Scheduled steam hauled passenger trains to return in Poland

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Soon to be a common sight again - PKP Pacific Pm36 2 leaves Poznan on July 9, 2010 with Wolsztyn service.
Keith Fender
WARSAW, Poland — Starting in December, you too can take a regular passenger ride behind a Polish steam locomotive. Thanks to a June agreement between private Polish freight operator PKP Cargo and regional governments, the famed Wolsztyn steam shops will be up and running and operating steam-powered trains.

Steam-powered runs ended in 2014 following the privatization of Polish freight railroads that included the steam shops.The last active steam operation had ended on Poland's main line railways in the early 1990s but the Wolsztyn steam shop had survived and continued to operate local passenger and some freight using steam, partly as a museum, but operating regular services.

According to the agreement, PKP Cargo will transfer the Wolsztyn shop and locomotives to a new heritage foundation funded by the company and regional governments. Passenger services to be steam operated are likely to be on the routes from Wolsztyn to and from Poznan or Leszno, in western Poland.

The steam services from Wolsztyn have been supported for many years by the British-Polish Wolsztyn Experience company, which enables railfans to pay to learn to drive and fire a steam loco on the scheduled steam services to and from Poznan or Leszno. This operation attracted world-wide attention and visitors from around the globe and helped to ensure local political leaders became engaged in ensuring the steam trains would return.

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