"Perchance it is not dead but sleepeth"

Another nail in the coffin


Another nail was firmly hammered home by the council this week, with the sale of two of the Lxd locomotives from the Smigiel railway. The railway, owned by the council, has sold the locomotives, and these were loaded onto road lorries on the evening of 17 February. This comes on the back of the scrapping of the transporter wagons, and the abandoning of the interchange sidings to the east of Stare Bojanowo, following the decision to backfill a cutting to avoid replacing a bridge. Such news does not bode well for the future of the railway, which we believe is now restricted to one loco and the railcars.

The Smigiel railway is a narrow gauge line, built to the 750mm gauge. The line was originally opened in 1900, and was originally a metre gauge railway,linking Stare Bojanowo, through Smigiel to Wielichowo and Ujazd, and east of Stare Bojanowo to Krzywin. Following the demise of the section to Ujazd, the line was extended from Wielichowo in 1910, through to Rakoniewice, on the Wolsztyn - Poznan line.

After the second World War, PKP regauged the line to 750mm. The Wielichowo to Rakoniewice section closed in 1971, and the sections east of Stare Bojanowo in 1996. The last PKP trains ran on 22 June 2001.

SKPL took over the running of the line in 2001, and restored a railcar passenger service, mainly to serve the school traffic.

Freight traffic was carried on transporter wagons between Stare Bojanowo and Smigiel. The ownership of the line transferred from PKP to the local authority in 2009. After much debate over the payment of taxes due (which become due as the line carries freight), SKPL continued as the operator of the services.

The line saw occasional steam use when footplating courses were run by the Wolsztyn Experience, however, at the time of writing, no in-ticket steam loco is based on the line.

In 2010 the line celebrated its 110th anniversary. This was funded by the council, with the monies coming from the grant that the council received from the Wielkopolska regional government to subsidise the railway. At the end of November 2010 the council notified the operator, SKPL, of the funding that would be available for the coming year. SKPL have responded by withdrawing from their operating agreement, and the line closed to traffic at the end of 2010. The mothballed line now awaits its unknown future.

Despite spot resleepering in the main station area at Smigiel during August 2011, the future of the line looks bleak. In September, the cutting connecting the line to the freight yard at Stare Bojanowo was infilled, to replace a bridge over the line, effectively severing the narrow gauge from its connection with the national network. Worse was to come, with the abandonment of the line between Stare Bojanowo Wask, and the mainline passenger station at Stare Bojanowo.

Px48-1919, Smigiel, March 2008 Px48-1919, Smigiel, March 2008 Px48-1919, and a railcar, Smigiel, March 2008
Px48-1919, Stare Bojanowo, March 2008 Px48-1919, Stare Bojanowo Transporter Wagons, Smigiel, March 2008
Smigiel station, March 2009 Smigiel station, March 2009