2011 PTG Railtour

“Bulgarian Track Bash 3” – Portugese Traction Group, October 2011

Well, the last day of it anyway! The rest of the tour had covered various track with BDZ locos whereas a small band of us had arranged a day-only fare just for the 87.

Friday 7th October

Here we go! 87006 at Varna doing a very non-Bulgarian attachment by stopping short and not just banging into the stock at Varna

With the sun just breaking over the blocks 87006 was just dropping off Varna shed, where we had seen it the previous night, as we stocked up on provisions from a couple of huts and piled in the front coach, one of 3 well presented BDZ ‘Y-wagen’ classic compo coaches which were forming the train. Not long after our 07.35 departure we were soon bodging the window to stay open as it appeared to have an unofficial self-closing mechanism as ‘006 bounced over the pointwork through Varna Spirka.

We were running as BV8694 all the way to Sofia despite not taking the direct route, and after rolling past the pretty and not so pretty parts of the lakeside section we took the mainline at Sindel passing the saltpans and big rocks en-route to Shumen. From here we were onto new track for the class down the heavily-forested branch to Komunari, returning to the more usual route there and down to Karnobat which included a couple of impromptu photo stops whilst we waiting passing trains including a diverted Istanbul – Bucharest overnight which. A tad withered at Karnobat to see 61010 parked on a Burgas local we’d covered the previous day to be greeted with a RVR ‘red’ unit, cheers then! Anyway there was no getting off a seven and we headed on, back to single line from Zimnica though to Stara Zagora where there was a needed lunch stop.

87006 Stara Zagora

Stara Zagora

And at Chirpan waiting for a Desiro

87006 Plovdiv

Running round at Plovdiv

Progress from Stara Zagora to Plovdiv was fairly sedate, heading through a large section of SLW where the adjacent line was being rebuilt (they finally finished in December 2016 with 160km/h from Plovdiv to Burgas) and then taking the ‘avoider’ into Plovdiv from Skutare to Filipovo which means that a section of the mainline remains required for a seven. The hoped for shunt release at Plovdiv didn’t happen with ‘006 running around on one of the through platforms and then following the daily Varna – Plovdiv – Sofia IC forward, which had left about 90 minutes behind us. It was in the hands of a juicy diamond panned 43310, but with only some hesitation I stuck with the tour!


We had another 45 minutes or so break at Septembri which to be honest by this time was getting a bit tedious after but then a fairly quick run back to Sofia brought an enjoyable finale as 87006 depositied us back into Platform 1 at Sofia and was rapidly unhooked and dispacted light to Pirdop and its usual freight duties after a day of “Class 1” glory!

Journey’s end, and 600+ kms later 87006 arrived at Sofia (just when the first platform was shiny!) Not the sharpest phot but worth including I think.

Sadly, that was the last railtour to feature a class 87 in Bulgaria with seemingly little to no prospect of anything in the future 😦

Posted August 21, 2017 by redcow87015

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