The appeal to raise funds for Wolsztyn Engine House is necessary because of the rare institution’s difficulties resulting from the coronavirus restrictions.
For almost three months, from March 12, the engine house was closed to visitors - at the end of May it was opened to a limited extent and with extra sanitary measures. The head of the facility Wojciech Marszałkiewicz admitted to the Polish Press Agency that the coronavirus epidemic exacerbated the difficult situation of the Wolsztyn Locomotive Museum. The institution needs money not only for day-to-day operations, but also for urgent repairs and renovations.
The engine house in Wolsztyn is a unique place on a global scale, from where steam engines regularly run on standard gauge tracks to pull scheduled passenger trains. The organisers of the appeal posted information on the website zrzutka.pl (Polish open crowdfunding platform) saying that without the help of enthusiasts the facility could not survive.
"It is with great sadness that we must admit that this unique place on a global scale is seriously endangered and without help it may turn out that we will never see a steam locomotive operating there again. We will have to forget about a real and vibrant live engine house, which will turn into an ordinary, quiet museum "- the appeal’s organisers explained.
The director of the engine house told the Polish Press Agency that due to the epidemic this year it was necessary to cancel the parade of steam locomotives attracting tens of thousands of viewers from around the world. Touristic train journeys by steam locomotive that are an important source of income for the facility were also suspended in March.
Representatives of the engine house and the organisers of the collection, said that with limited subsidies and as a result of lower revenues from tourist activities, the institution may lose the ability to maintain active steam locomotives. The monthly cost of maintaining the engine house is around PLN 300-350 thousand.
The Wolsztyn engine house is the last place of its kind in the world that conducts scheduled passenger transport by steam traction on a standard gauge track.