FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Px38 perfection

Posted in Biskupin, Gąsawa, Poland, Wenecja, Żnin by folkestonejack on April 24, 2016

The motive power for our photo charter is a remarkable narrow gauge survivor, Px38 805, which holds the distinction of being the last operational 600mm gauge steam locomotive on the Polish State Railways network. Today, she is owned by the Żnin District Narrow Gauge Railway and runs on the surviving stretch of line between Żnin and Gąsawa.

Px38-805 at Żnin

Px38-805 at Żnin

The 0-8-0T locomotive was constructed in 1938 at Fablok, officially known as Pierwsza Fabryka Lokomotyw w Polsce Sp. Akc. (The First Factory of Locomotives in Poland Ltd.), in Chrzanów and was given a works number of 727. It is the only locomotive of this design to be completed.

The basic design was an adaption of the factory design for the W5A, later re-designated as the Px27 series. Only two Px27 locomotives were commissioned and the sole survivor (Px27-775) is on display in the museum at Wenecja. The second locomotive (Px27-774) was cancelled and its tender allocated to Px38 805.

Px27-775 at Wenecja Narrow Gauge Railway Museum

Px27-775 at Wenecja Narrow Gauge Railway Museum

Px 38 805 was originally commissioned for the Wrzesinska Kolej Powiatowa (Wrzesnia District Railway) as their no. 5 locomotive but was renumbered no 4. in 1939 (as documented by Ed Beale in his article on Wrzesnia District Railway, 1939) and became Px2-805 when she was incorporated into the PKP stock list in 1949. She was redesignated Px4-805 in 1961, amended to Px38-805 later in the year.

After spending her early years at Września the locomotive has seen service at Gniezno (1952), Września (1953), Bialosliwie (1957), Myszyniec (1958-1972) and Bialosliwie (1972-1983) before arriving in Żnin (1983). There are some fascinating photos of her working career from the 1970s to the present on Tomislav Czarnecki’s impressive website catalogue of Polish steam locomotives.

The locomotive was withdrawn for major boiler repairs in 2008. Since her return in 2011 she has been painted black, reflecting her appearance in her last years of regular use. It’s not clear how often she gets the opportunity to run on the line – possibly not that often given the eagerness of the locals to grab shots of her on their mobile phones. However, she is scheduled to appear at a narrow gauge festival in Żnin on May 26th-29th 2016.

Px 38 805 remains in ticket until the end of 2016.

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