Day or two in Ireland for the 071 tour which kicked out 074, 078, 079 during the day.
Five day bash to this superb part of Europe for loud diesels, great weather, beer and people!
After severe ice wrecked miles of OHL between Ljubljana and Divaca on the mainline from Ljubljana, SZ are having to drag all trains (including the many, many freights) between Borovnica and Prestranek. The week before we arrived however, a timetable change seemed to also bring in far larger numbers of silent OBB 2016 workings rather than SZ 664s. So as we rolled in to Borovnica it was a great sight to see narrow lights piercing the gloom and a 664 backing on – 664107 then provided great entertainment with load 11 and a dead 363 as the bank out of Borovnica was attacked at great volume! After 40 minutes of nearly solid full power it was to Rijeka and back as the timetable is rather limited with just very early and very late out and back moves, but the morning trip missed the afternoon one both times, so we did a few afternoon moves on 363s and 541s. A scorecard of 3×664 and 1×2016 from the 4 drags was certainly acceptable and was well worth the 0500 or so alarms!
After all that we headed over to Croatia for two days getting a selection of 2044s in the book with some electric fill-in moves.
A weekend around the Balkans leading up to the Kosovo Mercia Tour;
- Flew to Podgorica with Ryanair for 24 hours in Montenegro
- Day train over the stunning Bar to Belgrade line then a day in Belgrade
- Belgrade to Skopje for a couple of 661s
- Skopje to Kosovo for the charter in Kosovo and back to Macedonia
- Indirect route home via Skopje-Charleroi flight and Eurostar
For a few reasons we brought this years Bulgaria forward to May, and again did a circular trip round the country. As ever there was a large amount of digging up taking place which led to some pluses, some minuses and overall the trip was simply enjoyable – as ever in BG.
We started off RA from Sofia Airport to Plovdiv to cover any ‘vice’ action (denied) then a play on the narrow gauge (77009 tick) before heading east on train 8601 which was diverted from Plovdiv via Karlovo (new track) as the entire mainline is still in bits. Then an enjoyable couple of days around Varna photting 87s (click here) / deckchairing both the beach (burnt) and the local electrics (largely dud) before heading up to Ruse and Levski where we did well for new diesels (07111, 55143, 55144 all pen) en-route to Sofia over two days. Then a hard days spinning around Sofia (three new), not helped by some riot on the shed meaning lots of late departures awaiting locos before heading home to drearyland again.
As ever, thanks to Potter, Gaz, Parker and Adam for the company.
This years Bulgaria trip was moved forward to May, with the 21 strong 87 fleet again producing for sight in reasonable numbers. 87003/004/007/008/010/012/014/019/023/026/029/033/034 were viewed on this visit… 006 and 025 were also around as viewed by another member of the party whilst I was deckchairing for winning BDZ locos.
Again we did a circular trip around much of the country, with only two days out of eight not producing any 87 sightings – not bad at all! The phots will I’m afraid be similar to those posted here previously, but it is still something to wander around Razdelna at 06xx photting old friends…. :)
Also managed to find 87008 albeit demic on Express Services, Ruse. This loco had not been seen on the past few visits after being seriously attacked for copper in early 2011. It is probably optimistic to expect it to be there for a rebuild rather than parts donor…
A hasty trip to exercise the red pen for a few days…
A long overdue, and very brief visit back to Czech. Despite yet ANOTHER railtour disaster a very enjoyable few days, the dejection being wiped out by a superb run with 749121 and its seriously whipped driver – a top man