Welcome to my website! Please settle in and look around, scroll down for newest posts or use the top and side menus to navigate – you’ll find plenty record phots from my nedding around, mainly, continental Europe. Captions are a bit variable so feel free to leave a message if further gen would be of use and I’ll do my best… Cheers, Prost or Nazdráve!
Ten years ago tonight (somehow) closed the final chapter on regular, booked WCML passenger workings worth going out for.
A frequent Rugby-New St-Cov evening move might not have been the most exciting but with a small crowd of sociable regulars, reliable (by WCML standards) running, tight timings and all the right noises from up front made it an enjoyable few months or so… All the more so after the rather disastrous month or so earlier in the year which had looked like such a low ebb for the class to go out on, but the 22nd December turned out to be a very enjoyable and very understated farewell.
And so it came down to 22/12/06… A cold and foggy night at Euston with a small crowd of regulars gathered around the loco as the road out of Platform 7 cleared and at 20.54 with some blasts on the horn, slow applause from the assembled bashers as the motors notch up, a low cry of “my lords” goes up as ‘002 heads onto Camden Bank, loco and that Mk3 stock noise all being echoed around by the swirling fog.
For some that was it, the end – the magic gone, forever. Perhaps it was fateful that Wembley Yard held 87s off to pastures of Eastern Europe where I would eventually follow!
002 Euston at the very end ready to leave ECS to Wembley Car Shed. It would be ten years before another seven worked a Class 1 at Euston.
Autumn 2006, 1G21 1651 Euston – Birmingham, 1B05 1900 Birmingham – Euston
Unforgettable to us few desperate souls!
Slowly, I am getting on with the “BG-GEN” section for Bulgarian photos and info, building around the Class 87 content that I’ve been slowly collating. This is a page about the locos which work the 760mm line out of Septembri, which I thought I’d bang up on the front page for a bit of publicity.
The Rhodopi Narrow Gauge: Septembri to Dobrinishte
Probably one of the most travelled and reported lines in Bulgaria from a cranking point of view, this superb line is the last remnant of Bulgaria’s 760mm narrow gauge system and is ‘just’ the 125km from Septembri through the spectacular Velingrad Gorge before a steep to climb to the summit at Avramovo which includes a couple of spirals. After dropping back down to easier country the line runs through the nice town of Bankso – which I’d recommend as an overnight stop if doing the line – through to Dorinishte. It is not rapid at over five hours, but is certainly very real as the mini-hydraulics rasp along through twist and turn, tunnel and climb with steam heat stok and, again as of 2016, fresh air coaching stock. It is not a tourist railway, the trains are busy with locals who just leap off at a ‘station’ that isn’t even in a field with no sign of life anywhere to be replaced by others who appear from the same wilderness!
Narrow Gauge Locos
The service is operated by a mixture of Class 75 and the more modern, but similar, Class 77s of which generally six are available for traffic with another undergoing works attention. When weather conditions require it everything is also steam heated to really add to the atmosphere of a line that seems to be from a by-gone age.
Class 75 – Henschel’s
These are 820kw / 1068hp Mercedes engined locos that were imported from Henschel in 1965. The fleet of ten has been the backbone of the Dobrinishte line ever since and when delivered were the most powerful 760mm locos in existence. Being Henschel built they were clearly to a higher standard than some of the later classes, shown as they are still doing the business at fifty whilst much junior Faur locos have been withdrawn.
- Operational: 75004, 75005, 75006 (under overhaul) 75008
- Stored: 75002, 75009 (both for sale 12/2016), 75010
- Scrapped: 75001, 75003, 75007
To replace the last steam workings on both the Septembri and Chervan Brjag narrow gauge systems, BDZ looked to get further locos based on 75s but to a lower price than Henschel were offering on the ‘wrong’ side of the Iron Curtain. So 23 August Works (FAUR) in Budapest knocked up some basic copies, 15 being delivered to BDZ in 1977-78. By all accounts they were pretty much cheap rubbish and compares to the 75s reliability was poor. Falling traffic and eventual closure of the Chervan Brjag system sees none of the locos now in traffic with just two known to be ‘intact’ in Bulgaria
- 76005/006/012 exported to Argentina
- 76011 stored at Septembri, 76015 abandoned at Chervan Brjag
- Others presumed long scrapped
More knock-off Romanian copies of the Henshels, effectively a 1988 batch with various improvements on the 76s at least. Again, falling traffic saw many unneeded within a few years of service and the majority are no longer in service. The Argentine ones are reportedly laid up as well.
- Operational: 77002, 77005, 77009
- Stored: 77006, 77008 at Septembri
- Exported: Sold in 1996 to RFIRT, an Argentinian mining line were 77001, 77003, 77004, 77007, 77010
Class 80 / 81 Gronks
80001 (ex 92-01) is a 1966 built Henschel 0-6-0 gronk long stored inside Septembri shed. The remaining shunters are the survivors of the once ten-strong 81 class of Soviet TU7 shunters and take turns undertaking station pilot duties at Septembri.
- Active: 81002 & 81008. 81005 exported to Argentina
- Stored: 80001. Others presumed scrapped
Class 93 L45H’s
Gen on these is particuarly sketchy even for Bulgaria! I believe BDZ had three of these standard Eastern narrow gauge locos delivered, apparently for work at Razlog Paper Mill until the traffic there ceased around 2003. Still carrying ‘pre-TOPS’ numbers, 93-01 and 93-02 are imprisoned in Bankso shed – possibly stored serviceable – whilst 93-03 is awol, presumed scrapped.
To their credit, BDZ have kept 609-76, a 1949 Polish built 2-10-2T in steamable condition as well as a small collection of vintage coaches to go with it. It works semi-regular charters, often featuring diesel assistance as we saw here with both locos giving it some out of Bankso!
I’d love to have visited when passenger and freight traffic levels had upwards of 25 locos in traffic!
A few years back, Meridian won the tender to operate the Munich to Salzburg / Kufstein regional services and ordered a fleet of Flirts to operate them with. An early period of vice turns using 111s and Austrian 1142s soon ended when they units were eventually delivered and made to work. In February 2016 a tragic crash at Bad Aibling totally wrote off two units and pushing the fleet was found to be unsustainable, so over the summer a set of NX livered (!) stock was drafted in for an out and back peak turn. Locos are provided by Locomotion on a ‘kick-out’ basis at both ends, and have a varied fleet of both their own locos and hired in Railpool or ELL traction. This means that there is a huge variety in power, from elderly 139s to fresh out of the box Vectrons… Managed to eventually sort a day and a bit in late November that would give me three goes at ‘Locomotion Lottery’
So after a 245 out from the Hbf to Munich Ost, it was time to peer into the distance and see what turned up. 186441 was the answer. Now usually would be well happy with dropping a private traxx like this this, but in honestly I was after bigger fish!
So after a days moves, it was back for the 1711 return to Kufstein. I’d seen 186441 on a line of locos beyond Munich Ost whilst going for EC113 and its pair of 1116s, so was fairly confident it would swap. 186102 however had been outside Munich shed all day pan up and lights on… But thats where it stayed, and as I rolled in with 218421 from Muhldorf little more than a ribbed side could be made out – but that was acceptable as it meant a 189 – new class for me! 189907 was duly caned in round town to Ostbahnhof.
Same story the next morning at Ost, but the arrival was up as ten late – perhaps a good sign of something elderly I thought but didn’t really believe. First thing to appear was 2×218 on the inbound Simbach, but then another red engine stormed alongside on the Meridian stock. Reports meant I had an idea what that meant – a ex-DB 151 freight co-co – happy days!
Since I’ve been going abroad at least these are near unheard of on passenger trains – the odd banking duty and this turn is I’m pretty sure all thats been known. Meridian do have a couple in house colours but evidently ‘060 is yet to see the paintshop after transfer from DB, which to me at least makes it look even meaner. With that I was done in Munich and headed to Stuttgart before going home, there might have been a rather early celebratory beer in the barcar on the IC going north!
To show the variety this turn has produced, an absolute rarity these days, a quick search on ERG shows at least:
- 151060, 151074
- 185661, 185663, 185664
- 186102, 186251, 186286, 186441
- 189907, 189914, 189918
- 193208, 193801, 193873
With a dedicated branded rake of stock perhaps it will run for a considerable time (six months and counting already) as they will presumably need additional EMUs building to replace it… Hopefully I’ll get another chance although I don’t know if they can top that 151!
Not got much in the way of trips until next year, so here are a few photos from part of a March trip. As I’ve leaned quite heavily towards Czech and Slovakia this year, decided to put up what was really just under a full a day around Linz largely aiming to cover the 1142s. The challenge of finding them amongst 1144s with classes working each other’s diagrams and Linz liking to take locos off sets and into a whirlpool makes it less straightforward than the diagrams suggest! Few of these are phone photos but seem to have come up alright.
1116 191 and a rake of Cityshuttle stock had been my transit into the country working the 1802 Ceske Bud to Linz. I was glad to have grabbed some supplies because this stops at every lamppost between the two places!
1142 653 at Polgarn with the 1415 Linz-Summerau. This was about the only loco that didn’t swap turns as the Summerau line isn’t great for moves, it was a unit back off this.
1142 655 and 2016 076 have been kicked off shed for the afternoon rush and await respective departure from Linz. Didn’t do either of these so can’t be sure but I think the ‘Tony’ 2016 is on the Grein Bad Kreuzen turn.
Another quick weekend trip and for a change heading more north than east – to Norway. This was planned as a simple trip to cover a museum charter that covered the Andalsnes line with proper NSB power in recently preserved Di3b 642. We flew out Friday and unfortunately straight into a drivers strike at NSB that effectively decimated the move with many cancellations to what little hauled turns there should have been in the first place – so the Friday ‘peak’ move was cut down from seven potential locos to just three. Thankfully, we managed to not loose anything that really mattered but it was yet another trip with a few worried days before it!
El 18 2257 at Drammen working the 1546 Oslo – Bergen.
Classmate 18 2253 was our horse back from Drammen, working the 1017 ex Stavanger.
The next day, and after suffering some Flirt Deathtrap from Oslo, Di3 642 at Hamar awaiting departure time with its 0930 Adex to Hamar.
The run along the mainline beyond Lillehammer as the Nohab climbed up to Dombas was decent enough itself, but once on the branch the scenery just continued to notch up. The photostops were annoyingly policed sharply for track walking so this was the available view of Di3 642 at Verne, there is another level of track up the hillside to the right somewhere and then another on the valley floor a long way down to the left!
At Romdalshorn (?) in the shade of the mountains shortly before the dash into Andalsnes. The sun doesn’t get this far, creating that light show in the background.
Running round at Andalsnes after the loco had been turned. I believe this is because the EH equipment in these makes one end significantly louder so is avoided by drivers.
WOW! Di 3 642 at Andalsnes with fjords and mountains all around. It would work back at 16.30 to Hamar, there might not have been much at Andalsnes but absolutely worth the effort for that view, let alone the countless ones en-route….
Saturday 1 October – and the Czechs’ were throwing some shindig at Olomouc which offered the promise of some tasty ‘grumpy’ action with three loud 749/751s booked out. There were additionals running from both Brno and Veseli n M up to Olomouc, then a further round trip between Olomouc and Domaslov on the line towards Opava. Some chuff was also involved but I elected to scoop a pair of 163s whilst that was boiling up.
751010 standing in for an AWOL 751001 at Vyskov na Morave working the 0802 Brno – Olomouc Additional. It was detached here from the goggle and 0802 Brno – Frenstadt service train that it had been pushing from Brno! The 721 on the right was also working some charter, it all happens in CZ…
The open day was a rather cramped affair and required far more patience than I have to get any real phots, here is Hanzalik’s (silenced) 749263 inside the shed. This was an unexpected appearance, working with 751010 between Prostejov and Olomouc in both directions. I can only assume Mr Hanzalik, being Czech, wanted in on the T478.1 action, and who could blame him?!
749250 at Domalsov after a superb run up the hill from Olomouc. This loco is basically now the local pet and only gets out a few times a year but it is still an absolute animal on the volume front. Sorry about the phot being naff mind!
Having done ‘010 in the morning, I took 751002 back on the 1608 Olomouc to Veseli nad Moravou Additional which is seen here on arrival before being shunted to its home in the roundhouse.
Being somewhat lazy and most content with platform phots, it generally requires something of significant interest to make me dash to a lineside location. As there is no danger of me getting most of this trip (or the one before) uploaded any time soon, here is one of those occurrences:
Between Goggle (and an 810) leaps along Table 170, my sunbathing at Turčianske Teplice was disrupted by the sighting of a freight being recessed at Diviaky at the bottom of the hill. Once it got the road there was no doubt it was something worth my time – 751047, 751035 and 751084 making a fine racket drawing a cement train up the bank heading south towards Horna Stubna.