Steam Trains in Nowy Tomysl

Three photographs of Px48 narrow gauge steam locomotives pulling trains in Nowy Tomyśl, Poland, in the early 1990s.

PKP Polish railways steam locomotive Nowy Tomysl

A PKP Polish railways Px48 steam locomotive at Nowy Tomysl, Poland, in 1991.

The Px 48 was a narrow gauge steam locomotive built between 1949 and 1955 in Chrzanów, Poland. In total 101 of these locomotives were produced. They worked on 750mm and 1000mm railway lines throughout Poland right up until the 1990s.

PKP Polish Railways steam train

A Polish Railways Px48 narrow gauge steam locomotive and train in Nowy Tomysl in 1991.

A number of these cute looking steam locomotives survive today. Mostly as static exhibits, in places like Sroda Wielkopolska, Gniezno, Poznań, and Zbąszynek. But one or two Px48s remain in full working order. The best of these working locos Px48-3916 can be found steaming up and down the narrow gauge line in Gryfice.


A Px48-1902 steam train at a level crossing in Nowy Tomysl in 1991.

This now disused line ran a total of around 30 kilometres between Duszniki Wielkopolskie to Nowy Tomyśl (Wąsk), passing through the villages of Kozielaski, Roza, Wąsowo and Trzcianka.

Nowy Tomysl (Neutomischel) is a town in the west of the province of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland).

Related content: A selection of old images of Nowy Tomyśl from our picture archive.


Barlinek in Zachodniopomorskie (Western Pomerania)

Barlinek berlinchen

The fountain in the middle of the Market Square in Barlinek in 1965,.

A selection of images of the small town of Barlinek in the north-west of Poland.


Another mid 1960s photograph of the main square in Barlinek, Poland.

Berlinchen in to Barlinek:
- Berlinchen, which until 1945 had been part of the German province of East Brandenburg / Neumark was renamed Barlinek at the end of the Second World War.
- On the 31st January 1945 Berlinchen / Barlinek was captured by Soviet Red Army troops of the XII Armoured Corps and as a result of the battle and deliberate arson more than half of the buildings were destroyed.
- The German inhabitants of the town were expelled after the war and replaced by Poles who, in many cases, had themselves been expelled from what is now Ukraine.

barlinek polen

Holidaymakers having fun in and on the lake in Barlinek, c.1974.

Some other things you may not know about Barlinek:
- The World Champion chess player Emanuel Lasker was born in Berlinchen / Barlinek in 1868.
- A railway line once connected Barlinek with Myslibórz and Choszczno. It is now closed.
- Barlinek is famous locally and throughout Poland for the wood panel flooring factory located there.
- Barlinek promotes itself as the European Capital of Nordic Walking!
- Barlinek has a population of around 14,000.
- The Omega class of the Polish Sailing Championships take place in Barlinek each year.

barlinek poland

A scan of a picture postcard sent to us by a friend who had a vacation in Barlinek in 1999.

Related content on Polish Poland: old pre-war images of Berlinchen / Barlinek.

Polish Americans

Polish American Celebrities

Liberace - Polish American. Half-Polish, half-Italian.

Liberace – a famous Polish American. Half-Polish, half-Italian.

Earlier today I heard a report on the radio that the American actor Nicholas Cage had a Polish Grandmother. This was something I was totally unaware of until then. Anyway, it got me thinking what other well-known Americans might have Polish roots. So here’s a list of notable Polish Americans I could come up with. This list is by no means comprehensive. Having never visited the US myself this list is probably rather Eurocentric. Feel free to use the comment section to add your own!

David Duchovny (the X-Files actor)- Polish Grandmother.
Peter Falk (the actor known for Columbo) – of Polish Jewish ancestry
Liberace (pianist / entertainer) – Polish Mother.
Stanley Kubrick (film director) – of Polish Jewish descent.
Charles Bukowski (writer and poet) – with roots in Danzig / Gdansk
Roger Zelazny (Science fiction writer) – Polish Father.
Bobby Vinton (singer) – Polish Father and Mother.
Richie Samobora (guitarist with Bon Jovi) – Polish Father.
Pat Benatar / Andrzejewski (singer songwriter) – Polish Father.
Loretta Swit (actress in the tv series MASH) – Polish Mother and Father.
Dick Dale (Guitarist) – Polish Mother.
Jared Padalecki (actor in tv series Supernatural) – Polish Father.
Neil Diamond (singer Songwriter) – of Polish Jewish ancestry.
Jack White (musician) – Polish mother.
Stefanie Powers (actress in the TV series Hart to Hart) – Polish Mother.
Tadeusz Kościuszko (Hero of the American Revolutionary War) – Polish.
Zbigniew Brzezinski (prominent in US politics) – Polish.
Igor Sikorsky (helicopters) – with Russian / Polish roots.
Ray Manzarek (musician in the Doors) – Polish roots.
Steven Tyler (singer with Aerosmith) – Polish Grandmother.
George Adamski (UFOs!) – full Polish ancestry.
Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple computers) – Father of Polish ancestry.
Maksymilian Faktorowicz / Max Factor (cosmetics) – a Polish Jew.

Related content on Polish Poland:

- Watch a short film about an annual Polish American festival that takes place in Philadelphia, USA.

Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking in Poland

nordic walking

An information board advertising a Nordic Walking route in the west of Poland.

Nordic walking is that exercise that involves moving yourself along with the aid of two poles. Rather bizarrely over the last couple of years boards like the one in the photograph above and I suppose the Nordic Walking routes they advertise have sprouted up throughout Poland. I say bizarrely because I’ve only ever seen one or two people walking around in a Nordic Walking sort of way! One has to suppose that these Nordic Walking routes could perhaps be a good way of getting hold of some sort of European Union funding. This particular trail in Lubuskie, at least, seems to have been EU funded.

Comments as ever are more than welcome. Especially if you are a Nordic Walker or know of someone who is!


Częstochowa Through Time

Częstochowa 1899

A very early lithographic picture postcard image of Częstochowa in what was Lesser Poland. Mailed in 1899.

A selection of pre-war images of the city of Częstochowa, Silesia (śląskie) in the south of Poland.

Częstochowa  Czenstochau

A German picture postcard of Częstochowa / Czenstochau, commemorating the taking of the city from Russian forces, c.1914.

Some things you may not know about Częstochowa:
- Czestochowa is located on the banks of the River Warta.
- When Poland was invaded in 1939 Częstochowa was renamed Tschenstochau, and became part of the General Government.
- In April 1941, a Jewish ghetto was created and it is believed that more than 40,000 of Częstochowa’s Jews died during the war.

Częstochowa  1916

A scan of an old picture postcard of the New Market Square in Częstochowa, c.1916.

More information on Częstochowa:
- The city of Czestochowa has a population of around 230,000. More than 400,000 people live in and around Częstochowa.
- Several million people from all over the world come to Częstochowa each year to visit the Pauline monastery of Jasna Góra, the home of the Black Madonna painting.

Częstochowa 1929

A photographic postcard view of the centre of Czestochowa, c.1929.

How to get to Czestochowa:
- There are at present six railway stations in the city and railway lines connect Częstochowa with Lubliniec, Kielce, Warsaw, Katowice, and Chorzew Siemkowice.
- The nearest airport is Katowice International, which is around 60 kilometres from Częstochowa.

Czestochowa  1936

Market day in the New Market Square in Czestochowa, Lesser Poland, c.1935.

Related content on Polish Poland: PRL (Communist-era) images of Częstochowa.

Shortage of Children in Poland

News from Poland

The New Child Benefit Program

polish child

With an average of just 1.3 children per woman, Poland currently has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Because of this the shortage of children in Poland has been the subject of much debate and in the news a lot over recent years. In an effort to solve the problem the new PiS government plans to bring in a new child allowance where 500 zloties (120 Euros) per child will be given to families each month. Payment will be made only after the second child in each family. Meaning no child benefit will be paid to those families that only have one child. It is thought that this new welfare program will cost the Polish taxpayer around 20 Billion Zloties (5 billion Euros) per year. There is much discussion in the Polish media as to whether this program of child benefit is affordable and will actually result in encouraging women to have more children. Currently direct financial support for families in Poland is almost non-existent.

New Syrena Car

News from Poland

A New Polish Car

polish car syrena

A photograph of the original Syrena, a legend of the the communist period.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Development has announced that a new version of the legendary Polish car, the Syrena, will be produced in Kutno from late 2016. The project will cost more than seven million zloties, the majority of which will come from European Union grants and funding.

The new Syrena will have a 1.4 litre 90 hp petrol engine, with a five-speed manual gearbox. The car uses a steel chassis and largely composite bodywork. Production will probably be on a fairly small scale at least initially with it is estimated 500 cars being produced per year. The cost of each car has been estimated at around 60 thousand złoty.

The original Syrena was produced between 1957 and 1983, first in Warsaw and then in Bielsko-Biala.

See a film report on the project (in Polish) and view the prototype version of the new Syrena here.

Related: information on and images of the original FSO Syrena.

Independence Day in Poland

polands independence day

Today is a national holiday in Poland to mark Poland’s independence and restoration at the end of the First World War.

Independence Day is celebrated every year on the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic on the 11th November 1918. Shops, banks, and almost all businesses are closed. Flags are flown and street celebrations and marches take place throughout Poland.

More about Poland’s Independence Day on Polish Poland.

Beuthen / Bytom Odrzański

Beuthen / Bytom Through Time

Beuthen Bytom Odrzański

An old picture postcard of the Market Square in Beuthen / Bytom Odrzański, c.1905.

Three scans of old images of the town of Bytom Odrzański (former: Beuthen), in Lubuskie, western Poland.

beuthen bytom odrzanski

An old postcard of the bridge over the River Oder / Odra in Beuthen / Bytom Odrzanski, c.1941,

Three things you may not know about Bytom Odrzański:
- the area used to be something of a centre for brown coal mining.
- the German writer Jochen Klepper was born there in 1903.
- the current population of Bytom Odrzański is around 4,300.

bytom odrzanski

Another view of the Market Square (Rynek) area of Bytom Odrzanski, Lubuskie, Poland, c.1961.

- Old images of the larger city of Bytom in Upper Silesia, Poland.
- Information on and archive photographs of nearby Nowa Sól.

British Steel!

Fascinating Fact # 36

Rosław Szaybo

Did you know that …

The cover of the best-selling album ‘British Steel’ by the heavy rock band Judas Priest was designed by the Polish artist and photographer Rosław Szaybo. He also is responsible for the artwork on many other well-known album covers including numerous classical music albums and work by musicians such as Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, Santana, Soft Machine, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Elton John, and the punk rock band ‘The Clash’.

Related: Polish Poster Art.