Our adventure with the Night of Museums started in 2004. It was a great opportunity to show 100% of our efficient rolling stock, which at the time consisted of… two “pickles”. Today, with more than 14 years of experience in organizing museum communication at the Night of Museums, we launch about one hundred brigades, serviced by antique and contemporary buses. On the A line served by “pickles”, we maintain the frequency of about 5 minutes, and the interest in the ride is so huge that it takes about 20 minutes of waiting in the queue to get the ticket. The number of historical vehicles taking part in the event is so big that we have decided to send Ikarus or Jelcz PR buses to line K.
Almost 200 people, teams from other cities, conductors and drivers, dispatchers and coordinators are engaged in organizing the Night of Museums. In 2006, for the first time, we partnered with Mobilis to meet growing transport needs. The opportunity to obtain more antique rolling stock was the first “Pickles Rally”, for which 14 buses came to Warsaw. At the peak of the event, all lines organized for the Night of Museums served as many as 33 buses.
During the next edition of the Night of Museums in 2007, another line joined the passenger service, this time a tramway. It was the M line, where only one tram with the number 403 was running. This year for the first time the “Museum on the rails” – an exhibition of a historical tram fleet – was organized at Starynkiewicz Square. The guests from the Czech Republic appeared for the first time and also our cabriolet bus was presented.
Every year, more and more teams from Gdańsk, Kraków, Poznań and Toruń participated in the Night of Museums and in the “Pickles Rallies”. We’ve managed to introduce to renovate more buses from our collection, such as Sany and Ikarus. The number of vintage buses was so big that we decided to cooperate with the WAWKOM forum to get more conductors. In 2012, due to the fact that there were lots of participants with buses other than pickles taking part in the Rally, we have changed the name of the meeting for the International Rally of Vintage Buses. Also in the same year, we had to change the place where the Rally took place and the terminus of museum lines was organized. So far, we have located it on Bankowy Square, however, the commencement of large infrastructural investments in Warsaw and establishment of a temporary loop for regular lines by ZTM on Bankowy Square resulted in the transfer of the whole event to Bielańska Street.
The following year (2013), we decided to place the loops of the museum lines on Parade Square. It turned out to be a perfect choice, because we had a huge space at our disposal and we located there all the stops and parking square for vehicles that participated in the event. Thanks to this, we did not have to worry about accidental scratching of the rolling stock. In 2013, the parade of vintage vehicles did not finish its course at Włościańska Street as before but near a tram depot in Żoliborz, where the 105th anniversary of electric trams took place. Similarly, the bus parade ended in 2015 at the tram depot in Prague. In 2018, the “Museum on the rails” moved from Narutowicz Square to the renovation workshops for trams in Wola.
The teams from Kraków, Bydgoszcz, Bielsko-Biała, Gdańsk, Otrębus, Kalisz, Białystok or Lublin became the permanent participants. For several years, the service has been supported by the largest bus carrier in Warsaw – Miejskie Zakłady Autobusowe. Every year, the IBIS hotel at Bitwy Warszawskiej 1920 Street is our accommodation center and – thanks to the local carrier operating in STALKO near Zielonka – all participants of the event can join the integration grill-party.
Our participation in the Night of Museums has become a distinctive showcase of Warsaw, distinguishing us from other European cities.