The International Steam Pages

Steam at Wolsztyn 2019

Michael Walton has sent me this 'sitrep' covering his recent visits.

I thought I would send you a Wolsztyn update, I was there twice in 2019 (July and November). It was almost going to be the last year, but in November the semi retired drivers passed their annual medical whilst I was there so it survives for a further year. 

The state governor has committed to indefinitely retaining steam services on the upside. The downside is that a lack of drivers may kill it next year, although they are trying to train others. These genuinely are timetabled steam services, they are on the normal timetable and normal fare- you will find them listed on the DB Europe online timetable the paper timetables in the ticket office. Some days we were on the regular morning school train to Leszno, on another day in summer due to line closure it was the workers train to the Ikea factory at Zabszynek, this involved a run under the wires on the Berlin-Poznan mainline, we passed the PT47 running light engine back to Wolsztyn. The normal run is 2 daily return trips to Leszno and the 2 return runs to Poznan on a Saturday. There are a few enthusiasts and photographers but these are normal services very well used by locals - particularly the super early morning services. On the Saturday the 2 carriages were more packed than the Central line as there was a sports expo, football match and extinction rebellion stuff going on, so on arrival in Poznan we climbed off the footplate to be met by riot police marching down the platform which was an experience I will never forget. 

They do have something of a motive power shortage, the PT47 derailed and damaged the tender wheelsets. One OL49 is on rebuild- When I was there in November it was on the last week or so of its ticket, so they were left running a daily service with one operational OL49. That OL49 currently running the service must consistently, every week, undertake more miles than any other steam loco on the world. And these are hard miles, they are driven hard, the Poznan line is now 60 mph, and has plenty of stations. 

They really feel to have a shortage of funding, there is a rumour that PKP wants to kill it off. It is a real shame that the sort of donations that are currently flowing into UK steam builds and rebuilds cannot be matched in Poland. 

Rob Dickinson