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

87002 on Charter Duty, 7 October

Some rare available special train mileage was on offer on 7 October, with Pathfinder operating a Euston – Glasgow and return charter booked for a ETL 86/87 (“86 requested”) to Crewe for a pair of dobs forward. Around a week before solid quotes of the seven being planned for the electric leg saw some part fares organised and an early start for a couple of desperate soles heading to Crewe.

Morning job done after just about keeping to a tight largely FL path, ‘002 drops into the Shrewsbury bays at Crewe.  I’m fairly sure the last one I saw in here for a Class 1 was 87013 back in June 2005 on its famous outing just after Virgin had declared “never again” but then proceeded to send a skoda to Llandudno Jn and dump it there! Crewe really didn’t have much to offer for twelve hours on a cold and wet Saturday so I jumped off to potter around Manchester for the day. The tour participants had 50007 & 50049 to Glasgow – amazing both these and my ‘hippo’ managed to avoid collapsing somewhere!

The return wasn’t booked off Crewe until 20.54 and once the 50s had been detached many bailed off for faster options back home, which meant we were able to grab a bay in the leading TSO for a decent run back behind ‘002 to the blocks. Despite a slower two track railway path this was an enjoyable run with just one slow section around Kings Langley catching yellows behind a unit which was well ahead by the time we left Watford for an unhindered last run into Euston.

There might not have been many there for the seven, but its inclusion certainly put some extra pounds in Pathfinder’s pocket vice the 86, after all if you like cans ‘259 does plenty so a seven is surely a better bet…

Posted November 8, 2017 by redcow87015 in Class 87s, UK Mainline

Chiltern Distractions…

Been a particularly crap week or so at work, so a bit of escapism to top up the 68 mileage which has been pushed aside somewhat for the last few months.

Working the first of the evening commuters, 68013 is in charge of the 1615 Marylebone – Kidderminster seen here at Snow Hill in the last light on 19th October


A welcome development with the May 2017 timetable was the second Saturday diagram also gaining a daytime round trip, 68011 is seen here at Marylebone having brought the 1555 down from Moor St. This turn makes a more soicable move with options other than the previously available out-and-back or bust from the London end. The classic bashers platform photo is from 21 October!

Posted October 22, 2017 by redcow87015 in UK Mainline

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Bulgaria September 2017 (Part 2)

September trip to Bulgaria, this is part two

87004-pirdop-270917After hours behind 46235 from Karnobat through lots of low cloud and rain it was no surprise to see a complete lack of blue sky at Pirdop, but at least it was dry. Looking superbly workstained – like a freight loco should – 87004 was sitting in the ‘buffer stop’ position at the station end of the BZK stabling siding.

db-bg-232663-pirdopDB Ludmilla 232663 (crudely carrying nonsense 07663 number) was in charge of the heavy DB shunts out the Works into the exchange sidings. Here it is seen in the east end headshunt with a portion of the copper ore empties which form part of one of the BZK departures and end up in Burgas.

bzk-40-0733-87019-pirdopAnd here we are, the amended 2017 BZK operation out of Pirdop sees more trains – but lower weights which means that even more are in the hands of a ’40’ with sevens reduced to being helper locos , such as 87019 here inside 40-0833, with the Razdelna departures now only booked for pairs – the Burgas copper goes with two on the front and one on the back, but they had enough 40s around to cover the rear of that train too…

87003-pirdop-270917Waiting patiently were 87003, 87007 and behind the Sulzer, 87020 on hand at Pirdop.

db-bg-3012-86012-pirdopDB mainline action at Pirdop is now reduced to trains to and from Chelopech, here EA 3012 has been brought out the yard and is ready to head light to Chelopech where it would pilot a 232 and a loaded train back to Pirdop. The entire train is then put away and split to Pirdop and Burgas portions, the latter of which departs in the early hours. 92034 was parked over the far side of the yard, workings for these locos now being far more flexible than previous years.

bzk-87012-pirdop-27091787012 having arrived behind 40-0467 is waiting to be picked up by the shunter after working a train of empty box wagons in from the Sofia direction.

87012-87004-pirdop-270917-1Naturally they only really wanted the ’40’ which was put straight onto another train, 87012 was shunted here next to 87004 and parked up for an hour or so.

PirdopNot entirely sure what all this was all about other than being midst a “big Pirdop pointless shunt” 87012/87010/87029 pose on the front of a 40 and the last Razdelna departure of the day, the 40 would work forward solo with the crew somewhat unimpressed that departure time came and went without any sign of the sevens being moved out the way.

bdz-46208-sofiaBack to BDZ and Sofia was awash with 46’2s which have largely returned to service after many being out of service earlier in the year – with BDZ having a handful of 150km/h timed trains now they need them – although how long that will last is anyones guess! 46208 is getting ready to head east on the 1330 Sofia Burgas.

bdz-61003-zaharnaThe ‘flatiron’ workings down table 500 continue, the 1400 Sofia Dupnica was again in the solid hands of a Cargo-stickered loco, 61003 doing the honors and seen here at Zaharna Fabrika. Mileage move, cough!

bdz-44140-46036-ilyantsi-280917Ilyantsi and as the redcap gives the road to 44140 working the evening Sofia Karlovo local formed of a single German IR coach, 46036 awaits the road over SLW on the Mezdra line to the north.

bm-87009-87025-mezdra-pngNoine! This photo won’t win any awards but it was dark and at silly o’clock but we had waited a long time to finally see this old monster working a train. 87009 & 87025 very briefly pause at Mezdra with a train of oil tanks heading to Ruse. A superb sight as they blazed around the corner into the night!

bdz-45162-sever45162 rolls into Sofia Sever with a local stopper from Mezdra.

bdz-45146-zverino45146 completes station duties at Zverino with the 1700 Sofia to Vidin. 44088 back to Sofia and for me that was the end of another enjoyable visit to this land of real railways. No knowing it all in advance, just waiting for the headlight in the distance and then the real locos and classic stock to come clattering to a stand in front of you. Proper cranking.

Part one from the Varna area is here

Before that a day in Bucharest doing a couple of CFR moves

Posted October 10, 2017 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Class 87s, Euro Nedding

Bulgaria September 2017 (Part 1)

Second trip to Bulgaria, based on a week of Dan’s rest days in late September.

After a quick play in Romania, we were back in more regular territory after taking 44137 down from Ruse to Varna. This passed 87006/008/013/022/034 all stored at Express Services, and also accounted for 87017 en-route. Throughout the rest of the week we would see all working sevens expect 87026, which is the best one to miss anyway! This is the photos from the Varna region, before we moved on to Pirdop and the Sofia area.

bzk-87012-vr-25091787012 sits spare in the first of the morning sunlight. The Senovo kaolin trains had evidently been running given the liveral coating of the place which at least made it a bit easier to walk around [Phone Photo]

bzk-40-1001-87012And as you were… Between the 0700 observation of what was on hand and departure of the day’s Ruse freight 40-1001 had arrived on a set of acid tanks (solo) and therefore was put on front of 87012 and the consist of cereal wagons (and boxes out of sight) is seen clattering into Sindel.

bdz-07106-poveljanovoAs ever, the Varna ’07’ turn on the Dobrich line was in the capable hands of 07106, although 07111 was hovering on the shed we picked up a few more KMs behind ‘106 to Poveljanovo where it is seen getting the tip to depart on the 1615 Varna to Dobrich. The ‘vice’ turn with a 55 was kicked out the same evening, although with two working Desiro’s at Varna it was not out solidly and swapped back to a Desiro again the next day.

bdz-44062-beloslav-260917Things that bowl out the morning moves to view what BZK have on hand – your 0600 departure time not being marked with whistles on the platform but the drop of a shackle! Due to an air leak on the leading coach, the 0600 Varna – Shumen had that knocked out prior to departure leaving 25 late with just this single wagon in tow, seen here at Beloslav. An amended leap here because of the low service means you’d be out at Razdelna for hours and breakfast was a higher priority!

bdz-44120-sindelFor some of our party this loco was a welcome sight as they hadn’t been there in June when we had dropped it on its test run off overhaul, 44120 still looking smart sits at Sindel whilst the driver was in the redcaps office sorting out instruction to work forward SLW on the 0915 Varna to Ruse


The Ruse produces at last! BZK finally run out of having enough 40s and 87029 & 87028 are entrusted to a short train of VTG tanks, again pausing at Sindel awaiting entry into the SLW section beyond. This block was on in June too, showing how long it takes to do things taking three-hour blocks a day with a single PW trolley!

bzk-87029-87028-sindel-2aAfter fifteen minutes or so, 87029 & 87028 get away from Sindel. Set us up nicely for a few hours relaxing on Varna beach!


Sindel, again, in the evening after a few hours trying to catch the fleeting sun on the beach and 44189 on the 1655 Varna to Shumen is captured alongside BDZ Cargo’s 46026 on a cereal train destined for the Karnobat line.

bdz-45172-bulmarket-86235-bm-46026 A thorn amongst roses. From left 45172 is working the 1815 Varna – Rus, 86235 is awaiting an EA to go on the top and work forward whilst the crew of 46026 were still awaiting authority to depart.

bm-87025-sindel-0917Thats better! 87025 had worked inside the EA from Ruse on the daily Bulmarket departure to Plovdiv and is seen here as the EA is removed to run round and go on top of the other end of the train. ‘025 would appear to be a preferred machine for Bulmarket (on this train at least!) as thats three times for it and zero for 017/023 or the elusive monster that is “Noine”.


The Bulmarket had arrived just in time to catch the last light. Shortly it had left the sun was truly setting and by the time 44062 arrived fifteen minutes later on the 1825 Varna to Karnobat the floodlights were on to offer what illumination was available. A bit unfortunate that the blue intermodal wagons on the right were the OBB Train as I’d have liked a picture of 1116 035 but the length of the train meant it wasn’t stopped somewhere where this was really possible, particularly as we weren’t sure how far away our delayed train back to Varna was. Made do with this view of ‘062 which I quite like anyway!


Really like this! 87033 stands at Razdelna in a combination of first natural light and the station floodlights before they were turned off. Expect ‘033 would be the inside loco on the days Ruse given where it was and a 40 was lingering around too.


Karnobat now and EA 3013 arrives on a long train of Cargovans which appeared to be a transit train from Turkey to Romania (and beyond).


Part two (“soon”!) will see largely Pirdop and Sofia views under more clouds!

Posted October 4, 2017 by redcow87015 in Bulgaria, Class 87s, Euro Nedding

24 hours in Romania, September 2017

A quick interlude to Buchurest to scoop in a handful of locos on local moves. Being a Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning doesn’t actually matter to much to the Romanians who run most trains on a daily timetable, unlike some other eastern countries there are plenty of trains but on the downside moves are quite difficult to do.

477-880 at Bucuresti with an afternoon departure in all its phoenix glory.

More interesting colours as 66-1298 (formerely know as 65-1298) in full flag livery having arrived with the 1650 from Targoviste. There is another GM and an electric in this livery are are no doubt used on VSOE’s and the like. Despite being 710 power units these are fairly entertaining rebuilds – you’d struggle to know they are bent Sulzers.

Covering the Sulzer turns was hard work with this being the only one viewed, 60-1120 kicked out on the 1900 Buchurest to Urziceni which we took for a run out. The diagram back was a Desiro, not even a GM or Jaffajunk like the others had been – great! We were a few weeks after the end of the summer timetable had ended which meant a much reduced chance of Sulzer’s but we didn’t expect Buchurest to be this barren for them.

  The next morning was a much brighter day and 40-0794 charges into Bucharest passing through Bucuresti  Triaj/Pajura – this station appears to have a different name depending on what side of the central island platform you stop at, despite all the lines ending up on the line to Chitila which is a tad confusing/pointless!

41-0928 stands at Videle with the 1215 Buchurest to Craiova again sporting a traditional headboard which do add a touch of colour and character!

65-1025 arrives at Videle on what is left of the Buchurest – Sofia / Istanbul – a single BDZ compo coach and a TCDD couchette. How the might have fallen… This was our ride out of Romania, and dud to boot – I’d only had five  Bucurest area engines previously and four of them decided to show themselves on trains that were in the move, obviously!

Posted October 1, 2017 by redcow87015 in Euro Nedding, Romania

Late August Trip – German, Czech and Austrian Bits

All over the place this one – Friday to Monday of a long weekend to cover the DR 107 tour, which thanks are due to European Traction for the gen and in particular that it wasn’t all that hard to cover something that as far as I could tell went from one inaccesible field to another. Started in Hamburg after a post-work flight from Manchester, ended in Munich via Czech Republic and a few hours transit in Austria.

One of the more talked about summer 2017 workings was the use of pairs of 218s on the 06.55 Hamburg – Berlin IRE, reportedly due to use of a non-electrified route between Stendal and Berlin (which parallels the mainline) being a possibility due to SLW on the mainline. You can guess what happened most of the time and we had 218387 and 218484 under the wires throughout with a dead 182021 on the rear. Still not to complain at a long, fast mainline run on a decent load with these “real” bunnies.

Crowdfunded Open-Access outfit “Locomore” make a welcome return having been purchased/bailed out by Leo Express of Czech Disastercart fame, but here is a far more acceptable 182517 (now carrying Swedish number 242517) getting underway from Berlin Hbf on the final leg of its 0655 from Stuttgart. The train was wedged, hopefully this company can keep going with larger parent backers now?

Ex DR 107018 – last survivor of twenty built for the Germans – now owned by German privateers Railsystems, on its annual railtour outing from Schwarzenburg with CD Nostalgia’s 720145* as partner. This is at Streda or at least somewhere on the route from Karlovy Vary to Rakovnik. ‘145 was shut down by now, as its silenced this mattered little!

Well its one place to terminate a railtour I suppose. CD 720145 & DR 107018 at the metropolis of Chysne having depositied five coach of normals there for four hours. The ‘town’ as it was a mile or so’s hike and only one of 500ish inhabitants and looked about as exciting as the shack. We were on the next 810 to bounce out of dodge, felt a bit sorry for the few old dears who were not up to the walk and were clearly going to spend all afternoon admiring the coaches!

Quite helpfully, the 810 from Crysne dropped us into Rakovnik nicely onto the KZC turn, 749006 doing the honours. Due to some more Czech SLW on the mainline after Beroun the last few miles were most entertaining as the Prague man was in a rush to get home!

Now unusual track for these old girls, 242213 at Rybnik after arrival from Ceske Bud, August 2017 and on a very real rake of stock. This was vice Taurus and cityshuttle set, due to engineering work between Rybnik and Linz which meant it was all off for a bus here (unless you were off to play 210s on the branch that is!)

However due to going to play on 210s, we did have to suffer the bus from Rybnik to be able to get to the hotel in Munich! It was fairly painless in fairness and helpfully dropped us straight onto 1142 564 at Linz working the 1821 to Bad Aussee which we were able to take to Wels for a couple of Railjets west.

Not a huge amount going at Munich but the evening peak did kick out winner 111201 on the 1616 Augsburg P train which was taken in time honoured fashion to Pasing where it is seen awaiting the tip

MRCE’s 189924 was provided for the afternoon Meridian kickout turn and seen awaiting departure of the 1711 Munich – Kufstein. So its a loco working a meridian service, operated by Lokomotion, owned by MRCE and with TXL branding – hope thats clear to everyone!!

Posted September 18, 2017 by redcow87015 in Austria, Czech Republic, Euro Nedding, Germany