south, past Starkowo (km 24.8) and Boszkowo (km 22.0), and then gently curves southeast again, past Włoszakowice (km 17.9), where the station buildings are also on the west side, Krzycko Wielkie (km 11.5), Wilkowice (km 5.1) and Marysiewice (km 3.6).

There is a wye on the east side with a line connecting to Kaolewo, after which the electrified line from Poznan trails in on the east side with the non-electrified passenger line from the Kakolewo direction beyond that. Leszno station (km 0) is at the junction between non-electrified tracks curving west and the electrified line heading south-southeast, with the station buildings in the vee between the lines, a platform on each set of lines, and an island platform beyond on each set of lines.

At Lesno, a junction station with the main line from Poznan south to Wrocław (vrots-wav), our train stops in the western set of platforms while the steam locomotives run north to the turntable and are individually turned and returned to the train, this time with the 4-6-0 inside. Meanwhile, many of us photograph the regular PKP traffic (electric and diesel-hauled express trains and local railcars). After our steam locomotives return, the train returns to Wolsztyn, with two more runbys (with train against forest, and north of Wroniaczy), and we then take the bus south again, to our hotel on the western outskirts of Leszno. This hotel seems more like a residential conference center than a real hotel, but at least our room (along with all others for married couples) is on the ground floor. (Bruce Anderson and Keith Jensen opt to stay in Wolsztyn, at their own additional expense, so as to visit the steam sheds during the early-morning preparations for the following day's trains.)

The Wolsztyn steam center

Everywhere we go on this trip, the railways were built either in the period when the area was part of Germany (having been so for several centuries, prior to 1945), or in the period when (a different) area was part of the Austrian Empire (having been so for several centuries prior to 1918/19). At no time do we go into an area that was neither German nor Austrian prior to 1918. Thus, the narrow gauge railways that we visit in northwest Poland stem from the same movement as the one we visit near today's eastern border of Germany.

Wolsztyn is in an area that was part of Prussia for centuries prior to the end of WWII, when the western border of Poland was pushed westward to the Oder-Neisse line, so all steam locomotives built for service in this area prior to 1945 are of German origin. Regular steam operations in the Wolsztyn area lasted long enough for the operations to be discovered by enthusiasts in Great Britain, who persuaded the authorities to keep steam in operation, and to make it available as 'The Wolsztyn Steam Experience', including cabrides and the ability to operate the locomotives, for a price. This worked so well that today one of the steam locomotives bear the name of one of the British organizers–Bob Wyeth.

Steam locomotives at Wolsztyn are:

Known to be operational:

Ok1.359 (4-6-0), built in 1917 by BMAG Schwartzkopff (Berlin), works #6388
Tr5.65 (2-8-0), built in 1921 by Orenstein & Koppel, works #8961
Ol49.7 (2-6-2), named 'Bob Wyeth', built in 1951 by Fablok, works #2609
Ok22.31 (4-6-0) , built in 1929 by Fablok, works #356

Others present, in various states of repair:
Pm36.2 (4-6-2), built in 1837 by Fablok, works #663
Pt47.65 (2-8-2), built in 1949 by Fablok, works #2065
Pt47.112 (2-8-2), built in 1949 by HCP, works # 1310
Ol49.23 (2-6-2), built in 1952 by Fablok, works #2625
Ol49.59 (2-6-2), built in 1953 by Fablok, works #3170
Ol49-99 (2-6-2), built in 1953 by Fablok, works #3211
Ol49.111 (2-6-2), built in 1954 by Fablok, works # 4073
Ty3-2 (2-10-0), built in 1944 by Schichau, works # 4448
Ty45.379 (2-10-0), built in 1949 by HCP, works # 1388
TKi3.87 (2-6-0T), built in 1908 by Union, works # 1652
Pt47.106 (2-8-2), built in 1949 by HCP, works # 1304
Ok1.322 (4-6-0), built in 1921 by Linke Hoffman, works # 2269
Ol49.60 (2-6-2), built in 1953 by Fablok, works # 3171
Ol49.81 (2-6-2), built in 1953 by Fablok, works #3192
Ol49.85 (2-6-2), built in 1953 by Fablok, works #3194
Ty1.76 (2-10-0), built in 1919 by Link Hoffman, works # 1866
Ty2.406 (2-10-0), built in 1943 by Orenstein & Koppel, works # 13821
Ty2.1298 (2-10-0), built in 1944 by Jung, works # 11297
Ty5.10 (2-10-0), built in 1940 by Schichau, works # 3413
Ty42.148 (2-10-0), built in 1946 by Fablok, works # 1647
Ty43.92 (2-10-0), built in 1948 by HCP, works # 1293
Ty43.123 (2-10-0), built in 1949 by HCP, works # 1354
Ty51.183 (2-10-0), built in 1956 by HCP, works #2475
Ty51.223 (2-10-0), built in 1957 by HCP, works # 2532
TKbB (0-4-0T), built in 1912 by Borsig, works # 8464
TKt48.143 (2-8-2T), built in 1956 by Fablok, works # 4733
TKt48.147 (2-8-2T), built in 1956 by Fablok, works # 4737

Thursday, May 17th, 2007


The bus takes us back to Wolsztyn for two more out-and-back charter steam-hauled trains, each with one of the locomotives that had double-headed our train the day before.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-17-07 PKP   Wolsztyn-Szreniawa Vintage cars Ok1 4-6-0 359
5-17-07 PKP   Szreniawa-Wolsztyn Vintage cars Ok1 4-6-0 359
5-17-07 PKP   Wolsztyn-Zbaszyn Vintage cars Tr5 2-8-0 65
5-17-07 PKP   Zbaszyn-Wolsztyn Vintage cars Tr5 2-8-0 65

On the first such train, with the same 4-6-0 we had had the previous day, headed towards (but not to) Poznan, the first photo stop is at Grodzysk WKLP for a regular service train to overtake us, in the rain. This train proves to be hauled by steam, Ol49 2-6-2 7. The planned 'false-start' photo run that follows is aborted due to the station master's sudden refusal to let it pass the signals at the end of the station area before we reboard the train! After a couple of difficult returns to the carriage we're sitting in today, which has a more restricted mode of entry from ground level than that from the day before, I conclude that I should not be depending on physical assistance from the person on the ground behind me (Greg Molloy, in both cases today), and that it is incumbent on me not to get out for a runby, if I can't get back in unassisted. (There is no way to move between the carriages on today's train, so getting up elsewhere is not an option.) There are two more runbys (in the rain at Granowo Nowotomyskie, which I do, and at Steszew) before we reach Szreniawa, a wayside station adjacent to an agricultural museum that has an operational steam tractor. Here, since the rain is still falling, some of us opt to wait in the museum's waiting room while the others visit the museum.

From Wolsztyn (km 38.9), the single track, non-electrified line heads south, edges away to the west, and then curves east over a bridge over the line to Leszno, heading northeast , past Tioki (km 45.4), east, past Rostarzewo (km 49.4), northeast, past Rakoniewoce (km 53.5), Drzymalowo (km 56.5), and Ruchocice (km 60.3), and north past Młyniewo Nowotomyskie (km 64.1) to GrodziskWielkopolski (km 67.8), a station with buildings on the west side, a west side and island platform, with connecting pedestrian subway, with a line trailing in from the east, south of the station, and one continuing north, north of the station. Our line turns east, past Płaszkowo (km 74.6). Kotowo (km 77.3) and Granowo Nowotomyskie (km 80.7), and then northeast, past Strykowo Poznariski (km 87.7), Steszew (km 95.5) and Trzebaw Rosnówko (km 100.0) to Szreniawa (km 103.3)

Meanwhile, our locomotive has run around the train and returned the train to the wayside station, whence we take it back to Wolsztyn, eating our packed lunches along the way. At the latter, our train exchanges locomotives for the 2-8-0 we had had the previous day, and we head off north, in the now sunny afternoon, to the mainline connection at Zbąszyń, with four more runbys along the way (Wolsztyn Skansen, in the fields just north of the latter, Tuchorza, north of Stefanowo). At our destination, the locomotive runs around the train while many of us photograph the regular PKP operations at that mainline station, before returning to Wolstyn the way we had come, with three more runbys along the way (Stefanowo, Tuchorza, south of Belęcin WKP). Due to the carriage we're riding in, I don't participate in most of these runbys.

From Wolsztyn (km 46.1), the line heads north, past Wolsztyn Skansen, where a line heads away to the west, and the now single-track non-electrified line, continues north, gradually edging towards the north-northwest, past Tuchorza (km 53.6), Belęcin Wielkopolski (km 58.4), Stefanowo (km 62.8), and Zbąszyń Przedmieście (km 66.6), curving west and joing the south side of the main line to Zbąszyń (km 68.9).

After the train returns to Wolsztyn, the bus takes us to the steam locomotive depot for more photogrpahs, and then east and later south, past the eastern edge of Leszno, to Rawicz, a small roadside town where we spend the night, variously, in one of the three co-located hotels at a truck stop. Here, again, we're upstairs in a hotel with no elevator.

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Wolsztyn and the trip to Krakow

This morning, we take the bus back to a wayside town north of Leszno, where the main line from Leszno to Poznan meets a narrow-gauge line. Here, we watch as a standard-gauge car being transported on a narrow-gauge wagon is transloaded onto the standard-gauge tracks and then shunted by the narrow-gauge locomotive on an adjacent track, using a cable. We then unload the luggage from the bus (which is returning to its home base) onto a box van on the narrow gauge train, before boarding that train for our morning's ride.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-18-07 SKPL   Stare Bojanowo-Wielichowo Open plan cars Diesel Lxd2 266
5-18-07 SKPL   Wielichowo-Stare Bojanowo Open plan cars Diesel Lxd2 266
5-18-07 PKP 1440 Stare Bojanowo-Leszno Mainline OL49 7 2-6-2
5-18-07 PKP 1533 Leszno-Krakow Mainline 1st-class Electric

The 750 mm gauge Smigielska Kolej Dojazdowa was opened in 1900 as a meter-gauge line, and later narrowed. Its maximum extent was 54 km in 1901, and today it runs for 25 km. The section we ride starts out southward from Stare BojanowoWaskotorowe (km 30.62), turning west past Robaczyn (km 29.13), west-northwest past Nietąźkowo (km 27.84), and north and then west-northwest into Smigiel (km 25.95), where the workshops and depot lie on the north side of the line. The line then heads north-northwest past Smigiel Zachód (km 23.94),  and Nova Wieś Kościańska (km 22.97), west to Zegrowo (km 21.27), northwest past Zegrówko (km 19.3), Bielawy (km 18.81) and Wilkowo Polskie (km 16.3), west-northwest to Sniaty (km 13.91), north, northwest, and north again to Ziemin (km 9.6), and north-northwest to Wielichowo (km 7.71).

Our out-and-back trip on the narrow gauge line is diesel-hauled, with a stop at the workshops at Smigiel, where many of us get drinks and ice-cream rather than go to the workshop, several runbys (false start at Smigiel, Wilkowo Polskie, run-around and runby at Wielichowo, Wilkowo Polskie, Bielawy, Nowy Wies) and a meet with the regular service train (a diesel railcar) at Bielawy on the way back, covering just under 23 km each way. When we return from it, after eating our packed lunches, we transfer the luggage to a new bus that awaits us, and will transfer the luggage to Krakow while we ride there by train. The first train is operated by another of Wolsztyn's steam locomotives—the 2-6-2 that we had seen on the regular service train the previous day, and takes us south to Leszno.

From Stare Bojanowo (km 112.5), an island platform with station buildings to the west, the double-track electrified line heads south-southwest, past Górka Duchowna (km 107.9), station to the west, and Lino Nowe (km 104.0), sattion to the west, to Leszno (km 95.8). In Leszno, we transfer platforms to board the regular service train south from Leszno, through Wrocław and Katowice to Krakow. Because we have no seat reservations on the latter (due to the lateness of the trip's final arrangements), the group is spread out among the two first class carriages on the train. We find seats in a compartment with three other people, including a Vietnamese woman, married to a Pole, who is traveling with her mother. Bernd's assistant, Peter, also takes a seat in our compartment.

From Leszno (km 94.8), the double track, electrified line, heads south-southeast, past Bojanowo (km 75.3), where a non-electrified line trails in from the west, and Rawicz (km 63.1, two side platforms, station buildings to the east), where a non-electrified line trails in from the west and one departs to the east, south of the station, turning south past Zmigród (km 47.2, two side platforms, station buildings to the east), and then south-southwest, south-southeast, south past Obomiki Sląski (km 26.4, station to the east)  and south-southeast again to Wrocław Osobowice (km 9.7), where an electrified line heads southeast and the main line turns south-southwest. Several other lines trail in on the west side as the line turns south at Wrocław Popowice (km 4.6) to Wrocław Glowny (km 0.0/181.0, seven island platforms, barrel overall roof), and then south-southeast past w wye with departing lines on the west side to Wrocław Brochów (km 175.7), where a line departs on the east side and the main line turns southeast,

The line now passes Olawa (km 154.5, two island platforms, station buildings to the south), and Lewin Brzeski (km 124.7, two island platforms, station buildings to the north) before a non-electrified line trails in on the south side west of Opole Glówne (km 99.3, north side & island platforms, station buildings to the north). Lines head north and east, east of the latter, while the main line continues southeast past Opole Groszowice (km 95.8/37.5), where a line turns away southeast, Gogolin (km 21.4), where a line trails in from the west as the main line turns south-southeast, Zdzieszowice (km 10.4), Kedzierzyn Koźle (km 0.0/64.2, three islands, station buildings to the east), where a non-electrified line trails in from the west and an electrified line continues south as the main line turns east, and Rudziniec Gliwicki (km 49.1), where a line edges away on the south side and then bridges overhead heading northeast.. Another line trails in from the north at Gliwice Labędy (km 33.0), where the line turns south-southeast  to Gliwice (km 27.1, four island platforms on embankment).

A line departs on the south side, and one on the north side, with one bridging overhead, as the main lien heads east and then turns southeast again before Ruda Chebzie (km 11.7), where a line trails in from the north and one heads away south, continuing southeast past Chorzów Batory (km 6.2), where a line trails in from the north and one heads away south, and joining with a line coming in from the south-southwest as both turn east into Katowice (km 0.4/33.0). Katowice’s main station has four island platforms serving eight racks, with umbrella sheds covering the platforms. There is a signal control tower at the east end of the station, on the north side. The whole layout is elevated above street level, with the station facilities below.

The line to Kraków heads east. Another line trails in from the northwest before Katowice Szopienice Poludnie station (km 27.5), east of which is a wye where another line heads northeast and the Krakow line turns southeastward, passes under a freight bypass line, past a large coal mine on the north side, and through Myslowice (km 22.9/12.2, two platforms, four tracks, station below, roundhouse northwest of station area), where it turns east at a junction where another line heads due south. The landscape in the whole Katowice area is filled with rundown industrial facilities and several coalmines, and has air quality problems not seen in the USA since the sky became visible on weekdays in Pittsburgh in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. (UK readers should substitute UK and Sheffield in the previous sentence, but I’m not sure of the dates in that case.) Another line connecting from that southward line trails in at the west end of Sosnowiec Jęzor (km 7.5), and a line leaves to the east-northeast as the Kraków line heads northeast on the east end of that station, with the departing line climbing on an embankment and eventually passing over the Kraków line as the latter curves southeast, under the bridge, to a junction where a line trails in from the northwest and another line trails in from the northeast, all of them passing beneath the line on the embankment.

A non-electrified line trails in from the southwest, immediately after the preceding junction, as the line passes locomotive shops and then a hump yard on the north side and enters Jaworzno-Szczakowa (Km 0.0/15.81, two platforms, two tracks). Southeast of that station, another line departs to the east. The line continues southeast, past a large coal mine north of the tracks, to Trzebinia (km 31.7, two platforms, three tracks, station to the north), where another line trails in from the southwest and a branch line trails in from the north, on the west side of the station, and another line departs to the south on the east end, as the Kraków line turns east-southeast.

The line curves gently eastward, past a collection of decaying steam locomotives on the east side of the line, to Krzeszomice (km 45.1, three platforms, five tracks, station to the east, yard to the southwest), through. agricultural countryside, turns southeast and then east again. Approaching Kraków, a line departing northeast at a flyover junction heads for Kraków Batowice, the line passes through Kraków Łobzów (km 67.5), the tracks heading for the station turn away from tracks continuing eastward, cross over a road on a bridge, pass a large carriage yard on the south side of the line, pass under a tramway bridge and on a bridge over another road, and turn south at a large wye junction where the northern apex crosses over that previous line headed eastward, to head into Kraków Glówny station. At the south apex of the wye, passing underneath a road crossing overhead on a concrete bridge, lines go off on the west side to what looks like a former stub-end terminal of the same name as (or platforms of) the present through station.

Kraków Glówny (km 70.8) has five relatively new island platforms serving ten tracks, with umbrella sheds covering the platforms. A pedestrian subway leads to the west side of the north-south oriented station, with a footpath heading south on that side of the line to a classically-designed station building on the west side of the line adjacent to the south station throat. There is a signal control tower on the east side of the tracks across from the station building. Beyond the station buildings, the four tracks cross above a Kraków street on a concrete bridge.

Arriving at Kraków Glówny, we walk over to a hotel near the main station for the included dinner, before walking back to the adjacent bus station and boarding our bus for the short ride to our hotel on the south side of the city center (across the river, south of the Jewish Quarter). By the time we reach our room, it's after 11 pm, but Bernd seems surprised that we don't all wait around for him to post the following day's schedule before heading for our rooms!

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Kraków and Chabówka

Because we haven't got a time and place for connecting with the group if we don't go on the planned walking tour (which is slated to cover places we had been in 2005), we have to get up in time to be downstairs before that tour starts. We make a tentative arrangements to meet the group on its walking tour, but then find out that the bus will be leaving the hotel at a similar time (11:30 am), and decide to do that instead. The handle on one of our suitcases has broken, so we walk over to the Galleria shopping center along the river and buy a replacement. We then have some coffee and tea in the lounge area before joining the bus for its departure.

Somewhat to my surprise, the bus drives over to the parking area at the foot of Wawel Castle. Dale has already asked those on the bus if we have had lunch (no!), so when it's clear we'll be parked for awhile, a group of us, including Dale, goes over to a nearby grocery store to get things for lunch. (It was stated that those on the walking tour would have grabbed lunch along their walk.) This takes a little longer than expected, so the walkers are back at the bus before we are, and Bernd is angry about the ten-minute wait, ignoring the 25-minute wait before the walkers came to join the bus! It also transpires that those on the walking tour had not had a chance to get lunch.

The bus drives south out of town, and then east across the Tatra foothills to Dobra, where our steam-hauled train ride into Chabówka (ha-bov-kah) is waiting. Here, most of the people on the bus pile into a tiny grocery store (slated to close at 2 pm, but remaining open to serve this sudden crush of people) to buy lunch (for most) and/or ice-cream (for those who've already eaten). Fortunately, there's time to do all of this before our train departs.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-18-07 PKP 1455 Dobra-Chabówka 4 Vintage cars Okz32 2-10-2T 2

The train starts out with a 'false start' runby to the west, and then continues in that direction. There are more runbys along the way (west of Mszana Dolma, east of Rabka Zaryte), including one at which the train has difficulty starting on the steep grade. There is a short stop in Chabówka station, before the train proceeds into the Chabówka steam museum. Here, there's a long period providing time to wander around the museum, taking photographs of its collection, before we have a dinner of grilled Polish sausages, catered by the museum volunteers. After dinner, another long period elapses as we wait for darkness to fall so that those who so desire can participate in a night-photo session. Unfortunately, given the number of late nights followed by early mornings, no option is provided for those not taking night photos to return to Kraków and the hotel, although one Polish-speaking member of the group does return to Kraków on a regular service train, and could have taken others with him.

Bernd accepts my criticism of the late night/early morning problem, but not of the requirement to stay for the night photo session. I later suggest to him that having separate travel days for 6-hour regular train journeys, instead of starting them after 3:30 pm as we did/do on this trip, would serve as the 'down days' he had thought of. Eventually, the bus drives us all back to Kraków, except for Bruce Anderson, who has taken his own hotel room (so he can ride on a 7 am train on Sunday), and Barbara Frank, who is staying with relatives..

The Chabówka steam center

Chabówka is in an area that was part of the Austrian Habsburg Empire for several hundred years prior to 1918/19, so the railways in the area were developed by Austrian organizations, and all steam locomotive and railway carriage development prior to that time was Austrian. However, unlike Wolsztyn, railways in Chabówka became Polish after 1918/19, so developments since then were by, or on behalf of, PKP, except between 1939 and 1945, when Nazi Germany was in charge.

Chabówka is a 'live' railway museum, created out of the steam locomotive depot on the Trans-Galician Railway, later KKStB, line that was originally created in 1884 (including the line to Nowy Sącz used for steam operations). Today's engine shed facilities in Chabówka date from the WWII period (1944-45), and were thus built by Nazi Germany and rebult in their original form after the destruction at the end of the war. The shed became the major steam locomotive facility in the area after electrification of the major lines surrounding the area left an island of steam, which continued in operation until the 1980s. The shed received its first diesel locomotives in 1987, and steam traction officially ended in October 1989 as a result of additional electrification of nearby lines, but continued to see intermittent substitute operations until April, 1992.

The first steps towards the creation of the museum occurred in 1991, with the first steam locomotive overhaul and the arrival of additional, operational, steam locomotives. The first special train on the Nowy Sącz line was in April, 1992. The official opening of the railway museum was in June, 1993. Today's collection includes electric locomotives and diesel railcars as well as steam locomotives. Steam locomotives in working order are:

Ol12.7 (2-6-2), built in 1912 by StEG, Vienna, works #3849
Ol49.100 (2-6-2), built in 1954 by Fablok, works # 3214
OKz32.2 (2-10-2T), built in 1934 by Cegielski, works # 306
TR12.25 (2-8-0), built in 1921 by Floridsdorf, Vienna, works # 2742
Ty2.911 (2-10-0), built in 1944 by HCP, Poznan, works # 813
Ty2.953 (2-10-0), built in 1944 by Henschel, Kassel, works # 28163
TKt48.191 (2-8-2T), built in 1957 by Fablok, works # 4781
TKh49.1 (0-6-0T), built in 1961 by Fablok, works # 5695

Steam locomotives not in working order are:

Pt31.64 (2-8-2), built in 1938 by Fablok, works #721
Pt47.152 (2-8-2), built in 1950 by HCP, Poznan, works #14002
Ol49.44 (2-6-2), built in 1952 by Fablok, works #2989
OKl27.41 (2-6-2T), built in 1932 by HCP, works #270
Tp4.259 (0-8-0), built in 1921 by Linke Hoffman, works #2196
Tr202.19 (2-8-0), built in 1946 by Vulcan Foundry, works #5405
Tw12.12 (0-10-0), built in 1920 by StEG, Vienna, works #4423
Ty2-29 (2-10-0), built in 1942 by Henschel, Kassel, works #2697
Ty2.50 (2-10-0), built in 1942 by Schwarzkopf, works #12205
Ty2.1184 (2-10-0), built in 1944 by Henschel, works #27965
Ty23.104 (2-10-0), built in 1929 by HCP, works #139
Ty37.17 (2-10-0), built in 1938 by HCP, works #??
Ty42.19 (2-10-0), built in 1945 by Fablok, works #1524
Ty43.9 (2-10-0), built in 1946 by HCP, works #994
Ty45.386 (2-10-0), built in 1950 by Fablok, works #2546
Ty51.133 (2-10-0), built in 1956 by HCP, works #2425
TY51.137 (2-10-0), built in 1956 by HCP, works #2429
Ty51.182 (2-10-0), built in 1956 by HCP, works #2474
TKb.1479 (0-4-0T), built in 1878 by Schwarzkopf, works #915
TKb100.51 (0-4-0T), built in 1928 by Orenstein & Koppel, works #11688
TKt1.63 (2-8-2T), built in 1916 by Hohenzollern, works #3496
TKt3.16 (2-8-2T), built in 1935 by Schichau, works #3286
TKw2.114 (0-10-0T), built in 1916 by Schwarzkopf, works #5789
TKh.0145 (0-6-0T), built in 1957 by Fablok, works #4938
TKp.2011 (0-8-0T), built in 1950 by Fablok, works #2011
Tw1.591 (narrow gauge 0-6-0T), built in 1918 by Schwarzkopf, works #??
Tx26.127 (narrow gauge 0-8-0T), built in 1927 by Fablok, works #??
Tw53.2560 (narrow gauge 0-6-0T), built in 1954 by Fablok, works #??
"Las" 47 (narrow gauge 0-4-0T), built in 1956 by Fablok), works #??

Sunday, May 20th, 2007


This morning, we return by bus to Chabówka, where there is a short time to revisit the museum before our train departs from there at 10:45 am, hauled by a Polish-owned Kriegslok 2-10-0, running in reverse (there's no way to turn at Chabówka). Bruce and Barbara rejoin us.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-20-07 PKP 1045 Chabówka-Nowy Sącz Vintage cars Ty2 Kriegslok 2-10-0 953
5-20-07 PKP 1641 Nowy Sącz-Dobra Vintage cars Ty2 Kriegslok 2-10-0 953

The line from Chabówka to Nowy Sącz, used by the museum, heads northeast out of the museum and onto the south side of the electrified double-track from Zakopane, in the high Tatra mountains. The double-track electrified line from Kraków trails in just west of the station at Chabówka (km 0.0, south side plus island platform, station buildings on the south side), where the electrification ends. The line continues, single track, non-electrified, climbing northeast past Rabka Zdrój (km 1.9), Rabka Zaryte (km 5.6), Raba Nizna (km 8.5), and Mszana Dolna (km 14.6), across a trestle over a ravine, and climbing past Kasina Wielka (km 23.4) and descending past Skrzydlna (km 27.0),on a ledge along a south-facing hillside, to Dobra kolo Limanowej (km 30.8, station building on the south side), where it turns east, continuing downgrade, past Tymbark (km 37.1), and then climbing southeast past Limanova (km 47.1, station buildings on the south side), on a west-facing slope, to the summit near km 52, and east southeast past Pisarzowa (km 55.3), Męcina Podgorze (km 56.3), Męcina (km 59.5) Khomranice (km 63.4) and  Klęczany (km 64.4) to Marcinkovice (km 67.4). Here, the line turns south and electrification begins again, into Nowy Sącz, past Nowy Sącz Chelmiec (km 73.0), and Nowy Sącz Miasto (km 74.4, platform and station buildings on the east side), to Nowy Sącz (km 77.0), where the line turns southwest and a line from the east trails in before the multi-platform station.  

The train heads east, along the same line (as far as Dobra) that we had used the day before, meeting the 2-10-2T at Chabówka station, with several runbys on the climb to the summit before Dobra (km 5.3, trestle at km 21.x km 24.3). At one of these (the trestle), Bruce Anderson arranges for some local children to participate in his video shot of the runby, posing them viewing the train. At Marcinkovice, we have to wait a half hour for the operating staff to come on duty, so that we can proceed eastward onto the electrified track. It's suggested that we get off at a small station just before the main Nowy Sącz (novi sanch), because there will be a number of restaurants open within "100 meters" of the station. Well, that 100 meters proves to be straight up, and most of the restaurants are closed because its the middle of Sunday afternoon (shades of Monday afternoon at the coast). But a large group of us does manage to eat at this location before the train returns (late) from its servicing stop at the main station, 90 minutes after we leave it.

There are more runbys on the way back (km 61.3, km 60.4, west of Męcina, east of Limanova, and just east of Dobra), some involving steep hillside climbs, and a contretemps at Limanowa, a station where our bus is parked, but which is not where we will transfer to it, before we transfer to the bus at Dobra. The bus is then an hour later than anticipated back to the hotel, due to (a) traffic on the road back into town, (b) a lengthy stop to refuel the bus (what was the driver doing while we were all off on the train?), and (c) the driver apparently getting lost on the way to the new hotel in Kraków (on the southeast side of the major intersection, to the east of the old railway station building, where the intersection is under total reconstruction in 2007), after the fueling stop. So again, we have a late night (included) dinner.

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Kraków and the return trip

Today, there's an option to return to Chabówka for an hour or two (why?), by bus, and then visit the death camp at Auschwitz, or to stay in Kraków (but still get the luggage onto the bus before it leaves) until late afternoon, taking the train from Kraków that the rest of the group will join in Katowice. We opt for the latter, and spend the day walking around the market square area of Kraków with Bruce Anderson, hearing the 'interrupted trumpet call' from St. Mary's Parish Church, and visiting the Cloth Hall and the Barbican area, as well as having coffee and tea at one restaurant, lunch at another, and ice cream at a third, around the square, which is a delightful place to spend a few hours on a sunny May day.

Eventually, those who have stayed in Kraków gather at Kraków Glówny station for the train back to the northwest, which has come in from further east (the timetable advertises Odessa and Kiev, but the Polish-Ukrainian border is more likely for the actual rolling stock), and we board the first-class cars, with five of us from the group in the furthest compartment forward.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-21-07 PKP 1545 Krakow-Wrocław Mainline 1st class Electric
5-21-07 PKP 2052 Wrocław-Lignica Mainline 1st class Electric

The rest of the group joins us in Katowice, by which time to one non-group passenger in our compartment has left and is thus replaced by a group member. There's only a bar car on this train, so we can't have dinner on the train as the itinerary advertises. At Wrocław (the former German Breslau), we leave this train, and after a 50-minute wait, board another heading for Görlitz (or its Polish equivalent) on the German-Polish border, which we leave at Legnica (another former German town), about halfway there. The bus takes us to the hotel, for another late night (included) dinner.

The double track, electrified, line to Legnica is the westernmost of the three routes north from Wrocław Glowny (km 0.0), turning west-northwest from the complex junctions, northwest, and then west past Malczyce (km 42.7), where non-electrified lines trail in on both north and south sides, east of the station, and a non-electrified line heads away southwest, west of the station. An electrified freight avoiding line departs on the north side, a few kilometers east of Legnica (km 65.1), where non-electrified lines trail in on both north and south sides, east of the station.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Weisswasser and the return to Berlin

After breakfast, we leave Lignica on the bus (except for Bob and Barbara Frank, who are going to Wrocław), heading northwest on the Autobahn for a couple of hours, and then turning southwest to the Polish-German border at Lemnica-Bad Muskau. The border crossing on a bus is a bit different from that on the train, earlier, in that on the train the border agents of both countries take, inspect, and stamp each passport individually as they pass down the train, whereas on the bus, passports are collected, taken off the bus, and some time later returned to the bus after being stamped.

From Bad Muskau, we head southwest towards Weisswasser, where we find that the road construction Bernd has referred to has now moved to block our path, and that we must return almost to Bad Muskau and go around further south to reach Weisswasser. In the latter, we unload the luggage into a holding room at the DB station before the bus takes us over to the Waldeisenbahn Muskau narrow-gauge railway (in Weisswasser), where we leave it (and it returns to Poland).

We have an included lunch before boarding our chartered steam train on this line, on which regular tourist trains are provided by one organization, and chartered steam trains are provided by another, the latter being a group of volunteers.


Train Operator



Train Stock


5-22-07 Waldeisenbahn Muskau   Weisswasser-Bad Muskau Tourist cars Steam
5-22-07 Waldeisenbahn Muskau   Bad Muskau-Weisswasser Tourist cars Steam
5-22-07 Waldeisenbahn Muskau   Weisswasser-Krumlau Tourist cars Steam
5-22-07 Waldeisenbahn Muskau   Krumlau-Weisswasser Tourist cars Steam
5-22-07 Connex 1829 Weisswasser-Cottbus Diesel Railcar N/A
5-22-07 DB 1914 Cottbus-Berlin Ostbahnhof Double-deck sub. Electric (154?)

The Waldeisenbahn Muskau narrow gauge railway is a 600 mm gauge line, dating from 1895, with four steam locomotives, one gasoline locomotive, and 13 diesel locomotives. The line has two largely different routes out of its terminus at Weisswasser Teichstrasse, both starting out heading northeast, with the longer one turning east past Weisswasser Ost, east-northeast past Gablenz/Gora, north and then east to Krauschwitz/Baierweiche, southeast to Feuerturnteich, and just north of east to Bad Muskau. The second route turns northwest, then north-northeast, and finally north to Krumlau. There is an out-of-service line that heads further west from the westernmost location on this line.

A regular tourist train leaves in one direction, and then our steam-hauled train does a 'false-start' runby, runs around a wye, and then heads a different way, going out to Bad Muskau, with several runbys along the way, runs around there, and makes several more runbys on the way back. We make a stop at the volunteer group's museum, on the west side of the line south of the junction between the two routes, where coffee and cake is served (for a 'donation') and we visit the museum, and then head outward again, on a different line out to to Krumlau, making runbys in both directions. By the time we return to Weisswasser, the sunny day has turned into thunderstorms, and we have to walk back to the DB station in a downpour.

We reclaim our luggage, and take a diesel railcar, operated by Connex, north to Cottbus, having to haul all of our luggage onto the vehicle, and stick it wherever we can. We make a cross-platform (thankfully) connection at Cottbus into a regional DB train of double-deck stock that will take us to the Berlin Ostbahnhof. Again, we have to haul the luggage onto a train that is not designed for the purpose, with some people hauling their luggage upstairs. (I later asked Bernd how much the tour saved by sending the bus back early instead of taking our luggage to Berlin, and he said "$800 and a lot of paperwork".)

The standard-gauge station at Weisswasser has two low-level platforms, on the north side and in the center, with the station buildings on the north side. it is a passing place, so trains tend to occupy both tracks simultaneously. The line is not electrified, and is worked by diesel railcars operated by Connex. A secondary line turns away north just west of the east-west station, and the 'main' line heads west, past Schleife, Graustein, where a secondary line trails in from the south, and Spremberg, where it turns north-northeast and then north past Bagenz and Neuhausen, and then north-northwest past Kiekebusch before turning west and joining three other lines, one of them electrified, heading west into Cottbus, terminus of the regional line from Berlin, which has to island platforms.

West of Cottbus there are three electrified lines, a single track line heading southwest, a double track line heading west, and a double track line heading west-northwest, which is the line to Berlin. It passes Kolwitz, Papitz and Vetschau Kraftwerk before turning northeast at Vetschau (island + north side), and then passing Raddusch (south side platform), and Lübbenau (two sides), where a double-track electrified line trails in from the south, turning north-northeast past Ragow to Lubben (north side plus island), where a non-electrified line trails in from the south and the line turns northwest again. It now passes Lubolz, Schönwalde and Brand (2 sides, depot to south), turning north past Oderin and then north-northwest past Halbe, and Teupitz-Gross Köris, and north again past Bestensee and Zeesen to Königs Wusterhausen (west side plus island, station buildings to the west), the outer end of the Berlin S-bahn service, where a non-electrified line trails in from the southwest, one departs to the north-northeast, and the S-bahn tracks run alongside the main line on the east side.

The S-bahn line has stations at Wildau, Zeuthen, Eichwalde, and Berlin-Grünau, as the lines gradually turn north-northwest. An S-bahn line bridges overhead, and double-track electrified lines curve southwest and head straight ahead as the route taken by our train curves north and bridges over the S-bahn lines, with a  double-track connection from that southwest line trailing in on the west side as it does so. The line continues north past a location where it bridges over the end of an S-bahn line to Berlin-Spindersfeld, and then takes the left connection at a triple junction to descend onto the main line into berlin from Frankfurt-an-Oder, one of the earliest main lines in Prussia (and thus Germany), which also has an S-bahn line alongside to the north.

The main line heads northwest, past an interchange station at Berlin Karlshorst, a double-track connector trailing in from the northeast, S-bahn stations at BBF Berlin-Rummelsberg and Berlin-Rummelsberg, a mainline bridge overhead, and an S-bahn bridge overhead, carrying that S-bahn line from Königs Wusterhausen, at the S-bahn interchange station of Ostkreuz, turning west-northwest past an S-bahn station at Warchauer Strasse before the line enters the Berlin Ostbahnhof, a station with five platforms serving ten main tracks, with two additional stub tracks at the east end, with the whole being covered by a two-barrel overall roof. The S-bahn platforms are the most northerly. The whole array of platforms and tracks is elevated above street level. Pedestrian subways at street level connect the platforms, with station facilities below the platforms.

We arrive at the Berlin Ostbahnhof by about 8:45 pm. and walk over to the hotel where the tour had started, where we will spend the night. This hotel has no dining facilities, but Bernd says the restaurants in the Ostbahnhof will meet the need. Well, they close at 10 pm, so some of us manage to slip in ahead of the closing time (while finding the time to exchange zlotys into dollars), and some do not!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Berlin to Los Angeles

After the included breakfast, the tour ends, so we say our goodbyes to those we see at breakfast, and take a taxi out to Tegel Airport. At the latter, there is a large indicator outside the airport from which the taxi driver determines the location of our check-in counter, but that counter will only check-in one flight at a time (it transpires, this is because it is also the desk at the gate, which is right behind the counter), and our flight is not next for British Airways, so we must wait with the luggage. We're some 20 minutes late departing, due to the inadequacies of the gate and check-in processes, but gain a small amount of that back by Heathrow.

At the latter, we have to go through the poorly-designed Flight Connections process again, and by the time we get to Terminal 3 our flight is boarding (with 35 minutes to go). I nonetheless stop to exchange currency (euros to dollars), making Chris quite upset. We're on the plane some 25 minutes before departure, however. The flight to Los Angeles is uneventful except for how far north we fly, eventually coming down the west coast past Vancouver, BC, and then Yosemite National Park, before landing in Los Angeles.

We're through immigration and customs (after baggage claim) in less than an hour, and are on the Flyaway bus to Union Station some 25 minutes after that. Darkness has fallen by the time we reach the car, so we're glad we made plans to stop at the Metro Plaza hotel for the night.

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Back to Tehachapi

This morning, we head north, stopping at Bristol Farms in South Pasadena for some cheese and sausage, and then driving I-210 and CA 14 & 58 back to Tehachapi, which we reach before noon. All is well when we reach home.