The end of the year

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It is a high time to look back at the passing year and summarize our achievements. Before that however, we would like to express our gratitude to all Volunteers and Sponsors, without whom, our activity would be much more modest.

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Our main focus is still bringing back to shape buildings and surroundings of the engine shed. In 2018 we kept up the pace of renovation works for which we spent nerly 110 thousand PLN. The most expensive were the repairs of the roundhouse roof, this time above stands № 21, 22 and 23, which took 94 751,49 PLN out of our budget. 33 151,49 PLN was the own capital received from the 1% of the income tax and the sponsorship by Freightliner PL in the amount of 20 thousand PLN. This amount become the basis for the support financing from the Council of the Łódź Voivodeship with the amount of 61 600,00 PLN. We also had to carry out emergency repairs of the leaking roof of the main workshop which took another 13 thousand PLN out of the 1% budget.

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A record-breaking donation by the City Council of Skierniewice (20 thousand PLN) received in 2018 was fully devoted for the maintenance of shed’s track network. Thanks to the accumulated reserves of ties and fittings we were able to reconstruct the most degraded sections of tracks № 12 and 13 leading from turntable to the roundhouse. Thanks to the financial support we were able to rent a backhoe loader which effectively sped up re-lying the ballast and placing a heavy concrete ties on place.

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We continued the projects aiming to develop the volunteering in the Engine Shed. Thanks to the support of the National Heritage Board (15 thousand PLN) as a part of the programme Together for Heritage, we organized 5 editions of the volunteers camps, during which the participants helped us in the upkeep of the shed’s surroundings. This year we focused on tidying up the old coal storage – removing the overgrown self-seeders and renovation of the fence and gates. Due to the programme’s contractual limitations, sadly we had to put aside the renovations of the steam engines.

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In 2017 we initiated an extensive renovation works at the signalling exhibition. We continued this work through 2018 thanks to the support received from the programme You decide – we help by Tesco (3 thousand PLN). The main aim is to bring back to life new exhibits and improve the general look of the exhibition. Our efforts focused on a complete and thorough renovation of the lever frame of a block post and repairing one of the light signals. We also prepared new boards describing the exhibits and principles of their operation. We also supplemented our collection of railway signs and indicators with brand new examples of contemporary signs. The donation was also a good opportunity to equip the small workshop of the exhibition with new power tools.

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During 2018 we enlarged our collection of rolling stock. The PKP Energetyka S.A. donated us a renovated and repainted line maintenance vehicle of class SR71-04. The only cost we had to cover were the expenses related to the transport of the vehicle by road from Dąbrowa Górnicza Strzemieszyce to Skierniewice. The amount of 7995,00 PLN was quickly assembled thanks to traditional collection, crowd-funding via zrzutka.pl and individual donation by the PKP Group and Silesia Transport.

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To sum up, we received a total of 125 thousand PLN for the renovation works of the Shed. This means that we managed to multiply the amount received from the 1% of the income tax charity (32 thousand PLN) nearly fourfold.

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This year was less spectacular in the field of the rolling stock renovation. We completed a small fitting works by the class Ol49-4. We also continued cleaning and rust-proofing the class Ty51-1 which is still placed outside of the roundhouse. Those works were completed thanks to the money left from the 1% charity and the own budget of the association.

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We continued the expansion of the telecommunication exhibition by adapting a third room for this purpose. Unfortunately, the scope of the works requires to continue the job into 2019. Despite the winter cold, we are able to work further as the exhibition’s rooms are heating with new masonry stoves. At the moment we devote our time to painstakingly fit the cable gantries and prepare the cable inlets to the main cross-board. We also refurbished and put on its place a test box by Tesla (Czechoslovakia).

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In terms of number of visitors, 2018 shown a stabilizing trend of around 5800 visitors a year. It is a little bit less then in previous two years (6100 visitors on average) but there were a couple of factors that contributed to this. First, the Night of Museums, is becoming visibly less popular, which is a general trend across the country. Second, there was a smaller number of vintage vehicles events in the vicinity of Skierniewice. The shed is usually an important stage of such events or even hosts the entire event.

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Last but not least, we have to mention the fate of some of the exhibits outside of the shed, namely the class Tp3-36. The engine was placed as a monument outside of the Zbąszynek station. Due to the lack of funds and fairly safe condition for the vehicle, so far we didn’t decided to relocate the steam engine to Skierniewice. In the end of 2017, we were contacted by the Museum of Armoured Warfare in Poznań. The board of the museum wanted to expand the section devoted to the armoured trains and was searching for a steam engine fitting the early days of the mid-war Poland. The cooperation between the museum and PARE resulted in signing an agreement for the loan of the exhibit. On 22nd February, the crews of the PKP PLK emergency unit could exercise their re-railing skills by moving the heavy class Tp3-36 from the stub rails to the station tracks from where it was carefully rolled into the workshop of Koleje Wielkopolskie, where the engine underwent a partial renovation. Next, on 15th November, the vehicle was shunted to the Museum, where for the next couple of years it will be a deposit of PARE.

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Once again, on behalf of the members and volunteers of PARE we would like to say a big thank you to all our supporters and sponsors.

Sponsors and supporters of PARE in 2018

 

 

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Hello, here’s exchange

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Slowly but steadily we are expanding the telecommunication exhibition with new devices and parts. Lately, we managed to find a perfect place for a circuit test box produced by Tesla, Czechoslovakia. The box allows for proofing the incoming telephone connection and checking various electrical parameters and circuit continuity of a separate cables of the telephone line. Due to the fact that it is a much newer example of this type of device, it is currently a place-holder for an older, wooden box produced by the same company. The older box is now undergoing a renovation, so we used the modern example to prepare the fittings allowing to attach the box on the cross-board rack.

Except that, we continue various metalworks. The whole exchange has a plenty of metal parts which have to be individually fitted for the specific room where the device will be placed. At the moment we are preparing the overhead cable gantries which due to their location pose a particular challenge in assembling.

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Christmas greetings

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Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

wish you
The Board, Members and Volunteers of the Polish Association of Railway Enthusiasts.


Concluding track works in 2018

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In 2018, we were surprised by the donation of 20000 PLN by the City Council of Skierniewice to support repairs of the tracks in the shed. Together with the initial assets, we ended up with a record-breaking amount of 25000 PLN for this purpose. Together with a significant amount of stored track fittings we were able to plan quite extensive works aiming to resuscitate two of the most dilapidated tracks – № 12 and № 13 in front of the roundhouse.

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Due to the weather conditions, we started the repairs at the end of March. We started with the track № 12. The track bed had to be reformed anew and the old ballast moved away for future sifting. Another stage was to resurface a layer of a fresh ballast. In the middle of May, we laid down new ties. Fortunately, we were able to reuse the old rails. Thanks to the invaluable help of Mr Jan Markowicz, and owner of a backhoe loader, we were able to carry out those works quickly and effortlessly.

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In the meantime, we were able to find a source of more concrete ties which were transported to the shed during the summer vacations. Some of the ties were used during this year’s works, and the remaining ones will be utilized in the future repairs.

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The repairs of track № 13 were trickier. The rails were of a very old light type “8” and the amount of dirt made most of the fitting to rust away. This forced a time-consuming matching of fittings from our storage. The scope of remaining works was identical to those applied to track № 12 with the exception of old ties – there was hardly anything to remove, some ties completely rotten away leaving behind only a small depression below the rails. After initial works on both tracks were done, the tracks were regulated and stabilized with additional layer of ballast. The works were concluded with putting on place the heavy concrete pads which form a crossing through those tracks.

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Next year, if our funds allows, we plan to repair two more track in front of the roundhouse.

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Track repairs were supported by

Urząd Miasta Skierniewice


Goods van from Piotrków Trybunalski rebuilt

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Two and a half year ago we informed about the complex operation of saving two goods vans from the former control point of the defunct Piotrków Trybunalski Shed. We found by surprise, that for over 25 years, both vans were supposed to be our possession. After clarifying the ownership, one of the cars of Prussian origin was send to Kraków to be renovated and later to become a technical monument. Despite the fact that we did not write anything about the further fate of this car, it is a high time to report on its current whereabouts.

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Just to recap, a company Radionika sp. z o.o. from Kraków – producer and distributor of railway communication devices, become our partner in saving of the cars. As their intention was to display one of the vans as a monument at the entrance to their factory, they took the responsibility for the general overhaul of the vehicle.

The van was transported directly from Piotrków to the workshop of PKP Intercity in Kraków-Prokocim. The workshop was an ideal place to carry out such a complex renovation. Thanks to the initiative of the director of Radionika, a replacement axles with complete axle boxes and 4 buffers fitting the old style cars were acquired. It was decided, that the car will be rebuild with the original equipment allowing for troops transport – a special holder to mount temporary benches and a roof exhaust for a temporary heater.

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At some part of its history, the van was equipped with a full breaking system. Due to the lack of original parts, we decided to skip on recreating of this piece of equipment. The car received markings typical for the mid-1939. The renovated van was transported by road and put on a section of track in front of the main office of Radionika in Kraków (Życzkowskiego Street 12). It will underline the railway background of the company.

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News from the telephone exchange

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As the temperature outside drops, the activities in the Shed are less obvious to the passers-by. One such area of inconspicuous works is the exhibition of railway telecommunication. Despite the cold outside works are possible thanks to the constant heating provided by two masonry heaters and one temporary furnace, fed with the firewood collected during the summer clean-up of the shed’s surroundings. Therefore, we have enough time to painstakingly reassemble and paint the overhead cable ducts. It is also an opportunity to inspect our collection of Strowger selecting switches, which we plan to use in the future expansion of the exhibition.

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Thank you for 1%

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The end of the year is a good moment to summarize our incomes as an organization of the public benefit. According to the report received from the Ministry of Finance in 2018 we received a total of 31663,3 PLN from the 1% of income taxes for 2017. This makes us the leader of the 1% recipients among the organizations related to railway heritage. Thank you very much for your support.

According to the initial estimates, 13500 PLN from this amount became an initial asset for the grant of the Council of Łódź Voivodeship to repair the roof of the roundhouse and to cover the costs of the building inspection. Another 5000 PLN was a basis of the initial asset for the grant from the City Council of Skierniewice for track works. 13000 PLN was required for the emergency repairs of the main workshop roof. Still, that is not all. This year we plan to start repairs of the roof of the main office building of the Shed.

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The death of Dariusz Podsiadły

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With regret we would like to inform of the death of our colleague from Opole Lubelskie, Dariusz Podsiadły. He was a member of PARE from the early beginnings of the association. As a big fan of the narrow-gauge railway from his home town, he devoted his time to save the railway heritage as a volunteer of the Nadwislańska Narrow-Gauge Railway.

The funeral will take place in the parish church in Opole Lubelskie on 6th December at 11:30AM.