The Association of Engineers and Technicians of Communication of the Republic of Poland deals with the promotion of the latest knowledge, creating new trends, popularizing new technologies and all innovations in the field of broadly understood transport, also in the field of railways. At the same time, it does not forget about the rich history of transport and its witnesses – monuments of transport technology. The protection of these monuments is one of the important tasks carried out by the Association.
It often happens that while performing your professional duties, you can find unique testimonies of bygone times. This was also the case when the effort to save the historic water crane was made. While collecting materials for the working regulations of the railway siding, I repeatedly traveled along the tracks of the former Locomotive Station in Kraków Płaszów. There, in the vicinity of the track, stood alone an old, rusty, covered with earth and overgrown with bushes water crane used to launch steam locomotives. Its construction (cast iron) showed that it was from the 1930s. I decided to make efforts to obtain it, renovate it and locate it in a more convenient place.
The Jubilee of 175 years of railways in Krakow was approaching and a historic crane could add splendor to this momentous and historic moment. Crane owner – PKP S.A ,. quickly reacted to the request for the crane to be handed over free of charge, with a written guarantee that it would be renovated and moved to the Kraków Główny station. It was also favored by the fact that the crane – probably by oversight – was not entered in the register of monuments.
The matter was not easy or simple, as the entire structure was 6 meters high and weighed 1.5 tons. In the first stage, it was necessary to cut the bushes, dig the foundation out of the remaining soil, and then, using a powerful hoist, disassemble the entire structure into parts and load it on the car. Thanks to the help and good will of Zakłady Usługowe Południe, individual elements were assembled in a workshop hall, sandblasted, mined and painted with paints, choosing the color and adding the missing parts in accordance with the original preserved in the Railway Museum in Warsaw. One night in September, the crane was mounted on a previously prepared place with the help of a railway trolley with a lift. This operation required disconnecting the voltage in the traction network and, consequently, introducing a break in train traffic.
The renovated crane can be admired from the fifth platform of the Kraków Główny station. It is displayed on the track in the vicinity of the water tower and reminds visitors and the general public of the times when steam-operated trains ran through the station.
In order to commemorate the effort to restore the glory of this monument of railway technology, I suggest placing a sign on the crane with the following text:
“Saved and exhibited thanks to railway enthusiasts from the Association of Communication Engineers and Technicians of the Republic of Poland, Branch in Krakow in 2022.”