The narrow-gauge railways in West Pomerania were built and developed in years 1894–1914.
They were a complement to the railway network built earlier and an alternative to the 1435 mm gauge tracks, mainly in terms of costs.
The concept of 600 mm gauge railway was presented at Paris Exposition in 1887. This type of railways had to be created on short lines, and the new standard was to bring a number of advantages:
- Limiting energy consumption,
- Limiting horizontal curves,
- Increasing track longitudal gradient,
- Easier routing,
- Smaller dimensions and number of sleepers,
- Smaller requirements for railway engineering constructions,
- Lighter rails.
However, the railway standard presented at that time has not been widely accepted. Initially, lines of 1000 and 750 mm gauge were built in West Pomerania. As late as in 1953 they were merged into one 1000 mm network.
Division of Railway Buildings
Regardless the gauge, along with newly created lines, buildings and engineering structures, collectively referred to as railway buildings, were built.
According to their destination, the railway buildings were divided into:
- Buildings related to railways operation and maintenance,
- Railway administration buildings,
- Railway staff accommodation and social facilities.
The buildings related to railways operation and maintenance included:
- railway stations and facilities directly related to them, i.e. platforms with their coverings and tunnels and bridges connecting them with the station,
- posts and signal boxes,
- cargo depots,
- locomotive sheds, especially steam, diesel and electric locomotive sheds,
- railway maintenance depots with devices used for rolling stock cleaning and disinfection,
- repair workshops,
- resource and fuel depots,
- water towers and pump rooms,
- traction substations and traction maintenance facilities,
- track maintenance workshops and garages.
According to their location they could be:
- railway station buildings, necessary for technical operation, located either directly in the area of the station or bound to station devices or tracks,
- route buildings, necessary for running the traffic (e.g. posts) or track maintenance (track staff houses),
- guard buildings (e.g. at bridges and tunnels).
Railway administration buildings were:
- railway management offices,
- railway department offices,
- station masters’, gatemen’s and other staff offices.
Railway staff accommodation and social facilities included:
- train and locomotive staff dormitories,
- railway staff accommodation,
- hospitals and other medical units,
- resort hotels and sanatoria for railway staff.
The above division concerned the full range of state railways, the network of which, and hence the number of employees and their needs, were growing rapidly. It did not depend on the tracks gauges. However, in this aspect, there was a reduction in the amount of occupied space and volume of facilities as far, as the narrow-gauge lines were concerned.
Development of the Szadzko (Stargard) Narrow-Gauge Railway Network
Szadzko (Stargard) Narrow-Gauge Railway (Saatziger Kleinbahn) was launched in 1895, had a width of 1000 mm and consisted of three lines:
|Stargard Wąskotorowy–Stara Dąbrowa–Dobra Nowogardzka line|
|km||Polish name||German name||Opened||Closed|
|0,0||Stargard Wąskotorowy||Stargard (Pommern) Ldb.||14.01.1895||10.06.2001|
|5,1||Żarowo||Saarow (b. Stargard)||14.01.1895||10.06.2001|
|5,9||Lubowo Wąskotorowe||Lübow (b. Stargard)||14.01.1895||10.06.2001|
|12,3||Storkówko Pom.||Storkow (Kr. Saatzig)||14.01.1895||10.06.2001|
|Stara Dąbrowa||Alt Damerow||14.01.1895||10.06.2001|
|3,5||Białuń Wąskotorowy||Müggenhall (Kr. Saatzig)||12.05.1895||10.06.2001|
(Kr. Naugard) Süd
|Stara Dąbrowa–Kozy Pom.–Drawsko Pom. Wąsk. line|
|km||Polish name||German name||Opened||Closed|
|0,0||Stara Dąbrowa||Alt Damerow||14.01.1895||10.06.2001|
|2,9||Nowa Dąbrowa Wieś||Neu Damerow Dorf||14.01.1895||1.06.1996|
|3,8||Nowa Dąbrowa||Neu Damerow||14.01.1895||1.06.1996|
|10,1||Trąbki Wąskotorowe||Trampke Ldb.||14.01.1895||1.06.1996|
|30,7||Jankowo Pom. Wąskotorowe||Janikow Ldb.||1.10.1897||1964|
|33,2||Drawsko Pom. Wąskotorowe||Dramburg Ldb.||15.11.1910||1964|
|Kozy Pom. - Poźrzadło Dwór line|
|km||Polish name||German name||Opened||Closed|
|17,74||Poźrzadło Wieś||Klein Spiegel Dorf||20.08.1896||1948|
|19,63||Poźrzadło Dwór||Klein Spiegel Gut||20.08.1896||1948|
The total length of the lines amounted to 124,33 km. They included 8 stations and 32 passenger stops. Stargard Wąskotorowy, Drawsko Pomorskie and Poźrzadło Dwór were final stations, Stara Dąbrowa and Kozy Pomorskie were junction ones and Dobra Nowogardzkie, Trąbki, Dobrzany and Jankowo Pomorskie were intermediate ones. Dobra Nowogardzkie was a border station for both Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway and Resko Narrow-Gauge Railway. Between 1913 and 1945 it functionned in the direct vicinity of Dobra Nowogardzkie Południowe standard-gauge railway station, which was a final station of Nowogard District Railways (Naugarder Kleinbahnen). In turn, Stargard, Trąbki and Jankowo Pomorskie were lining up with state railway stations. Passenger stops acted mainly as passing sidings and loading yards.
Stargard Wąskotorowy Narrow-Gauge Railway Station
Stargard Wąskotorowy (Stargard Ldb.) was the largest station of Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway, with all basic objects necessary for the railway traffic. Railway station buildings of 1895, i.e. the station building with a cargo depot and two-track locomotive shed, have been preserved up to now. The track layout of the narrow-gauge railway station was determined by a long distance (ca. 2 km) from the state railway station. Both stations were joined by a 1435 mm track. The narrow-gauge railway station track layout included 1000/1435 mm gauntler tracks, and tracks of both gauges ran to the loading area of the narrow-gauge railway station. A double-sided ramp served both standard- and narrow-gauge wagons. A road system adjusted to serve narrow-gauge railway has been preserved up to now.
The Stargard station had a well-developed network of sidings. Two of them: Karów Mill (398 m) and Agricultural Resource Grain Storage (100 m) functionned in 1902. A year later a siding running to the Abattoir was build. In 1905 further one, running to the Gas Plant was constructed. During the First World War, in 1915, a siding running to the Military Garrison was launched. The next one reached the Agricultural Supplies Association in 1936. All the narrow-gauge sidings had dual gauge 1000/1435 mm tracks.
In 1900, a small workshop was opened in the station area. In the following years, the workshop was expanded to be used for rolling stock repairs of both narrow-gauge and standard-gauge railways. In Stargard, there were, however, repair facilities for the national railway rolling stock, which initially provided services to other railways, but they refused to provide them more and more frequently with the passage of time.
There were several access lines in Stargard’s close vicinity. They were, among others, railways of the interconnected network of Szadzko, Gryfice, Kołobrzeg and Resko narrow-gauge railways, and nearby standard-gauge railways: Nowogard District Railways, Pyrzyce District Railway, Gryfino District Railway and Randow Access Railway. They also served extensively developed workshops. Six tracks ran to the main workshop hall. The repair stands and access ways had the necessary 1000/1435 mm dual gauge tracks.
Since 1945, the workshops continued to function. Technical service of the narrow-gauge rolling stock was carried out here until the end of the 1960s. At that time, as part of the Polish State Railways (PKP), they were re-arranged and adapted to the technical needs of the rolling stock. A considerable part of technical inspections and current repairs of narrow-gauge rolling stock have been taken over by an engine house in Resko.
Dobra Nowogardzkie Narrow-Gauge Railway Station
Dobra Nowogardzkie (Daber (Kr. Naugard) Süd.) station was opened on November 1st, 1895 as the end of the section from Stara Dąbrowa (Alt Damerow), a branch of the Stargard-Ińsko line, launched on January 14th of the same year. On July 26th, 1896, it also became the final station of the Resko Narrow-Gauge Railway. Afterwards, it became a typical intermediate station. In turn, in 1902, a standard-gauge line of Nowogard District Railways reached the town of Dobra Nowogardzka (Daber (Kr. Naugard)), but this was in a 2 km distant location of Dobra Nowogardzkie Północ station (Daber (Kr. Naugard) Nord). In 1913 the line reached the immediate vicinity of the narrow-gauge railway station of Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway.
The railway junction created in this way has influenced the importance of the station. A large station building with a warehouse, equipped with a ramp and a lavatory was built in 1895. The train dispatcher’s extension was built at a later time, as were a water tower, a steam locomotive shed and workshop buildings, as well as a small standard-gauge railway station building.
After 1945, the normal-gauge line with its final station in Dobra Nowogardzka has not been rebuilt. Only a narrow-gauge railway station functionned, with connections to Resko (until 1959), to Łobez (until 1991) and to Stargard (until 2001). One of the last significant narrow-gauge investments in West Pomerania was carried out here as well. At the turn of the 1980s and the 1990s, a modern locomotive hall was built, which took over the general technical service of the new rolling stock imported from Romania. It was used only for 10 years, until the end of narrow-gauge railway operation under the name of PKP, i.e. until June 10th, 2001, when the transport was finally terminated on the Stargard-Dobra Nowogardzkie line.
The stylish station building with the warehouse, several workshop buildings and a water tower with outbuildings have remained until today. The lavatory and the two-track locomotive shed were dismantled as late as a few years ago. Despite being entered in the register of objects of cultural heritage, all the historic buildings are decaying. The use for the new locomotive hall has also not been found.
Ińsko Narrow-Gauge Railway Station
The Ińsko (Nörenberg) station was the final one on the first line of Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway, launched on January 14th, 1895. As soon as four months later, on May 12th, 1895, it became an intermediary station, when a section running to Studnica was opened. The next one, from Studnica to Jankowo Pomorskie, was launched on October 1st, 1897.
The station had a building with a depot, a ramp and lavatories. The cargo was unloaded from the track to the depot ramp or to loading yards on both sides of the station building. There was also a separate storage yard. In 1922, there was built a track running to a lime plant.
Opposite the station track system, there were a steam locomotive shed (a two-track one, in 1928 extended to three tracks), a fuel depot and an underground oil depot. In 1938 there was also built a railbus maintenance hall.
Drawsko Pomorskie, Jankowo Pomorskie and Trąbki Narrow-Gauge Railway Stations
The last of the Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway final stations was Drawsko Pomorskie Wąskotorowe (Dramburg Ldb.), launched on November 15th, 1910. It had a station building, a ramp, a storage yard, a loading yard and a small steam locomotive shed with a fenced fuel storage space. The passenger traffic began in 1955. The station, together with the whole section leading to Ińsko, was closed in 1964. Only the station building remained, still habitable. A bicycle track was created on the route between Drawsko and Jankowo. No other objects have survived.
Between 1897 and 1910, Jankowo Pomorskie Wąskotorowe (Janikow Ldb.) was a final station. It was located nearly 3 km from Drawsko. It had no station building. In fact, it was a loading place, where loading and storage yards were separated and a depot shed was built. Since 1902, a siding was running from there to a nearby starch factory. A narrow-gauge track, used for loading works, was running parallelly to the standard-gauge Jankowo Pomorskie (Janikow Ldb.) station track system. A junction of a narrow-gauge line and a state standard-gauge one was located nearby. The lines intersected at the rails level.
Trąbki Wąskotorowe (Trampke Ldb.) was a similar intermediary station of Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway, with a junction of a narrow-gauge line and a state standard-gauge one located within the Trąbki (Trampke) station area. The location of both stations enabled mutual loading actions. Trąbki Wąskotorowe had a station building, a ramp with a depot building and a siding running to a lime plant. It functionned until 1996, when Stara Dąbrowa-Ińsko line was closed, and the track level junction was liquidated.
Kozy Pomorskie and Stara Dąbrowa Narrow-Gauge Railway Stations
Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway had two junction stations.
Kozy Pomorskie (Kashagen) junction station was located in the vicinity of Ińsko, Trąbki and Poźrzadło and enabled the trains to run in three directions. The station track layout had a shape of a triangle, in the middle of which there were a station building, a side building and line maintenance facilities with a draisine shed made of corrugated sheet. A passing siding and a neighbouring loading yard were located along Stargard–Drawsko direction.
2,88 km far from Kozy Pomorskie there was another junction station, Dobrzany (Jakobshagen), where passenger trains running from Stargard to Ińsko arrived. On account of Kozy Pomorskie station triangular track layout, a change of direction took place only in Dobrzany. Between Dobrzany and Poźrzadło Dwór (Klein Spiegel Gut), after 1945, only cargo transports were carried out. They were terminated around 1968.
Stara Dąbrowa (Alt Damerow) station was located at a junction of lines running from Stargard to Dobra Nowogardzka and Kozy Pomorskie. Its buildings have survived up to now. They are a dwelling house with outbuildings, built in 1895, which was the first station building, and a later administration building, which took over the function of the station building after 1948, now also a dwelling house. The station’s loading yard was located between those buildings.
Narrow-Gauge Railway Passenger Stops, Passages, Cargo Points
There were far fewer buildings at passenger stops, which were both passing sidings and loading points. Their equipment depended on the needs of the passengers and of the loading works.
The majority of them had sheds, the remains of two types of which, made of corrugated sheet or of bricks, have survived up to now.
One of the sheds, at Zapłocie (Hospital Vorweck) stop, has even been preserved in full. It is made of corrugated sheet and has a self-supporting construction, with a concrete wall base added later. The object is in good condition and it is still located in its original place. This is the only such case in the whole West-Pomeranian Narrow-Gauge Railways network. Similar sheds were located in Marianowo and Krzywnica. They have, however, not survived. There are several objects of this type in various places including Kozy Pomorskie, Resko, Golczewo Pomorskie and Gryfice, but they have been preserved only because they have still been used as utility sheds or arbours.
The remains of brick station sheds are in a considerably worse condition and none of them have survived in full. In Dobropole (Breitenfelde) there are only remains of white brick walls, partially plastered, overgrown with bushes of various sizes and grass. Wiechowo, Mosina Pomorska, Linówko, Łęczyca Pomorska, Storkówko Pomorskie, Małkowiny and Żarowo stops had similar brick sheds, but nothing has left of them.
The remains of platforms, ramps, cargo yards and access roads are also poor. They decay without maintenance. Unremoved rails of Stargard–Dobra Nowogardzka section were simply covered with asphalt at the majority of junctions with local roads. Several kilometres away from Dobra Nowogardzka, there is also a fragment of a fully marked railway junction with a field road reaching a Dobra-Mieszewo section of a local road.
The lines of Szadzko Narrow-Gauge Railway together with Stargard Wąskotorowy, Dobra Nowogardzkie and Ińsko stations have been entered into the register of objects of cultural heritage of the Voivodship Office for Preservation of Objects of Cultural Heritage, No. A-111 of December 21st 2002. There is, however, poor interest of local authorities in maintaining at least fragments of this narrow-gauge railway. The idea of maintaining a line running to a historic bridge in Żarowo combined with a railway school workshop has ultimately been abandoned. The remains of the tracks have mostly been dismantled or stolen. The Dobra Nowogardzka station building complex is decaying, as no commercial owner has been found. The railway buildings in Stargard are used partially as dwelling houses and partially for commercial purposes.
The situation in Ińsko is an exception here. A group of citizens, maintaining local traditions, first, in 2017, renovated a chapel near the station, caring for railway memory and symbolism, and then, in 2018, created a railway Hall of Memory in the premises of the former station. They have gathered numerous exhibits and memorabilia of more than 101 years of existence of the narrow-gauge railways in Ińsko. SEMAFOR Association of Enthusiasts of Narrow-Gauge Railways deserve being congratulated on determination and effectiveness in their activity.