Archive for the ‘Bulgaria’ Category

Bulgaria September 2017 (Part 2)

September trip to Bulgaria, this is part two

87004-pirdop-270917After hours behind 46235 from Karnobat through lots of low cloud and rain it was no surprise to see a complete lack of blue sky at Pirdop, but at least it was dry. Looking superbly workstained – like a freight loco should – 87004 was sitting in the ‘buffer stop’ position at the station end of the BZK stabling siding.

db-bg-232663-pirdopDB Ludmilla 232663 (crudely carrying nonsense 07663 number) was in charge of the heavy DB shunts out the Works into the exchange sidings. Here it is seen in the east end headshunt with a portion of the copper ore empties which form part of one of the BZK departures and end up in Burgas.

bzk-40-0733-87019-pirdopAnd here we are, the amended 2017 BZK operation out of Pirdop sees more trains – but lower weights which means that even more are in the hands of a ’40’ with sevens reduced to being helper locos , such as 87019 here inside 40-0833, with the Razdelna departures now only booked for pairs – the Burgas copper goes with two on the front and one on the back, but they had enough 40s around to cover the rear of that train too…

87003-pirdop-270917Waiting patiently were 87003, 87007 and behind the Sulzer, 87020 on hand at Pirdop.

db-bg-3012-86012-pirdopDB mainline action at Pirdop is now reduced to trains to and from Chelopech, here EA 3012 has been brought out the yard and is ready to head light to Chelopech where it would pilot a 232 and a loaded train back to Pirdop. The entire train is then put away and split to Pirdop and Burgas portions, the latter of which departs in the early hours. 92034 was parked over the far side of the yard, workings for these locos now being far more flexible than previous years.

bzk-87012-pirdop-27091787012 having arrived behind 40-0467 is waiting to be picked up by the shunter after working a train of empty box wagons in from the Sofia direction.

87012-87004-pirdop-270917-1Naturally they only really wanted the ’40’ which was put straight onto another train, 87012 was shunted here next to 87004 and parked up for an hour or so.

PirdopNot entirely sure what all this was all about other than being midst a “big Pirdop pointless shunt” 87012/87010/87029 pose on the front of a 40 and the last Razdelna departure of the day, the 40 would work forward solo with the crew somewhat unimpressed that departure time came and went without any sign of the sevens being moved out the way.

bdz-46208-sofiaBack to BDZ and Sofia was awash with 46’2s which have largely returned to service after many being out of service earlier in the year – with BDZ having a handful of 150km/h timed trains now they need them – although how long that will last is anyones guess! 46208 is getting ready to head east on the 1330 Sofia Burgas.

bdz-61003-zaharnaThe ‘flatiron’ workings down table 500 continue, the 1400 Sofia Dupnica was again in the solid hands of a Cargo-stickered loco, 61003 doing the honors and seen here at Zaharna Fabrika. Mileage move, cough!

bdz-44140-46036-ilyantsi-280917Ilyantsi and as the redcap gives the road to 44140 working the evening Sofia Karlovo local formed of a single German IR coach, 46036 awaits the road over SLW on the Mezdra line to the north.

bm-87009-87025-mezdra-pngNoine! This photo won’t win any awards but it was dark and at silly o’clock but we had waited a long time to finally see this old monster working a train. 87009 & 87025 very briefly pause at Mezdra with a train of oil tanks heading to Ruse. A superb sight as they blazed around the corner into the night!

bdz-45162-sever45162 rolls into Sofia Sever with a local stopper from Mezdra.

bdz-45146-zverino45146 completes station duties at Zverino with the 1700 Sofia to Vidin. 44088 back to Sofia and for me that was the end of another enjoyable visit to this land of real railways. No knowing it all in advance, just waiting for the headlight in the distance and then the real locos and classic stock to come clattering to a stand in front of you. Proper cranking.

Part one from the Varna area is here

Before that a day in Bucharest doing a couple of CFR moves

Posted October 10, 2017 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Class 87s, Euro Nedding

Bulgaria September 2017 (Part 1)

Second trip to Bulgaria, based on a week of Dan’s rest days in late September.

After a quick play in Romania, we were back in more regular territory after taking 44137 down from Ruse to Varna. This passed 87006/008/013/022/034 all stored at Express Services, and also accounted for 87017 en-route. Throughout the rest of the week we would see all working sevens expect 87026, which is the best one to miss anyway! This is the photos from the Varna region, before we moved on to Pirdop and the Sofia area.

bzk-87012-vr-25091787012 sits spare in the first of the morning sunlight. The Senovo kaolin trains had evidently been running given the liveral coating of the place which at least made it a bit easier to walk around [Phone Photo]

bzk-40-1001-87012And as you were… Between the 0700 observation of what was on hand and departure of the day’s Ruse freight 40-1001 had arrived on a set of acid tanks (solo) and therefore was put on front of 87012 and the consist of cereal wagons (and boxes out of sight) is seen clattering into Sindel.

bdz-07106-poveljanovoAs ever, the Varna ’07’ turn on the Dobrich line was in the capable hands of 07106, although 07111 was hovering on the shed we picked up a few more KMs behind ‘106 to Poveljanovo where it is seen getting the tip to depart on the 1615 Varna to Dobrich. The ‘vice’ turn with a 55 was kicked out the same evening, although with two working Desiro’s at Varna it was not out solidly and swapped back to a Desiro again the next day.

bdz-44062-beloslav-260917Things that bowl out the morning moves to view what BZK have on hand – your 0600 departure time not being marked with whistles on the platform but the drop of a shackle! Due to an air leak on the leading coach, the 0600 Varna – Shumen had that knocked out prior to departure leaving 25 late with just this single wagon in tow, seen here at Beloslav. An amended leap here because of the low service means you’d be out at Razdelna for hours and breakfast was a higher priority!

bdz-44120-sindelFor some of our party this loco was a welcome sight as they hadn’t been there in June when we had dropped it on its test run off overhaul, 44120 still looking smart sits at Sindel whilst the driver was in the redcaps office sorting out instruction to work forward SLW on the 0915 Varna to Ruse


The Ruse produces at last! BZK finally run out of having enough 40s and 87029 & 87028 are entrusted to a short train of VTG tanks, again pausing at Sindel awaiting entry into the SLW section beyond. This block was on in June too, showing how long it takes to do things taking three-hour blocks a day with a single PW trolley!

bzk-87029-87028-sindel-2aAfter fifteen minutes or so, 87029 & 87028 get away from Sindel. Set us up nicely for a few hours relaxing on Varna beach!


Sindel, again, in the evening after a few hours trying to catch the fleeting sun on the beach and 44189 on the 1655 Varna to Shumen is captured alongside BDZ Cargo’s 46026 on a cereal train destined for the Karnobat line.

bdz-45172-bulmarket-86235-bm-46026 A thorn amongst roses. From left 45172 is working the 1815 Varna – Rus, 86235 is awaiting an EA to go on the top and work forward whilst the crew of 46026 were still awaiting authority to depart.

bm-87025-sindel-0917Thats better! 87025 had worked inside the EA from Ruse on the daily Bulmarket departure to Plovdiv and is seen here as the EA is removed to run round and go on top of the other end of the train. ‘025 would appear to be a preferred machine for Bulmarket (on this train at least!) as thats three times for it and zero for 017/023 or the elusive monster that is “Noine”.


The Bulmarket had arrived just in time to catch the last light. Shortly it had left the sun was truly setting and by the time 44062 arrived fifteen minutes later on the 1825 Varna to Karnobat the floodlights were on to offer what illumination was available. A bit unfortunate that the blue intermodal wagons on the right were the OBB Train as I’d have liked a picture of 1116 035 but the length of the train meant it wasn’t stopped somewhere where this was really possible, particularly as we weren’t sure how far away our delayed train back to Varna was. Made do with this view of ‘062 which I quite like anyway!


Really like this! 87033 stands at Razdelna in a combination of first natural light and the station floodlights before they were turned off. Expect ‘033 would be the inside loco on the days Ruse given where it was and a 40 was lingering around too.


Karnobat now and EA 3013 arrives on a long train of Cargovans which appeared to be a transit train from Turkey to Romania (and beyond).


Part two (“soon”!) will see largely Pirdop and Sofia views under more clouds!

Posted October 4, 2017 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Class 87s, Euro Nedding

Bulgaria May 2017 (Part Three)

Third and final part of what should be the first of two Bulgarian weeks this year. Yes, I managed to take enough photos to drag this out to three parts. I hope adding the expanded captions is more interesting for people!

A few days doing moves from Sofia, I was hoping for some Cargo locos to drop out and pick up a couple of my few passenger winners around a look for 61010 which has joined the Cargo 61 on hire to BDZ-PP party.

Shiny! Fresh out of Poduyane Works 44120 is atop 46208 on the 0835 Sofia – Svilengrad in the morning sun at Iskar. This is the test trip for Poduyane and according to the Portuguese second man was 44120s first run in eight years. Interestingly it has been kicked out without the full UIC numbers which had been added a week later for its next working. This may be the last phot I ever get of a shiny 44 in ‘real’ condition then!

My first punt on covering a regular 61 turn drew a blank – 45162 brings the 0935 Blagoevgrad – Sofia into Zaharna Fabrika

Cargo by sticker only, 61019 is kicked out for the 1400 Sofia – Dupnica. This loco has been on hire to passenger for over a year and I decided to take it throughout in the afternoon sun.

61019 on arrival at Dupnica, where I had four options on the table, two north and two South. 61019 is about to run round as booked to form the 1652 Sofia…

Next up was the northbound fast, in the hands of ‘bear’ 46211 working what BDZ claim is the 1605 Blagoevgrad – Sofia but in reality is a through train from Petrich with a change of train number at Blagoevgrad. Well, I wasn’t doing that…

By now the loco for the fresh turn could be viewed on the shed outlet, but not enough to ID, but as it was a 61 I comitted to it. 44137 was next up on the 1500 Sofia – Thessoloniki. Well, on paper, due to an ongoing border blockade by Greek truckers it was only running to Kulata and lacking in the through OSE coaches.

F**k Yes BDZ! This is the one I really wanted, 61010 kicked out for the 1710 Dupnica – Petrich. This was worked by the traincrew that had brought ‘019 down from Sofia, decent diagram for single cab action that!

61010 gets away from Blagoevgrad with its load of two real compo coaches. I was off over the road for a couple of beers before 46208 took me back to Sofia.

Clouds?! The Saturday never brightened up, here the redcaps surveys the scene as 45204 arrives at Svogue on the 0612 Ruse Raz – Sofia. Quite pleased to see this one roll in as it I’d previously only had it on a single ned move.

52226 pottering around the east end of Sofia on never ending shunt duties. Interestingly this year a 55 was also on station pilot duties each day alongside the 52s.

In the field sidings at the east end of Sofia, BDZ 44144 waits for its slot to shunt around onto its train whilst DB have 92025 and a pair of EAs on hand. DB seem to regularly stable engines here now, I believe largely these are locos off transit traffic and run light to/from Dimitrovgrad ZS to pick up trains.

44126 has come off intermediate overhaul this year and been covered in the full works of new number stickers. It is seen in the 1820 Sofia-Mezdra on a scratch rake, most table 201 stoppers are now hauled as another batch of RVR “red” units have been taken out of service although there is the odd Desiro.

Bulgaria May 2017 (Part Two)

Second part of what should be the first of two Bulgarian weeks this year. Yes, I managed to take enough photos to drag this out to three parts. I hope adding the expanded captions is more interesting for people!

The middle of the trip consisted of an outing to Burgas with some diamond pan action and then a day at Pirdop to watch the BZK proceedings. We didn’t choose a great day for ‘seven’ activity with 40s here, there and everywhere but it was still an interesting day and it helps to get a good idea of the activity.


Burgas… with track…and trains…! After many years of rebuilding, BDZ have declared the (Plovdiv)-Karnobat-Burgas line finished and a full service is operating. Even better, the RVR EMUs are all out of use here as well so everything is hauled. 44185 sits in the schorching sun after being shunt released having worked in on IC8611 the 0630 from Sofia.


2017 has seen significant change to the Burgas-Pirdop copper ore trains, which have moved from DB to BZK locos. DB retains the flow from Chelopech to Pirdop and Burgas, 86015 (EA 3011) waits at Karnobat for its path to Burgas behind the 0625 Varna-Burgas


I changed the plan for this! Some locals kindly provided some gen that Cargo beastie 43514 was on its way working the 0943 Sindel – Burgas. Due to ongoing loco shortages at passenger there seems to be one 43’5 on hire fairly solidly, but finding it is another matter. This had come off local turns between Karlovo and Sliven, which isn’t the easiest place to go looking!


43514 after being released at Burgas and going back on the 1355 Yambol. The tasteful station refurb and repainting into cream is here. I hoped that 44185 on the blocks would work my train to Pirdop but sadly I had 46211 for the trek west.


87007 in the last evening light at Pirdop. It is ready to be shunted onto the one of the overnight copper ore trains to Burgas which it would be inside the 40 for.


Thursday now, and we were parked at Pirdop all day. It was already warm when we got to the station to be greeted by 87028 and 87020 at the far end of the stabling siding having been shunted off arrivals from Burgas and Razdelna respectively. 87019 and six 40s were also on hand…


40-0817 heads away from Pirdop with what I believe is an oil train from Iliyantsi to Dolno Ezerovo or elsewhere in the Burgas area. However it can’t have gone that far as the loco was back a few hours later.


By lunchtime the shunting was beginning as wagons were taken to and from the Aurubis Copper plant. Here 204805 brings a rake of loaded acid tanks out of the works and into the DB Yard. They would then be shunted to the exchange sidings, collected by the BZK shunter and moved to one of the reception lines for a departure to Razdelna.


A classic pointless Pirdop shunt! 87019 has been brought out the stabling siding with 2×40 and shunted down the west end with a rake of tanks. The 87 and lead 40 were then prepped, only for 87019 to run back into the station and get put back in the siding by the shunter! The lead 40 ran light towards Sofia mid-afternoon, whilst the other one was in position for the fist Razdelna departure which it would tail. That was not a good sign for getting evening 87 phots…


The service train situation at Pirdop is back to ‘poor’ – this was the first Sofia bound hauled service since 0654 and is the 1412 departure, 45195 on the 0905 Burgas – Sofia. 87019 alongside waiting a drag back into the siding it had come out of about half an hour before (see above!)


That works!! It took until the afternoon but 30580 the early morning departure from Razdelna did run and had none other than 87004 – looking SUPERB in workstained BR Blue – and 87003 on the front. The driver on ‘003 had already dropped the pan as the working got into the reception road.


Having come all this way it seemed worth a dash up to take another phot…!


This is what they do. 87019, 87004, 87003, 87028, 40-1001 are shunted around en-mass. I think this was all to get ‘028 out, and then a different 40 which they wanted to use with 028 on the second departure.


40-0656 tails a classmate out of Pirdop with 30581 the first departure to Razdelna. This we thought was a banker to have a seven, well, banking, just like it did yesterday. Obviously not when we’d have been in position for a phot. This was the only train that went out as a full rake of tanks with the second train being gold vans and copper ore empties for Burgas. The Burgas ore workings being integrated to the acid tank circuit has changed things up a bit, not to mention the arrival of at least another half-dozen 40s from Romania. Added to 87006/022/034 being out of use and the odds have got longer.


DB Ludmilla 232411 (now carrying 07411 number) decides to have a play shunting for a while, seen here heading out of the exchange sidings and back to the works. I can’t work out if they’ve painted or washed the locos front!


Just as the sun went round and we called it a day, 87020 was shunted down by a rake of Serb red acid tanks which then had 87003 & 87004 added to the rear. They would work an approx 20.45 departure to Dimitrovgrad ZS.


And here is North Briton between some plants to finish the day off.

Then headed on to Sofia for some 44 runs and to hunt down 61010 – will try and get part 3 published by this time next week.


Bulgaria May 2017 (Part One)

First part of what should be the first of two Bulgarian weeks this year.

This post is photos from three days around Varna doing the now honoured seven/beach/trains/bulmarket move that fits together there. The beach is now noticeably a bit more upmarket but with that the selection of beer has improved, so swings and roundabouts.

Part Two will be largely from Pirdop and the Sofia area.

So, without further waffle…


And all of a sudden the rancid o clock departure from Luton didn’t seem quite as bad! We’d checked in, hit the beach for a few hours and dropped back to the trains for the afternoon ‘peak’ – such as it is – out of Varna. As ever, the 1615 Dobrich was in the hands of 07106 as it always is. Additional seating car on a Sunday so only 1000hp per coach in use today!!


87010 catches a bit of evening sun at Razdelna sitting atop a set of oil tanks


44151 got us back to Varna as the weather kicked up overhead and is seen here on the blocks at Varna having worked the 1700 ex Shumen


Usual place, usual train, usual combo! The BZK ’40’ situation is much worse this year with a number of additional locos being drafted over the border. 40-1013 (ex JZ 461143) with 87003 in train through Sindel on the Razdelna – Ruse ABS. Long old rake of cargovans so 87003 would no doubt have been assisting from Kaspichan.


45149 looking like every but the old workhorse it is drops into Sindel on the 1035 Varna – Sofia.


After another relaxing afternoon on the beach with a few beverages, 07106 makes it Devnya call on the 1615 Varna – Dobrich. We’d come one stop up the branch where it was a plus six (crossing point) for the return working. One problem, 07106 duly got the road and stormed off into the distance!


About 30 late on the 1552 Dobrich – Varna, 55195 duly rolls into Devnya. From June all trains on the line had been retimed to cater for possible loco haulage due to ongoing DMU problems, this may have been the first day as one DMU had been dispatched on the 0600 Varna – Shumen that morning, to our disgust at the time! Varna retained one DMU for the opposite Dobrich working.


As if one 55 into Varna wasn’t enough, they bloody swapped it for station pilot 55206 to work the 1850 Varna – Dobrich which was duly caned in to Beloslav. I did not expect to score one of these small (but silenced) sulzers!


87013 at Razdelna under a glorius morning sky. This was the only ‘seven’ there today and 40-1013 would again lead the days Ruse.


44137 at Sindel with the 0850 Varna – Sofia (via Plovdiv) which sat here for a bit awaiting connections from Ruse


New toy, 192 962 “Kolina” owned by PIMK Rail is helping out OBB and is seen here at a passing loop banking a 1116 from Karnobat towards Ruse with what looks like a transit intermodal. PIMK also have ex-BDZ 07077.


Back at Sindel again and 46007 and 46033 await evening paths towards Karnobat


BDZ Cargo branding to the fore on 45163 as it bounces into Sindel on a train of empty scrap boxes


The afternoon Bulmarket train has 86205, EA 3004, 86235 and 87025 on it. No comment.


Thats better! They handily ripped the canjunk off the front with the EA to work forward to Karnobat as ‘025 was required to work light to Varna. Just time for a quick phot of it posed on the wagons then!


And here at Varna Zapad Bulmarket’s 55192 is about to shunt 87025 into the yard or docks area. That little security dog on the left did NOT like me!!


Aah, good morning 025! Sitting at Varna Tovarna Park with a rake of private owner tanks


87013 at Razdelna on the rear of what should have been the previous nights arrival from Ruse. It looked like it had arrived hours late as the front loco (obviously a 40) was parked just by the redcaps hut for a quick getaway by the traincrew.

Then headed on to Burgas, Pirdop and Sofia – will try and get part 2 published at the end of the week.


May 2010 Bulgarian Railtour

I’ve added a page to the Bulgarian Class 87 section going over the May 2010 three-day charter, and its copied here for visibility – I have no idea if I can get a page to show in the front ‘blog’ section or not, let me know in the comments if I’m just being dumb here! You may have seen most of the photos before, but I’ve tried to vary it a little from the original gallery and the text is all new. It won’t stay here forever, if you’d like to send the link on it will be permanently found here.

“Magnificent Seven to the Black Sea” – Portugese Traction Group, May 2010

Saturday 1 May

We started off with a leisurely stroll from the hotel to Sofia, bagging a couple of front coach compos behind 87003 for the 09.40 departure east running as BV3691. We took the usual route to Pirdop via Iskar and before long were commenting that we could live with this – the sun out and a seven doing the business up front as we climbed and twisted up table 300 which is nestled between the Central Balkan and Stredna Gora mountain ranges. After a few photo stops we were soon arriving into Pirdop where the first loco change was planned. With a surprise that no spare locos were present, 87020 took over which for me was a nice low mileage machine. After going over the summit at Klisura North Briton dropped across the plains to Kazanlak where we had a couple of hours for lunch. Suitably refreshed and now running as BV3693 we were direct to Varna via Karnobat. A short blast of 130km/h running between Tulovo and Dabovo brought balance to what is probablty an average of around 80km/h Bulgarian bolted track. At Razdelna 87028 took over for a run along the heavily industrialised Lake Beloslav then Lake Varna for an arrival at dusk.

Between Sofia and Pirdop, a photo stop for 87003 at Bunovo. BV3691 09.40 Sofia – Kazanlak Charter

87003 comes off the tour with 87020 (left) ready to take over at Pirdop. No raft of spare locos on the siding on the far left that day.

87020 at Kazanlak. For what looks a pretty awful place from the train’s approach the town square was excellent!

Sunday 2 May

After an arranged quick trip around the BZK depot, 87028 was again at the helm for the short run to Razdelna, train number starting as BV2690 today. This piece of line has impressed me ever since, and all too soon it was time for ‘028 to be detached. Here 034 had joined 020 but our power was 87004 looking resplendent in BZK blinged-up BR Blue. First on the agenda was the Varna Ferryboat branch, expect we actually only went to the station which is barely a kilometre round the corner for a run round! Setting off again we staggered past thousands of rusting wagons on the freight line through Trastikovo Yard before getting back onto the mainline at Sindel for a run to Shumen which was todays lunch stop. A big park outside the station contained a bar, job done! Fed and watered we went forward as BV2692 across the Danubian Plain to Gorna along table 201. From Gorna we did some more freight track going the back route to Resen. Reversed for the mainline route back to Gorna (now BV4691), the idea had been being to do the Gorna avoiding curve direct to Veliko but this wasn’t happening so back for another run round at Gorna then down to Veliko. Some phots then the trek into town, eventually found the hotel and another relaxing evening in the sun.

87028 at Radelna about to be detached from BV3691 09.25 Varna – Shumen. Not many kms had off this one!

Pathing stop at Provadiya as 87004 heads west. Do like the rocky ridge high behind which dominates the area.

87004 at Veliko Tarnovo. Despite looking superb the traincrew still produced the ‘004 bucket to wash it!

Monday 3 May:

Today we started as BV4693 and a 09.24 departure with 87004 again heading south, albeit not far to Careda Livada where we ran around to do the Gabrovo branch. A real branch this, single line twisting and climbing away and usually just the home of RVR units. The quality of ‘004 arriving was not lost as the local media turned up en-mass to meet its arrival! After a prolonged run round as the track hadn’t been used for years we headed south again (now BV3690) and it wasn’t long before we were climbing up through the Balkan mountains before dropping back onto table 200 and again to Kazanlak for lunch. To our horror as we dropped back from Bila on a supply run 87012 headed west on a long rake of acid tanks! After lunch we had turned into BV3692 and recovered Saturday’s route back towards Sofia. At Pirdop it was loco change again and after a quick phot of 87012 on tanks it was 87008 to take us forward in its pointless Cotswold livery. With hindsight the use of ‘008 was certainly a good one as within a year it had been attacked for copper and dumped out of use. I can’t see it working again… We ran via the back route to Sofia into Ilyantsi then swang left onto the Sofia avoider – a police escort provided through this rough part of town – then round onto the mainline at the far end of Poduyane Yard and back into Sofia.

87004 at Gabrovo running round. Locos here certainly few and far between, the traincrew being quite happy learning as they went along with the route map!

87008 at Sarantsi. I believe this is the locos only passenger working in Cotswold Silver, not having done anything in the UK.

So that was that and we bounded back to the hotel in high spirits. The tour had delivered – for a decent PTG price of £99/day – over 1000kms of Bulgarian mileage and five locos across a fascinating country.

Magic. For me at least, that was the seed sown and it wouldn’t be long before my European book was getting more entries than the UK one!

BDZ 07s: 2017 Timetable


Latest update to the Bulgarian Gen area – Class 07 workings for the December 2016 Timetable

I have now updated the 07 page with what I believe to be the current state of 07 workings

Basically, bad news….!

  • Plovdiv – Kapikule turn – as advertised (if not expected) the overheads are now live all the way to Turkey. Plovdiv lose all regular 07 work as the Istanbul is now through electric. Obviously they’ve upped the Plovdiv-Svilengrad service as well, and there are a number of hauled services again now during the day.
  • The Bucharest – Sofia train pair does not run (!!) in 2016 timetable apart from summer dates advertised as June to September. Hopefully this is factually correct, times would allow a CFR loco. Outside of these dates a CFR Desiro operates between Bucharest and Ruse only. #PROGRESS!!!
  • 1470/1471 presumed, no info available
  • Dobrich and Silistra turns retained. Both now booked to contain modern sleeping cars so require EH loco. The Varna turn is retimed from the afternoon to evening departure and now only goes to Dobrich.


Day 1 Class 07’1 Varna Loco
TCB20950 05.50 Varna – Poveljanovo LD
BV 2637 06.35 Poveljanovo – Dobrich Portion off 2637 22.540 Sofia – Varna
28203 09.15 Dobrich – Varna
28206 18.50 Varna – Dobrich
BV 2636 21.15 Dobrich – Poveljanovo Portion onto 2626 22.10 Varna – Sofia
TCB20955 23.00 Poveljanovo – Varna LD
Day 3 Class 07’1 Ruse Loco (TBC – SUMMER DATED)
MBV 460 16.10 Ruse – Giurgi Nord 09.00 Sofia – Bucharest – (Runs 03.06.17 to 03.10.17 only)
MBV 461 15.10 Giurgi Nord – Ruse 12.45 Bucharest – Sofia (Runs 02.06.17 to 02.10.17 only)
MBV 1470 00.40 Ruse – Giurgi Nord 17.40 Burgas – Budapest (SUMMER DATED)
MBV 1471 04.25 Giurgi Nord – Ruse 11.10 Budapest – Burgas (SUMMER DATED)
Day 4 Class 07’1 Ruse Loco
BV 9647 05.54 Samuil – Silistra 21.20 ex Sofia
BV 9646 19.20 Silistra – Samuil to Sofia (onto 2626 at Gorna)

Bulgarian Gen Section Index link is here

All info provided in good faith and any additional (or any, to be honest) gen is always welcome. 19/01/17.

Posted January 19, 2017 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Euro Nedding

Bulgaria May 2016

Another excellent week in this land of real railways.

Class 87s in separate post as I was taking far more photos than usual. Blame Gaz.

Posted June 14, 2016 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Euro Nedding

A Serb Sortie, May 2016

I’m still working through the Bulgarian photos, so as this is likely to be of interest to those interested in proper GMs, here is the quick visit we had to Serbia mid trip.

To general surprise, the 2016 timetable has seen the reinstatement of the second Sofia-Belgrade train pair, largely it seems on the basis of the Sofia-Moscow through coach requiring a diversion away from Ukraine following events there. This daytime service has not run for about five years due to a claimed shortage of working diesels in Serbia.

We therefore planned a day to cover this as an out and back move from Sofia, hoping to score 2×661. There were a couple of things that could prevent this – dud 661152, ZS kicking out a 621 shunted vice 661, or the entire move going west due to border riots. BDZ held up their end of the bargain by providing one of Plovdiv’s finest skoda’s in 44169 (and its many dents) rather than a 46 and we headed west. Even I know that if you are going from Sofia to Moscow that is totally the wrong direction!


44169 Sofia

With load three being the RZD bed wagon and two Serb open aircons, at Dimitrovgrad we heard the 661 backing on whilst the Serbs were doing a much quicker border grip than the Bulgarians had done at Kalotina. Beyond Dimitrovgrad the feared “Serb Stagger” was nowhere to be seen and we were soon rolling into Pirot just a few minutes down.


661112 at Pirot. This GM works from Dimitrovgrad to Nis, for a ZS electric forward

On paper we had a plus 75 (plus late running) and with a few Serb pennies left over from previous trips took a quick wander into town to buy some ice cream, noting some absolutely hellfire old vehicles plying the roads. A truly heritage Bedford lorry where the metal poles to hold a load in had busted and been replaced by some twigs being the favourite! Being British we then decamped to the hotel opposite the station which had a decent selection of local beers and more importantly seats in the sun!

We wandered back to the station just before the booked 1424 departure, which naturally came and went with no train. We settled in the sun and with little noise other than birds and a few lizards storming around the ballast time easily ticked away before’that’ JZ GM horn in the distance meant that the train was coming about 45 down it wasn’t a shunter!


661154 brings the 0735 Belgrade – Sofia into Pirot

This time the stock was 2 declassified fresh air FKs so we grabbed an empty compo and enjoyed the run back to Dimitrovgrad again at a decent pace. 44169 was again waiting after the Serbs had done a brief handover. Sadly there were no 87s here as it’d be nice to see one in Serbia, where they do work regularly.


661154 at Dimitrovgrad (ZS) having been put straight onto a freight off MBV491. Proper railway operating!

We sat for what seemed an age at Kalotina as the Bulgarians did their passport grip in the midst of a thunderstorm, our quick return raising more of a chuckle than suspicion. Eventually back on the move and waiting for a Desiro beyond Dragoman we rolled into Sofia just over an hour down.

However, it does seem the overnight will be withdrawn in December 2016 leaving just the daytime trains however this is far better for bashing purposes so to us at least is a great improvement and allows a fairly easy 661 bash, probably now the last stand of these EMD Veterans apart from some limited work in Macedonia.

Bulgarian Sevens, May 2016

That time again! I’d chosen dates poorly this year – Pirdop works is the midst of a two month shutdown for upgrade to the plant and to top it off the Tuesday was a full holiday (National Literature Day) with a bridge day on the preceding Monday. A great start for finding 87s on freight then…

Anyway, the first one we came across was obviously the old crate 87026 which was parked up as we headed from Sofia to Ruse. A priority was to cover the Bulmarket turns before the infestation of cans makes the Bulmarket four of 009/017/023/025 harder to find. However, we drew a blank covering the Polski Trambesh trips with not a loco to be seen. We then headed for Varna, which with no tank trains running we didn’t have great hopes for… The Varna area in my opinion is the best place to go for in Bulgaria with a great beach resort being a stones throw from the BZK Razdelna base combined with regular-ish service trains (all hauled) to get you to and from along a cracking bit of line and Razdelna usually producing something, albeit again there was a CFR 40 around which was the preferred traction to lead the daily train to Ruse. Over three days 87003, 004 & 020 were employed off Razdelna and the Bulmarket trip finally produced 87025 – typically in cloud! The previous and following day however it was an EA on a longer train, showing how fluid this turn is.

The rest of the 87 phots are around the usual Pirdop and Sofia haunts, with more traffic than expected moving around the later and a bonus that with two trains running daily the 40s were clearing off to Burgas leaving local trips and Dimitrovgrad workings in the hands of ‘sevens’. 019 was even brought off Poduyane as we were sunbathing awaiting 87007 to move – sometimes, you just get lucky!! Obviously 87026 was hanging around as well like it always is… Due to the shutdown at Pirdop, a number of sevens were parked up there, whilst there was some traffic moving including the gold vans which does suggest something in the works was in fact ticking over.

Also, I’ve closed off the old BG page whilst I work on massively expanding it to cover not just 87s but also BDZ as a general Bulgaria section; hopefully including fleet lists, diagrams and even booked freight paths which we have managed to acquire. This obviously may take some time!

Anyway, enough waffling, here are the photos:

Posted June 2, 2016 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Class 87s, Euro Nedding