À propos de cet article


Since the mid-twentieth century, the Polish rail network has been experiencing a systematic decline of its lines and this includes railway lines serving only freight services. One of the most striking examples of freight transport is the sand railways in southern Poland. This world-unique system for transporting backfill sand used in hard coal mining was one of the most spectacular types of specialized rail transport. The general crisis of railways in Poland, the restructuring of the hard coal mining industry and changes in the technology for securing the underground parts of mines, have all resulted in a sharp decline in the role of sand railways as the carrier of backfill sand. The infrastructure system, as well as the companies involved in the exploitation of sand and its transport, have had to face the fundamental question about their future. This article indicates the essence of these challenges in the context of the role of sand railways in the freight rail system in general. The function of sand railways in the rail transport system has been recognized in relation to their specific unique features that have constituted important elements of their functional and spatial existence.