BZK – Bulgarian Railway Company / Българска железопътна компания – is the main freight operator of importance! Part of the Romanian Group Ferovair Roman with minority stakes held by various Bulgarian business’, BZK was the first Bulgarian Open-Access outfit and used a handful of ex-CFR ’40s’. Seventeen ‘sevens’ were eventually purchased as well as a few trip/shunting locos of both BDZ and CFR origin.
The core traffic of BZK is acid tanks operating between the Copper Works at Pirdop and the Port of Varna at Razdelna. Generally three trainloads of the distinctive tanks operate daily and coming in at 2000+ ton and the fearsome Bulgarian gradients three locos are usually used, sometimes more! Other traffic runs regularly to Burgas, Sofia and Ruse as well as odd workings anywhere in Bulgaria. But more of that later…
All BZK locos are on paper based at Pirdop, however maintenance and heavy repairs are carried out at both Express Services, Ruse and at Koncar Podujane. As well as the mainline electrics, they have a couple of ex-CFR 60 diesels and various 52/55 type shunters, and both 87s and 40s work across the country.
Class 40 Electroputere Co-Cos ex CFR
BZK use around half a dozen of these 6,800hp Co-Co’s which are leased from Rolling Stock in Romania also party of the GFR umbrella. Sadly, they are most certainly the preferred traction to lead trains due to the far superior cab environment to a ‘seven’ which have big minus points on no air-con and a smaller loading gauge.
There is some turnover of these through Romania – the BZK regulars are being overhauled – so I won’t attempt a fleet listing but somewhere between 6 and 10 seem to be in Bulgaria in general. It cannot be stressed enough how much they get in the way of 87 phots! If they do run out of 40s, expect 87026 to be on the front.
Traffic & Trains
Please be aware that this section is almost entirely based on observation and joining up the dots. There is nothing official, or guaranteed, about the below although it serves us pretty well. I plan to add more detail at a later stage.
‘The Tanks’: Acid Tanks between Pirdop and Razdelna for the Port of Varna, around three trains daily. Generally found with two locos on front, a 40+87, and a 87 on rear. Evening departures from Pirdop, return empties have staggered early hour departures from Razdelna. 305XX train numbers.
-Acid Tanks also work to other destinations (incl Vidin, Serbia & Blagoevgrad) on an unknown basis.
‘The Ruse’: Daily wagonload between Razdelna and Ruse. Largely erratic in wagon and loco selection.
‘The Gold Vans’: Gold Vans between Pirdop and Burgas. Generally worked as a portion to/from Karnobat on one of the tank trains from Pirdop. (Warning – private security staff travel on this train and some more follow it by car, they can kick off over photos)
International workings to/from Serbia and Romania
Oil traffic between Hungary/Serbia and Burgas (?)
China Clay traffic from Senovo (to Ruse / Poveljanovo)
Cereal traffic from ??? To ??? (!!) There are plenty of pictures of this traffic, but have not been able to find anything of merit out. Seems to run to/from/via Razdelna.
Civil Engineers traffic countrywide
Other seemingly random kick outs from anywhere to anywhere, to be honest…