Saturday, 23 April 2016

Tracks to Tarczyn

A narrow-gauge railway line used to run from Piaseczno down through Tarczyn and Grójec to Nowe Miasto nad Pilicą, a distance of over 72km. Today, the line has been cut short near Tarczyn, there's a mere 15km of track. On Sundays from March to October, tourist specials run between Piaseczno and Tarczyn. I went on one of these many years ago with Eddie when he was small, it was then - as it is today - diesel hauled. Then, the tourist line would run just short of Grójec.

During the Cold War, cisterns of aviation fuel were taken to the airbase at Nowe Miasto. There used to be a trans-shipment terminal at Piaseczno where a spur ran north off the narrow-gauge line parallel to the main Warsaw-Radom line. Standard-gauge cistern trucks were loaded onto special narrow-gauge flat-bed wagons adapted for this purpose. I managed to photograph these back in the late-1990s.

Today I ventured to the end of the line at Tarczyn by motorbike - it would be marvellous to extend it all the way, but I fear there's not the enthusiasm to do it (money's there - this is the kind of project the EU loves... tourism plus railways - ticks the boxes!).

The line heads south-west out of Piaseczno, through Gołków, Głosków and Złotokłos before terminating at a station called 'Tarczyn' but actually it's more than two and half kilometres away from the town of Tarczyn.

Below: much of the line looks like this - running through woodland with a path to one side. Somewhere between Złotokłos and Tarczyn. Every now and then, there's a culvert under the track. A plank across them allows cyclists (and light scramblers) to cross.

Below: Tarczyn narrow-gauge station. Tarczyn also has a standard-gauge railway station, a kilometre and half south of the town; like this one, it also no longer sees scheduled passenger trains calling there.

Below: bridge over which the Łuków-Skierniewice railway line crosses the narrow-gauge track. This shot is looking west in the direction of Tarczyn, through which the freight-only line passes on its way to the junction town of Skierniewice via Mszczonów.

Below: looking up at the Łuków-Skierniewice line as a train of oil cisterns heads west. I'm looking north along the narrow-gauge line. Just behind me, the narrow-gauge tracks come to an end. They've been lifted - probably by thieves after the scrap metal, as further up the rails are still there - albeit with trees growing between them.

If you are interested in having a go on the narrow-gauge train from Piaseczno to Tarczyn, check Kolejka Piaseczyńska's website. It's minimally laid out with little information, but you get the message - trains leave Piaseczno Wąskotorowa station (ul. Wojska Polskiego) at 11:00 on Sundays all spring and summer long.

Below: photo taken three years ago; Zalesie Dolne narrow-gauge station, a little over a kilometre away from the Piaseczno terminus. And in between, there's a station called Piaseczno Wiadukt, which is the interchange between the narrow-gauge line and the standard gauge station on the Warsaw to Radom line.

Interestingly, Google Earth still shows (nearly) all of the Piaseczno-Nowe Miasto nad Pilicą railway line, and with Panoramio switched on, you can see photos from 1980 as well as more current ones.

I hope the line resurrects, not just for tourism, but for commuters and freight use. Many disused railway lines in the UK are making a comeback...

This is a fascinating part of Mazowsze, full of little surprises here and there. Good Lord! A Model A Ford! This vehicle (a five-window coupe with an after-market pick-up back replacing the trunk) must have left the production line 85 years ago or so... You'll find it in the village of Łóś (pron. 'Wash'). Łoś, by the way, means, Elk. The shop is called Pod Łosiem - under the Elk.


I came back to the track on a Sunday, to catch the weekly excursion running down the line. Quarter past eleven, and here it comes! This is Gołków, west of Piaseczno. To the left runs ul. Generała Józefa Zajączka, to the right, ul. Kordiana. The track runs between the two streets.

Looking the other way, the track curves slightly south, then heads straight as a poker for 11km. In other words, for 11 out of 15 kilometres between Piaseczno and Tarczyn, there are no bends or curves.

Below: the train passes; it consists of loco, two passenger carriages and a brake van.

Below: I venture as far south as the Łuków-Skierniewice line, where I catch this 3E/1 loco (modernised ET21, itself a polonised version of the Soviet VL22 engine. In DB livery, it is hauling containers eastwards towards Góra Kalwaria.

This time last year:
Translation and cultural differences

This time three years ago:
The demand for Park + Ride keeps growing

This time four years ago:
Cycle-friendly London

This time five years ago:
The end of the Azure Week


Bernd said...

Nice article about this railway (which by the way was once part of a huge network, even spreading as far as Warsaw..). I have some pictures of a trip last year on my website:

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Bernd

Thanks for the link - I shall have to revisit the line on a Sunday. From time to time it's steam hauled - an extra incentive to return with camera.

John Savery said...

I'm not sure if the line has an active steam loco at the moment. Resident Px48-3917 was withdrawn in 2010 and I believe it was removed from the railway in December 2012 by the late owners family. It was then offered for sale on Allegro for 250k PLN with the price gradually reducing. I'm not too sure where it ended up.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ John

You're right - it has gone. Have amended post. The engine is in the grounds of Budokrusz in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, on a plinth...