The National Museum in Szczecin — The Seaside Narrow-Gauge Railway Exhibition - National Museum in Szczecin Poland

Wystawa Nadmorskiej Kolei Wąskotorowej
ul. Błonie 2
72-300 Gryfice
tel. (+48) 91 38 41 170

 

 

The origin of Gryfice exposition of narrow gauge railways was a fleet withdrawn from service in the Pomeranian Commuter Railway, mainly from Gryfice, Białogard and Dobra near  Nowogard, since late 1970s set by the Gryfice station. Four locomotives and a carriage from 1899 gave rise to an open-air museum. It was officially opened on Railwayman Day on September 8, 1978, on land adjacent to the depot (today's Rewal Coastal Narrow Gauge Railway workshops). That exhibition, gradually expanded with additional exhibits, operated a total of fifteen years. Its legal status was not fully determined. In theory, it was owned by PKP (Polish National Railway), practically by Railway Museum in Warsaw, which in turn was owned by PKP, what made a vicious circle.

The open-air museum was created by the Pomeranian District State Railway Management (DOKP) in Szczecin, Town and Municipality authorities of Gryfice, the Polish Army, with the involvement of the local community. The initiator of the creation of the museum and its first director was Zdzislaw Kopera, a retired railway worker, longtime head of the Szczecin Harbour Central Station and head of the Pomeranian Commuter Rail Administration of DOKP in Szczecin.

In 1987–1993, on a boggy meadow next to the railway warehouses, a plot has been paved, tracks were put and platforms were built. A still working turntable was moved there. There was created a temporaryexhibition building made of a set of joined parts of aluminum barracks. The works were financed largely with funds of Pomeranian DOKP. Some of them were made as so-called social acts (volunteer works), including supplies of electricity, land improvement, and even the project (by employees of Railway Project Office in Szczecin).

In 1993, the museum was formally transformed into a permanent exhibition of Pomeranian Narrow Gauge Railway, a branch of the Railway Museum in Warsaw. Since then two permanent exhibitions have been presented: "Narrow Gauge and Regional Railroads of Western Pomerania 1894–1945" and "Narrow Gauge Rail of Western Pomerania since 1945". In two halls, on forty boards, there was presented richly illustrated history of railways, with particular emphasis on the whole region of Western Pomerania. A complement of these presentations were models of locomotives, carriages and railway equipment.

On 1 April 2010 the current exhibition at the Narrow Gauge Seaside Railway Exhibition in Gryfice was included in the structure of the National Museum in Szczecin as part of the Maritime Department. Beside the platforms there are exposed over a dozen locomotives and motor carriages and dozens of passenger cars, trucks and specialized facilities and equipment for heavy maintenance and repair cars, turntable, signaling equipment, etc. The collected objects are inseparable from Western Pomerania and have a unique character, as track gauge was 1000 mm here, while the other narrow-gauge railways standard was 750 mm. Their history in large part starts at the beginning of the last century. Some survived two world wars and two revolutions, the drive changes from stem into the diesel and electrical and liquidation of commuter railways. Thus they constitute a "fossil record" of human material culture, inextricably linked to the economic development of the region. Their value is two-fold: firstly, today there are only few of them (we expose almost all that remains of the rolling stock which used to operate in 594 km of the line), and secondly, some of them, like Spielberg's dinosaurs, can come to life.

 

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