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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…

bdz-07106-varna

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!!

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

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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

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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.

bdz-45149-sindel

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

bdz-07106-denvia

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!

bdz-55195-denvia

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.

bdz-55206-beloslav

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!

bdz-87013-razdelna

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

bdz-44137-sindel

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

pink-192962

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.

bdz-46007-46033-sindel

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

bdz-45163-sindel

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

bm-86205-3004-86235-87025

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

bm-87025-sindel

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!

bm-55162-87025-varna

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!!

bm-87025-varna

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

bzk-87013-razdelna-1

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.

 

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Slovakia Quick Trip

Only a Friday to Sunday outing this. Flew with Wizz to Brno and the pilot being a merchant meant I made the lunchtime EC to Bratislava. One goulash and dark Kozel later, 380015 deposited me at Bratislava where I wa basically setting up the deckchair for the afternoon rush hour. The plan was to cover the various afternoon trains booked for ZSSK’s finest electrics the venerable 240s which are slowly but surely losing work and on paper have little off-peak work around Bratislava. I’d barely sat down when winner 240100 rolled in vice 362 on an inbound from Banska Bystrica. With the outbound Banksa also in the hands of a Laminátka it was looking good as these were 362 diagrams. Picked up 240046 on a peak Nove Zamky and then a winning 361 whilst waiting for 240100 to go back – thankfully this survived the Bratislava whirlpool and was taken out for a run to intercept the next inbound which also produced a 240 vice 362.

A welcome development was the use of these old girls on most of the Bratislava-Zvolen route services rather than the booked 362 “box”. Not long after I’d arrived 240100 arrived into Bratislava on 1359 arrival from Banksa Bystrica. This was a winner, so a nervy two hour wait to hope it went back out on the 1601…it did!

240046 shows the classes interesting body lines well as it sits prior to working the 1501 Nove Zamky

I had a transit move to Prievidza on the 1839 off Bratislava which meant I could cover just one more 240 turn, and was aghast to see required 240036 on the train but dead inside a poxy 263. Not content with bowling me out for 242s around Brno the Slovak ones were now getting in on the act too! Slightly miffed I at least had 240068 vice 363 to Leopoldov for a new goggle in 757015 up to Prievidza by which time I was in need of an early night.

Saturday was the main event – a Prievidzský Parostrojný spolok charter from Prievidza to Vrutky that I’d seen advertised on the main nostalgia poster on my last visit. I’d been in contact by email and they ahd advised the outward would actually be steam hauled but I was welcome to travel on the “fire train” with 751131, so I was a little unsure what to expect as I rocked up at a cloudless Prievidza on Saturday morning. What I wasn’t expecting was big and orange 749248! However this was shut down on a water tank and noises from elsewhere suggested ‘131 wasn’t far away and sure enough it soon backed on two real ZSSK compo coaches. After eventually finding the right organiser and told to make myself at home I took the front compo behind ‘248 for a loud climb up to Horna Stubna with the water tank and dead loco adding decent weight. After reversal at Horna Stubna 751131 duly entered the book – thankfully no fireman sam stops were required!

This was what I’d turned out for! 751131 had been advertised on a PPS charter from Prievidza to Vrutky, which then turned into a kettle with the 751 on the fire train. Fair play to the organisers who were more than happy to seat me on it – I was pretty glad when two coaches were attached to the tank wagon! – and 749248 was put on the front for a loud ascent to Horna Stubna

Said 749248 is seen here pausing at Handlova during a pathing stop

It was all action at Horna Stubna, we arrived as the kettle was running round and, 754069 is seen awaiting time on the 1017 Prievidza (hauled on weekends) and there was even a few Cargo 736s shunting some wagons (with logs on, obviously)

749246 looking good on display at Vrutky. Still a winner this, one to keep an eye on!

The open day had a good selection of diesel and electric power on display, here 771093 and 140047 are seen with a ZOS 742 behind.

751131 at Vrutky Museum having formed up the return charter which it worked throughout back to Prievidza

There was around four hours at the open day, which had a decent selection of diesel and electric power positioned for photos if you had more patience than me to wait for people to get out the way. After a fill in electric move to Zilina for a beer I also scooped juicy double electric 131041/131042 pushing a PW trolley up and down a siding with lots of normals – desperate indeed! 751131 worked throughout solo on load six, the sustained climb to Horna Stubna from a standing start at Turcianksa Teplice was slow and loud, just the way it should be!! Connected into the afternoon R train back to Bratislava with double duds in 757019 and 361102 – with hindsight I probably should have leapt for a 736 we crossed on a vice DMU turn but didn’t fancy the late finish and unit miles this would have meant!

240022 in its unique livery pauses at Sa’a on the 0801 Bratislava – Banksa Bystrica

Same place as usual for 751203, parked at Devinska Nova Vez between banking duties. This one could do with going through works and having its pesky silencer removed!

Sunday isn’t the most productive day around Bratislava so I headed out for some 240 miles to Sa’la on more Banska Bytsrica R trains that were 240 vice 362, 022 out for 098 back. Took advantage of a winning ‘Tony’ in 2016 021 on the 1038 Wien before setting up for a few photos awaiting the EC to Brno where I was again taking advantage of cheaper flights.

Gorilla 350012 and a rake of aircons look smart as they rollout of Bratislava with the 1155 Kosice. They didn’t hold this for a late running EC…

…which was 380006 seen here departing Bratislava via the trainspotting platform for Budapest

Shortly followed by 240098 on the 1201 Banksa Bystrica. All aircons at the front of this one which if they were working properly could be welcome in the heat.

Due to yet more engineering work around Brno, all north to south through services are going via the avoider all summer calling at Brno Dolni vice the Hlavni. Parked up were two FAUR LDH125s, ex CSD 748537 / 538 if the numbers are to be believed. I’d actually planned to get one of the Breclav locals that still run in (and terminate) at Brno Hlavni, but my 242 leap was thwarted by a poxy 263 being on the front of the train so I flagged it!

1216 235 shoves away from Brno Dolni with the 1025 Graz to Praha. I’m not convinced the use of Dolni is going to work very well, there isn’t exactly much there and a very small waiting area for two narrow platforms (and a foot crossing of the lines) seems like a bit of a recipe for chaos!

Posted June 6, 2017 by redcow87015 in Euro Nedding, Slovakia, Uncategorized

Dartmouth Rat, 13 May

The Paignton and Dartmouth Railway has this year continued its subtle but important (to me!) move to increase diesel working and more importantly, letting people know and making a good show of it. From the odd trip of the last couple of years, this Spring has seen three full days advertised with 25185 working three round trips. The decent load and steep climb mean thrash is almost guaranteed and the 25 is back in good order rather than limping along as it did a decade ago.

The change at Paignton is perhaps best shown before I’d even got there – some GWR cart had sat down at Exeter St Thomas so having suffered the early start and long tram drag via Bristol it looked like I’d miss the first trip as we bounced into Paignton 15 late at 1120 for an 1115 Dartmouth departure. Having resigned myself to an early lunch, the Paignton crews had other ideas with someone looking out for runners and being ushered straight onto the train – far ‘better’ preserved lines could learn a lot.

Three round trips with a well loaded front coach, decent weather and the 6LDA thrashing away made it well worth the trek West.

The next advertised day is Friday 26 May – recommended!

130517_25185_Dartmouth

A good crowd for a humble ‘rat’, the gallery lines up for 25185 at Dartmouth, running round to form the 1200 to Paignton

130517-25185-Churston

The weather was far better than forecast, showing off the early blue variant carried by 25185 to good extent during a Churston photstop on the 1300 Paignton – Dartmouth

130517-25185-Paignton

The last trip was amended to run a touch earlier to connect with a return ADEX easier, which meant we were looped at Paignton Queens Road to pass the kettle, another quick stop for photos before the last bit round the corner

Posted May 21, 2017 by redcow87015 in Uncategorized

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!

Bulgarian Passenger 44/45 Fleet List

BDZ.44082

Real. 44082 rolls into Sindel with the morning Varna to Sofia ‘IC’ formed of a brake and five Y-wagen.

Next part of the ongoing Bulgarian information development, a page is now added with the operational status of Class 44 & Class 45 Skoda’s that form the bulk of the BDZ-Passenger Fleet.

 

Loco Depot Status Note
44001r Sofia Operational Ex-44104, bent Koncar rebuild
44002r Sofia Operational Ex-44145, bent Koncar rebuild
44058 Plovdiv* Withdrawn
44060 Plovdiv Operational
44061 Plovdiv Operational
44062 Varna Operational
44063 Plovdiv Operational
44064 Plovdiv Withdrawn Sold to CZMO for scrap 12/2016
44065 Varna Operational
44066 Varna Operational
44070 Plovdiv Operational
44074 Sofia Withdrawn Fire damage 2013. Scrapped?
44076 Plovdiv Operational “Pinky”
44081 Sofia Toasted Atjos fire 04/2016. Dumped on Plovdiv. Complete wreck.
45082 Plovdiv Operational 2016 renumbering
44085 Sofia Repairs* Oh yes, more fire damage (Sahrane, 06/2016)
44087 Sofia Withdrawn
44088 Varna Operational
44089 Sofia Withdrawn Fire damage at Resen 07/2011
44090 Sofia Operational
44094 Stara Z Operational
44096 Sofia Wrecked Total fire damage near Karnobat 09/2016
44098 Sofia Operational
44099 Plovdiv Operational
44100 Sofia Operational
44105 Gorna Operational
44106 Gorna Operational
44107 Gorna Operational “The Wanderer”
44109 Gorna Operational
44111 Gorna Operational
45113 Plovdiv Operational
44114 Gorna Operational
44115 Gorna Withdrawn Sold to CZMO 12/2016 for scrap
44117 Gorna Operational
44118 Gorna Withdrawn Sold to CZMO 12/2016 for scrap
44121 Gorna Operational
44125 Gorna Operational
44126 Gorna Operational
44127 Gorna Operational
44128 Gorna Operational
44130 Plovdiv Operational
44131 Plovdiv Withdrawn For sale 12/2016
44132 Plovdiv Operational
44134 Plovdiv Operational
44137 Gorna Operational
44138 Gorna Operational*
44140 Sofia Operational
44141 Gorna Toasted Bonfire at Svoboda 08/2016
44144 Sofia Operational
45146 Mezdra Operational
45147 Mezdra Operational
45149 Sofia Operational
44150 Plovdiv Stored*
44151 Sofia Operational
45153 Plovdiv Scrapped Kaloyanovets Crash 2014
45155 Plovdiv Operational
45157 Sofia Withdrawn
45158 Mezdra Operational
44159 Mezdra Operational ex 45149
45160 Mezdra Operational
45162 Mezdra Operational
44169 Plovdiv Operational
45170 Mezdra Stored
45171 Mezdra Operational
45172 Mezdra Operational
45173 Mezdra Operational
45174 Sofia Operational
45175 Mezdra Operational
45176 Mezdra Operational
45177 Mezdra Operational
44178 Sofia Operational
44179 Sofia Operational
45180 Mezdra Operational
45180 Mezdra Operational
45181 Mezdra Stored
45182 Mezdra Operational*
45183 Mezdra Operational
45185 Plovdiv Operational
45189 Gorna Operational
45190 Gorna Operational
44191 Gorna Operational
45192 Gorna Operational
45193 Mezdra Stored Sold to CZMO 12/2016 for scrap
45195 Mezdra Operational
45196 Gorna Stored Inside shed for overhaul?*
45197 Gorna Operational
44198 Sofia Operational Restricted duties*
45199 Mezdra Operational
44201 Gorna Operational
45202 Gorna Operational
44204 Gorna Operational

BDZ-PP Class 44 & 45 Locos.
Skoda 68E1-E7, 1975-1983. Bo-Bo, 4210hp.

BDZ.45149

Posted March 5, 2017 by redcow87015 in Uncategorized

‘002 on footex duties

A quick phot from South Hampstead of 87002 working a delayed 1514 Euston – Stoke footex for Tottenham. This is the third of the current batch of GB operated ones which are for football ticket holders only combined with the risk of the canjunk (although that obviously seems to do most of the available class 1s as ever) and rancid timings – this comes as back as a really sociable 2310 from Stoke tonight, 0151 at Euston!

87002 South Hampstead

87002 South Hampstead

Posted April 18, 2016 by redcow87015 in Uncategorized

Long Marston Flashback

June 2007, and a visit to the graveyard at Long Marston MOD site where 19 off-lease sevens were standing forlorn after retirement from WC duties. By this time there was the impressive, if depressing, sight of the locos being placed in a single line bookended by equally forlorn DVTs. Wandering up a silent line of what would have been almost 100,000hp worth of fine traction was sobering enough and a few of these locos never turned a wheel in anger again, although perhaps less than we’d have really expected then. Most however gained another lease of life – and were certainly a big factor in sparking my personal interest in euro-cranking!

The locos were: 87010 (2015 status – BZK), 87004 BZK, 87013 BZK, 87014 BZK (oos), 87033 BZK, 87030 cut, 87021 cut, 87011 cut, 87017 Bulmarket, 87029 BZK, 87018 cut, 87023 Bulmarket, 87032 cut, 87003 BZK, 87025 Bulmarket, 87020 BZK, 87027 cut, 87034 BZK, 87009 Bulmarket.

Of those not present (from memory!) 87005/015/016/024/101 had already been scrapped, 031 was dumped at Tyseley to follow with 001/035 preserved. 87012/019 were out paving the way for others to follow in Bulgaria and GBRf had 006/022/028 for dragging 325s around whilst 002/007/008/026 were stored at Wembley. Most of those then also ended up at Long Marston where some of the preparatory rehabilitation and repainting was done prior to export for Bulgaria.

Allocated plug for Bulgarian 87 page 😉 

Posted October 20, 2015 by redcow87015 in Uncategorized