Archive for the ‘Bulgaria’ Category

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 A truly heritage Bedford lorry where the metal poles to hold a load in had busted and been replaced by some twigs being the favourite!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

Bulgaria September 2015

Still a top place! Most things managed to eventually fall into place nicely again for 2015’s Bulgaria trip, usual circular trip to cover the ground. Managed a dozen new BDZ locos and added a few more to the ‘active winners’ list for the next trip! Storming around behind classic Skoda electrics in fresh air compos, driven hard on single lines with little to no gen, let alone diagrams, perhaps bashing in its simplest form. Between trains 😉 managed a few phots of EA’s and also a pair of OBB Taurus which have now spread their wings this far East.

We also did the International service between Sofia-Budapest which goes over the new Danube II bridge between Vidin and Golenti. Due to Craiova airport being shut we then transitted home via Bucharest. Rumour has to this service, if it survives, will be retimed into an overnight for 2016 so perhaps good to do it in daylight.


Captions on each photos page

Obviously you’ll also want to look at the 87 phots, won’t you…?


Posted October 3, 2015 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Denmark, Euro Nedding, Romania

Bulgarian Sevens, September 2015

It was that time again – the annual pilgrimage to Bulgaria had arrived. You probably know the drill by now, so I’ll leave the photos to do most of the talking. Pirdop & Razdelna dominate as usual, plus the bonus this year of viewing (if with poor phots) all four Bulmarket machines. This included, on the penultimate day and totally unexpected, 009 at Levski, it had been a long long time since I’d seen that one.

Accounted for during the week were: 003 006 009 010 012 013 014 017 019 020 023 025 026 028 029 & 034


BZK Gen: We headed to Pirdop for the afternoon where the usual stabled locos were shunted onto the evening eastbound departures, these being tanks headed for Razdelna which seemed at usual levels but also with the usual favouritism of having a CFR 40 leading. Due to daytime engineering work on the Pirdop line however the timings just didn’t work out for phots en-route.

The Razdelna-Ruse daily mixed freight was again the phot ‘banker’ (it was 026, obviously!) with Razdelna just about being light enough to do a morning session around the yard as the service trains are running earlier again.  September is really too late in the year for this it seems.

Bulmarket: The only solid runner viewed was a afternoon Ruse-Dolno Esperovo tanks which was 87023 when crossed but then an EA the following two days when photting would have been on! We were surprised to see a triple header trip heading back up the Ruse line from Polski Trambesh (previously always a single EA) and then 009 heading for Sofia with a short set of tanks. With Bulmarket reported to be under offer by PKP Cargo changes could perhaps be afoot here anyway!

Posted September 15, 2015 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Class 87s, Uncategorized

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Bulgaria (BDZ) May 2014

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.

Click here for the BZK and Bulmarket 87 phots on a seperate page! 

Posted May 28, 2014 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Euro Nedding

Bulgarian Sevens, May 2014

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…

For the non-87 BDZ (and a few other bits, some 92 nonsense etc) goodness, click here

Posted May 21, 2014 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Class 87s, Euro Nedding