We have prepared for you a proposal for…. time travel! And you don’t have to meet a mad professor on your way and convert De Lorean into a time machine at all ;) All you have to do is go to Rogów in the Lodz Voivodeship to go back in time 100 years and ride a historic narrow-gauge railroad! And for dessert, one of the most interesting arboretums in Europe awaits you.
There are places where time has stopped. Nothing has changed for decades, and instead of development there is stagnation. There are also places that pull history, are unique in the country, and groups of enthusiasts are doing their best to breathe a second life into these places. Such is the Rogów-Rawa-Biała Narrow Gauge Railway, which is the longest narrow gauge railroad in Poland considering the length of the available track (the total is 49 kilometers). It is here that you can feel as if time has stood still from the very entrance, yet it is bustling with life.
Rogow can be reached from Lodz in about half an hour. From Warsaw, the trip will take slightly more than an hour. Alternatively, you can get there by train, for example. With the Lodz Agglomeration Railway – the ride from Lodz Widzew station alone takes only 17 minutes. The ŁKA arrives at the Rogów station, where you just have to cross the street and you are already at the narrow-gauge railroad station (the so-called Rogów Osobowy Wąskotorowy station).
We went to Rogow by car, but to Rogow Towarowy Narrow gauge station. This is another station where the train stops, and don’t let the name fool you – it is actually the largest station on the entire route and the most important for visitors. Here you will find a parking lot and a number of additional attractions not to be missed….
Table of contents
Historic trains and time travel
First and foremost, the station is home to antique units ranging from locomotives to railcars, steam locomotives, a snowplow and a 1930 postal ambulance.
Some of the machines are already badly bitten by the tooth of time, and some look like they are about to hit the road. You can get inside many of them, walk around the old wagons, see the original equipment and markings, or see what the driver’s perspective looks like.
From time to time, you can hear the oncoming draisine and the laughter of children who race to cover the short distance with it as quickly as possible and brake at the last minute. Yes, adults can, too, and have a great time doing it :)
Interesting are the boards describing the various wagons, their function and the history of the narrow-gauge railroad. We learn from them, among other things, that the railroad was established in 1915 and was used to transport soldiers, wounded, but also food, weapons or ammunition to supply the eastern front. After the war period it was taken over by PKP until 2001 when it was to be decommissioned.
The railroad was rescued from a miserable fate by the Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation (FPKW) and the Rawa Mazowiecka County District Office, and the route was reopened in 2003. Nowadays, the narrow-gauge railroad ride is considered one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the Lodz province!Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
During our stay, we peeked into the various machines, looking at the historical boards and the narrow platform where the historic train was about to arrive, and we almost forgot the most important thing – buying tickets! :)
At a time when tickets to almost any destination can be purchased online or through a mobile app, it’s easy to forget. Here, however, it has a unique atmosphere, as tickets are purchased in a brick building that houses the last ticket office in Poland to sell cardboard tickets! So we purchased a small cardboard ticket, which was punched by the train attendant, during the ride.
How much does a ticket cost to travel on a historic train? PLN 20 per adult. This is the price for getting to and from Hedgehog, including a short 30-minute stop at Hedgehog station.
Ride on the Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway.
Unfortunately, time was pressing us, we could already hear from afar the approaching locomotive, so we rushed to the platform, leaving behind the museum located right next to the ticket office, which we promised ourselves to look into upon our return.
We hopped into the first carriage, took seats on wooden benches and slowly began to lay out our equipment, when a gentleman from the train staff approached us suggesting that the first carriage was not the best place for a family with a child. We rushed to the next carriage, where we still managed to find free seats next to each other. Moments later, we heard a whistle and felt a strong tug, which signaled that we were about to set off.
The road went smoothly, among fields and small villages. At first, we were more interested in the wagon itself than in the surrounding area, but as time went on, we focused more and more attention on the surrounding mostly agricultural and forest areas. From time to time, only a whistle could be heard warning cars.
At the Yezhov destination station, a lady was waiting, encouraging you to rest and buy grilled local sausages and black pudding or enjoy a bonfire. There are several tables, benches and a small corner for the little ones.
We had 30 minutes to ourselves before the train started its return journey, so we used this time to talk to the gentlemen from the train staff, who turned out to be real railroad enthusiasts and at the same time volunteers who drive tourists on Sundays.
It is natural to ask a few questions at this point – why do we go only to Jeżow, which is less than 8 kilometers from Rogów, when the railroad tracks lead through Rawa Mazowiecka all the way to Biała Rawska? Is it not possible to buy a ticket for the entire route, i.e. 49 kilometers? Well, unfortunately, you can’t.
Currently, the section of track behind Jeżów needs repair and no tourist courses run there. Admittedly, the tracks look better on the Rawa Mazowiecka – Biała Rawska section, and there is even an idea to let trains run on two independent sections, but for now it remains just an idea, and we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed for it.
For the time being, all that remained was the return trip from Jeżow to Rogów, and we covered the route between Jeżow and Biała Rawska…. by car. We wanted to capture and explore the most interesting corners along the route so we decided to go by car to places where the train normally stopped and we could get off and explore the cities and towns.
What the entire route of the Rogowska Narrow Gauge Railway looks like, along with the attractions, you can see on the map below, prepared for the Polish Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation:
Before we went on tour, however, we took a look at the museum we had overlooked, “Warehouse No. 2,” which occupies one room right next to the ticket office. Here we find a variety of railroad tools, archival photos, timetables, station clocks, and see what the office of the traffic officer looked like.
After a brief stay in the museum room, we continued by car to see the most interesting sites along the railroad.
Attractions along the Rogowska Narrow Gauge Railway
Our first point on the map was Głuchów, which is on the way to Rawa Mazowiecka. We drove up here under Late Baroque Church of St. Wenceslas With a neo-Gothic brick bell tower from 1821.
After a short stop, we continued towards Rawa Mazowiecka, turning just before Rawa to the village of Boguszyce, where there is an old, wooden church of St. Stanislaus of 1558. At first we didn’t notice it from the road, because it hides between the trees, but when we were on its height we immediately noticed the stairs leading to this wooden sacred building, which is considered one of the most valuable monuments of its kind in Poland. Inside, Renaissance paintings from the second half of the 16th century can be seen.
In Rawa Mazowiecka itself, the most noteworthy are the ruins of the Castle of the Mazovian Princes from the 14th century. We decided to spend some more time here and walk around the courtyard and along the walls, which have been preserved with a towering, reconstructed tower. It is an example of a castle built on an almost square plan, in which the tower is extended beyond the castle walls. The tower once served as a defense and prison, and now houses a branch of the Rawa Land Museum.
There are several other sites in Rawa that are worth seeing while staying here for a longer period of time: the main headquarters of the Rawa Land Museum, the town hall and city park, and the monastery of the Fr. Jesuits.
At the last station of the narrow-gauge railroad, Biała Rawska, 750 meters from the station itself, is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy, dating back to 1518. Our attention, however, was more drawn to the neighborhood – the cobblestone road and the old one-story houses across the street – another trip back in time!
A little farther from the station (some 4.5 kilometers) is the Chojnata Palace – a renovated building that is now used for special events, and this is the one we came across here. For this reason, we did not stay here for long.
SGGW Arboretum in Rogów
And here we could end our coverage, however, there is one more place that deserves attention, and it is located in Rogow. We are, of course, talking about the Forest Arboretum, which is one of the richest and most valuable arboreta in Europe (its full name is the Arboretum of the University of Life Sciences). What is an arboretum? It is, in a nutshell, a botanical garden, within which plants are used for scientific research, educational or breeding purposes.
We’ve been here several times before, most recently about three years ago. However, being in the area, we couldn’t help but look at the arboretum again, which we recommend to you too!
From the station in Rogow the route by car took us literally a few minutes. Even at the parking lot, we were surprised by the number of cars despite the rather late hour. Fortunately, the area of the arboretum is very vast and all visitors spread out in different directions and it is not difficult to find a place where you can commune with nature in peace and quiet.
To begin with, we went for a walk along the forest paths, leaving the most interesting places for the very end. We marched among the trees and shrubs, and we were reminded that we were in an arboretum by information plaques next to individual plants and maps. And maybe it wasn’t the best time to visit the Arboretum, because it’s better to go here in spring or autumn, but for city dwellers it’s a good opportunity to relax among the greenery.
You should plan your visit in such a way as to be sure to visit the Alpinarium, which is also located within the Arboretum. It is nothing more than a specially designated part of the garden, in which, in addition to 2-meter high rockeries, you will also find several courses of streams, ponds and a pond with an island in the middle. Walk on the rocks and admire the plants that inhabit the highest parts of the mountains in their natural habitat.
It should also be mentioned here that a different part of the garden has been prepared next to the Alpinarium, with new exhibitions and installations. There is a pond with water lilies, a tree hanging in the air, interesting sculptures, and to top it all off, loungers that invite you to lie down and relax amid the sounds of nature.
It was this new part of the Arboretum (including the Garden of the World’s Vanishing Plants) that impressed us the most – the floral arrangements and exhibitions prepared in an interesting way, interspersed with sculptures and decorative elements in a very aesthetically pleasing manner, and encouraging us to learn more about particular species.
We could write much more about the Arboretum itself, but it is a place that deserves a separate post, which we expect soon!
The narrow-gauge train ride was an opportunity for us to see what travel was like more than 100 years ago. We live in a time when even in Poland we have lived to see high-speed railroads, between cities we can travel on highways or take advantage of numerous local air connections. This is already our daily reality, which is why we encourage you all the more to make a trip to Rogow to see that it wasn’t always like this. Fun for young and old guaranteed!
The destination can also be the Arboretum itself, which has changed a lot over the past few years and has become a place that is not only unique in terms of the species collected here, but also in terms of the landscaped spaces and educational dimension.
As an incentive, we recommend to you our video on You Tube of a trip on the Rogow Narrow Gauge Railway, along with the surrounding attractions:
We also invite you to our gallery, where you will find almost 150 photos from Rogow and its surroundings!
The material was created as a result of a campaign organized by the Polish Tourist Organization with the partnership of the Regional Tourist Organization of the Lodz Voivodeship.