Category: Cultural Heritage
Upper Silesian Narrow Gauge Railways

Along with the end of the heavy industry in Upper Silesia, transportation was decreasing and the network was gradually closed down. Fortunately for the future generations, a 21-kilometre line from Bytom to Miasteczko Śląskie has been saved. Today, the beating heart of the railway - Bytom-Karb Wąskotorowa Engine House, is the base of powerful locomotives with metric horsepower of 450 and engines made by Maybach - the same company that manufactures exclusive limousines. And as regards luxury - in Bytom, the only operating narrow-gauge saloon carriage from 1912 has been preserved, in which allegedly the emperor Wilhelm II travelled. The iron track leads, inter alia, to the Historic Silver Mine, Szombierki Combined Heat and Power Plant, Nakło-Chechło reservoir, “Dolomity Sportowa Dolina” sports centre and the historic centre of Tarnowskie Góry.

Route chronicle

The construction of the public narrow-gauge railways was undertaken by the Upper Silesian Railway Association under the licence granted in 1851. First sections of the network with the spacing of 785 mm (i.e. 30 Prussian inches) were built already 2 years later. For over 150 years of its existence, the network of Upper Silesian Narrow-Gauge Railways entwined all most important industrial plants with its tracks: mines, ironworks, power plants and quarries. In the post-war era, after the absorption of the Gliwice – Rudy – Racibórz line of the local railway, the USNGR network was over 230 km long. To this length, another over 100 km of sidings, which were often electrified, should be added. The entire self-supporting railway system stretched from Miasteczko Śląskie to Ruda Śląska along the north-south axis and from Katowice to Racibórz along the east-west axis.

street Reja 1
41-902 Bytom
Upper Silesian Agglomeration
in the city/town
Contact data
: +48 666 904 142
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General Information
: technology monuments
Prices & amenities
: After prior arrangement by telephone.
: children
: guide
: car park
: seasonal

Sound files

Górnośląskie Koleje Wąskotorowe


"The nearly 100-year-old power plant ""Szombierki"" in Bytom is called an ""industrial cathedral"". The brick buildings were designed by cousins, Georg and Emil Zillmann, on commission of the Schaffgotsch company. At that time, it was one of the major power plants in Silesia. To this day, we are impressed by its size and style reminiscent of modernism. From a distance, we can see a clock tower and three chimneys. In recent years, the premises of the power plant have become a venue for ambitious cultural events."
The Franciszek Kachl Park is one of the oldest parks in Upper Silesia. It covers the area of 43 hectares. The origins of the park are associated with Hubert von TieleWinckler, who in 1840 offered a vast area of the manor forest to the inhabitants of Bytom. The unfenced, easily accessible park has luckily survived to the present day and serves both families with children, lovers, dog owners, chess players, tennis players, and anglers.
The building of the old power station of the steel plant “Bobrek” at Konstytucji Street is the only remnant of the ironworks operating here for nearly a half century. The building once housed some industrial gas plant blast equipment. The brick buildings of the power station were erected in two stages at the beginning of the last century. They refer to the style of Romanesque architecture.
The Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Szombierki was built in the first decade of the twentieth century. The investment was financially supported by the Schaffgotschs, local owners of land and many industrial plants in Silesia. The Church is the final resting place of Karol Godula, a legendary industrialist associated with Szombierkami. The tombstone with a Latin inscription can be found in front of the main altar.
In Bobrek, the district of Bytom bordering Zabrze, there is the largest city's historical workers’ housing estate - the so-called “Nowa Kolonia Robotnicza” (“New Workers’ Colony”), which was established in the early decades of the last century for the families workers of the iron factory "Julia" (later named "Zygmunt") and of the coal mine "Graefin Johanna "(later named Bobrek "). Most of the more than a hundred multifamily homes were built in the style of Historicism with some elements of Secession.
Bytom is one of the Upper Silesian cities that sustained considerable damage during WW2 and communist regime, when the city lost a lot of great monuments, including the traditional seat of the city authorities – the town hall standing in the market square. A present, the municipality operates in a huge, Eclectic building in Parkowa Street, which was built in the second decade of the twentieth century for the newly created Civil Court.
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