In Zdunska Wola ( Lodz province) there is quite a treat for train fans! There’s a museum full of locomotives, train cars and technical equipment. We invite you on a short trip to Karsznice, we will show you the exhibits located here and tell you about the history of the local steam locomotive depot.
Karsznice is a village in the municipality of Zdunska Wola, located about 50 kilometers from Lodz. Although Karsznice has the status of a village, the part of it on which the open-air museum is now located was incorporated into the administrative boundaries of the city of Zdunska Wola.
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History of the open-air museum in Karsznice
The origins of the Karsznice steam locomotive depot date back to 1925, when decisions were made to build the Silesia-Gdansk railroad line, a line that was to speed up the transportation of coal to the port and its further export (this was the coal trunk line, also known as Węglowka). This extremely important line was to run through Karsznice, which resulted in the construction of a railroad station there, where the first train stopped as early as 1930.
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Initially, there was only a railroad station here, but over time a steam locomotive depot (put into operation in 1933) and a workers’ housing estate with all the amenities were built. Up to 1,300 workers plus their families may have lived on the estate.
The idea to build an open-air museum in Karsznice was born in the 1980s, in the minds of enthusiasts and former employees who wanted to protect the facility and machinery from destruction. The initiative was successful and the facility was officially opened in 1993. Today, it is a branch of the Museum of the History of the City of Zduńska Wola.
Touring the open-air museum of locomotives in Karsznice
Although the site in Karsznice is not large, it can surprise with the number and size of exhibits, especially locomotives and wagons.
The open-air museum is divided into two parts: the first (let’s call it the working eastern part) is the part behind the ticket office, with locomotives, wagons and the museum, and the second (this one will be the western part) is the part with a large model of the railroad part of Karsznice and various exhibits that either do not fit or did not fit in the eastern part.
To begin with, the eastern part catches the eye, as this is where the impressive locomotives stand at the very entrance. Fact, you can watch these machines through the fence, but behind them, there are even more trainsets waiting on the track, so there is no need to save money, especially since tickets cost really symbolic amounts (we write about this a little below).
In the open-air museum we can admire primarily antique steam locomotives, but not only. The exhibits also include diesel and electric locomotives, wagons, a crane, and a snow plow. There is also a separate area with a low platform where you can see, for example, an internal combustion engine, a wheel lathe or a generator set. On the grounds of the open-air museum, in the building of the former oil mill, there is a Chamber of History of the Karsznice Rolling Stock Plant with model trains, trophies, commemorative documents and photos showing the history of the place and the people associated with it.
In the western part, in a separate building, there is a large mock-up with a running train showing the railroad town in the city. If the building happens to be closed then go to the ticket office and ask for the mock-up to open and run.
However, the most surprising element in this part is…. a wagon from Gubalowka!
The most interesting exhibits are described in quite a bit of detail on the museum’s website, so if you are interested in the history of individual steam locomotives or technicalities, we refer you here.
It is worth spending about an hour to visit the open-air museum. Most of the locomotives are inaccessible and can only be admired from the outside, but there are a few that you can look inside (marked with a note that you can only look inside with a guide).
What to see in the area?
While in Karsznice, you can drive to the center of Zdunska Wola, where there are several buildings worth noting. We recommend taking a look at the history of the city, especially the part about the development of the settlement as a textile center. A major role was played here by Stefan Prawdzic Zlotnicki, who made sure to attract weavers to the city, offered them numerous privileges, and thanks to his effective actions the settlement developed and in 1825 was granted city rights. If you are interested in such topics, we also recommend our post about the City of Weavers Cultural Park in Zgierz.
Worth seeing in Zdunska Wola:
- Museum of the History of the City of Zduńska Wola – a small but interesting museum, located at 7 Zlotnickiego Street
- Zlotnicki Manor House – now the City Hall
- City Park – located right next to the Zlotnicki mansion, modeled after the Helenow in Lodz, a park with two ponds.
- The birthplace of St. St. Maximilian Kolbe – is located in a renovated former weavers’ house.
The open-air museum is open Tuesday through Friday and on Sundays. Please note, it is closed on Mondays and Saturdays! We’re writing about this because we already kissed the doorknob once on a certain sunny Saturday…. Because who would expect that such a place could be closed on the weekend?
Tuesday – Friday, it is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, it is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There is a fee to enter the site, but the fee is really nominal:
- Normal ticket – 5 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 3 PLN
- Children under the age of 7 enter for free, and youngsters under 16 pay a nominal zloty to enter.
Getting to the locomotive museum in Karsznice
The Zduńska Wola Karsznice locomotive museum is located in the Lodz province, in its western part, about 50 kilometers west of Lodz.
The easiest way to get here by car is to take the S8 expressway and exit at the level of Marzenin. To reach Karsznice, drive north to Zdunska Wola, about 2.5 kilometers. The entrance to the open-air museum is from Railroad Street.
The site lacks dedicated parking for visitors to the open-air museum. You can try to park your car next to the road.
Zduńska Wola can also be reached by trains: ŁKA, Intercity and Polregio. Getting from the train station to the open-air museum is a longer walk, so we recommend taking public transportation (buses 1, 5, 6 and Z, stops: 1 Maja/Karsznicka or Lesmiana Street).
The exact address:
The open-air museum of locomotives in Karsznice
98-220 Zduńska Wola
Where to eat in the area?
It is hard to find any restaurant or at least a cafe on the grounds of the locomotive museum in Karsznice and in the immediate vicinity.
The closest is the Kolejowa Banquet Hall (address: Grunwaldzka 8, 98-311 Zduńska Wola), which serves dinners, but we’re not quite sure how this restaurant currently operates: whether you can dine here or it only organizes closed events.
For food, therefore, it is best to go closer to the center of Zdunska Wola:
- Kamienica Restaurant, 6 Liberty Square
- Swojsko-Włosko Restaurant, 8 Liberty Square
- JESZ Home Dinners, ul. Grace 79
Where to stay overnight in Karsznice?
As with food, accommodations are hard to come by in the immediate area. There are only employee accommodations nearby, so it is better to look for a hotel in Zdunska Wola or Sieradz.
- Hotel under the Sun, about 4 kilometers from Skansen in the direction of Zduńska Wola
Address: Łaska 215, 98-220 Zduńska Wola
Prices: from 210 PLN for a double room (breakfast included)
- Hotel on Półbor, accommodation in Sieradz, about 20 kilometers from the Open Air Museum
Address: Stawiszcze 39A, 98-200 Sieradz
Prices: from 195 PLN for a double room
Is it worth visiting the open-air locomotive museum in Karsznice?
The Locomotive Open-Air Museum in Zduńska Wola Karsznice is especially recommended for families with children and people who are interested in railroads. Especially for children it is quite an adventure to watch old, antique locomotives and carriages, and to enter some of them is already full of happiness ;)
Although it is not a large museum, many vehicles have been accommodated here, along with technical equipment and an exhibition related to the Karsznice station.
We only lacked more comprehensive or interesting descriptions of the various exhibits.
Are you looking for other travel inspiration for the Lodz region? We also recommend our other entries:
- Our TOP 10 attractions in Lodz, or what to see in Lodz.
- Ideas for day trips in central Poland – Lodz area,
attractions for children in lodz voivodship
Lodz Zoo and Orientarium
– the best is yet to come
- Cultural Park City of Weavers in Zgierz
- Uniejów Thermal Baths and other attractions in the area
– Rest and fun in apple orchards
- Attractions for children in Lodz
- Nieborów – palace and park complex
- EC1 Łódź – New Center of Lodz
Collegiate Church in Tuma
and the legend associated with the devil Boruta
- Idea for the weekend: macro insects in Microcosmos