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Environmental & Socio-economic Studies DOI: 10.2478/environ-2023-0001 Environ. Socio.-econ. Stud., 2023, 11, 1: 1-12 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Original article The socio-economic importance of abandoned railway areas in the landscape of the Silesian Province (southern Poland) 1 1 2 Agnieszka Hutniczak , Alina Urbisz *, Anna Watoła University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protect ion, 28 Jagiellońska Str., 40-032 Katowice, Poland University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Pedagogy, 53 Grażyńskiego Str., 40-126 Katowice, Poland E–mail address (corresponding author*): firstname.lastname@example.org ORCID iD: Agnieszka Hutniczak: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6235-6139; Alina Urbisz: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5164-1631; Anna Watoła: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6077-2526 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ A B S T R A C T The Province of Silesia, in Poland, is an area where many railway connections, of mostly local importance, have been closed recently. In some cities, they have been eliminated altogether and passenger rail transport has been replaced by bus transport. For this research, a sociological study was conducted using the diagnostic survey method and the questionnaire technique. A transversal testing strategy was also used. The aims of the study were to illustrate the function of abandoned railway areas in the landscape and to present possible recommendations for their development from the point of view of the needs of society. The research population included 1,685 people who were students at the University of the Third Age and adult residents. The surveys focused on the possibility of exploiting the natural potential of railway areas. The respondents’ answers provided suggestions for the development of unused railway areas, which included creating bicycle lanes, alleys with a high biodiversity of both flora and fauna, and walking tracks. The analysis of the study’s results can be useful to both local authorities and the Management of the Polish State Railways (PKP S.A.) in their decision-making processes concerning the revitalization of unused railway areas. Similar revitalization efforts have already been undertaken by various cities and communities. KEY WORDS: biodiversity, post-industrial areas, land use, railway transport, socio-ecological research ARTICLE HISTORY: received 10 November 2022; received in revised form 13 March 2023; accepted 15 March 2023 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. Introduction of the 19th century, and its development fell in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning September 27, 1825, is considered to be the of the 20th century (LIJEWSKI, 1959; TAYLOR, beginning of the world's railways. On this date, a 2007; RAMS, 2017). A significant event on May 22, section of railroad with steam traction and a rail 1842 was the launch by the Upper Silesian Railway, gauge of 1,435 mm was opened for the first time of the first railway line connecting Wrocław and on a route from Stockton to Darlington in England Oława (KUROWSKA-CIECHAŃSKA & CIECHAŃSKI, 2007). (ORŁOWSKI, 1978). By 1840, the length of newly built A relatively dense network of lines, mainly standard- railway lines in Great Britain was already 3,500 km, gauge, covered the area of Upper Silesia, thus and by ten years later was 10,600 km. In other enabling not only fast but also cheap transport of European countries, the first railway line was passengers and cargo. By the end of 1918, in the opened in Bohemia in 1832, and in 1835, in Belgium discussed area, 2,005 km of railway lines had been and Germany. In 1834, the railway reached Russia laid (KOZIARSKI, 1990; KUROWSKA-CIECHAŃSKA & (KUROWSKA-CIECHAŃSKA & CIECHAŃSKI, 2007). Rail CIECHAŃSKI, 2007). The history of railways in Silesia transport in Poland was established in the first half dates back to 1767 when a coal port was established near Maczki, to which coal from the mines of the The aim of this article was to illustrate the region was transported by horse-drawn rail cars function of abandoned/unused railway areas in the (DELOWICZ, 2008). Of vital importance to the region’s landscape and to present possible recommendations industry and foreign trade was the establishment for their development from the point of view of of the Upper Silesian Railway and the junctions at the needs of society. Considering the information Kędzierzyn and Szczakowa, as Upper Silesia then on the importance of unused railway lines and became a transit and service centre (SOIDA, 1997; areas, the research sought to answer the following HALOR, 2006). research questions: The decline of passenger railway transport in What is society’s knowledge about abandoned/ Poland was observed as early as the 1990s. The unused railway areas? number of active lines (not only local ones) How can abandoned railway areas be developed decreased as a result of the closing of railway and used in the landscape? connections (BARCIK & CZECH, 2010). The reason What are the likely benefits of the revitalization for the closing of railway lines was the outdated of abandoned railway areas and railway rail infrastructure and as a consequence some cities station buildings which have been excluded were fully deprived of railway connections, which from “railway use” located near railway lines were replaced by bus transport (KACZOROWSKI & (together with the railway infrastructure)? MISIASZEK-PRZYBYSZEWSKI, 2018). The development Are the ideas for the development of such of road transport also had an impact on the areas in the province of Silesia similar to reduction of rail transport (POLIŃSKI, 2016). those in other European countries? These changes also took place in the Silesia Region. The railway line closing processes were 2. Materials and methods felt soonest near the Czech and German borders. Of the 23 connections, as many as 11 were closed Between 2015-2018, floristic, phytosociological with the Czech Railways. Lines that were deemed and soil studies were carried out on unused unnecessary due to the suspension of cross-border railway areas in the Province of Silesia (= Silesian traffic were the first to be closed (KOZIARSKI, Voivodeship) – southern Poland. These studies 2009). The regression in railway transport included covered only the passenger, normal-track railway not only the liquidation of railway lines, but also lines, owned by the Management of the Polish State the closure of railway stations from use, which Railways (PKP S.A.), to a total length of 151,2 km, were by that time often dilapidated and ruined, as well as areas in the vicinity of railway stations while some still partially served a residential located next to the tracks (HUTNICZAK ET AL., 2020). function (ROCHMIŃSKA & ROCZNIAK, 2016). In addition, sociological studies (discussed herein) Railway areas are a part of the anthropogenic were conducted in these areas. In the studies, two landscape. They include tracks, platforms, areas basic research directions were distinguished: between tracks, embankments, and station buildings a theoretical and cognitive direction/approach (KORNAŚ ET AL., 1959; FORNAL-PIENIAK & WYSOCKI, of the study – the analysis of public opinion 2010). These are areas of very different on the function of unused railway lines, environmental conditions (SENDEK, 1973). They a practical and implemental direction of the cause not only deformation of biocoenoses, but study which was aimed at defining further also their fragmentation. However, railway routes actions and social expectations with regard to excluded from their “railway use” provide a these unused railway lines based on the results convenient place for the germination, development, of the study and the available literature. and spontaneous spread of plants. Due to the The main research question involved large mosaic of surrounding habitats, they are determination of the attitudes of urban/rural populated by plants from different ecological groups, residents towards these abandoned railway lines which form unique plant communities (WRZESIEŃ and their recommendations for their re-use in & ŚWIĘS, 2006; FUDALI, 2009; KLARZYŃSKA & KRYSZAK, modern times. The specific problems concerned: 2014). Railway areas are not only habitats for ruderal public opinion on the reactivation and/or communities, but they also constitute migration restoration of an unused railway line running corridors for species that are ecologically alien to through a specific town/ city/ village, those biocoenoses through which they pass (FUDALI, recommendations for activities/ development 2009). In recent years, in some countries, abandoned or revitalization of unused railway lines, railway areas constitute a cultural heritage and are determination of the residents’ knowledge often used as tourist attractions (GÓRNY, 2008; about the plants appearing along unused FOLJANTY, 2012; OPPIDO & RAGOZINO, 2014). railway lines, part – on railway stations. Each respondent public opinion about the similarity between completed the questionnaire independently in the presence of an interviewer. Some questions made the formation of the flora of unused railway it possible for the respondent to provide more lines and that of the surrounding areas, extensive answers. the attitude of residents towards the use of The study presented in this article was railway station buildings along unused railway conducted at schools and in single-family and lines, multi-family households located in the towns the residents’ knowledge about the adaptation through which the studied railway lines passed of unused railway areas for other purposes – (Table 1, Fig. 1). The general population consisted of as practiced in various European countries. 1,685 people, and included students at the The diagnostic survey method was used in this University of the Third Age – UTA (the Polish name: study. The questionnaire technique and the Uniwersytet Trzeciego Wieku) and adult residents of transversal research strategy were also employed. towns/cities and villages (other respondents). Moreover, the dialogue method (individual The choice of the students of UTA was dictated by interviews with local residents) was applied to its location in the town through which the studied gather additional information. Prior to the study, railway line ran (UTA Bielsko-Biała, Cieszyn, a questionnaire, in paper format, consisting of two Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Jaworze, Pyskowice, Racibórz and parts, with 16 questions and details, was prepared. Skoczów). The first part of the questionnaire survey focused on abandoned/unused railway lines and the second Table 1. Surveyed respondent groups in relation to individual railway lines The number of Towns selected for research The total number of railway line (the number of respondents is given in parentheses) people surveyed Third Age University students 190 Bielsko-Biała 65 190 Cieszyn 55 159 Jastrzębie-Zdrój 116 190 Jaworze 39 152, 198 Pyskowice 32 176, 198 Racibórz 50 190 Skoczów 98 Other respondents 132 Czekanów Śląski (35); Zabrze Mikulczyce (1); Przezchlebie (36) 72 152 Paczyna (64) 64 159 Turza Śląska (1); Godów (53) 54 162 Dąbrowa Górnicza Gołonóg (43) 43 170 Jastrzębie-Zdrój Moszczenica (67) 67 172 Chudów (24) 24 176 Olza (67) 67 178 Wieszowa (10); Kamieniec (24); Zbrosławice (46) 80 182 Miasteczko Śląskie (43) 43 190 Grodziec Śląski (47); Goleszów (30) 77 192 Syrynia (60); Pszów (30) 90 193 Racibórz Studzienna (45); Krzanowice Południowe (44) 89 197 Strzebiń (53); Psary Śląskie (65); Woźniki Śląskie (29) 147 198 Pyskowice (70) 70 653 Katowice Ochojec (45) 45 662 Dąbrowa Górnicza Piekło (21) 21 683 Czarków (19) 19 684 Krupski Młyn (84) 84 710 Bytom (74) 74 Total number of respondents 1,685 Fig. 1. Distribution of the towns/ cities and villages where the sociological research was carried out (divided into two groups of respondents) against the background of unused railway areas of the province of Silesia (see Table 1) 3. Results Age (UTA). Of the total population of respondents, 81% were women and 19% were men. Of note: The attitudes of the residents of selected towns/ 5% of the respondents were excluded from the cities and villages toward the presence of unused analysis, because they did not provide any answers railway lines and recommendations for their use to the second part of the survey, there were gaps in modern times was studied in terms of two in their answers, or they provided several answers aspects: in relation to the railway lines and railway when one was required. The detailed characteristics stations. The study included 1,685 people, 455 of of the respondents by gender, age, and education whom were students at the University of the Third are shown in Fig. 2. Fig. 2. The characteristics of the respondents (Explanation: y. – years) Based on the study, it was found that the majority Syrynia – Pszów: https://dev.nowiny.pl/nowiny- of the respondents (74%) were in favour of restoring kolejowe/111858-przyjdz-na-piknik-kolejowy-i- the closed railway line located where they lived, przejedz-sie-drezyna.html; 14% were against the idea, and 12% of the https://www.nowiny.pl/86872-przejechali- respondents were not interested in the issue at all. drezyna-z-silnikiem-malucha.html; When asked if, in today’s fast-paced world, https://raciborz.com.pl/2015/09/12/piknik- they would be able to give up driving and start drezynowy-ratujmy-linie-kolejowe-176-i-192.html). regularly using the railway service transport on Direct contact with the residents of the areas the newly opened line, as many as 73% of UTA covered by the study helped identify interesting respondents gave affirmative answers. This group recommendations for the takeover of closed railway was dominated by women over the age of 60. lines by the Railroad Enthusiast Society. By showing Both UTA students (79%) and other respondents care for these areas, the Society strives to save the (67%) thought that it would be an interesting railways so that they can serve future generations. idea to start a tourist train/handcar (a light/small When asked about proposals for the development rail vehicle adapted to transport men or material of unused railway lines, a large majority of necessary for the maintenance of railway respondents favoured recreational bicycle lanes. infrastructure) that would likely lead to the In the area covered by the study, the Iron Bicycle revitalization of unused railway lines. Only 14% Route, which is considered the best bicycle route of UTA students and 21% of other respondents had a in Silesia, was put into service on a former railway negative attitude toward this idea. The majority line section from Godów through Jastrzębie-Zdrój (80%) of the respondents were in favour of using to Zebrzydowice. It has become popular thanks to the railway areas, especially of launching a tourist the 15-kilometre long bicycle track that was built train, which could become an attraction for the town/ here. The Iron Bicycle Route uses elements of the city and could also attract tourists. The respondents dismantled Orzesze – Wodzisław Śląski railway themselves would be willing to use such a train, line (line No. 159) and the Godów – Jastrzębie- most often on their days off (Saturdays, Sundays, Zdrój – Zebrzydowice railway line (line No. 170) and holidays) (Fig. 3). According to the interviews (https://www.znajkraj.pl/zelazny-szlak-rowerowy- with residents of towns and cities, such initiatives najlepsza-trasa-kolejowa-na-slasku) (Fig. 4). Other have been taken before (e.g. on sections of line No. recommendations for new uses of closed railway 176: Racibórz Markowice – Olza, and line No. 192: lines are shown in Fig. 5. Fig. 4. A fragment of the bicycle route, on the former railway line from Godów to Zebrzydowice, in the village of Łaziska (view looking towards Jastrzębie-Zdrój) – photo by Stanisław Grzonka (04 October 2022) Fig. 3. The respondents’ interest in tourist train/ handcar rides Fig. 5. Recommended uses for unused railway lines The study found that the respondents noticed the species dangerous to the natural environment and presence of various plant species along the unused people, such as Sosnowskyi’s hogweed Heracleum railway lines. The best knowledge of this issue was sosnowskyi (45% of UTA students), were also demonstrated by UTA students (67%). The plant occur there. The vast majority of the respondents names they pointed out included: common nettle also indicated that the plants that are found in – Urtica dioica, mullein – Verbascum sp., St. John’s these areas are readily used for various purposes wort – Hypericum perforatum, ribwort plantain – in daily life, such as floral bouquets, as an object for Plantago lanceolata, greater celandine – Chelidonium photography, for ornamental/decorative purposes, majus, wild elderberry – Sambucus nigra, common and as fodder for animals. In addition, there were aspen – Populus tremula, mooseberry – Viburnum those who reported making herbaria or pictures opulus, large-leaved lupin – Lupinus polyphyllus, from dried plant specimens (Fig. 6). goldenrod – Solidago sp., common wormwood – Railway areas that run along different habitat Artemisia absinthium, sycamore – Acer pseudo- types very often become similar to them in terms platanus, briar rose – Rosa canina, blackberry – of their flora. However, when asked whether the Rubus agg., Scots pine – Pinus sylvestris, evening respondents saw similarities in the formation of primrose – Oenothera sp., raspberry – Rubus idaeus, the flora of unused railway lines with those of common dandelion – Taraxacum officinale, horsetail the surrounding areas, they mostly gave negative – Equisetum sp., hawthorn – Crataegus sp., and field answers. The remarks of UTA students are poppy – Papaver rhoeas. Some of them expressed interesting, because as many as 46% of them see the opinion that these areas could be a refuge for a clear similarity in this regard and only 12% do rare species. They also noted the presence of mosses not see this relationship (42% had not thought in the area. Moreover, they made a mention that about this issue) (Fig. 7). Fig. 6. Use of plants by the respondents for daily living purposes Fig. 7. The proportion of the respondents’ answers relating to the similarity in the formation of the flora of the railway lines with the surrounding areas (Explanation: not thought – I have not thought about this issue) Most of the respondents realized that dilapidated The care given to these building by residents overpasses and bridges, and abandoned railway often includes planting different species of plants. stations are not a good showcase for the area. Such use of railway station buildings contributes As many as 80% of respondents stated that they to increasing the region’s species diversity. The should be renovated in some way. unused railway stations have also been transformed The railway station buildings, which no longer into private facilities serving the public (e.g. a serve their original function and are located next hairdressing salon at Ornontowice railway station to closed railway lines, have been used in various and a pharmacy in Woźniki Śląskie). Some public ways. Some have been re-used for residential projects involving railway infrastructure have also purposes. Examples include the railway stations already been undertaken; for example, as part of in Zbrosławice (Fig. 8), Krzanowice, and Godów. the project "With history by bike – along the trail of the Lichnowsky family//Na kole za poznáním historie – stezkou rodu Lichnovských”, the former railway station in Krzanowice Południowe has been renovated, as has the Krzanowice Południowe station on the Krzanowice – Chuchelna bicycle route. Here, an open-air gym has been built (Fig. 9A-C) (http://www.krzanowice.pl/asp/z-historia-na- rowerze-szlakiem-rodu-lichnowskych-na-kole- za-pozn-n-m-historie---stezkou-rodu-lichnovsk- ch---cz11245-00-0,557,,1). Fig. 8. The partially inhabited railway station building in Zbrosławice (railway line No. 178) – photo by Agnieszka Hutniczak (24 April 2016) A B C Fig. 9. A – The abandoned railway station in Krzanowice Południowe – taken in 2015 (railway line No. 193) – photo by Agnieszka Hutniczak (19 August 2015); B – The revitalized railway station in Krzanowice Południowe and the area surrounding it. – photo by Agnieszka Hutniczak (27 September 2022); C – A view from 2019 – photo by Agnieszka Hutniczak (27 September 2022) The majority of respondents favoured the strong statement. Only about 21% had heard of renovation of railway stations (Table 2). They were the Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin, aware that after their restoration, the station where a railway area has been transformed into a buildings can positively affect the aesthetic scenic park that re-uses all the surviving railway appearance of the area and the quality of life of elements (KOWARIK & LANGER, 2005). local residents, create new jobs, contribute to The study provided valuable information on environmental protection, and improve the quality railway lines and railway stations excluded from of social relations. “railway use”. The respondents were eager to share The respondents were also asked to indicate the their comments and possible suggestions for the functions that a renovated railway station site use of these areas. The investments they suggest could serve (Fig. 10). Among the many responses, may sometimes seem relatively difficult to the respondents most often pointed to education, implement, but nevertheless they provide which would mean that they would be happy to material for consideration in decision-making by see the station building used as, for example, club local government and the management of the houses for young people or places to hold various Polish State Railways. However, they certainly exhibitions. Such activities could enhance the require deeper research. Nevertheless, it is a attractiveness of the town, village and region. good idea to consider the use of the natural When asked if they were aware of cases of potential of these areas and the remaining revitalization of railway areas in other European railway elements. countries, the respondents were unable to make a Table 2. The impact of the renovation of the railway station building on the quality of life of the residents Examined group Range Answer Third Age University students Other respondents Percentage share of the answer [%] Yes 36 47 Health No 6 14 I don't know 58 39 Yes 55 60 Environmental protection No 5 12 I don't know 40 27 Yes 64 71 Facilitating the standard No 2 7 of everyday life I don't know 35 22 Yes 55 69 Social relations No 2 7 I don't know 42 24 Yes 64 79 New work places No 2 5 I don't know 34 17 Fig. 10. The recommended functions that the respondents think a renovated railway station could fulfill 4. Discussion provinces were also presented by WYSZYŃSKI (2008). He considers converting these areas into The presence of unused railway areas in the recreational and sports paths or vegetation strips landscape has been noticed by residents of the and ecological corridors. An interesting approach towns/cities and villages where they are located. related to the way in which these railway lines Based on the completed research, it was found may be used, can be found in the publication by that almost half of the Third Age University students HEŁDAK & RÓŻAK (2013). As these authors suggest, surveyed and 27% of the other respondents noted construction of a cycle route would be an attractive that these areas are very often similar to the idea, especially if benches or rubbish bins are habitats surrounding the unused tracks in terms also installed. ANTOLAK & KRAWIECKA (2014b), on of their flora. Some respondents demonstrated the other hand, indicate that the use of closed their knowledge by identifying the invasive alien railway lines is possible without any particular species present in the area (e.g. Sosnowskyi’s interference with the landscape. They present hogweed Heracleum sosnowskyi). Such observations designs for street furniture (including seats and may indicate the residents’ awareness of the bicycle stands) and provide the dimensions and transformation of the vegetation cover in their materials for the construction of these items. surroundings. However, they were of the opinion They suggest using railway elements such as that the railway lines in question, and the sleepers and rails to make them. Such a solution infrastructure around the abandoned railway is not yet common, but it shows how these old stations, were not a good showcase for the railway lines can be transformed in an interesting region, and it would be desirable to renovate way, while respecting the history of the routes. them and utilise them for a socially useful purpose. The problem with the revitalization of former Based on the surveys, the residents’ ideas on how railway areas is also recognized by ZAŁUSKI to use the unused lines were analyzed. The majority (2009) who notes that tracks can be easily of the respondents were in favour of creating transformed into pedestrian and bicycle routes, recreational bicycle lanes in these areas. There were thus adding to the complement of recreational areas also suggestions to create a network of alleys with a in cities. GAŃKO (2005) puts forward the proposal diversity of plants and walking trails (especially that railway areas can act as “feeding areas” for a in urban areas). Similar possibilities for the future city’s natural system. use of the railway lines (e.g. as cycle routes) have It should be noted that some communities and been proposed by ANTOLAK & KRAWIECKA (2014a) municipalities have already completed some for the Lidzbark Warmiński – Jarzeń railway line, projects (e.g. the “Iron Bicycle Route” that uses as well as by HELDAK & RÓŻAK (2013) for the parts of the dismantled Orzesze – Wodzisław Wołów – Lubiąż line. Possible uses for the areas of Śląski railway line (No. 159) and Jastrzębie-Zdrój closed railway lines in the Opolskie and Dolnośląskie – Zebrzydowice railway line (No. 170): https://www.nowiny.pl/147946-z-wodzislawia-do- to travel by such a train with their families, most jastrzebia-pociagiem-a-tory-uloza-na-nowej-sciezce- preferably on their days off. The effects of the rowerowej.html?p=4; closure of passenger traffic on railway lines in https://wirtualneszlaki.pl/projekt/trasy-rowerowe- selected cities, towns, and villages localities in Poland na-dawnych-liniach-kolejowych; were studied by TAYLOR (2007) (by questionnaire https://www.znajkraj.pl/zelazny-szlak-rowerowy- research), who indicated how important the railway najlepsza-trasa-kolejowa-na-slasku) as well as the network was to local residents and what problems project "With history by bike – along the trail of the they have to face after the closure of the rail Lichnowsky family//Na kole za poznáním historie – connections. stezkou rodu Lichnovských” on railway line No. 193 The results and analysis of this study can be useful (http://www.krzanowice.pl/asp/z-historia-na- to both local authorities and the Management of rowerze-szlakiem-rodu-lichnowskych-na-kole-za- the Polish State Railways (PKP S.A.) in their decision- pozn-n-m-historie---stezkou-rodu-lichnovsk-ch--- making process concerning the revitalization of cz11245-00-0,557,,1). Also worth mentioning is abandoned/unused railway areas. It is very likely the development of the Bytom part of the protected that their proper transformation and use would area "Żabie Doły" Nature and Landscape Complex enhance the aesthetic and tourist characteristics (within Silesia). In this area a narrow-gauge of the cities, towns, and regions where they are railway line used to run from Bytom to the power located. For most residents, these areas could station in Chorzów. A fragment of this former become a place for leisure activities and contact railway line has been turned into a bird-watching with Nature after their revitalization. footpath, and bicycle paths were created on the This article has focused only on disused passenger railway embankments. Also, the walls under the railway lines. The realization of such research former viaducts are decorated with attractive graffiti was connected with the limitations of the study (including a green frog), which is characteristic of which were the following: difficulties in determining this area (https://roweremposlasku.pl/zabie- the location and course of railway lines which doly/). Attempts at undertaking such initiatives are were out of use, difficulties in reaching a given being made not only in Silesia, but also throughout railway line, challenges in moving along an Poland and abroad (WYSZYŃSKI, 2008; CIEŚLEWICZ, abandoned railway line for a long period of time, 2012; OPPIDO & RAGOZINO, 2014; MROCZEK, 2018; the stony soil substrate is difficult to penetrate, https://www.transport- the location of the examined lines was in abandoned publiczny.pl/wiadomosci/slask-dawne-linie- places which were often dangerous to explore, kolejowe-beda-trasami-rowerowymi-53800.html extreme thermal conditions (e.g., strong sunlight). (...); https://www.szlakwokoltatr.eu/mapa/1/trasa- The research undertaken refers only to a glowna-czyli-rowerem-po-nasypie-dawnej-linii- fragment of the surrounding reality, but the kolejowej-po-stronie-polskiej). results provide valuable knowledge about the Examples of the revitalization of abandoned function of abandoned/unused railway areas in the railway areas can also be found in foreign literature landscape and present possible recommendations (HENEIDY ET AL., 2021) and indicate that knowledge for their development from the point of view of of plant diversity on railway tracks plays a key the needs of society. In the future, it is worth role in the future prospects and development of considering expanding this type of research and these areas. A fascinating approach to unused including narrow-gauge railway lines and the railway areas was shown by OPPIDO & RAGOZINO lines of industrial areas in similar sociological (2014) in the example of the disused Cancello- research. An interesting aspect would also be to Torre Annunziata railway in Italy. Their goal was analyze the situation in other regions of the not connected with “a restyling of disused railway country, as well as to extend the analysis to network, but the activation of regeneration processes foreign areas and compare them with the results and local development, linking local resources obtained in this study. and increasing equipments and services in the area” (OPPIDO & RAGOZINO, 2014). 5. Conclusions According to the authors’ own research, as many as 74% of those surveyed favoured the restoration 1) The study showed that the respondents have of unused railway lines, which they would be happy a broad knowledge of many aspects of to use instead of daily driving. Residents also abandoned/unused railway areas. advocated launching a tourist train/handcar, which 2) The survey was conducted among residents could be an attraction for the city/town and of Silesia who live in cities/ towns, and tourists. Most of the respondents would be happy villages through which the studied railway Fornal-Pieniak B., Wysocki C. 2010. Flora nasypu nieużytkowanej lines pass. Respondents indicated various linii kolejowej w okolicach Sokołowa Podlaskiego. Woda recommendations for the use of closed – Środowisko – Obszary Wiejskie, 10, 3(31): 85–94. railway lines and stations. These included: Fudali E. 2009. Antropogeniczne zmiany w ekosystemach – bicycle lanes, walking tracks, and alleys with transformacje roślinności. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Przyrodniczego, Wrocław, Poland: 62–63. a biodiversity of both flora and fauna. Some Gańko K.E. 2005. Pozatransportowe funkcje terenów respondents were interested in restoring kolejowych. Teka Komisji Architektury, Urbanistyki i train connections on the unused lines. The Studiów Krajobrazowych – OL PAN: 216–225. most common suggestion with regard to the Górny J. 2008. Rewitalizacja i adaptacja wybranych abandoned stations was to use the buildings elementów infrastruktury kolejowej w Polsce. [in:] W. Tołoczko (ed.), Dziedzictwo kulturowe – ochrona i adaptacja for educational purposes. jako szansa na rozwój, Koło Naukowe Młodych Geografów 3) The benefits of the revitalization of abandoned GEOHOLICY, Wydawca: PIKTOR s.c., Łódź: 51–68. railway areas and station buildings excluded Halor J. 2006. 160 lat Kolei Górnośląskiej. Świat Kolei, 11: from the “railway use” located near railway 36–41. Hełdak M., Różak A. 2013. Możliwości zagospodarowania lines (together with the railway infrastructure) terenu nieczynnej linii kolejowej relacji Wołów – Lubiąż. are visible by respondents. Based on this study, Infrastruktura i Ekologia Terenów Wiejskich, 3, III: 249–261. the appropriate transformation of unused Heneidy S.Z., Halmy M.W.A., Toto S.M., Hamouda S.K., Fakhry railway areas will undoubtedly contribute to A.M., Bidak L.M., Eid E.M., Al-Sodany Y.M. 2021. Pattern both the preservation of biodiversity in these of Urban Flora in Intra-City Railway Habitats (Alexandria, Egypt): A Conservation Perspective. Biology, 10, 8: 698. areas and the enhancement of the touristic Hutniczak A., Urbisz A., Wilczek Z. 2020. Flora i roślinność and aesthetic characteristics of the region. nieużytkowanych terenów kolejowych województwa śląskiego. 4) Ideas for the development of abandoned Monographs of the Upper Silesian Museum 15, Bytom. railway areas in the province of Silesia are Kaczorowski J., Misiaszek-Przybyszewski J. 2018. Odbudowa zlikwidowanych linii kolejowych: Historia, teraźniejszość, similar to those being proposed in other perspektywy. Przestrzeń/ Urbanistyka/ Architektura, 1: European countries. 271–284. Klarzyńska A., Kryszak A. 2014. Trawy w procesie kolonizowania Acknowledgements nieużytkowanych linii kolejowych w Wielkopolsce. Łąkarstwo w Polsce (Grassland Science in Poland), 17: 39–52. The authors would like to thank the Management of the Polish Kornaś J., Leśniowska I., Skrzywanek A. 1959. Obserwacje State Railways (PKP S.A.) for allowing the research to be nad florą linii kolejowych i dworców kolejowych w conducted in the areas of study. They also extend thanks to the Krakowie. Fragmenta Floristica et Geobotanica Polonica, Directors of Schools and Presidents of Universities of the Third 5, 2: 199–216. Age for agreeing to the surveys to be conducted on their premises. Kowarik I., Langer A. 2005. 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Environmental & Socio-economic Studies – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 1, 2023
Keywords: biodiversity; post-industrial areas; land use; railway transport; socio-ecological research
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