2011 LCGB Railtour   Leave a comment

“Steam in Bulgaria 2011” (!!) – LCGB, May 2011

Well, the last day of it anyway! To our surprise LCGB were advertising a ‘seven’ on the last day of an otherwise steam-orientated travel and spotting charter around Bulgaria, so we (eventually) managed to arrange a day-only fare just for the 87. This time we were certainly the only ones to do so!!

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Friday 6th May

We made the long trek down from Veliko Tarnovo to the station with plenty of time to pick up 44105 and then 44093 as our machines to Pleven, overtaking a 55 on three green coaches en-route which we deduced was likely to be the tour stock. Sure enough not long behind us 55195 rolled in and trying to find the right man was cut short as we twigged the stock was over the foot crossing the 55 was going to draw forward and, well, it was a winner! Red pens back in pocket, we were soon told that there were no seats for us so that made the decision that the front vestibule was where we were setting up camp. Given the glorious weather this was no hardship and it was soon clear that the stock wasn’t ordinary – the Royal Train of King Boris had been provided which meant the accomodation was a combination of couchette and saloon type cars. 87004 was soon attached, a substitute for a sadly unavailable 87010 which had been planned but was stopped for transformer repairs on the day of the race. Still ‘004 would certainly look the part and must be one of very few locos to have worked the Royal Train of two entirely different nations?

We left Pleven spot on 10.00 and what was a straight run up the mainline to Sofia via Mezdra was certainly going to be dragged out – we duly stopped round the corner at Pleven Zapad for the days first photo stop! Here some kettle “wag” commented it was the “wrong Brittania” and was duly asked why he was on it then… To be fair most others made us welcome as eccentric gatecrashers of their tour, I don’t think any of them used the desperate word which would have been pretty fair!

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87004 Mezdra working Pleven to Sofia LCGB 2011 Railtour

After Mezdra was what we had really been waiting for, a seven through the Iskar Gorge and a warn sunny day to boot. This is a superb 50-mile stretch of line in a steep canyon through the Stara Planina mountain range as the line cuts south to Sofia from the northern plains. Watching the progress on the various hydro-electric schemes changing the nature of the Iskar itself, we stopped every now and then, such as at Elisyna…

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…and then on to Lakatnik where we stopped for more photos. These remain some of my personal favourites so I make no apologies for posting three.

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Superb!! 87004 at Lakatnik working 2011 LCGB Railtour

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The driver looks a bit confused at all the fuss as ‘004 sits at Lakatnik

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Shortly before departure the train drew forward towards the run round road which really shows the imposing wall of rock behind the station

I’ve certainly spent worse afternoons than catching the sun from the front window behind 87004 for its run into Sofia! Don’t appear to have taken a photo upon arrival so I suspect the sun was pony or the plus onto our next move was a bit tight.

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Posted August 20, 2017 by redcow87015

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