Confession time! I am a big train lover. Not only do I dream of endless interrail journeys, I adore old trains. How lucky was I to have been taken to see the preparations of one of the biggest (and coolest) train festivals in Europe? Today I want to show you some of the photos I took in Wolsztyn, the Polish steam train mecca.
From the 1st until the 3rd of May Wolsztyn (West-Poland) hosts a very popular steam train festival. Although it’s not very well known, somehow people from all over the world come to see the trains, enjoy some fine Polish and international foods and see the steam train races.
And yes, I really said racing. During the 3-day festival you can take a ride on old steam trains from various cities within Poland and on one of these days the steam train depot in Wolsztyn floods with people who want to get a glimpse of the spectacular races.
Since I was there just a few days before the actual festival I wanted to take a look at the depot and the famous railway turntable. Little did I know I was about to embark on something that I can only describe as very sweet and heartwarming.
Okay, enough with the gooey stuff now! As you may have seen in my plog from last week, my friend Arkadiusz got us into the garage where the old steam trains are parked. Inside we could see the repairs being done while walking around very heavy machinery. Now, I don’t know squat about trains but I did find it very impressive.
The old trains were stationed at a big garage. Some of them are just there for museum purposes but others came from far to take a part in the races. You can imagine that the people from the Wolsztyn station were very proud to show us around.
As soon as we walked into the depot I became overwhelmed with joy, snapping one photo after the other. The place looks incredible! Imagine the smell of oil, paint and charcoal around you, mmm…
Not so long ago there used to be a daily steam train service to Polish cities as Poznan and Leszno. Unfortunately having a train like that running every day is very expensive and so the daily service got suspended. As of right now the people in Wolsztyn are trying to get the trains running again. If you would like to help you can buy tickets to one of the scheduled rides in 2015. Also, they give some awesome steam train driving courses!
And if you happen to be around this area outside of those dates, feel free to knock on the door and ask to look around. The outside museum is a blast as you can climb into the trains to see what it was like to travel by these heavy babies.
The staff is extremely helpful. On the day I was there they told me a train would be passing at 5 pm, in case I wanted to see it. When it wasn’t there at exactly 5 pm, the guys from the office phoned them to ask how long it would take. Chances are that if you has passed already, it’ll come back and you get to see it anyway. Usually they leave the trains running because it’s really hard to get them started again.
I loved my afternoon at this locomotive depot and I am greatful for being invited in by those lovely locals running the place. Now, how can I leave you without sharing a video of the oh so famous steam train races? That’s right! I can’t, so here it is: