BDZ-PP: Class 61

BDZ Class 61

This small fleet is to me at least one of the most interesting in Bulgaria. The distinctive single-cab design of Czech origins gives around 1300hp and the locos are designed for shunting and light workings, even for Bulgaria the 50mph top speed does restrict them! They were built at Skoda Plzen in 1990, however due to some BDZ financial issues (no surprise there) around the time of the collapse of communism, they were actually delivered in 1994.

Mainly used for yard shunt, trip and light duties they are also quite popular with the local cranks. We’ve managed to get one in the book for haulage on every trip although the unpredictability of passenger workings means that could be put down to luck rather than judgement!

Today, the fleet is split between the BDZ Passenger and Cargo sectors and a number of locos are dumped out of use on Sofia. Some of these were advertised as for sale, however there has been no sign of movement on this as far as I know. The level of passenger work seems to vary considerably year on year, although 2016-2017 has seen a definite upturn perhaps related to the general BDZ loco shortage and concentration of the passenger engines on Sofia depot now. Passenger appear to use a Cargo 61 on a regular, if not daily basis as well. Some more detail on this is given below.

Class 61 Fleet Status (as best known, May 2017)

61001
Passenger
Sofia
Withdrawn – Poduyane
61002
Passenger
Sofia
Operational
61003
Cargo
Sofia/Dupnica
Operational
61004
Passenger
Sofia
Stopped
61005
Cargo
Stara Z
Operational
61006
Passenger
Sofia
Operational
61007
Passenger
Sofia
Withdrawn – Poduyane
61008
Passenger
Sofia
Operational
61009
Cargo
Sofia
Operational?
61010
Cargo
Sofia/Dupnica
Operational
61011
Passenger
Sofia
Operational
61012
Passenger
Sofia
Operational
61013
Passenger
Plovdiv
Operational
61014
Passenger
Sofia
Withdrawn – Poduyane
61015
Passenger
Sofia
Withdrawn – Poduyane
61016
Cargo
Stara Z?
?
61017
Cargo
Stara Z?
?
61018
Passenger
Sofia?
Withdrawn
61019
Cargo
Sofia/Dupnica
Operational
61020
Passenger
Sofia?
Withdrawn

Haulage hotspots:

  • Sofia to Kulata line (table 500) especially local trains south of Blagoevgrad and the Kulata/Petrich portion loco
  • Sofia to Dragoman line locals (table 100)
  • Sofia to Karlovo line locals (table 300)
  • Sofia to Mezdra line locals (table 200)

As mentioned, the passenger work is rather unpredictable with these definately the best places to park the deckchair for one! The table 500 work is certainly the most, but by no means totally, solid although as they don’t come up to Sofia on all trains is rarely reported and does require some faith to cover. There is “often” one loco out on the Karlovo line, my hunch is this is a kick-out when short of bigger electrics (mainly 46s) and they can work any local service as these are Sofia out and back turns. The trains works varies by year, but then the same trains have tended to drop for a few days. For table 500, what I believe to be likely turns is given below – totally, totally unofficial mind!

Plovdiv’s 61013 gets very occasional run outs in stoppers towards Karlovo or Stara Zagora when they are on the floor, there have been basically no reports of work around Burgas or Stara Zagora in the last few years although I don’t think it can be ruled out with the ongoing loco shortage at BDZ-PP. Previous years have seen work on Burgas locals and between Sliven and Karlovo across table 300/301. 61006 worked a Sofia-Plovdiv return during our May 2016 although we believe that to be pretty exceptional, given the excitement from local cranks. As much of the work down table 500 is a long way from anywhere and the locos do not reach Sofia reports are few and far between to add to the difficulty of making this page reliable…

Freight work is largely confined to yard shunting, although the Dupnica engines may work trip coal traffic along the Bobov Dol branch however much of this has now been lost to private outfit ‘TBA’ which could also explain why 61019 has been regularly out on passenger trains. No idea what the Burgas locos work, again there is potential for trip working, perhaps involving the various petrochemical terminals in the Dolno Ezerovo area.

  • Note 1: **ALL OF THESE ARE TOTALLY UNOFFICIAL AND MAY OR MAY NOT BE WORKED BY CLASS 44/45/46/61 OR DESIRO!!**
  • Note 2:  Portions/through trains to Petric and Kulata may well be reversed from the timetable, which will mean the branch loco goes down the other branch
  • Note 3: Table updated for 2017, using trainlist from vagonweb.cz which is based on timing load and reported sightings. Days A1-A3 I believe are planned as 61, days B1-B5 are, I believe, Sofia 46 diagrams that get a 61 kicked out when short. Most trains running south of Blagoevgrad are shown as through workings from Sofia (with a change of train number) so presumed to be 44/46. The remaining locals are shown below and remain a good bet for a 61.
Day A1 2017 Timetable
Class 61 (Probably)
Sofia
50132 06.45 Petrich – Dupnica
51203 12.15 Dupnica – Bobov Dol
51204 13.08 Bobov Dol – Dupnica
50245 17.10 Dupnica – Petrich
Day A2
Class 61 Sofia
Petrich Branch Loco
Petrich/General Todorov/Petrich  Various Trains TBC
Day A3 Class 61 Sofia
50111 05.40 Sofia – Blagoevgrad
50110 09.35 Blagoevgrad – Sofia
50231 14.00 Sofia – Dupnica
50234 16.52 Dupnica – Sofia
10212 20.15 Sofia – Dragoman
10213 21.30 Dragoman – Sofia
Day B1 Class 46 61 Sofia
50240 06.40 Pernik – Sofia
490/7790 09.40 Sofia – Dimitrovgrad ZS Whatever section of the Belgrade is running
491/7793 15.30 Dimitrovgrad ZS – Sofia
Whatever section of the Belgrade is running
50217 22.40 Sofia – Pernik
Day B2
Class 46/61 (ex RVR)  Sofia
20211 11.20 Sofia – Lakatnik Probably something earlier – 1st Dragoman?
20214 13.25 Lakatnik – Sofia
20215 16.20 Sofia – Lakatnik
20216 18.00 Lakatnik – Sofia
20275 19.20 Sofia – Svoge  Runs days 1-5
20278
20.50 Svoge – Sofia  Runs days 1-5
Day B4
Class 61  Sofia
30171 11.30 Sofia – Koprivshtica  Runs day 7
30172 16.26 Koprivshtica – Sofia  Runs day 7
Day B5
Class 46/61 Sofia
5611 17.05 Sofia – Petrich
5610 05.05 Petrich – Sofia

As above, I’d deem table 500 by far the most likely place although parking yourself at Sofia may also pay dividends if you are pushed for time.

All gen posted in good faith & updates always appreciated – last update May 2017

Posted July 26, 2016 by redcow87015

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