The International Steam Pages
The Średzka Kolej Powiatowa - Środa District Railway
James Waite writes of his visits to Środa in April 2008 and April 2012 .
See also his reports of other Polish narrow gauge visits:
The Środa-Zaniemyśl railway was another narrow gauge line where steam working lasted almost to the end of the 20th century. It’s the small remaining part of what was once an extensive metre gauge system which in its heyday stretched from Kobylepole in the south eastern outskirts of Poznań by a roundabout route through Środa to Zaniemyśl for a total distance of 59km along with several branches. The Środa-Zaniemyśl stretch opened on 1st May 1910. This part of Poland was occupied by Germany until the First World War and the line was known originally as the Schroda'er Kreisbahn. It became the Średzka Kolej Powiatowa when Poland gained independence in 1919.
Like most of the country’s local railways it was taken over by the PKP in 1949. Conversion to 750mm gauge followed in stages in the early 1950’s, the work being finished in 1954. Closure of the main line between Kobylepole and Środa took place in 1976 and by 1989 only the Zaniemyśl line remained in use. The last regular trains ran on 8th June 2001, some months before the PKP abandoned the last of its narrow gauge railways, though tourist trains lasted for a few months more until complete closure took place.
The local authority restarted tourist services in 2003 on the line, now known once more as the Średzka Kolej Powiatowa, though the PKP only finally transferred its remaining assets to the new operator on 16th November 2010.
The railway runs alongside the main PKP line south east from Poznań for rather more than one km before crossing over it and heading through gently rolling countryside for the whole distance to Zaniemyśl. While there are some garishly-painted open coaches which are used on hot days the line also possesses two serviceable Pafawag-built coaches and a passenger brake van, the normal train formation back in the all-steam days.
Steam-hauled tourist trains run every Sunday between mid-June and late August. For the last few years the working loco has been Px48-1756 (Chrzanów 2253/1951). Px48-1920 (Chrzanów 4509/1955) is stored at Środa shed. There are several excellent photo spots along the route and there’s good road access at several points. The railway is easy to reach from the UK. Both Wizz and Ryanair fly to Poznań airport which is no more than about 45 minutes’ drive away from Środa. The Hotel Almarco, just at the end of the station drive, is reasonably priced, has an excellent restaurant and is well up to western standards (http://www.almarco.pl). Highly recommended.
These pictures were taken during two separate Farrail charters in April 2008 (first four, when the locomotive was facing south, away from Sroda, since when it has been turned) and April 2012 (second three).
PX48-1756 crosses the main line close to Środa
Running through allotments in the outskirts of the town
The train crew take a break at Płaczki station
Sunset near Annopole
The loco dropping its fire at Środa shed