Polish Steam Railways
The small, picturesque town of Wolsztyn (formerly Wollstein in the Prussian province of Ostbrandenburg) is the centre of steam rail operations conducted by the PKP, the national rail system of Poland. Wolsztyn is one of several towns in the area where a turntable, roundhouse and maintenance facilities are maintained for steam locomotives. The area around Wolsztyn is, in fact, the last place in Europe which operates a steam-hauled mainline train service and among the last in the world. There are, at present, around a dozen steam engines still running, and because of the fact that some money is made through steam train driver courses, the steam train service is guaranteed until at least 2007. There are two steam-hauled passenger trains a day to and from Poznan (the major city in the region - a 50 mile, 15 station stop, two hour journey west!), plus less frequent railroad services to Leszno and Zbaszynek (Neu Bentschen). Freight is also transported on the lines around Wolsztyn, Konotop, Powodowo and Zbaszynek using steam locomotives. Indeed, the steam trains play an essential role in the area, transporting over 4,000 passengers per day, and about 2,000 tons of freight per week. The depot is also home to a large number of abandoned and withdrawn engines moved here from now closed steam locomotive depots all over Poland. Visitors are able to examine these at close quarters, should one wish to do so.
On the first weekend of May each year train enthusiasts from across the world descend on Wolsztyn to watch the Steam Parade, with more than a dozen steam trains from Poland and Germany in operation around the depot in Wolsztyn, alongwith some rather special parades of steam locomotives.
Some of the dozen or so types of steam trains, based at Wolsztyn, include:
If you are interested in an individual or small group guided tour of the area's many railway based attractions we can help. Our tour guides are bilingual and highly knowledgable fans of Polish railways. For true steam buffs, we can even arrange a seat next to the driver - on the footplate of one of these huge steam locos, at minimal cost.
Overnight accommodation can even be arranged at the PKP hostel in Wolsztyn engine shed, should you want to sleep with the locomotives!
Hear one of the Ty45 steam locomotives based in Wolsztyn
Poland is also home to one of the last narrow gauge railways in Europe, with regular passenger services to and from Smigiel and Welichowo. And there a short 600mm narrow gauge freight line at Stare Kurowo (Altkarbe). Extensive information on Polish narrow gauge railways can be found here.
Ask us a question about Polish steam railways or get details of your own private guided tour of Wolsztyn and the railroads of Poland.
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