Summarizing the year

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Similarly to the previous season, we would like to summarize the passing year and take the opportunity to pass our gratitude to the Volunteers and Sponsors without whose help, the results of our work would be much more modest.

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As in the previous years, a primary concern for us was the renovation of the historical buildings. 2017 was less spectacular in this area. The main highlight was receiving the funding to start the renovation of the old pump house. The works were financed by the Council of the Łódź Voivodeship with the amount of 26 250 PLN and allowed us to rebuild the portion of the roof. The work totalled to 43 013,21 PLN thanks to the money from 1% of income tax for 2016.

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A pleasant surprise awaited us in the end of the year. Thanks to the funding by the Łódź Voivodeship’s Conservationist Office in the amount of 22 000 PLN we were able to complete the roof reconstruction above the most damaged parts of roundhouse roof above stands 12 and 13. Again, we had to back-up the financing with own capital in amount of 11 000 PLN. This time, due to limited budged, we needed to resource to the donations made by members of PARE, our fans and a crowdfunding via zrzutka.pl portal.

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A record-breaking financing from the city council of Skierniewice (14 500 PLN) was devoted for the track works. Thanks to it, we were able to buy some reused concrete track ties and pay for their transport. A ballast was provided for free by a sponsor. This time we passed on manual labour and facilitated the hardest work (ties laying, resurfacing track base) with a rented backhoe loader.

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We continued the projects aiming at developing the volunteers initiative in the Engine Shed. Thanks to the support of the National Board of Heritage (17 600 PLN), as a part of programme “Volunteering for Heritage”, we organized eight volunteers camps, during which participants helped up in the upkeep of the Shed’s surroundings, repainted the fence and the turntable and helped us in the renovation works by the engines class Ol49-4, Ty51-1 and TKp 6042. As a part of the programme, we also prepared new, multilingual promotional leaflets.

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Summarizing the financial aspects of our activity, we managed to collect over 80 000 PLN for the renovation works. Therefore, we nearly tripled the amount received from 1% of income tax (26 000 PLN).

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Due to the time-consuming track works and turntable repainting, we did not devoted as much time for rolling stock repairs. In 2017 we finished the paint job by the steam engines class Ol49-4 and TKp 6042 “Śląsk”. We also started rust-proofing the class Ty51-1 displayed outdoors.

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Malowanie podstawy

In 2017 we also intensified activities concerning the exhibition of railway signalling and traffic equipment. We gave a new life to an old block device with key interlocking brought from the station Gawrony. Years of service and subsequent storage in unfavourable conditions left the device in a sorry state. Thankfully, it was intact inside and is still operational. With a lot of effort put into cleaning, repainting and repairing the wooden parts, the device is again pleasant to the eyes.

Czyszczenie korpusu aparatu Malowanie pokryw Tabliczki blokowe

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We continued to expand the railway telecommunication exposition by preparing a third room for this purpose. Initially, it was housing the small portion of the Siemens exchange. After moving it to the target place, the room will be re-purposed to display two Polish-built town exchanges of type FT-200 (Strowger system) and CK-20 (crossbar system). We thought that it will not take much effort but there were plenty of “surprises” that expanded the renovation time line to nearly a year.

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This year we did not managed to break the attendance record finishing with a 5555 visitors crossing the gates of the Shed. We guess that this was due to two factors. First of all, unfavourable weather nearly halved the number of guests during the usually most busy time which is the Skierniewice’s Festival of Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables. Second, there were much less events addressed to the fans of vintage cars which we used to host. The biggest event was the 30th anniversary of PARE which was attended by 546 guests.

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On behalf of the members and volunteers of PARE, we would like to express our gratitude to all sponsors and supporters.

Supported PARE in 2017:

Łódzki Wojewódzki Konserwator Zabytków logo_promuje_lodzkie Urząd Miasta Skierniewice logo_bsskierniewice_biale-tlo_web NID-logotyp-oddzial-WARSZAWA castorama www.profitechnik.pl 1 procent podatku


New exhibition room for telephonic exchange type FT-200 and CK-20

The end of the year is always a good moment to sum up completed tasks and missed opportunities. It is especially worthwhile, when the end of a major project coincides with the break of the years.

Such coincidence was the final of the brickwork and plastering of the third room of future telecommunication exhibition. The room, a former workshop dressing room, was hosting a small portion of the Siemens exchange, partially assembled for the exhibition purposes. After moving the device to a new exhibition room, we decided to adapt the room for yet another part of the exhibition, this time with Polish-built exchanges type FT-200 (for town use, with Strowger selectors) and CK-20 (railway type, with crossbar selectors).

When emptying the room on Fall 2016, we expected the renovation to be quick and easy. At the first glance, we just needed to repair the plaster around the new holes for cables, check the smoke ducts and paint the walls. Unfortunately, the reality was more “screeching”…

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A closer inspection of the elaborate smoke ducts built back during the II World War concluded with a decision to dismantle them. Horizontal smoke channels consisted of draughty moulders that had to be chiselled off of the ceiling. We were aware that the work will be dusty but the reality went beyond our expectations. Despite the thorough cleaning of the channels, each struck of the hammer resulted with ton of rubble and even more of soot. We hoped that a natural draft will blow out the dust through the window, but after first opening of the door we ended up cleaning the corridor from the soot as far as to the main workshop. Another attempt, this time with the use of a fan standing in the window, provided more bearable conditions of work – the black cloud of dust and soot was reaching the tops of the trees. After plenty of effort and strain, new acid-proof metal ducts were put in place, resulting in much improved draft in the masonry heaters in adjoining rooms.

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After dealing with the ceiling we looked down on the floor. Half of the room was suspiciously uneven, as if someone was pouring down the concrete in stages and did not bother to level the surface. Once again we employed hammers and chisels to get rid of this botch job. First hit of the hammer resulted with a dull sound proving that the top layer of the floor is not properly fixed to the foundations. It appeared that concrete was poured on a piece of a particle board, under which we made a pleasant discovery. After removing the last pieces of wood and rubble, we unearthed a proper and smooth terrazzo floor.

Another stages of the work were devoted to closer inspection of walls. We were worried about a strange hump on one of the walls. Careful knocks revealed empty space. Once again we had to resort to an unplanned demolition. The old plaster was peeling off in large pieces as it was hardly affixed to the wall. Whomever was plastering the room many, many years ago, did not bothered to remove the previous, already damaged and falling off plaster. Initially planned to be small, the renovation started to look more and more impressive… and expensive. Still it was a good opportunity to take care of the electric installation which was in a sorry state. After the assembly of new circuit hidden in insulated plastic pipes, we were ready to conclude the plastering.

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Quite unexpectedly, a renovation of a relatively small room took us, with breaks, over 11 months. The culmination of the work was to put a stove to dry the walls. Once everything is dry, we can progress to finishing jobs like hanging a false ceiling to hide the new smoke ducts, resurface the walls and paint them. The last stage will be building of yet another masonry heater.


Merry Christmass

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May the magic of Christmass Eve bring you peace and hapiness.

May each moment of Christmass fill all hearts with love and kindness

and a New Year bring new perspectives and dreams.

All the best wish you the Board, Members and Volunteers of Polish Association of Railway Enthusiasts


Further renovations at the signalling exhibition

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Every day it’s getting colder outside. The low temperature remains also in an unheated space of the railway signalling and traffic control exhibition. Nevertheless, this fact did not discouraged us from continuing the work on renovation of yet another exhibit. This time we took care after the small lever frame from an intermediate signal box, yet another product of the former Railway Signal Works in Kraków (Państwowa Wytwórnia Sygnałów i Urządzeń Kolejowych). It’s one of the simplest standarized frames consisting of only two levers to control the block signals, very simple interlocking and a four-division block instrument. After completing the renovation, the frame will be prepared to cooperate with other devices from the exhibition, which are already in a working order.

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“Volunteering in Engine Shed Skierniewice as a creation of patriotic care for heritage of the first Polish Railway” – summing up the project.

Remembering the positive experience of the last year’s volunteers camp, we did not hesitate to apply, when the National Heritage Board announced another subsidy contest for volunteers projects. The procedures took time till April 2017. After signing the agreement we could proceed to the most important step, namely the organization of the Camp. Due to the lack of a full-time employees, we had to divide the Camp into shorter parts. We began the recruiting process and impatiently waited for the first applications. Among the participants there were a couple of familiar faces as well as plenty of newcomers.

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Similarly to the last year we decided to split one long volunteers camp into 8 parts occurring from June till November. Each part lasted from two to four days mainly over weekends. The accommodation was provided in the social part of the Shed which was an unquestionable attraction to the young participants.

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Before the first camp, we had to supplement the stock of work clothing and personal protection as well as paints, brushes, tolls and other equipment required for the planned works. The camp was preceded with a Health and Safety training which took place on the first day of the event. Each participant was provided with work clothing, personal protection, hot meals and insurance.

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Undoubtedly, the most popular activity was the help in renovation of steam engines class Ol49-5 and Ty51-1. In case of a bad weather we organized a second work area indoors by the tank engine “Śląsk” class Tkp 6042. Volunteers focused on cleaning the surface of the engines from rust and old paint. They also took part in preparation and painting of small parts before installing them on engines.

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Another major area of works was the clean-up of the surroundings of the Shed and removal of signs of devastation. Those works had a priority this year. We continued tidying up the backyard behind the roundhouse. We also mown the lawn across the whole area of the shed and continued the removal of self-sown trees in the old coal storage.

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A challenging task for the volunteers was the repair of windows broken by vandals at the back of the roundhouse. Due to the height, it was possible to carry out the works only by the use of AWP vehicle.

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We engaged the volunteers in the renovation of the most prominent objects of the Shed. The major workforce was directed to the turntable, which regained the proper look and functionality. Volunteers helped us by the painting and repairing the windows in operator’s cab and fixing the electric lights. Thanks to the material support of the “Castorama” building market from Skierniewice, it was possible to finish the renovation of the fence along the Łowicka and Bielańska streets.

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We took care to engage the volunteers in educational part of our activity. Participants of each part of the Camp had at least one opportunity to help us as guide aids. In case of volunteers who had the experience from the past year and a proper theoretical knowledge, they were responsible for guiding the tours at the exhibition of railway signalling.

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A group of volunteers took part in the renovation of the devices from above mentioned exhibition. Under the supervision of PARE members with knowledge in this area, they have learned about the proper conservation of those devices and were made aware of the significance of keeping those artefacts in working order, not only as museum exhibits but also a valuable learning help.

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In Autumn, as the weather become milder, participants of the Camp helped in replacing the ties in the tracks of the Shed. They provided an invaluable help in the recycling of the track ballast and removal of old wooden ties. They also assisted us in reclaiming of the track fittings.

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The last part was the design of new promotional materials for the Shed, directed especially to the visitors from abroad. We decided to try out something new in a form of so-called e-volunteering. One volunteer prepared new designs of the leaflets for the shed. Next, we searched over the Internet for the people eager to help in translation to English, German, French, Russian and Czech. Additionally, due to the growing community of Ukrainians in the vicinity of Skierniewice, we decided to prepare a separate translation of some of the leaflets also in this language.

Summary of activities and tasks completed in the project

Factor Planned Fulfilled
Number of organized camps  1  1
Number of camps participants  45  120
Number of supervisors (organizers)  5 5
Number of events supported by volunteers  5 6
Number of visitors during the events  3000  3500
Number of listed historical objects worked on  3  3
Financed by the National Heritage Board, programme Volunteering for Heritage

NID-logotyp-oddzial-WARSZAWA   nid

Media patronage

Skierniewice24.pl     rsc_nowe       Głos Skierniewic     its    Stalowe Szlaki      logo_radio_lodz

Material support

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Another part of the Shed’s roof renovated

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The unexpected renovation of the part of the roof above stands 12 and 13 is completed. On Monday, 27th November, the works were acknowledged with the participation of the representatives of Łódź Voivodeship Conservationist Office, which provided the extra budget for the renovation. The building company “Marbudex” again reached our expectations and completed the extra works according to the plan. The subsidy for repairs was worth 22 000 PLN and required own capital of 11 000 PLN. As we the association’s cash box is now empty we are still collecting the remaining amount also via crowdfunding:

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Visit us in 2018

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Traditionally, we would like to announce in advance a new event calendar for oncoming season 2018. We would like to highlight the following:

  • We keep the longer hours of Open Daysstarting from 5th May 2018 the Shed is open to the public from 11 AM to 3 PM and the last guided tour starts at 2 PM.
  • We introduce two different lengths of guided tours. At 11 AM, 12 AM and 1 PM the tour will follow the shorter sightseeing route, addressed especially to the families with young children. The last group at 2 PM will have the possibility to visit the full length of the sightseeing route – the option recommended to visitors above the 12 years of age.
  • The exact date of the Railway Night of Museums will be announced at the later term as we need to adhere to the arrangements of other institutions open to the public during this event. At the moment we can ensure you, that the opening hours will be from 8 PM till midnight.
  • There will be no longer a special open day for schools. At the moment visits by the school groups can be arranged at any suitable term after earlier phone contact (+48 730 181 323).
  • Open days for photography enthusiasts keep their formula and will take place on selected third Saturday of the month. On 16th June and 21st October the event will last from 12 AM to 3 PM and on 18th August from 6 PM to 9 PM. Participants registration and admission will be possible only for 30 minutes before the starting hour.
  • During the Railwaymen Day there will be only one guided tour at 11 AM.

We reserve the right to change the published schedule at the later term.


Another exhibit renovated

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Another exhibit has regained its old glory. This time, however, it is not a railway car or steam engine, but a piece of signalling equipment.

A new future was awaiting the old block instrument compound with key interlocking (built in 1950 by Państwowa Wytwórnia Sygnałów i Urządzeń Kolejowych, Kraków), in the past part of the equipment in signal box at the station Gawrony. The years of use and later storage, probably outdoors, left its mark on the device, before it found the shelter under the Shed’s roof. It was the obvious first choice when deciding which exhibit from the signalling display we should renovate this year. Thankfully, the years of neglect left the interior of the instrument intact – with a little effort and thorough clean-up the device appeared to be still in a working order. The renovation of the external paint job and wooden parts was a totally different story which required the assistance of the Volunteers Camp’s participants. After several weekends of fight with rust and flaking old paint, the device was again pleasant to look at. The work was crowned the last Saturday with placing the refurbished block marking plates back on their place.


Whip-round for the roof

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Not so long ago we were surprised with an additional funding received from the Łódź Voivodeship Conservationist Office. The amount of 22 thousand PLN can be received only under condition of having the own capital equal the half of this amount i.e. 11.000 PLN. In the perspective of empty cash box, couple of our members and supporters managed to collect the missing amount. However, we wouldn’t like to leave them with empty pockets and treat this as a loan which should be soon returned. Therefore, we would like to cover at least the part of this expense by resorting to crowdfunding via zrzutka.pl portal.

We would like to encourage you to help us on https://zrzutka.pl/2jc7m5#. We will be grateful even for the smallest donations.


Railwaymen Day 2017

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We would like to invite all our fans to visit us on the last in this year special Open Day on 25th November, on the occasion of Railwaymen Day. The visit may be a prefect opportunity to learn about the history of the Shed. Attractions awaiting the guests:

  • exhibition of the rolling stock,
  • collection of stem engines maintenance equipment,
  • old railway workshop with original equipment,
  • interactive exhibition of railway signalling and traffic safety devices.

We are awaiting our guests starting from 11:00 AM. Free admission.

On 26th November at 12:30AM we will be participating in the mass for railwaymen in the St. Jacob Church in Skierniewice.