Courses will operate in 2021 - BUT
It could be the Last Year
2020 proved to be a difficult year for everyone because of Covid 19. However, the scheduled services continued to operate as normal throughout the year but after (evacuating) our guests back home in mid-March no further clients arrived until the end of June.
Visitors from Europe and Japan continued to come until further lock downs in mid-October stopped all except one client coming until the end of the operating season on Saturday November 28.
The first scheduled steam services of 2021 were to Poznan and despite travel restrictions, over100linesiders got their photos in a lovely winterland landscape.. This was on Saturday January 16th two trains a day Monday to Friday service to Leszno commenced on Monday January 18th Ol49-69 and Pt47-65 will be the available loco's with OL49-59 scheduled for overhaul. One good thing about Covid 19 was the annual medicals for the drivers have been postponed for a full year so Andrzej, Hendrik and Stanislaw will still be driving until the end of October 2021. (This could be their last year).
Whilst schedules services are guaranteed until the end of November 2021 special events like the annual May Day parade are cancelled but the shed is hoping to have enough available loco's to provide a gala event on September 4th and 5th.The Pirate is planned as a weekend event on May 29 and 30 and a series of local specials of around a 100 miles round trips will operate on Sundays from June 20 to September 12 inclusive.
Our policy for the first half of 2021 is as follows - if 28 days before your arrival in Wolsztyn quarantine restrictions prohibit you from travelling (either into Poland or returning home) you can transfer to a later date. A date for the opening of Polish hotels and restaurants is currently being discussed. Finally, on an optimistic note, after vaccinations a Europe wide travel scheme will operate allowing those with a vaccination certificate and or a testing regime will allow easier travel. The Polish authorities have already said that if you have had 2 vaccinations you are free to come and go as you please. It is essential that if you intend to come to Poland you check with your airline if a PCR test is a requirement before you can fly, and that you are aware of your own country’s restrictions upon your return.
However, with new Polish drivers having to come on the scene in 2022, the effect of Covid 19 causing lack of income to the depot, and also that fact that I am getting older it is most likely that for one or a combination of reasons, that 2021 will be the last year of the Wolsztyn Experience as it is today.
Photo Credit to Artur Wieczorek
A fond farewell to Marek Pawicki
On a sad note I have to report the death of Marek Pawicki, who had a long and successful railway career and at the age of 32 was already a director for the Poznan section of PKP; he signed the original agreement with the Wolsztyn Experience in 1997.
During his career he continually supported steam operations and just to list a few of his many achievements.
1 - He started the promotion of long distance specials and he instigated the first Pirate special to Kolobrzeg in 1999.
He will be fondly remembered, not only by staff but all our guests who were fortunate enough to meet him. This kind and caring man's life was tragically cut short by bone cancer at the age of 55, leaving his wife to bring up alone his 9 year old daughter and 6 year old son.
2 - He promoted the five annual (Wolsztyn Experience timetable trains) from Poznan to Wroclaw 2001 and 2002.
3- He enabled the British Great Western Prairie tank engine to operate scheduled services from Wroclaw to Jelcz for 45 days in 2008
4 - He facilitated cab rides for our guests in high speed electrics whilst he was working for Intercity. Finally, as operations director for Koleje Wielkopolskie he backed and planned the current scheduled service operation.
Howard Jones MBE Chairman
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