‘Adopt-a-locomotive’ helps old Polish engines build up steam
Inch by grimy inch, a group of volunteers at a Polish railway museum is scraping away at decades of rust and soot to restore old locomotives to their former glory.
Their enthusiasm for steam doesn’t stop with the painstaking labour. Several of the volunteers are happy to pay 400 euros ($500) to “adopt” a century-old heavy hauler.
“This steam train symbolises liberty,” said steam engine enthusiast Janusz Boratynski, a professor of immunology in his 60s. “When I was little, it transported me from my city of Wroclaw, ruined by the war and teeming with rats, to a holiday spot on the other side of the country.”
Boratynski said he jumped at the chance to adopt one of the engines in particular: the Tki3, a brooding hulk of red-trimmed black metal built in the early 1900s.
In return for his adoption fee, which covers the cost of a new coat of paint, Boratynski will have his name etched into a plaque on the antique locomotive, once famed for having set a speed record of 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph).