County narrow-gauge train

Many attractions of Zaniemyśl include a narrow-gauge train running for almost one hundred years on the line Środa Wielkopolska – Zaniemyśl. The narrow-gauge train has the speed of about 25 km/h, and the entire route from Środa Miasto station to Zaniemyśl takes 45 minutes..

Few know nowadays that it is the only preserved section of county narrow-gauge local railway. Before we get on the narrow-gauge train which has been entered on 12th June 1995 into the register of monuments, it is worth reminding its origin.
Narrow-gauge trains were a cheap means of transport, and despite the fact that originally they were to transport only agricultural produce, soon after they proved to be an excellent means of passenger transport. The first narrow-gauge railway line in Wielkopolska region was built in 1886 and it connected Opalenica with Lwówek. The construction of Średzka county narrow-gauge local railway began in 1902 and in fact it was due to the sugar factory in Środa Wlkp., commissioned in 1881. The origin of the narrow-gauge railway involved an ordinary line connecting Główna (presently a district of Poznań with Poznań Wschód station) with Kobylepole, with the length of 5.2 km. The Kobylepole – Środa Wlkp. narrow gauge railway line with the gauge of 1,000 mm and the length of 44.6 km connected stations (in this order from Kobylepole): Szczepankowo, Spławie, Żemiki, Tulce, Komomiki Średzkie, Nagradowice, Krerowo, Markowice, Staniszewo, Pławce, Zdziechowice, Babin, Dębicz, Ulejno, Polażejewo, Rumiejki, Chudzice, Szlachcin, Pierzchno, Olszewo. A bit later, short side sections were constructed: Tulce – Kruszewnia, Krerowo - Czerlejno and Krerowo – Kleszczewo. The section Środa Wlkp. – Zaniemyśl, with the length of 14 km was commissioned on 1st May 1910 and it connected towns: Słupia Wielka, Annopole, Płaczki, Śnieciska and Polwica. Furthermore, side sections to Jaszkowo through Żabikowo and from Połażejewo to Mystki were created. In 1925 a line Annopole – Chwałkowo – Czarnotki and two years later Chwałkowo – Brodowo were built. On this lines sugar beet was obviously most frequently transported, yet for many residents of the surrounding areas, through which tracks of the narrow-gauge train led, it was the only means of transport. At the times of World War II Średzka line was not destroyed and was re-launched as early as on 4th February 1945. On 1st July 1949 the Średzka railway was nationalised and during the next years it operated as part of the Regional Directorate of State Railways in Poznań (later Western RDSR). In 1952 it was decided to modify the railway gauge from 1,000 mm to 750 mm.
Unfortunately, in 1968 passenger transport between Kobylepole and Środa Wlkp. was liquidated, and by 1973 side railway lines, among others, to Brodów, Czamotki and Mystki were dismantled. As a result, from the old Śrecka county narrow-gauge local railway only the section of Środa Wlkp. – Zaniemyśl remained which is used for tourist and passenger transport. Transport of goods was almost completely abandoned due to the lack of recipients. Apart from the constantly running Px48 steam locomotives, a MBX motor car was introduced. Many attractions of Zaniemyśl include a narrow-gauge train, commonly called “choo-choo”. The narrow-gauge train has the speed of about 25 km/h, and the entire route from Środa Miasto station to Zaniemyśl takes 45 minutes. The most interesting is the section just after Środa station as the train very slowly climbs the flyover above the Poznań - Katowice railway tracks, while a few hundred metres further conductor’s help is necessary to allow the train to cross the busy road Katowicka road. He walks then into the road and stops, with a distinctive lillipop, often long strings of cars.

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