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Israel November 2018

First new country I’ve done for a while! A first trip to Israel, not somewhere you would perhaps associate with one of the most intensive diesel bashes I’ve done yet. There is a basic north-south network from Haifa through Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva with a core section running through four Tel Aviv station. This sees up to 12tph loco-hauled in the peaks so is very much non-stop action. The passenger fleet consists of 86 locos which are all GM710 powered in three classes of which around 65 are in use each day with all but six passing through Tel Aviv spin city! As with the countries general profile the network is rapidly expanding with two new lines having opened in 2018 and a further extension imminent.

Israeli ’67’ clone 776 arrives at Tel Aviv University from the north. These are essentially the same as the UK ones except don’t appear to have ETH equipment as the stock contains a generator in the driving trailer.

One of the 1300s, (Eurolight 3200, IR 1301-1324) 1315 pushes away from Tel Aviv University with a service towards Ra’anana West which is a service group which runs from Be’er Sheva via Askelon on a secondary route. Sadly no 68-style thrash on these just the ying of a 710 power unit.

Off-peak, an hourly service runs between Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva. 774 pushes a rake of dostos out of Tel Aviv Savidor into the carriage sidings after arriving with the 1053 ex Be’er Sheva Central. The route though Tel Aviv is pinned between the two sections of the Avalon Highway as is the Avalon River seen here to the right.

1401 is a representative of the other Eurolight class, 1401-1415 (Eurolight 4000, Co-Co, 2011-2016) which were originally planned for freight duties but have been pressed into passenger use as the ever-expanding network requires further locos. A short rake is being pushed north to Ra’anana West which is a line shortly to be extended through to rejoin the mainline at Hertzliya.

Even the carts are familiar! A fleet of new to Israel and some ex-SJ “rubber ring” rancidity operate a near-hourly service between Hertzliya and Bet Smemesh, which is on the old route to Jerusalem. Some peak hour lash up were 5×3-car, in past years they have operated more services but reliability issues and strengthening requirements have seen there use retract. 751 (not the usual accompaniment to those numbers on this site!) is racing it north out of Tel Aviv Central to University where the line divides.

North of Haifa, the mainline to Nahriya has through services all day to Tel Aviv whilst the branches to Karmiel and Bet Shean are operated by six self-contained sets which are the only locos you can’t spin at Tel Aviv. Karmiel then has peak trains through to Be’er Sheva in the south whilst the (newish) Bet Shean branch is worked by short rakes of single-decker Alsthom stock with the peak additionals being carts.  I think 1320 at Haifa Central has come in from Karmiel and will terminate at Haifa Hofcarmel. We spent longer than planned getting back to Tel Aviv due to some riot occurring, thankfully it wasn’t one of the regular security issues and just some railway farce but about the only time we spent slightly worried about what was going on!

Skips 733 and 769 at Tel Aviv Savidor Center under a part of the very shiny and tall Tel Aviv skyline. It was much more Americanised than i expected – this is the usual reaction according to most of the locals we talked too. It’s not a cheap country (similar to Switzerland rather than Scandinavia) but I’d recommend it for a bash thats a bit different. We did Tel Aviv beach, Haifa and Jerusalem between the peaks in our three days and could have done with another to do more of the track, or I’d have been more than happy with another day on Tel Aviv beach!

The new order… Traxx 187 clone 3004 at the new Jerusalem Navon station deep under the new town. This is a “high speed” link slowly, very slowly, being built and then electrified to Tel Aviv with eventual grand plans to wire the network. However its taken them 10 years to get the relatively short section of new line from here to Tel Aviv Airport open. Even then thats the extent of the wires, when the locos/stock require attention they have to be dragged back to Lod depot by the thunderbird diesel! Jerusalem by the way was fascinating, so I’m glad this line had opened as we would have been unlikely to have bothered via the old line as thats solid ‘rubber ring’ territory due to the state of the track. The new line technically also passes through the occupied West Bank but for nearly all of said mileage has been hidden underground.


Ticketing was as easy as anywhere I’ve done. A ‘Ravkat’ is the local smartcard and there are area, mixed area (ie Tel Aviv and Haifa, no leaving stations in between the two areas) and national day rovers which are also integrated for buses and trams. The amount of big guns being carted around by youngsters going to/from national service does take a bit of getting used to. Whilst every station does have a security checkpoint on entry this is pretty laid back (well as long as you are the right color – I won’t say any more of the politics!) and once you are through the gateline are free to spin as you please. We did attempt to blend in and not hover too long at stations away from Savidor Central – largely due to wedged platforms making it difficult anyway – but no questions asked about what we were up to. Can’t think of much else to add so just a thanks to Dan for the trip organizing and Sutty and Denzil (amongst others) for gen and help. Any questions there should be a comment box and I’ll do my best.


Posted December 4, 2018 by redcow87015 in Euro Nedding, Israel, Uncategorized

Last August Trip


No, no, don’t be too surprised but we started this with a bit of linesiding at Praha Liben! 122016 whines downgrade into the yard with a set of empty hoppers.


Inward “Yellow Train” with 193206 on its final leg of the 404km run of the 1030 Wien – Praha


130016 brings some steel coils into Liben shortly after. That was enough for me leaving my more photo-focused friend here whilst I did a couple of moves.


121084 at Ceska Trebova stopped to await the redcaps instructions before continuing towards Pardubice


ELL sub-leased 193220 on the 0748 Praha-Kosice. Within a week or so use of these black Vectrons had ceased (for now anyway!) with enough Regiojet Traxx 386’s in use to do away with the requirement for these.


Despite the cold weather on Saturday morning, a national kettle ban was in place off the back of a long hot summer. 720509 gets away from Krupa with the 0957 Luzna – Kolesovice tourist train down the otherwise closed line. This had worked for much of the summer, strangely a Posazavsky Pacifik loco rather than the more obvious – you’d think – CD Museum loco off Luzna being used to cover the steam.


Sigh. 749250 had been quoted for a kettle turn Luzna to Chomutov. This is distinctly goggle shaped 753101 upon arrival, as the field I’d leapt off the 720 at was the very opposite of a position of strength. Time for a re-hash…


I was a lot more pleased to see this goggle! 754051 was kicked out vice 854 on the 1512 Praha – Ceske Bud taken to Pribram where it is seen goggling away from. There are no prizes for working out what comes next, by the way.


749121, Pribram, 1723 Breznice – Praha. Enough said. Bonus diversion via Rudna with the handle wide open away from Beroun, day redeemed from the mornings bowl out!


Aah, back to normal weather Sunday. Day out to Jicin with 749259 seen here after arrival on the 0809 ex Praha Vrsovice. Due to engineering work it had left Praha as a combined train (749006 leading) to Kralupy and then across to Neratovice to resume normal route.


OBB still can’t be bothered with the idea of matching locos and stock together. “Cargo” 1216 228 shoves a Railjet out of Brno heading for Praha


754067 trundles through Brno with a Cl.560 unit trailer in tow for reasons, this was the loco for the 1128 Brno – Stare Mesto u H rather than new 754019 which had been shown as working the earlier part of the diagram then got lost in the Malmorice whirlpool.


380008 at Hodonin on the 0520 Katowice – Wien which takes a rake of Polish stock for a wander.

Rest of trip: Class 242 photos page, 151/350 “Gorilla” action & of course the 2018 Class 210 Canoe gala

Posted September 26, 2018 by redcow87015 in Czech Republic, Euro Nedding, Uncategorized

Praha Gorillas, August ’18

Another short post as I’m finding time to get through the last trip. Here we have a small gallery of the excellent ‘Gorillas’ both ZSSK dual voltage and the Czech DC versions. A 150’2 would have been nice to complete the set but these now have a limited scope of work compared to the last few years. Half of these are even lineside (admittedly, only at Liben)! So then, more photos of top engines…


151007 at Liben on the 1224 Praha Zilina, our taxi move out to Liben


350018 roars away on the 1324 Praha Zilina. Right toss up what is a smarter livery between the modern ZSSK and CD colours, both suiting these locos and stock well.


Only a few kms to go for EC 116 the 0539 Warsaw Wschodnia – Praha which has been in the more than capable hands of 151016 from Bohumin. The modern CD livery really looks good in full rakes like this with the darker bodyside on the resturants (second vehicle) adding interest.


Damn cloud! 151023 retains original ‘DC’ livery with orange stripe and is heading for Ostrava on the 1342 ex Praha which is a semi-permanent substitution for a “rancid snake” cart.


151019 1424 Praha Warsaw. If only all long distance trains in Europe remained long trains of quality stock (with a full barcar of course) with decent endemic power on the front…


Carrying an earlier version of CD blue, 151004 arrives at Praha with the empties from Praha ONJ (CSD) for the 0824 Zilina. In very NSE fashion this livery style gave way to flat bands rather than sloped colours at the locos end.  Flatiron 111031 shows off its shiny colours in the current blue livery as station pilot too.


And to finish on the very first. There was a bit of a shambles occoruing at Praha which saw 350001 line up alongside 151001 which is nice. Heritage Slovak repaint ‘001 working the delayed 1751 Bratislava, had fetching 350016 to go inside from the HS then the sleeper from another platform and then a prolonged brake test meaning 151001 arrived alongside on the 1824 Navsi. 350001 dates from 1973, pretty good going for early high speed dual voltage technology – 43 of the 47 CSD gorillas built remain in traffic with the only lost examples being serious accident damage.

Posted September 5, 2018 by redcow87015 in Czech Republic, Euro Nedding, Uncategorized

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Bocq Gala 2018


6247 & 6304 spent all day relaxing at Ciney with a long PW train. Somehow the Brussels-Luxembourg line is still a building site even though it had been many years since I had trundled down it…


Presumably painted into green for the event – a very rough job – 5528 was about to kick things off with the 0935 out of Ciney. The big GM was a visitor from TUC Rail which is itself a division of SNCB Infrastructure now known as Infrabel.


PFT have AFB 5205 as the resident mainline diesel at Bocq again seen at Ciney about to head up to Spontin. 6219 was on the rear, all trains being top and tail on this section improved the moves especially with the amount of locos in use.


The modern Infrabel livery was represented with 6316 caught in the sun at Spontin prior to heading back to Ciney.


Some modern tat was there to bring in the scratch merchants with HSL shed 653-03 and also a ex-NS 6400 glorified shunter. By miles the least interesting GM of the day leaves Spontin.


5205 at Spontin pausing on the 1435 ex Ciney whilst they shuffled the locos on the rear.


A biggie even in days of old by most accounts, 6305 in proper colours is also seen here at Spontin during a shunt. The paintwork indicative of sadly how little these locos do now being restricted entirely to infrastructure duties.


Many years of the Amsterdam-Brussels Benelux circuit being worked by SNCB locos and NS stock has now been broken with services formed of NS stock and both NS 186’s – 008 & 010 top and tail this set – and SNCB 28s. It now operates over the high-speed line between Antwerp and Amsterdam including a reversal via Breda.


Something a little different, heritage ‘break’ cart 650 arrives at Angluer with a local from Liege to Verviers. I’m sure like many veteran carts across Europe these are long promised to be withdrawn!

Posted August 15, 2018 by redcow87015 in Uncategorized

West Slovakia Cargo Tour, Feb 2018

Another superb “Grumpy Railtours” operation through KZC taking 749259 from Prague across to Slovakia and a couple of days around Zilina where some juicy Slovak Cargo locos were booked to join the festivities. I was booked on the late Friday Stansted-Prague and the clock watching had begun long before a pair of 379s and EI-DCI finally got me away from work and into play!

KZC-749259-OLOMOUCSaturday morning and a pause at Olomouc to remove a coach (KZC positioning move) meant time for a quick phot and raid of Pontmark for some breakfast supplies. We had grabbed a compo in the tolerated ned section of the front coach and settled in to enjoy many hours of “bardotka” music for the next four days and suddenly all ills had been left at home…!

ZSSK-751112-MackovAfter reaching Zilina via the Horni Lidec route we had 751112 added to work in top and tail mode to Zwardon (well the signal outside) and Mackov where it is seen here. Shortly after this the unit departed and the floodlights were turned off which given the underfoot conditions wasn’t ideal for fifty people trying to pile back onboard with cameras and/or beers in hand!

KZC-749259-ZSSK-771054-RajecSunday morning, and it was a visit to the Rajec branch. The provided Chemelak was a loud 771054 (blowing my 770 loud / 771 stuffed theory up in the process) and is seen here during a double run-round with 749259 which was doing its best to warm the train up.

ZSSK-771054-Rajec771054 ready to return us from Rajec to Zilina, presumably its freight didn’t run on Sunday which allowed us to have it. The following two days it was heard making a racket as it departed Zilina presumably for Rajec again on the morning wagonload.

ZSSK-751191-Ruzomberok-Male751191 was doing the bulk of the days work and is seen here at the very end of the freight only branch to Ruzomberok Male (home of trolleydog!). This is a 2km stub of the former narrow gauge line to Korytnica (closed 1974) and passes right through town leading to some bemused locals as we trundled there and back.

ZSSK-751191-Medzibrodie-nad-OravouThe afternoon was taken to do table 181 to Trstena, in wintry conditions 751191 is seen at Medzibrodie nad Oravou after we had done the siding to the Siroka steelworks with a bonus scratch with their private lego brick 704 bringing us back atop 749259, just because they could be all accounts and I don’t think there were any complaints aomngst those on the train

ZSSK-751191-PodbielPhotostop at Podbiel further up the Trstena line, for a change the ever present CSD station floodlight was in the right place for a change!

ZSSK-751191-Oravsky-PozamokThe days dinner stop was at Oravsky Podzamok for a brewery visit albeit we hadn’t been quick enough to sign up so just popped to a local resturant and had plenty of time to grab some photos using improvised tripods. I really like this view of 751191 lit up nicely.

KZC-749259-Horna-StubnaDay three and 749259 at Horni Lidec in excellent conditions after climbing up from Diviacky. Not sure if ‘259 had any issues (the EH was being turned on and off a lot) but the driving was noticeably steady although the climbs en-route meant even this meant a decent amount of noise.

ZSSK-751204-PrievidzaOne we didn’t have – 751204 on the fueller at Prievidza

ZSSK-751047-Prievidza751047 at Prievidza during a short blast with it from Prievidza Yard to Nitrianske Pravno. Shame it couldn’t have stopped on for longer back up to Horna Stubna as I thought this one sounded really good and the driver was certainly up for it!

KZC-749259-Horni-LidecAfter completing a Prievidza – Horna Stubna – Zvolen – Banska Bystrica – Zilina circuit the previous day, all that was left for ‘259 to get us back to Prague on the Tuesday. Seen here just back into Czecho at Horni Lidec after running round ready to head down the branch to Bynlice. Due to a points failure we were the best part of ninety late from here through to Prague going via Brno, Jihlava and Kutna Hora. The inconsequential delay was about the only thing that wasn’t like clockwork for the four days, a superb tour spent with great company, cheers chaps!



Posted February 18, 2018 by redcow87015 in Czech Republic, Euro Nedding, Slovakia, Uncategorized

87s Abroad Abroad

Just in case Bulgaria wasn’t exotic enough for a retirement party, the fleet of sevens based there also manage to work onto other foreign soils…


Whilst BZK are part owned by Romanian GFR, any obvious international working from Ruse is stopped by the lack of an electrified route over the Danube and up to Videle on the Bucharest mainline. The new crossing between Vidin and Golenti is electrified but again then is isolated from the rest of Romania by an unelectrified stretch up to Criaiova, and has no known freight traffic. It should be noted that many BZK trains are worked into Romania, but GFR have a fleet of ex CFR 60 types (and also some ex-Chinese ND2s!) which handle these. Similarily, Bulmarket use Romanian carriers beyond Ruse.

However, one working has surfaced. 87012 was sent for overhaul at Reloc (Electroputere) Craiova and upon completion a single photo of the loco, pan up, emerged.. Courtesy of “EA1-Belbita-108”

87012, believed to be at Craiova, Romania, on a test run off overhaul at the former Electroputere Works. January 2015.

Verdict: Once only, 87012 on a test run(s)


Bulgarian locos have a long history of working onto Serb soil at Dimitrovgrad (ZS) which is a few KMs beyond the border point at Kalotina Zapad. Whilst some BDZ diesels have worked through in the past due to a Serb loco situation often even more desperate than the Bulgarian one, the route to Nis is diesel which precludes 87s working any further. There is a booked trip from Ilyantsi daily under BZK operation which takes wagons fed from across the country and also less regular Bulmarket workings. They will be worked through Serbia by a ZS 661 – if only the passenger trains were the same!!

Verdict: Regular, BZK and Bulmarket with all sorts of wagons

87026 at Dragoman, the limit of domestic Bulgarian operations. Serbia is to the west behind the train through a pass in the mountains to Dimitrovgrad (ZS)


December 2016 saw completion of electrification between Dimitrovgrad (BG) and Kapikule which allowed electric operation between Bulgaria and the European side of the Bosphorus. As far as I am aware, Bulgarian locos (well, non-TCDD locos!) work to Kapikule and then hand over to TCDD. Bulmarket have a few regular trains which are worked by their own engines to Kapikule, the locos then return light to Svilengrad on the Bulgarian side to stable. Traffic includes a transit intermodal to Servia and also general traffic to/from Ruse, both of which have been pictured in the hands of sevens, albeit generally in mixed pairs.

Verdict: Semi-regular appearances by the Bulmarket four under usual Bulmarket anything goes loco allocation

Not bad for a class brought for a single mainline to be seeing these sights, and who knows what might happen if Turkey ever embraces open-access, with a tunnel under the Bosphorus perhaps Asia beckons!!?

Posted November 27, 2017 by redcow87015 in Uncategorized

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.