The early part of 2003 saw many secondary railways in central Europe threatened with the loss of their passenger services as state operators, handicapped by limited budgets and diminishing subsidy levels, strove to cut spiralling costs. Attention was first focused on Poland, where threats of a savage reduction of over 1,550 services by PKP Przewozy Regionalne in mid March was later tempered to around 300 withdrawals (and relatively few actual line closures) in mid-July, thanks to a public outcry and threats of strike action by the unions. In this article, however, in R 3/03 we focus on Slovakia, where ZSSK is faced with the same problem as other former eastern bloc rail operators when it comes to unremunerative services of a local/regional nature.
The final day of passenger services was a very sad occasion on many of the affected routes. In this view 830.189, carrying a funeral wreath, and 830.194 on tail, call at Lietavská Lúčka forming the Os 3810 local service from Žilina to Rajec.
Photo: Pavel Venzara