The needs of the railway industry and the impossibility to procure rolling stock from local suppliers, made railway authorities buy 175 locomotives of the 7001 type (Tr20) from the American Baldwin factory, 100 engines of German origin (19 Ok1, 80 Tp3 and 1 Om101) from France, 165 locomotives from Germany, 186 from Austria, 100 from Belgium and 41 from other countries. In addition, they purchased 301 passenger carriages and 15,500 freight wagons, including four-axle American covered wagons, coal and flat wagons.
As early as 1919 the government decided to build 3 plants producing railway carriages and wagons and 3 locomotive factories, giving them a guarantee of long-term contracts. In 1920 – 1921 the L. Zieleniewski Railway Carriages Factory was established in Ostrów Wielkopolski. In 1927 it was bought by the state authorities and renamed as the Carriage and Wagon Workshops (and after World War II – ZNTK “Ostrów”). The production of carriages and wagons (covered and adapted to the transportation of live fish) was undertaken in 1921 by the Blast Furnace and Ostrów Plant Joint Stock Company in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. The factory also produced snowploughs, railway cranes, and small locomotives, components for steam locomotives, cars, tanks, cannons and steel structures. To the order of the Soviet and Polish trade mission in 1932 the factory built 36 dumping wagons for the transportation of magnesite ore, according to an innovative design by the engineer Mieczysław Radwan.
Inside the assembly room of the First Steam Locomotives Factory in Poland in Chrzanów; a step-by-step assembly of steam locomotives
A carriage and wagon production division in Chorzów operated from 1895 in the Unified Royal and Laura Steelworks Company (after World War II renamed Konstal). In the interwar period the company supplied mainly freight wagons: coal wagons, covered wagons, flat wagons, mail carriages, beer tankers, jar wagons for the transportation of acids, kerosene, tar, wagons for the transportation of cattle, wagons for the transportation of hot ingots and billets for steelworks, and in addition it produced tramways.
There were no locomotive manufacturers in Poland. Thus, the Warsaw Steam Locomotive Construction Joint Stock Company was incorporated and the First Steam Locomotive Factory in Poland Joint Stock Company was established in Chrzanów. During the construction of the factory in Chrzanów the assembly of Tr21 steam locomotives was commenced using the components and based on the design prepared by a manufacturer from Vienna – Staats-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft (StEG). Boilers were supplied by Fitzner and Gamper factory from Sosnowiec.
The first engine was released from production on 7 April 1922, and the first locomotive assembled from domestic subassemblies – in February 1924. Apart from the aforementioned, the factory in Chrzanów built narrow-gauge steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, and locomotives for export to Morocco, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and the USSR, rotary snowploughs for the Polish State Railways, diesel road rollers, and draisines.
In 1926, the Hipolit Cegielski Machine Factory in Poznań, a company with a 75-year-long history, undertook the production of steam locomotives (series Ty23, OKl27, Pu29, OKz32, and Ty37). By 1939 “Cegielski” had produced 341 locomotives for the Polish State Railways and 13 for export purposes. The factory also built various types of freight wagons: covered wagons, coal wagons, flat wagons, refrigerator cars, swine transporters, two- and four-axle tankers, jar wagons for the transportation of acids, chlorine tankers, six-axle well wagons, and wagons for the transportation of live fish. From 1928 the company also produced sleeping and restaurant cars.
The Warsaw Steam Locomotive Construction Joint Stock Company undertook the assembly of Austrian 270 series (Tr12 and Ty23) locomotives. In March 1924, the factory released the first Tr12 locomotive assembled from components produced in Poland. As a consequence of the economic crisis, in 1934 the company was bought by the Ostrów Plant and renamed as the Steam Locomotive Factory of the Ostrów Plant. The factory continued to produce steam locomotives (in total the Factory manufactured 320 engines), narrow-gauge rail cars and locomotive boilers.
Rolling stock and railway equipment could not have been produced had it not been for the experienced engineers managing the design offices and manufacturing plants. The Polish railway industry in the interwar period had excellent staff educated at universities in Europe and Russia. The following professors were outstanding designers of steam locomotives: Antoni Xiężopolski (1861 – 1951) – the creator of the Pt31, OKz32, Pm36, Ty37; Albert Czeczott (1873 – 1955) – the head of an autonomous experimental section at the mechanical department of the Ministry of Transport; Franciszek Tatara (1903 – 1984) – the holder of the pressure compensator patent; Kazimierz Zembrzuski (1905 – 1981) – a steam locomotive designer and construction theorist; and Adolf Langrod (1876 – 1968) – a steam locomotive, wagon, brakes and traction network designer and construction theorist.
Inside the assembly rooms of the H. Cegielski Factory in Poznań
The builders and designers of railway lines worth a mention include Stanisław Rawicz-Kosiński (1847 – 1923) – the builder of the lines in Galicia, Józef Nowkuński (1866 – 1952) – the builder of the Kalety-Podzamcze line and the Silesia – Ports coal trunk line, Aleksander Wasiutyński (1859 – 1944) – the creator of a series of types of rails for the Russian railway industry, a designer and builder of the cross-city line in Warsaw, and Roman Podoski (1873 – 1954) – a pioneer in the electrification of railways.
Polish technical thought contributed many creative solutions to the railway industry. Innovative structures included axial bearings by Marcin Czarkowski (1869 – 1936); adjustable brakes by engineer Henryk Suchanek, thanks to which a vehicle fitted with such brakes could be connected with Hardy's vacuum brakes and pressure brakes; an air-conditioning system for restaurant cars designed by engineer Stanisław Rodowicz; and a cooling system by Professor Stanisław Sokołowski. In addition, the Polish streamlined Pm36 steam locomotive won a gold medal at the International Exposition of Art and Technology organised in 1937 in Paris. A tourist train made of a 2nd and 3rd class sleeping car, a bathroom and a bar carriage attached to the locomotive received an honourable mention. In total 9 series of steam locomotives were designed employing the best solutions, such as velocity meters, central lubrication, boiler scale control system, coal combustion enhance-ment, improved boiler capacity and smoke control.
Two-axle passenger car-riages were produced in Sanok and at the Lilpop factory which from 1924 also started producing four-axle wagons, initially with wooden boxes in steel sheathing, supported on a steel frame, that were later replaced by an all-steel riveted structure and finally a welded structure.
Up until 1939 Polish factories produced 959 four-axle passenger carriages and 665 two- and three-axle carriages. More than 900 wagons and carriages were imported. Out of 153.3 thousand freight wagons on the routes of the Second Polish Republic, 45 thousand were supplied by Polish manufacturers.
Repairs were performed by the main workshops of the Polish State Railways in Brest, Bydgoszcz, Lviv, Łapy, Nowy Sącz, Ostrów Wielkopolski, Piotrowice Śląskie, Poznań, Radom, Pruszków, Stanyslaviv, Stryi, Tarnów, Tczew, Warsaw-Praga and Eastern Warsaw.