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Model solution with sixteen positions.

The roundhouse enjoyed great popularity from the beginning of operation of so-called Eastern Railway. Up to the end of 1851 on the route from Krzyż to Bydgoszcz through Piła, it transported 57122 passengers and 8460 tons of goods. The numbers increased when the route from Frankfurt upon Oder to Krzyż was opened in 1858 which shortened the interconnection to Berlin.

Direct interconnection from Berlin to Królewiec and Ejtkuny on contemporary border of Russian Empire with Eastern Prussia was opened in 1865. The route was used everyday inter alia Piła by: one pair of express trains, one pair of expedite trains, two pairs of freight trains.

Piła had the interconnection with Chojnice and Tczew in 1873. The frequency of regional passenger transportation and regional freight transportation increased in 1874 besides already active long-range express trains. Additionally, Piła gained one pair of passenger trains plying from the city of Staszic to Ejtkuny and two pairs of trains to Tczew. Meanwhile, from four to eight pairs of freight trains operated between Piła and Berlin and two pairs of freight trains operated between Piła to Królewiec and two pairs of freight trains operated between Piła and Ejtkuny.

The involvement of proper means of transportation and service was needed. The numbers of railways workers for accomplishing these tasks increased as well. The steam engine locomotives as the propelling force of trains demanded special care. The special roundhouses were built in order to maintain them in adequate technical condition; so to speak, they were locomotive workshops of steam traction. They consisted of many objects and stopover halls were the most important of these. The important objects besides stopover hall were: workshops, water-tower, pump station, warehouses, engine-driver hostels, coal depot etc.

During 1870-1874 period, the roundhouse in Piła was built with round stopover hall, which survived until present time. It was situated easterly from railway station building near tracks from Piła to Bydgoszcz. The stopover was erected in plan based approximately on circle (hexagonal shape) with the diameter amounting to 25, 41 meters. In section, the hall consists of main part covered with dome roof (31, 42 m of diameter) and lateral nave surrounding it in the whole perimeter (9, 70 meters of width). The height of main hall in skylight axis amounts to 16, 10 meters and average height of lateral nave amounts to 6, 28 meters.

The basic element of hall equipment is rotating device serving as the directional change of driving of steam engine locomotive. The rotating device in Piła is an example of basic model of this type of device. It was made from movable bridge with mechanical propulsion which rotated around pole where the bridge is suspended in balance.

The bridge is surrounded with track ring and the edges of bridge are based on it – two-wheeled trolleys. It ensures the stability of bridge. The rotating device is propelled by electric engine with the help of cog wheel. The rotating device has the possibility of moving with 360° angle. Initially up to 20s of XX-century, the diameter of the circle amounted to 11 meters but it was 16 meters afterwards. Every sixteen positions were supplied with auditing canal (from 12, 70 meters to 13, 70 meters of length).

As it was mentioned earlier, the roundhouse in Piła is model solution of roundhouse with sixteen positions which were built in Eastern Prussian Railway in Berlin (Pankow) and in Piła. However, our roundhouse was model construction presented in many railway manuals and railway encyclopedias. It is solely preserved roundhouse of this type in Poland and Europe in original shape. Unfortunately, it has not been used for many years and its technical condition deteriorates.

The efforts have been made lately to obtain financial aid in order to secure the covering of roundhouse and to elaborate new utilization concept which takes into consideration the preservation of its unique historical technical-constructive assets. In parallel, preparatory procedure has been undertaken to provide legal protection for this building. The society of OKRAGLAK in Piła grouping the fans of railway and its tradition helps actively in that matter.






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