2016

Banana Perwers again in Engine Shed

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On Friday, 26th August, at 8PM, after a couple of years of break we will again host a performance by theatrical group Banana Perwers. This time we will hear the talented vocalists from Warsaw: Zuzia Dzięgielewska and Estera Esti Kukier as well as the artist from Skierniewice – Zuzu Ambroziak. Piano accompaniment will be provided by unbeatable Włodzimierz Stefanowicz.

The event is organized by the Group Banana Perwers and Club Oaza in cooperation with PARE. He event patronage is provided by City Council of Skierniewice and Public High Vocational School in Skierniewice.


First run of the Volunteers Camp

In Autumn 2015 The National Institute of Heritage initiated a competition for financing the volunteer activities for the historic heritage. We wrote the application entry, gathered the vital documentation – we applied to the competition in December 2015. We had to wait till Spring to learn about the positive results, yet it was no sooner than in June when we signed the financing agreement. Full of concerns about possible success or failure of the project, we started preparing the main part of it, namely – the Volunteers Camp. Due to the lack of full-time employees we had to split the event into weekend camps. We started the enrollment and impatiently waited for the first applications.

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To our great surprise, there were more applications than we expected. Therefore, despite we offered an overnight stay, some of the participants had to commute each day to the Shed and some were accommodated outside the facility. 14 daredevils from different parts of Poland (sometimes as distant as Szczecin) took part in the first part of the camp, which lasted from 5th to 8th August. All participants arrived in Skierniewice on Friday afternoon.

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First day was devoted to show the volunteers around and make them familiar with the collection and rolling stock placed in the Shed. We also devoted some time for a general Health and Safety training with strong emphasis on fire hazards and firefighting. The practical part of the training consisted of actual fire extinguishing with different types of extinguishers. We guess that such form of training will provide the participants much more vital experience than dull theoretical lectures. The evening was spend on common dinner and long talks.

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During the first camp we wanted the participants to “taste” the different activities which are performed in such a large facility like historical engine shed. Therefore, we encouraged them to take part in each type of work, even if it does not seem to be the most attractive.

One of the most important aspects of existence of the facility like our Shed is the education and promotion of railway history. Open days were a perfect opportunity for the volunteers to try the work of a tour guide and help in the preparation of the event. Participants of the Camp also took part in the upkeep of the area surrounding the shed e.g. care for the green areas. Those eager to “exercise” in the fresh air could help clean up the remains after the building renovation works.

Large number of volunteers brought the life back to the Shed, so for the external observer it seem that the facility is working as during its best times.

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Yet, the most popular of works was the renovation of the class Ol49 steam engine standing in front of the roundhouse. Volunteers helped in cleaning the vehicle from the old paint and preparation of the cleaned surfaces for painting. They also helped in tracing and cutting the sheet metal for boiler covers, and regenerated the multiple small parts and fittings which will find their place on the engine after the final painting.

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The organization of the first Camp was a very interesting challenge that, with only minor shortcomings, we managed to accomplish. The work completed by the participants will undoubtedly speed up many activities in the Shed, especially those related with renovation of class Ol49-4. For the volunteers it was a unique experience, opportunity to meet new people and effectively spend a free time. And are the participants satisfied with the stay? It seems yes – many already declared they want to help us more, even during the next camp. As there is nothing more exciting like evening walk through the sleepless roundhouse or late-night fight with stubborn lever frame.


Record-breaking Open Day in August

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Usually, during the summer open days we note smaller number of visitors. However, the competition from sunny beaches and cool water on the seaside becomes less of a problem when clouds and rain appears.

On Saturday, 6th August, weather did not encouraged to spend a free time in open air, yet did not discouraged to go and visit some enclosed space. This way we were visited on that day by 366 guests.


Lest we forget

On 1st August we took part in the celebration commemorating the outbreak of Warsaw Uprising. Together with representatives of City Council, we put the wreath on the monument commemorating the prisoners of Pawiak burn alive in a railway car in Skierniewice railway station in the last days of July.

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Another milestone in roof repairs

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We reached another milestone in renovation works of our Engine Shed. On 28th July a commission accompanied by the representatives of conservation office approved the finished roof repairs above stands 14 to 23 from the side of turntable. This part of the works was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Łódź Voivodeship Conservationists office, Bank Spółdzielczy from Skierniewice and 1% from income tax.

In the meantime we are collecting resources for further repairs and company Marbudex is preparing to complex reconstruction of the skylight in main roundhouse.1


Works by the class Ol49-4 steam engine

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During the last weeks we intensified the works by the class Ol49-4 steam engine which currently stand s in front of the turntable. First its steam dome cover has been cleaned of rust and painted. Simultaneously, in the main workshop, new boiler covers were cut to size and protected against the rust with fresh coat of paint. During the last weekend all plates were bolted back to the boiler. The last step will be fixing the steam dome cover back on its place. The works by the engine will be continued in August, also as a part of Volunteers Camp.

 

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Technical Education Workshops

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Starting from April, the youth in the age 15 to 26 years can participate in the Technical Education Workshops organized in our Shed. They are a part of the project Technical Education as a promotion of volunteering for railway heritage in Skierniewice Engine Shed supported by the BZ WBK Fund. The participants of the workshops can gain new experiences while helping in the usual activities of the Shed under supervision of PARE members.

Even trivial but vital task, not directly connected to rolling stock renovation, like e.g. preparing new exhibition fences on 23rd July, are a great opportunity to teach young people basics of metalworking and safe arc welding.

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If you are interested in participation in the workshop, please do not hesitate to contact us via email wolontariat@psmk.org.pl.

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A new home for cars from Piotrków Trybunalski

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More than two years ago we were alerted by railway fans from Piotrków Trybunalski that in the area of the control point of now defunct railway shed there are two freight cars (a box car of Prussian G10 type and undercarriage of a similar car of Austrian origin) which might belong to PARE. We investigated this case in our archive but we only managed to confirm that many years ago we requested to take ownership of those cars and passed the request to contemporary Central Direction of State Railways. However we did not found any document that would acknowledged our association as the new owners of this rolling stock.

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Due to the conflicting information we asked PKP SA to settle the state of two cars. After several months of waiting we received quite surprising response. Nearly 25 years ago in the giant bureaucratic machine of State Railways a document confirming donation of the two freight cars to PARE was lost! Suddenly we were simultaneously happy to obtain new exhibits and concerned on how to transport new acquisition form the place which was quite isolated from any roads and tracks. We started to plan the transport from Piotrków, which was not an easy task due to already strained budget of the association.

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Thankfully, in mid-2015 we were contacted by Mr Andrzej Nikonikuk, CEO of company “Radionika” (producer of telecommunication and radio equipment for railways), who offered us a financial help for transport and renovation of one of the cars. Initially, he was very interested in the box cars from our collection, and suggested that he would like to finance the renovation of one of them and use it as a technical monument in front of the office of “Radionika” in Kraków’s Technology Park. The renewed vehicle would underline the railway origins of the company and would promote the railway history in this prestigious area. SONY DSC In exchange of making the G10 car available for this purpose, “Radionika” will finance transportation and rebuild of both vehicles from Piotrków. However, it was no sooner than in June 2016, when we manage to finalize the transportation matters and start preparing the cars for the journey to their new homes.

We arrived in Piotrków a couple of days before the transportation crew to check the state of the vehicles. As the cars are in unguarded area, we did not risked any repairs in earlier term as in the meantime replacement parts could have been stolen. The undercarriage of Austrian car was already missing axle bearings and other vital parts so it was intended to be disassembled and moved in smaller parts. Yet, the G10 car had to be moved on its own wheels a couple of hundred meter to a place more convenient for loading. modlitwa-do-aparatu As it was heavier and less accessible, contrary to the Austrian car it survived the destructive attempts of the scrap thieves and was nearly ready to be moved from its place. Despite it will be serving as a monument, we would like it to be still operational. Therefore, to minimize the risk of damaging the axles bearings, we had to check the grease boxes and whenever possible, supplement the oil. If the grease box appeared to be too damaged we temporarily soaked the lubricating wicks.

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Contrary to bearings, the axle braces appeared to be missing, possibly long gone in the local junkyard. We expected that the car will be lifted so this fact posed a risk of axles falling out of their mountings. Temporary, we had to improvise some braces from tightly bound, thick wire and additionally secure the axles with cargo belts. A whole evening was devoted for this work, which was vital for a safe travel of the car to Kraków.

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At last, on 17th June the actual transport took place. Both vehicles were moved to the loading area. First, the undercarriage of the Austrian car traveled to Skierniewice, where the car’s frame was stored in the old coal storage and the wheels and axles in the roundhouse. After that, the low-profile platform returned to Piotrków for the G10 car which traveled to Kraków, where straight away his renovation was started. This way, in the 170th anniversary of creation of Piotrków’s shed, it was left by the last two railway vehicles…

 

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Another stage of roof repairs reaching finish

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This years renovation works of roundhouse building is slowly reaching its end. The construction company “Marbudex” from Skierniewice is completing the roof repairs above stand 14. Works are sponsored from the fund of Łódź Voivodeship’s Conservationist. We are still applying for more funds to finish repairs of last two patches in front of the building, above stands 12 and 13 – we still need 30 thousand PLN to complete this works. From the other hand, we are completing the formalities connected with other subsidy, this time from Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which will allow us to start the rebuild of the skylight in August.15