The Bytom – Karb – Markowice narrow-gauge railway, Rudy
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

The Bytom – Karb – Markowice narrow-gauge railway

Rudy

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The narrow-gauge railway complex is the only complex of its kind in the entire region which is afforded protection due to its value as a historical monument, stemming, among others, from the authenticity of its historical substance and the continued existence of the majority of the essential components thereof, forming part of the cultural landscape of Upper Silesia. In addition, the complex also presents a considerable historical value, having performed a role which, compared to other railways of its kind, can easily be described as unique.

History

The construction of the first narrow-gauge railway line began in 1851. The aim of this initiative was to create a connection between all industrial plants in the area as well as the small towns situated in the vicinity, thereby supplementing the existing broad-gauge railway network linking all the major cities in the region. The original route of the Gliwice - Racibórz railway, established by the Upper Silesian Railway Company, led across the following towns and villages: Trynek, Bojków, Mysia Góra, Nieborowice, Pilchowice, Stanica, Rudy Raciborskie, Paproć, Szymocice, Nędza, Babice, Markowice. Initially, the railway cars were horse-drawn (the so-called Rossbahn); later on, they were replaced with steam locomotives in 1872.

In years 1896-1901, a new section connecting Gliwice, Trynek, Racibórz and Płonia was constructed independently of the existing line, its owner being the Berlin-based company known as the Allgemeine Deutsche Kleinbahn Gesellschaft (Public German Commuter Rail Company); the new railway line was used for both passenger and freight carriage purposes. In 1899, the Gliwice-Trynek-Rudy section was opened, its total length being 23.5 kilometres. It was later followed in 1901 by the Rudy-Paproć section, while the Paproć-Markowice section was added in the following year. Finally, a link between Markowice and Planie (currently known as Płonie - a district of Racibórz) was added in 1903. The total length of the route amounted to 51 km. The Gliwice Trynek - Gliwice Wąskie section was opened in 1906. Along with the new sections of the railway, the accompanying infrastructure was also added, including various engineering facilities and railway station complexes, erected on the basis of a number of conventional designs prepared by Max Hahn, Artur Kopel and Richard Wekerow from the company known as Kramer&Co. The Trynek station was the first of the many that would be built in the years that followed. The operation of the Rudy-Racibórz railway line was temporarily suspended in the 1930s until the outbreak of World War II. After 1945, the railway line was linked to a network of other narrow-gauge railway lines in Upper Silesia. New railway stops were also added in Szymocice, Stodoły, Mysia Góra and near the Gliwice mining facility. As a result, a comprehensive and popular railway network was formed and was used on a mass scale until the 1970s. The establishment of permanent coach connections between Gliwice and Racibórz brought about the gradual decline in the popularity of the narrow-gauge railway, ultimately resulting in its closure. From the 1970s onwards, the railway line was used for coal and agricultural produce transport. In the years 1976-1980, the line was modernised; the entire traction - including the tracks and railway ties - was replaced.

In the 1980s, the railway line saw a period of further decline, resulting in the closure of the Rudy-Racibórz Markowice section. Ultimately, in 1991, the entire railway line was closed down for good. In the years that followed, the Nieborowice - Stanica was briefly reactivated. Today, the railway line is only used as a tourist line (the Rudy - Paproć - Stanica section).

Description

The narrow-gauge Bytom-Karb-Markowice railway line consists of the tracks, railway station buildings and engineering structures of various kinds. The entire route is about 43 kilometres in length; originally, it was designed to connect various towns and cities of the Upper Silesian Industrial District (GOP), including the larger cities of Bytom and Gliwice and the smaller towns of Markowice, Nędza, Rudy, Stanica, Pilchowice and Nieborowice. The line mostly runs across farmland and forests; the surrounding area is quite varied in terms of landscape, criss-crossed by numerous watercourses. The railway features a 785 mm gauge track, positioned on wooden or concrete railway ties.

The constituent parts of the railway complex inscribed into the register of monuments include seven single-span railway bridges: the bridge on the Kłodnica river (Gliwice commune, 17.979 km), the bridge on the Młynówka river (Pilchowice commune, 28.951 km), the bridge on the Bierawka river (Pilchowice commune, 29.129 km), the bridge on the Ruda river (Kuźnia Raciborska commune, 42.354 km), the bridge on the Sumin river (Nędza commune, 54.105 km) as well as two bridges which span smaller streams (Nędza commune, 54.926 km and Markowice commune, 61.178 km). Six of the seven structures are made of steel, with only the bridge on the Kłodnica river being made of reinforced concrete. Many of the steel bridges are of the plate girder type, featuring both riveted plate girders (the bridge on the Bierawka river, the bridge on the Ruda river and the bridge on the Markowice river) as well as structures based on the use of double-T bars (the bridge on the Młynówka river). Other bridges are based on a lattice truss, including the bridge on the Sumin river (with a riveted lattice truss), the bridge above the stream in the Nędza commune (based on rolled girders) as well as the bridge on the Kłodnica river, which features a concrete lattice truss. The materials used for the bridge abutments and wing walls. Most of them are brick structures (bridges on the Młynówka, Bierawka, Sumin and Ruda rivers as well as the bridges spanning the streams in the Markowice and Nędza communes), whereas the rest of them are made of reinforced concrete (the bridge on the Kłodnica river) or are designed as brick structures with concrete reinforcements (western abutment of the bridge spanning the stream in the Nędza commune).

The complex also encompasses more than 20 railway culverts of varying structure and size, adjusted to the terrain conditions, the height of the embankment and the width of watercourses. Most of these structure are of the single-span type, designed to accommodate streams and watercourses of various kinds. They tend to differ from one another in terms of both structure and the materials used. Three basic types of spans can be identified: vaulted, flat and cylindrical. The foundations of both the flat and vaulted culverts are made of brick and stone, whereas the vaults themselves (as well as spurs - where applicable) are made of brick. In case of flat culverts, the lintels above the apertures are made of stone. The cylindrical culverts are made of reinforced concrete.

The viaduct in Gliwice is a single-span structure spanning what is now known as Rybnicka street; made of riveted plate girders, it features a passage beneath, positioned between its concrete supports.

A total of eight railway station complexes existed along the route of the narrow-gauge railway (the Gliwice Trynek, Gliwice Bojków, Nieborowice, Pilchowice, Stanica, Rudy Paproć, Rudy and Nędza stations). Most of them are relatively small complexes consisting of the railway station itself, a neighbouring freight warehouse and a utility building located nearby, initially designed as a storage facility, workshop and lavatory. Complexes of this kind were erected in Gliwice Bojków, Nieborowice and Pilchowice. Similar complexes also existed in Gliwice Trynek, Stanica, Rudy, Paproć and Nędza; today, however, all of them are fragmentary, with two out of three buildings being preserved in each given case. The station complex in Rudy originally followed the same, tripartite layout. However, the buildings of the erstwhile Rolling Stock Maintenance Facility were likewise positioned on virtually the same site, including the motive power depot with forge, workshops and carriage depot. The individual station complexes were erected based on the designs produced by at least two Berlin-based design studios: Schützmann & Heinemann and Kramer&Co, which translates directly into the architecture and detailing of the railway station buildings. The first group of stations includes the railway stations in Stanica, Nędza, Nieborowice and Paproć, all of them designed in the historicist style. These two-storey brick buildings are generally similar to one another, being designed on a plan consisting of two intersecting rectangles, with each of the perpendicularly positioned sections being covered with a separate gable roof. The façades are made of clinker brick and feature a symmetrical arrangement of windows, accentuated by rustication applied to the corners of buildings and enlivened through the addition of plasterwork window surrounds and various wooden decorative flourishes. The second group, comprising buildings designed, among others, by the Kramer&Co company, are differentiated by the absence of any features pointing towards a specific architectural style. These include the railway stations in Pilchowice, Gliwice Bojków, Rudy Raciborskie and Gliwice Trynek. These two-storey structures, designed on a rectangular floor plan and covered with roofs of the gable or hip type, were mostly destroyed during the war and reconstructed in a substantially altered form.

The few surviving freight storage facilities (Nieborowice, Pilchowice, Gliwice Bojków) followed a similar layout; these simple, single-storey buildings designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan and adjoining their respective railway stations would be positioned so that the longer side of the building faced the tracks. They would also be connected to the railway ramp. The storage buildings were timber-framed structures with multi-axial façades, covered with gable roofs. The utility buildings (Stanica, Nędza, Nieborowice, Pilchowice, Gliwice Bojków, Gliwice Trynek, Rudy Paproć, Rudy) tend to be small, single-storey brick or timber-framed structures, the latter featuring brick infills. Other surviving structures include the Rolling Stock Maintenance Facility buildings in Rudy (the brick motive power depot with forge and workshops, the single-storey dispatching station as well as the former rolling stock shed, the latter being a half-timbered structure).

The complex is open to visitors, although due to the present state of conservation, the course of the railway line can be difficult to trace. Today, the railway line is only used as a tourist line (the Rudy - Paproć - Stanica section). The railway station buildings can only be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 05-08-2014.

Bibliography

Record sheets of monuments of architecture, prepared by A. Szewczyk, 1991, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice:

  • The Trynek railway station complex - the parcel storage building
  • The Trynek railway station complex - the railway station building
  • The Gliwice - Racibórz narrow-gauge railway, currently the Bytom - Karb - Markowice railway
  • Permanent, vaulted brick culverts
  • Permanent, vaulted brick culverts (on the sections between 19.619 km and 43.377 km)
  • Permanent, vaulted brick culverts (on the sections between 44.646 km and 60.175 km)
  • Railway overpasses
  • The Bojków railway station complex - the railway station building
  • The Bojków railway station complex - the utility building
  • The Bojków railway station complex - the parcel storage building
  • Railway bridges
  • The Bojków railway station complex - the railway station building
  • The Nędza railway station - the railway station building
  • The Nędza railway station - the utility building
  • The Nieborowice railway station - the railway station building
  • The Nieborowice railway station - the utility building
  • The Nieborowice railway station - the warehouse
  • The railway station building in Pilchowice, currently serving as a residential building
  • The Pilchowice railway station complex - the parcel storage building
  • The Pilchowice railway station - the utility building
  • Railway culverts in the form of concrete pipes (sections between 32.45 km and 59.958 km)
  • The Paproć railway station complex - the railway station building
  • The Paproć railway station complex - the utility building
  • Office building, currently serving as the cloakroom and dispatch station (Rudy Raciborskie)
  • The Rudy Raciborskie railway station complex - the utility building
  • The Rudy Raciborskie railway station complex - the forge
  • The Rudy Raciborskie railway station complex - the railway station
  • The Rudy Raciborskie railway station complex - the former train shed, currently serving as the carpentry workshop, storage facility and engineering workspace
  • The Rudy Raciborskie railway station complex - the former rolling stock depot, currently serving as the motive power depot
  • The Rudy Raciborskie railway station complex - the workshop, motive power depot and office building
  • The Rudy Raciborskie railway station complex - railway station buildings
  • The Stanica railway station complex - railway station building
  • The Stanica railway station complex - the utility building

General information

  • Type: railway infrastructure
  • Chronology: 1896-1906 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rudy
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district raciborski, commune Kuźnia Raciborska - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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