Bielsko-Biała Główna

Railway station in Bielsko-Biała is a showcase for the almost legendary, beautiful railroads of the Austro-Hungarian empire, as well as an example of a rare linkage between the railway and urban goods transport system.

 

The Imperial and Royal Privileged Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway reached Bielsko in 1855 as a branch line from Dziedzice. Originally, this section terminated at the station in Bielsko, situated at the outskirts of the town. It changed in 1878, when the line was extended to Żywiec. It is worth knowing that close to the station the tracks went through an 879 feet (268 metres) long tunnel.

Due to rapid development of the railway and increasing number of passengers, nine years later the station building was too small and cramped. A decision was made to build a new station. In 1888 the Railway of Silesian and Galician Towns started to operate, joining Kojetin with Kalwaria through Cieszyn and Bielsko. Architect Karol Schulz, drawing from similar facilities, created a design for the railway station in Bielsko, and the construction works were performed by the company of Karol Korn in 1889 – 1890. The new building stimulated the development of the surrounding area, and charting new roads. From 11 December 1895 passengers could continue their journey to the town in an electric tramway. Importantly, due to the presence of the railway, the number of industrial facilities in the region soon increased.

In order to improve the delivery of supplies to factories, in January 1920 a transhipment point was opened at the station, where boxes of train coal cars were moved to tramway carts. A similar solution was used in Wrocław, where the coal was also delivered to the power station by tramway (presently, tramways in Dresden supply local Volkswagen factories).

 

Karol Schulz, who designed the Bielsko train station, took his task very seriously. The structure consists of three pavilions. The façade is dominated by brick. The main hall interior, lit by tasteful candelabras, was decorated with polychromes in the Pompeian style. At platform one, passengers were protected from rain by a stylish carport. On the front wall, on both sides of the main entrance, there was a proud caption: “K.K. PRIVILEGIRTE KAIS. FERD. NORDBAHN” (Imperial and Royal Privileged Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway).

Fortunately, wars did not cause much damage to the station. Many years of insufficient care had a much worse effect on it. Providentially, in 1994 the station was listed in the historic sites register, which enabled its general overhaul in 1997 – 2001. All its assets, such as unquestionably original details showing the multicultural history of the town, once again came to light.

 

In 2000 at platform 1A there was still a small museum of steam locomotives, which were later moved to other museum. Nearby, there is a historic locomotive depot from 1900, and equally old and valuable carriage scales. The present condition of the station in Bielsko, as well as its assets, placed it on the Industrial Monuments Route of the Silesian Voivodeship.

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© Całość praw autorskich - Antoni Bochen, Filip Wiśniewski