Bulgarian Traction Guide
Part 1: BDZ Diesels
Bulgaria has seemingly never really done train building (or maintaining, some might say) with the result that nearly all of the locos are types that can be found in other countries. This isn’t intended to be an entirely serious page, but a brief rundown on what can be found in deepest Bulgaria.
Elusive Hungarian (MAV M44) shunters, just a few still working largely around Ruse.
Standard East German 0-8-0 shunters (DR V60) that stroll around nearly every major location like they own the place. If there is any possibility of a shunt, whether it serves a purpose or not, one of these will be up for it. Usually no fewer than four station pilots at Sofia, which is somewhat OTT given the train service but does give the place a feel that something is always happening or about to happen.
By rights, these are Sulzer 6LDA powered and should provide hellfire type 2 thrash. Sadly, they do not. Heavily silenced these Romanian (CFR 80) built centre cab bo-bos do gain some points back for still running around on proper branch trains with workings actually increasing in recent years as BDZ are unable to keep Desiros in working order. There is something very real about one charging out of Levski on a single SK bouncing along jointed track and the loco chatters quietly to itself. If only it wasn’t for that pesky silencer…!
Again, much more promising on paper than in reality. More Romanian built sulzers (CFR 60) with something similar to a class 44 power unit but silenced and unlikely to be thrashed by the Bulgarian requirements. These big sulzers are probably down to a few dozen active survivors due to electrification and loss of traffic. Largely unheard of on passenger since sectorisation, often found on light freight duties around Sofia and Plovdiv now.
I’ve really tried to like these. All of the BDZ 07s are “real” with “loud fans” however I think 3000hp plus load 4, tops, is never going to equal mass thrash. People really do rate the German ones (DR 131/DB 231) however with Bulgarian speeds and trailing loads they just are not tested. To get above half power the driver has to lift up the ‘power wheel’ and I doubt this is frequently done – it certainly wasn’t approved on the one we had a go with! When idling for long periods they do make a superb eery howl which given the lack of noise pollution in much of BG can carry long into the night – this is probably their most evocative noise to me.
To give them their due, the 07s do at least provide some diesel activity although again most of the class is withdrawn due to electrification and loss of traffic.
Class 75 & 77
Withdrawn Old Tat
Some hydraulic things that at least look a lot like OBB 2050s, there are two ‘preserved’ ones dumped outside Sofia shed. I will eat my hat if I ever get to hear one of these in anger.