British Locomotives, Polish Electrification and the Cold War

Readers of The RM wishing to see British-designed electric locomotives could go to Willesden, Crewe, or even Ipswich, but the stations in the Polish cities of Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow and Katowice may all have more to see. Chris West tells an interesting story with several unusual twists.

British Locomotives, Polish Electrification and the Cold War
PKP’s EU07 No. 515 eases away from Wroclaw GÅ‚owny with an inter-city train to Krakow passing classmate No. 172 on January 22, 2003. The arched roof bears a similarity to Hull Paragon. CHRIS MILNER
The Warsaw Junction Railway
Like London, the railways serving Poland’s capital, Warsaw, each built its own terminus.

Work to link these railways via a new underground station in the centre of the city was about to start in 1914, only to be stopped by the outbreak of the First World War.

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In the 1920s a French group was invited to prepare proposals for the scheme, which included the electrification of the railways approaching Warsaw so that steam locomotives would not be used in the underground station.

When, in 1931, negotiations with the French group were broken off, English Electric stepped in.

English Electric was already held in high regard in Poland because of its work on the Warsaw Suburban Railway, known in Polish as the Elektryczne Koleje Dojazdowe (EKD).

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The EKD was built by the firm of Power & Traction Finance (Poland), formed in 1923, using funds provided by Prudential Assurance and the engineering skills of several firms, including English Electric, which built 20 electric railcars at its Preston works for the railway.

Read more in May’s edition of The RM

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