JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos: Blog http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos (JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos) Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:49:00 GMT Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:49:00 GMT http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v20/u1007686578-o893523952-50.jpg JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos: Blog http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog 82 120 1st May 2016 - Who took the Sun out of Sunday? http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/who-took-the-sun-out-of-sunday Sunday 1st May 2016

This morning was payback time for the beautiful weather yesterday; it wasn’t just dull, it was chucking it down with rain as well and forecast to be like that for most of the day. Breakfast was served from 6:15 so we made sure to be there promptly and have a leisurely breakfast before going out to the coach which was booked to leave at 7:15 except there was just one problem, the coach was conspicuous by its absence. Phone calls were made to the agency that the coach was booked through, the coach company itself and even the driver but to no avail so, with the aid of the hotel, a fleet of taxis were summonsed and turned up commendably quickly for a Sunday morning.

The three of us in our taxi were charged 110 HZK (between £10 and £11), exactly the amount we were advised it would be, a receipt was obtained and re-imbursement in Euros of the equivalent amount was quickly forthcoming from the tour organizer before we crossed the border back into Slovenia. On the downside the lack of coach cost us a small section of track as the plan had been to set the train back around 500 metres to the end of the line at Pula Obale but it was fortunate that we got to the station in time to leave only 13 minutes late, grabbing a quick photo of the two DMUs stabled outside the shed as we passed.

PulaPula1st May 2016. 7122 018 and 7122 019 outside the shed at Pula in the pouring rain.

There were stops at Buzet and Rakitovec for passport / customs, a passport stamp was asked for and willingly provided at the former but, other than a police car, there was no sign of anybody at the latter so we just took some more photos in the rain though it had eased a lot since leaving Pula.

664 116 at Buzet664 116 at Buzet1st May 2016. On 15581 8:00 Pula to Buzet / 17026 9:50 Buzet to Hrpelje-Kozina.

The loco had to run round at Hrpelje-Kozina for the next leg of the tour to Koper, a freight train was already here heading towards Ljubljana with a class 363 on the rear and as our loco ran round, 363.029 came up the hill from Koper with a container train but there was no chance of getting a picture as we had been herded back onto the train which departed as soon as the freight had cleared the points; we didn’t want to cause any delays on this very busy route.

Instead of going to the passenger station at Koper we turned right into the large freight yard and kept going out the far end and towards a container terminal where an LTE class 2016 was stabled. There was an area of hard standing just beyond here with one railway track set into the tarmac and a few minutes after arriving we were allowed out with no apparent requirement for the HV vests that we had been told were necessary two days ago. As we had gone to the trouble of getting some we did wear ours but many others were not and there were no issues. It was still raining slightly when we first got out of the train but it soon cleared up as we waited for the shunting locomotive that was allegedly being sent to drag the train back to the main line, there being no run round loop at this location.

664 116 at Koper Luka664 116 at Koper Luka1st May 2016. On 17014 10:45 Hrpelje-Kozina to Koper Luka.

We had been there for the best part of an hour before something was heard approaching but it was one of the Ports own locomotives, a grey and blue Vossloh G6 type loco which was propelling some containers into the far side of the terminal. Not far behind it was SŽ 643.009 which was attached to the rear of our train then the Port’s loco re-appeared behind it, were we going to have a bonus of two locomotives? No such luck as the Vossloh diverged off into another siding but at least it was in a good position for photographs.

0650 117 at Koper Luka0650 117 at Koper Luka1st May 2016. Vossloh type G6 loco works no. 5102064 built in 2013.

643.009 dragged our train back the couple of kilometers to the main line and was detached as we stood behind the signal, ready to head back into the freight yard once we had gone towards the passenger station where there was nearly an hour to stretch our legs and get some refreshments though there was not a lot open bearing in mind it was a Bank Holiday Sunday. McDonalds was open of course and the two of us avoided the queues (and the burgers!) by using the McCafe section as usual and made use of the wi-fi to catch up on a few things.

The next part of the tour was one of the highlights for us, a 664 up the steep gradients out of Koper. 664.116 did not disappoint and a seriously noisy 20 minutes were enjoyed as well as the views including the sight of a top and tailed oil tank train following us a couple of sections further back down the hill. A small section of new track was done as we went round the Divača avoiding curve before we had a stop at Sežana to attach 644.005 to the rear for the trip across the Italian border to Villa Opicina, at least we could do the border crossing here even if Italian Railways had refused the request to take the class 664 to Trieste. Photos were taken to mark the occasion although the train wasn’t in the best position, sandwiched between the station buildings and a rake of grain hoppers in the opposite platform.

664 116 at Villa Opicina664 116 at Villa Opicina1st May 2016. On the rear of 17023 Villa Opicina to Ajdovščina, this loco was removed when the train returned to Sežana.

A quarter of an hour was quite long enough here before returning to Sežana where we bade farewell to 664.116 which had given us so much entertainment over the last couple of days, the rest of the tour would now be in the hands of the smaller class 644 locos though that wasn’t an issue as they are no slouch in the noise department themselves.

As we headed downhill along the Bohinj line towards Nova Gorica, it was noted that the connection from Kreplje to Villa Opicina was very rusty and had not been used for some time which probably explained why our train hadn’t been booked to cover it. Onwards to Prvačina where the loco had to run round to cover the 15 kilometre long line to Ajdovščina, a required branch line for us as it had an extremely sparse service of two trains a day which we hadn’t got round to doing before they ceased altogether in December 2014. The rails on the branch were surprisingly shiny and the track was in good condition for what thought might have been a disused line but there were some log wagons at the end so there was still a freight service down here. The weather here was very windy and rather cold, a phenomenon that can occur in the end of a valley at the foot of a mountain range but at least it wasn’t raining.

644 005 at Ajdovščina644 005 at Ajdovščina1st May 2016. On 17024 16:45 Ajdovščina to Most na Soči.

It was ten to five when we left Ajdovščina but there was more to come today, starting with a journey of just over an hour to Most na Soči where the tour coaches were to be combined with the booked “Avtovlak” train departing at 18:34. This train was in its usual position next to the loading dock at Most na Soči, complete with 644.020 which seemed to have semi-permanently allocated to the train recently and we had around half an hour to theorize as to how they would combine the two trains. Some people who hadn’t managed to get 644.020 for haulage during the many months it had spent working the Avtovlak hoped that both locos would be put on the front and work in tandem (644s are not fitted with multiple working) but the train’s staff went for the simple option; shunt the Avtovlak in the usual manner but straight onto the south end of our train, leaving 644.020 on the rear.

644 020 at Most na Soči644 020 at Most na Soči1st May 2016. On AVT860 18:31 Most na Soči to Bohinjska Bistrica.

The line climbs more-or-less the whole way from Most na Soči to the summit in the Wocheiner Tunnel  so we set off with some “maximum power” from 644.005 and it sounded absolutely outstanding when it reached the steepest part of the bank. Savouring the performance from an open window in the front coach a feeling of “déjà vu” washed over us and the years rolled back to Southern Ireland 25 to 30 years ago when we spent a lot of time chasing the 001 or “A” class. The two classes share the same General Motors 12 cylinder 645E type engine and although there were minor differences in horsepower and exhaust arrangements the end result was remarkably similar and a real blast from the past for us.

012 at Waterford Yard012 at Waterford Yard31st October 1994. 012 on a short liner train in Waterford Yard.

All too soon, we reached Podbrdo where there is a booked stop though no more cars or passengers were picked up and there was one final blast to the summit in the tunnel before rolling down the other side to Bohinjska Bistrica where the train terminates. We had been told that the train would stop in the platform where we were asked to get off as quickly as possible before it was moved up to the goods dock for the cars to be unloaded but we actually went straight to the latter which was quite sensible as the higher platform was level with the coach floor so we could all alight a lot more quickly than clambering down one by one to track level.

Our hotel for the night was the Bohinj Eco Hotel, a short walk from the station. We had planned to eat at a local restaurant which had been recommended to us but the hotel had an “all you can eat” buffet for €19 which had a decent selection of food and very good it was too, especially the “cream of cottage cheese” soup.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Pula   8:13 664 116 15581 8:00 Pula to Buzet
Buzet   9:50 664 116 17026 9:50 Buzet to Hrpelje-Kozina
Hrpelje-Kozina 10:34 10:47 664 116 17014 10:45 Hrpelje-Kozina to Koper Luka
Koper Luka   12:28 643 009 17027 12:20 Koper Luka to Koper T.
Koper 27.6kp 12:40 12:41 664 116  
Koper 12:47 13:42 664 116 17021 13:40 Koper to Villa Opicina
Villa Opicina 14:59 15:15 644 005 17023 15:15 Villa Opicina to Ajdovščina
Prvačina 15:59 16:15 644 005  
Ajdovščina 16:34 16:48 644 005 17024 16:45 Ajdovščina to Most na Soči
Most na Soči 17:58 18:34 644 005 AVT860 18:31 Most na Soči to Bohinjska Bistrica
Bohinjska Bistrica 19:11      
ptg tours slovenia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/who-took-the-sun-out-of-sunday Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:48:40 GMT
30th April 2016 - C'mon Feel the Noise http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/cmon-feel-the-noise Saturday 30th April 2016

The weather carried on where it left off yesterday and we basked in a bright sunny morning as the station pilot loco brought the tour coaches into the station. Our loco for the trip was 664.116, not that there was a lot of choice with only two or three locos being authorised for use in Croatia though it was slightly galling for us as it was the third time we had been hauled by this loco this year.

Departure was on time and it was a nice noisy run even before we reached the first climb of the day out of Borovnica though the ascent itself was slightly underwhelming, probably due to the fact the train only comprised of three coaches. Rakek was manned for a change as the local EMU service from Ljubljana was terminating there due to engineering works at Postojna but anyone of a nervous disposition was probably best advised to avert their eyes passing through the latter; the train slowed to a crawl as is passed right underneath two huge cranes engaged in the work. Hard hats appeared to be an optional extra amongst the workforce and freight trains were also running, being dragged by diesel locos, mostly hired in Austrain class 2016s, between Rakek and Prestranek. Of course our train was not unduly affected as it was diesel hauled and we carried on to Pivka, turning left towards the Slovenian border at Ilirska Bistrica where there was a cursory passport inspection and the first of many photos stops for the day.

664 116 at Ilirska Bistrica664 116 at Ilirska Bistrica30th April 2016. On the Slovenian border with 17022 8:00 Ljublana to Šapjane.

Next stop was the Croatian border station of Šapjane and a further brief passport inspection then on to Opatija Matulji which made for a nice photo with a cascade of purple flowers adorning the station.

664 116 at Opatija Matulji664 116 at Opatija Matulji30th April 2016. On 15551 10:05 Šapjane to Bakar.

Onwards to Rijeka where more photos were taken, including an electrical transformer on a wagon, before curving to the left, over the level crossing, through the tunnel and up the climb to Škrljevo where the train needed to reverse to access the first bit of freight only track of the tour. Any doubts about the loudness of 664.116 were totally dispelled on this section, it was 12 kilometres of solid notch eight “thrash”, totally awesome not to mention ear-shattering!

More photos were taken at Škrljevo whilst the loco ran round then we set off to the port of Bakar, a short distance as the crow flies but the railway had to get there via a large “S” bend in order to get back down to sea level. There was an oil refinery with its own shunting loco about halfway down and an ore loading terminal in the port. We were initially told that it was not possible to get off in the port but the question was asked again once the loco had run round and this time it was agreed that we could get out for photos. Two diesel locos had been there when we arrived but they were standing on the run round loop so had departed before we were allowed off the train but there were also a pair of class 1141 electric locos present on a train and it was possible to get a nice photo by standing on the rocky shoreline even if the sun wasn’t quite right.

1141 012 at Bakar1141 012 at Bakar30th April 2016. With 1141 218 on an iron ore train.

There were no fireworks back up the hill as the linespeed was too low and the three coaches not heavy enough, perhaps we should have tacked the two electrics and their ore train on the rear! Another run round at Škrljevo then back down the hill to Brajdica Docks, which we had been unable to trace on the map and no wonder; the main line was comparatively level at this point whilst the line to the docks dropped discreetly away to sea-level via a spiral tunnel which went underneath the main line.

A private class 2132 and HŽ loco of the same class along with a Train Hungary class 40 were in the sidings at Brajdica and we were allowed out of the train again after our loco had run round to take even more photos though the pair of class 2132s were too far away to get to during our brief time there. It is possible to get from Brajdica Docks straight back to the station at Rijeka via a section of street running which we had partially explored on foot during a previous visit here. This had been requested for the tour but refused so we had to head back though the spiral tunnel tpwards Sušak Pećine. Rather than running round there where the docks branch joins the main line, our train went all the way up the hill to Škrljevo again which at least meant some more 664 “music” to make up for not doing the street running section.

Following a brief stop in the station at Rijeka we headed out of Croatia via Šapjane where there was a very relaxed border “grip”. The tour leaders had a list of all the passengers and their passport details and we were allowed off the train whilst the border guards perused this and some people asked for a stamp in their passport. With Croatia now being an EU member there was no need for this but the border police readily produced the stamp when asked and although we already had a stamp for this location, we asked for another when we saw that it was a new one with the EU symbol on it.

664 116 at Šapjane664 116 at Šapjane30th April 2016. On 15553 13:15 Rijeka Brajdica to Šapjane / 15552 14:53 Šapjane to Prestranek.

The tour returned to Prestranek to run round as it was manned due to the engineering works whereas there was nobody at Pivka. There were three locos on hand here to assist with the diesel dragging, one each of ÖBB and Adria class 2016 either side of an SŽ class 661, “a rose between two thorns” as somebody aptly described it. There was another class 2016 visible in the distance along with a class 541 electric loco and a class 363 electric arrived on a container train just before our train departed.

363 001 at Prestranek363 001 at Prestranek30th April 2016.

Next stop was Hrpelje-Kozina where we changed drivers before heading off towards Croatia again, a major reason for the pair of us wanting to do this tour as we had never been to Pula. Although an “international” line, it was not exactly a major route which was reflected in the general quality of the track though it was perfectly good enough for the train to romp along at a decent enough speed and for the loco to be put through its paces at times.

664 116 at Buzet664 116 at Buzet30th April 2016. On 17028 16:00 Prestranek to Buzet / 15580 17:40 Buzet to Pula.

There were quite a few stops along this section including the two border stations and meetings with a HŽ service train and the daily Inter City service to Ljubljana worked by a Slovenian Railways class 711 DMU so we had plenty of opportunities to increase the photo count. Pula was reached three minutes late and we grabbed a couple of final shots including an Italian Railways 0-6-0T steam loco plinthed outside the station, a nod to the fact that Pula was in Italy between the two World Wars.

835.040 at Pula835.040 at Pula30th April 2016. FS (Italian Railways) 0-6-0T built by Breda in 1908, works no. 959, plinthed outside Pula station.

Our hotel for the night was the Park Plaza Histria, which was some distance from the station on the coast and required a coach journey to get there. It was a four star hotel and had its own restaurant which we didn’t try as we don’t like eating late and an outdoor pool; also declined as the temperature had dropped quite a bit since the sun went down. As it had been a long day, we just relaxed and enjoyed the location ready for another fairly early start in the morning.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Ljubljana   8:00 664 116 17022 8:00 Ljubljana to Šapjane
Šapjane     664 116 15551 10:05 Šapjane to Bakar
Škrljevo 11:06 11:20 664 116  
Bakar 11:41 11:56 664 116 propel
Bakar 12.1kp 11:58 12:00 664 116 15550 12:05 Bakar to Brajdica
Škrljevo 12:22 12:38 664 116  
Brajdica 12:54 13:15 664 116 15553 13:15 Brajdica to Šapjane
Škrljevo 13:30 13:46 664 116  
Šapjane 14:38 14:53 664 116 15552 14:53 Šapjane to Prestranek
Prestranek 15:41 16:00 664 116 17028 16:00 Prestranek to Buzet
Buzet 17:29 17:40 664 116 15580 17:40 Buzet to Pula
Pula 19:33      
Croatia PTG Tours Slovenia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/cmon-feel-the-noise Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:25:54 GMT
28th & 29th April 2016 - Here we are again http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/here-we-are-again Thursday 28th April 2016

This trip started as two separate tours but grew and grew in the planning stage, eventually expanding to nearly three weeks and three tours! Our original aim was to do a PTG tour taking a Slovenian Railways class 664 diesel to Rijeka and Pula in Croatia and Trieste in Italy then the annual RPSI "International Railtour" two weeks later but whilst sorting out annual leave, we decided that it would probably be a lot easier just to fill the gap between the two lots of leave and have the whole lot off. Much searching of flights between Europe and Ireland and discussing other things to do in between eventually led to us heading off to Stansted for a middle of the day flight to Ljubljana with Easy Jet, the first time we had used this particular airport for a few years.

It was bright and sunny, if not particularly warm, when we left the UK but we were rather surprised to break through the clouds approaching Ljubljana and be greeted with a snowy landscape that wouldn't look out of place on a Christmas card; was it really May in three days’ time? We arrived about 20 minutes early giving us hope of catching the 16:00 bus into the city but the hold luggage didn't appear very promptly so that idea was out the window. Normally the bus runs every hour but today it was only running two hourly and for the following two days. We could not fathom out why this should be as although the 27th April is a bank holiday in Slovenia, there did not appear to be a reason for the service to be reduced after the event. Fortunately there is a minibus shuttle service run by Prevozi Markun and the next one was leaving at 16:15 though with only eight seats we might have been fortunate to bag two of these unless there was a second vehicle nearby to take any excess passengers.

It was a flat fare of 9 Euros each which was probably much less than a taxi and we considered it reasonable value for money as it was a door to door service and almost certainly quicker than the bus which goes via Kamnik, calling at various villages en route. The minibus went straight to the city and we marvelled at the amount of snow that had fallen last night. Much of it had melted by now but there must have been at least a couple of inches as the roads looked to have been cleared by a snowplough and the weight of snow had completely snapped many tree branches, including some quite thick specimens.

643 028 at Ljubljana643 028 at Ljubljana28th April 2016.

We arrived at the hotel (City Hotel) with enough time to check in, dump the bags and walk to the station in time to view the 17:25 to Maribor which, as we expected being essentially a Bank Holiday, was hauled by a class 342. There was also engineering work on the line to Koper between Rakek and Prestranek with all passenger trains being replaced by a bus so there should be plenty of units and 342s available without resorting to pinching class 363s from the freight sector. After taking a couple of snaps in the unseasonal weather we made our way to the garage opposite where the lines to Jesenice and Borovnica split only to be met by the sight of a class 643 slowly passing hauling a brand new transformer in one of the purpose built wagons for moving such items around. Although it was only moving slowly there was insufficient time for us to get the camera out and into position for a photograph which was rather annoying but there was no way we could have seen it approaching or known about the move.

The reason for our trip to the garage was that we had been told that anybody wishing to leave the train in Koper docks on Sunday would need to be wearing a HV Vest. We have plenty at home but they were not a lot of use when we only got the message about the requirement after landing at Ljubljana Airport. 9 Euros and two universal size orange HVVs later we made our way into the city and tried out a new place for dinner, the Güjžina , which proved to be very good and featured fresh seasonal produce such as asparagus.

Friday 29th April 2016

Naturally, there was only one train to do today, "Citadella", as it would probably be one of our last chances for class 664 haulage on service trains with the imminent switch over to electric haulage between Pragersko and Hodoš. Of course we made sure that we went out for EN415 about 20 minutes in front and were rewarded with the sight of required 541.009 but just as we were checking our records a further pair of 541s appeared and coupled to 009. A further quick glance through the records revealed that 018 leading was also required and 012 was dud but then the driver and shunter started messing around with the multiple working cables between the three locos with the result that when they had finished, 018 and 009 had their pantographs raised with 012 being dead between them, perfect from our point of view! Turning round to get on the train we then noticed that there were only two coaches, one Serbian and one Slovenian, no sign of any others including the sleeping cars from Zurich. We had heard that the line between Jesenice and Villach, in Austria, had been closed due to snowfall so can only assume that it was still shut though guess that the problem might have more to do with the snow bringing trees down rather than the white stuff on its own. Anyway, whatever had gone on further north we set sail on time with more locos on the train than coaches!

EN415 had a straight run to Zidani Most for a change, most time we have done it recently there had been single line working closing one of the tracks on this stretch of line so we had the full 25 minutes at this picturesque junction station during which time two freights passed heading towards Ljubljana.

2016 904 at Zidani Most2016 904 at Zidani Most29th April 2016.

As expected we had bumped into a few people who were doing the tour tomorrow and no doubt more would be arriving as the day progressed but we settled down in the restaurant car with a cup of tea to start off with before heading towards the front coach ready for the "main event" from Pragersko. Some attempts had been made to "fix" certain 664s to work "Citadella" either side of the tour and 105 had apparently been asked for yesterday but didn't appear. 664.112 had been the requested "sticky digits" for today, being somebody's last one for haulage and, much to their delight, that was the loco waiting for us at Pragersko.

664 112 at Pragersko664 112 at Pragersko29th April 2016. On MV / EC247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest-Déli "Citadella"

It was an enjoyable run with good company and we had the same locos for the return journey and it was also 664.112 driver's last day at work so a presentation was made to him on the return to Pragersko, it also probably explained the reason for him wearing a JŽ (Yugoslavian Railways) hat.

664 112 at Pragersko664 112 at Pragersko29th April 2016. After working EC / MV246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana "CITADELLA" from Hodoš. It was 664 112 drivers last day at work so a presentation was made to him when the train arrived at Pragersko.

With other people arriving for tomorrow’s tour, some “gen” regarding loco hauled turns from Ljubljana was filtering through prompting some of us to get off at Zidani Most for some required class 541s which were following each other east meaning that one could be taken to Sevnica and the second to Krško. Of course the train back to Ljubljana was an EMU but we could hardly complain given that we had “scored” five out of the six locos had today, an excellent result considering the number of times we have been to Slovenia recently.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Plane / train details
28th April 2016        
STN   12:51 G-EZDH EZY3245 12:55 STN to LJU
LJU 15:40      
29th April 2016        
Ljubljana   8:25 541 018 EN415 20:40 Zürich HB to Beograd
      541 009  
Zidani Most 9:14 9:41 342 023 MV247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest Déli
Pragersko 10:47 11:01 664 112  
Hodoš 12:33 13:10 664 112 MV246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana
Pragersko 14:35 14:45 342 023  
Zidani Most 15:54 15:58 541 001 EC211 12:53 Villach Hbf to Vinkovci
Sevnica 16:14 16:51 541 007 RG631 15:35 Ljubljana to Dobova
Krško 17:08 17:20 612 118 LP2272 17:06 Dobova to Ljubljana
Ljubljana 19:03      
Citadella Slovenia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/here-we-are-again Tue, 13 Jun 2017 10:28:03 GMT
8th & 9th March 2016 - Having a Smashing Time http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/having-a-smashing-time Tuesday 8th March 2016

Consideration was given to going out for a trip to Kranj on the 7:28 but a lie-in seemed a good idea after burning the candle at both ends over the last few days plus it would be another late finish tonight. It would be silly not to go out 20 minutes earlier to view EN415 though and the reward for this was a new class 541 so it was onto a scruffy Serbian coach for the extra move to Zidani Most. At least it was warm and clean inside, unlike the graffiti-covered exterior and it was lacking the usual quota of fogged up and water damaged windows.

541 017 at Ljubljana541 017 at Ljubljana9th June 2016. On EN415 20:40 Zürich HB to Beograd.

The train made good progress until Sava where it came to a stand in the loop there; ah yes, the usual problem of single line working at this time of day but we stood for far longer than usual with no sign of anything heading in the opposite direction. After what seemed like an age, the Zagreb to Frankfurt EC passed but EN415 still did not go and then the IC from Maribor passed with two class 363 locos on the front. Although there was booked to be an ICS “Pendolino” behind these two trains, it was the turn of EN415 next and off we went, passing a small group of workers seemingly grovelling in the ballast on the closed line followed by a tamper then regulating machine. The “ICS” was waiting for us to clear the single line but it was formed of a “Desiro” EMU this morning, hopefully the punters on board were not being charged for the “premium service” on board the rather poor Pendolino replacement.

312-102 at Ljubljana312-102 at Ljubljana28th April 2016. Siemens "Desiro" EMU working LP2238 16:54 Litija to Ljubljana in unseasonal weather.

We arrived at Zidani Most around 15 minutes late and expected “Citadella” to be similarly delayed but it was only a couple of minutes late and hauled by a class 342, number 25 with it’s white “City Park” livery on one side only. The train looked to have the same three coaches as yesterday so it was thought prudent to take up residence in the restaurant coach which was at the front and warm (see 25th January). A fellow UK "crank" joined at Pragersko, along with 664.116 which we'd also had back in January though this time it was on its own rather than being paired with another loco. The loco was clearly audible inside the air-conditioned coach as we sipped tea and chatted about various things and we arrived at Hodos on time with no other class 664s in evidence until the MAV class 431 dropped onto the train, revealing a class 664 in the siding at the Hungarian end of the station behind it; we'd never seen one parked there before.

431 015 at Hodoš431 015 at Hodoš8th March 2016. On EC247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest Déli "Citadella".

Once EC246 had arrived and the Hungarian electric taken off, 664.116 was attached to the front and we looked out of the window in time to see 664.112 rumbling past, was it also going onto the front of "Citadella"? No such luck as it was attached to one of the freight trains that were standing in the sidings. Never mind, there were four coaches on this train, 664.116 was rather loud and we had the front compartment to ourselves so no issues with open windows.

The same class 342 worked back from Ljubljana so we retired to the dining car for drinks; our fellow "crank" got off at Celje leaving us to carry on and decide where to intercept EC150 in order to return to Wien. The last chance for this was at Zagorje but, remembering that RG631, the 15:35 Ljubljana to Dobova was hauled we got off at Trbovlje to see what was on that. This proved to be a masterstroke as not only was a bonus photo obtained of a freight (not in the best lighting conditions though) RG631 was being worked by our last available class 342 for haulage, no. 022.

363 035 at Trbovlje363 035 at Trbovlje8th March 2016.

This train turned right rather than left at Zidani Most so it was off there to wait for EC150 which was hauled by another class 342 which was our highest mileage one until 025 snatched that distinction this morning, perhaps it wanted the title back! There was only one place to go on EC150, in the rare Slovenian dining car and get a beer to celebrate "clearing" what was left of the class 342 (8 locos out of 40). The dining car was very sociable and we had arranged to meet our Austrian friend in that coach later so the beer was eked out until some time after Maribor when it was time to eat, soup followed by a large and filling schnitzel and chips.

A few people got on at Graz so another drink was ordered with the aim of making it last to Wiener Neustadt but after taking a few sips there was a very heavy brake application in the vicinity of Frohnleiten causing a rapid grab for the glass and bottle to prevent them departing from the table. The train came to an abrupt stop followed by the sound of smashing glass, a number of glasses had departed from the cupboard outside the kitchen and crashed to the floor - lesson for the day, glass does not bounce on lino! Muttering what were probably naughty Slovenian words under his breath, the attendant toddled off to the cupboard at the end of the coach to fetch a dustpan and brush leaving us to ponder whether SZ would be sending ÖBB a bill as the train had been under the latter's control with an ÖBB class 1144 since Spielfeld Straß.

1144 096 at Florisdorf1144 096 at Florisdorf5th March 2016. On R2357 18:09 Florisdorf to Payerbach-Reichenau.   After standing for about 15 minutes the train set off again and though the braking remained a little erratic at times we did manage to pick up a little of the lost time. It was dark by now so it wasn't possible to admire the scenery over the Semmering pass before our friend joined at at Wiener Neustadt. Time for one final drink before reaching Wien, a quick trip down the platform to establish the loco number as it had not been convenient to do this at Spielfeld Straß then straight across the road to the Motel One again and bed.

Wednesday 9th March 2016

Just for a change it was breakfast in the hotel this morning as we thought that we really ought to try it at least once. It was a good spread with plenty of choice though there was a small amount of head scratching until the crockery was tracked down, in cupboards under the counters that the food was on; perhaps some signs might help?

With a flight at ten past twelve it wasn't really an option to stray outside beyond Meidling or Florisdorf, not exactly helpful when a required 1116 was seen on a Railjet, next stop St. Polten. Some late running in the northbound direction made "bashing" a little difficult; coupled with the fact that leaping between platforms at Meidling is not the easiest thing to do, even less so at Wien Hbf where the S Bahn tracks are underground but there were not many required locos around in any case. Another new loco on a Railjet was eventually seen and, luckily, it was on the train that was our intended move to the airport, bringing the total for this short trip up to 40 - not a bad score considering that getting as many new locos as possible was not the main aim of the trip.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
8th March 2016        
Ljubljana   8:25 541 020 EN415 20:40 Zürich HB to Beograd
Zidani Most 9:35 9:42 342 025 MV247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest Déli
Pragersko 10:47 11:00 664 116  
Hodoš 12:29 13:03 664 116 MV246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana
Pragersko 14:32 14:41 342 025  
Trbovlje 15:59 16:19 342 022 RG631 15:35 Ljubljana to Dobova
Zidani Most 16:34 16:57 342 005 EC150 16:00 Ljubljana to Wien Hbf
Spielfeld Straß 18:47 19:01 1144 116  
Wien Hbf 22:07      
9th March 2016        
Wien Hbf   8:25 1116 247 RJ533 8:25 Wien Hbf to Villach / Lienz
      1116 226  
Wien-Meidling 8:29 9:26 1116 267 R2216 7:55 Payerbach-Reichenau to Florisdorf
Wien Hbf (Bst 1-2) 9:31   walk  
Wien Hbf   9:39 1116 241 RJ949 7:08 Salzburg Hbf to Flughafen Wien
Flughafen Wien 9:54   walk  
VIE   12:21 G-EZFT EZY5352 12:10 VIE to LGW
LGW 13:22      
Austria Slovenia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/having-a-smashing-time Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:41:31 GMT
7th March 2016 - Get it while you can http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/get-it-while-you-can Monday 7th March 2016

It was an even earlier start this morning as the aim of the day was to get to Ljubljana, using the old favourite EC246 “Citadella”. It wasn’t possible to get to Budapest in time for the 8:30 departure but there was a choice of three trains to head it off, leaving Wien Hbf at 6:19, 6:25 or 6:42. The first two were via Sopron with the 6:19 being dismissed as it was booked to be an EMU but the 6:25 EC had a new 1216 on the front so breakfast was purchased, seats found and lid removed from tea. Sitting in comfort and sipping the tea, time ticked by and 6:25 came and went with no sign of movement, then an announcement was made that due to a technical problem the train would be leaving a few minutes late.

This was not very helpful to say the least as the connection at Wiener Neustadt was only 8 minutes with no back-up move so we reluctantly got off and kept everything crossed that the 6:42, an overnight service from München, was on time; fortunately it was. The downside of going this way was a 50 minute wait at both Győr and Celldömölk, not the best time of year to be hanging around draughty stations though at least it allowed plenty of time for any delays.

An empty compartment was found but some minutes after departing Wien Hbf a man came in complaining that he had a first class ticket but couldn’t find any such accommodation (there wasn’t) and had initially got in the front coach. Upon finding it full (and no first class) he had traipsed through three or four sleeping cars looking for seats before finding some space and, despite his initial moans, turned out to be good company and spoke good English.

We were quite happy on our own in the compartment until Mosonmagyaróvár when we were invaded by five people who had seat reservations, EN trains being compulsory reservation within Hungary. As our new found acquaintance was going to Budapest and had a first class ticket it was only right that somebody using a staff pass should allow him to remain seated and it wasn’t that much further to Győr in any case, we could only hope that he didn’t get usurped by somebody getting on there.

418 305 at Győr418 305 at Győr7th March 2016. On 9200 8:40 Győr to Szombathely.

Time for a quick wander round at Győr before taking a pew on the 8:40 to Szombathely which was lovely and warm so catching up on some sleep was in order for the next hour or so until it was time to go back out into the cold. It was possible to go to Sárvár and catch the next train from there but as it was single line beyond Celldömölk and the two trains crossed at Sárvár it was not a wise move.  A quick walk round and taking some photographs filled the time before the brief 8 minute journey to Boba where we finally caught up with “Citadella”.

438 201 at Celldömölk438 201 at Celldömölk7th March 2016.

EC246 only had three coaches instead of the usual four today and one of those was the dining car but a compartment was found at the rear of the train with only one other passenger in who got off at Zalaegerszeg where the train reversed. It wasn’t very warm in there but that would be rendered rather irrelevant when the main attraction (a class 664 diesel) arrived at Hodoš. This of course was not a required one (don’t seem to have a lot of luck getting new ones of these) but at least it wasn’t one of those that we’d had earlier this year.

664 106 at Hodoš664 106 at Hodoš7th March 2016. After taking over from 431 146 on EC246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana "Citadella".

It was a nice loud departure from Hodoš but things deteriorated after that, even though this line is relatively flat we have experienced better runs than this one; maybe one coach less than usual really did make a difference. Opening the window was not an option after Ljotomer when we were joined by someone who had been evicted from 1st class (even we can tell 1st and 2nd class apart, the seat colour for a start!) and another guy joined a couple of stops later. By now, the heat did not appear to be working at all though it had been when the 664 was first put on the train so it was a matter of keeping the window shut and attempting to keep warm.

Any disappointment was swept aside at Pragersko when a class 363 electric loco was spotted ready to replace the diesel and it turned out to be required for haulage, a real bonus! As the train headed towards Ljubljana, snow could be seen on top of the mountains and the river Sava in the gorge section around Zidani Most was a raging torrent so a fair amount of snow / rain must have fallen recently. The many primroses in bloom alongside the railway made quite an incongruous sight given the cold weather.

363 029 at Pragersko363 029 at Pragersko7th March 2016. On EC246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana "Citadella".

We arrived at Ljubljana on time so had a quick dash down the road to check into the Central Hotel, returning to the station to view the 17:25 IC to Maribor. This was the same loco (363.029) off “Citadella” as expected though it is always worth checking as the loco does occasionally get swapped or an extra one added to the train. With the evening train to Koper being a bus and the identity of the class 342 on the 17:06 from Dobova being unknown there was little point in continuing the “bash” so it was off for a wander round this attractive city and a meal in the Sokol.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Wien Hbf   6:42 1116 035 EN472 23:31 München Hbf to Budapest-Keleti
Győr 7:54 8:40 418 305 9200 8:40 Győr to Szombathely
Celldömölk 9:52 10:43 431 188 905 10:05 Szombathely to Budapest Déli
Boba 10:51 11:09 431 146 EC246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana
Zalaegerszeg 11:55 12:12 431 146  
Hodoš 12:47 13:03 664 106  
Pragersko 14:31 14:41 363 029  
Ljubljana 16:43      
Austria Hungary Slovenia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/get-it-while-you-can Tue, 23 May 2017 09:38:11 GMT
6th March 2016 - Fishing for Goldfish Bowls http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/6th-march-2016---fishing-for-goldfish-bowls Sunday 6th March 2016

A late finish last night wasn’t the best preparation for catching the 7:09 this morning but choosing the scenic route via Břeclav and Kúty meant it was either that or the train two hours later. The plan had been to have breakfast in the Eiscafé at Břeclav but it was closed at this early hour so we had a cup of tea in the station buffet instead and photographed some of the long line of locos stored opposite the platforms before having breakfast on the EC en route to Bratislava.

751 149 at Břeclav751 149 at Břeclav6th March 2016. The bogies are marked up as "751 338"

Our friend had kindly got some tickets for a ride to Trnava on the 11:35 Regiojet service to Kosiče which was booked to be hauled by one of the new Siemens “Vectron” locos so we started off with a short trip to Bratislava-Vinohrady some 2 ½ miles away, to kill some time and get a couple of locos in the book, hopefully some class 240 "goldfish bowl" electric locos, so called due to their distinctive cab windows. It wasn’t a bad place for pictures but, being a junction station, there was no single place to stand to capture everything that passed – not that there was much as it was a Sunday.

386 007 at Bratislava-Vinohrady386 007 at Bratislava-Vinohrady6th March 2016.

There was enough time to get some more pictures back at the main station before the coaches for the Regiojet service turned up, the whole set was in their corporate yellow livery including the loco. All seats in the Regiojet trains are reserved and this train was full so it was obviously a popular service and despite our tickets costing the princely sum of just over a Euro we each got a free bottle of water.

193 206 at Bratislava hl. st.193 206 at Bratislava hl. st.6th March 2016. On RJ405 11:35 Bratislava hl.st. to Kosiče.

The return journey from Trnava was an EMU, one of the few that had been seen out working today but another couple of trips to Vinohrady bumped up the loco haulage total (but not the photograph count) before it was time to return to Trnava for another Railjet “Vectron”.

By now it was nearly half past four, a little too late in the day to head further afield and more trips to Vinohrady didn’t appeal so a class 2016 diesel-hauled train was taken on the direct route back to Wien, arriving in time to get an IC train to St Pölten to catch up with 1116.173 the second, the first loco to carry that number was written off in an accident during 2010.

2016 032 at Bratislava hl. st.2016 032 at Bratislava hl. st.6th March 2016. On REX 2517 11:38 Bratislava hl. st. to Wien Hbf.

One last move for the night was a quick trip to Vienna Airport for a “nightcap” on board the only working that takes a Czech Railjet set to that location. Unlike the Austrian sets, the ČD ones have draught beer in the restaurant car so a glass of Budweiser (the Czech version) was partaken whilst the crew dived out to pose for pictures under the Vienna Airport sign.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Wien Hbf   7:09 1216 230 RJ70 7:09 Wien Hbf to Praha hl.n.
Břeclav 8:08 8:59 350 013 EC273 5:49 Praha hl.n. to Budapest-Keleti
Bratislava hl.st. 9:57 10:03 363 144 R835 10:01 Bratislava hl.st. to Banská Bystrica
Bratislava-Vinohrady 10:08 10:47 240 127 Os4616 9:22 Nové Zámky to Bratislava hl.st.
Bratislava hl.st. 10:52 11:35 193 206 RJ405 11:35 Bratislava hl.st. to Kosiče
Trnava 11:59 12:24 671 019 3016 11:56 Leopoldov to Bratislava hl.st.
Bratislava hl.st. 13:05 13:07 240 145 Os4617 13:07 Bratislava hl. St. to Nové Zámky
Bratislava-Vinohrady 13:12 13:53 240 123 R836 10:35 Banská Bystrica to Bratislava hl.st.
Bratislava hl.st. 13:58 14:03 362 003 R839 14:01 Bratislava hl.st. to Banská Bystrica
Bratislava-Vinohrady 14:08 14:44 362 006 REX725 14:39 Bratislava hl.st. to Prievidza
Trnava 15:14 16:00 193 214 RJ404 11:17 Kosiče to Bratislava hl.st.
Bratislava hl.st. 16:25 16:38 2016 019 REX2527 16:38 Bratislava hl.st. to Wien Hbf
Wien Hbf 17:43 17:55 1116 175 IC744 17:33 Flughafen Wien to Salzburg Hbf
St Pölten Hbf 18:29 19:15 1116 173 IC721 15:40 Stainach-Irdning to Wien Hbf
Wien-Meidling 19:39 20:01 1116 195 IC745 17:12 Salzburg Hbf to Flughafen Wien
Wien Hbf 20:05 21:11 1116 231 RJ756 18:25 Graz Hbf to Flughafen Wien
Flughafen Wien 21:27 21:33 1116 231 RJ959 21:33 Flughafen Wien to Wien Hbf
Wien Hbf 21:50      
Austria Slovakia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/6th-march-2016---fishing-for-goldfish-bowls Tue, 18 Apr 2017 19:40:22 GMT
5th March 2016 - Read all About It http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/read-all-about-it Saturday 5th March

 Today’s plans involved staying in Austria as there was an interesting tour, hauled by an interesting loco over an interesting route to a book launch at the Strasshof museum north of Vienna. This didn’t start until 12:00 at Wolkersdorf so most of the morning was spent in a fairly fruitless search for new Taurus locos for haulage, the final score being two out of eight before we had to head off on a class 1144-hauled R train to Florisdorf for an EMU to Wolkersdorf.

Although the train started at Wolkersdorf, it had to come from its base at Mistelbach and it arrived from there in good time looking very smart in a fresh coat of traditional “blood orange” livery with four blue and cream four wheel coaches. As the train stood basking in the spring sunshine a few of us took the opportunity to hop off the platform for a sneaky photo.

2143 070 at Wolkersdorf2143 070 at Wolkersdorf5th March 2016. On SZ14372 12:03 Wolkersdorf to Heizhaus Strasshof which was run in conjunction with a book launch at the museum.

We set off for Strasshof which was only just down the road from Wolkersdorf as the crow flies but a bit longer by rail, especially if any run rounds were to be avoided though the planned route looked to have been carefully thought out to provide maximum interest as well as providing other pick up points through the centre of Wien. To get round the city and end up facing the right way the tour first had to circumnavigate the huge yards at Kledering to the east of Wien using some interesting non-passenger track then we stopped for photos at the closed station of Oberlaa. One little problem though, the sun was still shining brightly and the train was standing in the shadow of the station building but that was easily solved by everyone walking away from the station whilst the train moved up until it was no longer in shadow; simples!

2143 070 at Oberlaa2143 070 at Oberlaa5th March 2016. Photo stop with SZ14372 12:03 Wolkersdorf to Heizhaus Strasshof which was run in conjunction with a book launch at the museum.

All back on board for the relatively short distance to Wien Meidling, where more passengers boarded then the train did an unusual move right across the whole layout to access the S Bahn tracks and into the tunnel for the low level platforms at Wien Hbf to collect some more passengers. There then followed one of the day’s highlights, a run through the S Bahn tunnels with a rather keen driver. The 77 class 2143s were a mixed bunch, the lowest numbered ones were mostly rather quiet and many of the later ones were very loud indeed with 2143 070 being very much in the latter category and our driver took full advantage of the fact, probably frightening the life out of a few “normals” as we charged noisily through the underground stations, it was worth the bargain €20 fare just for this bit.

Back out into the open air, we passed under our outwards route at Süßenbrunn and onto the Heizhaus Museum at Strasshof, which was actually closer to the next station on the line, Silberwald. This was another highlight as the train crossed over and took the track right into the museum, passing an extensive collection of stuff in various stages of decay – a shame more of it could not be kept under cover.

1665 at Heizhaus Strasshof1665 at Heizhaus Strasshof5th March 2016. 0-6-0 built by StEG (Vienna) in 1895, works no. 2466. It was previously Südbahn 32c1665 then MÁV no. 333.002.

Our train went onto the furthest road to the left and although the 2143 ended up behind a large thorny bush the rear of the train was next to a patch of grass where people could gather round and listen to the speeches announcing the new book. This was all about the class 2045 locomotives of which one of the seven remaining ones, 2045.20, was waiting to be shunted onto the other end of the train to provide a backdrop for the event. We had been lucky enough to have this loco for haulage on the Retz to Drosendorf line back in 2003 but next time we went there, two years later, it was out of use following an engine failure and a class 2143 was covering the duty.

2045.20 at Heizhaus Strasshof2045.20 at Heizhaus Strasshof5th March 2016. Posed at the head of a charter from Wolkersdorf which was run to the museum for the launch of a book on the subject of class 2045s.

As the speeches for the book launch would be in German there was not much point in standing at the back trying to look appreciative so the opportunity was taken to go round and get photographs of some of the huge collection of steam, diesel and electric locos on the site.

1040.01 at Heizhaus Strasshof1040.01 at Heizhaus Strasshof5th March 2016.

The “cranks” amongst the passengers had quickly worked out that the only way to get 2143.070 onto the other end of the train for the return journey was to shunt release it using one of the shunting locos that had been moving 2045.20 around. These were a class 2060 and 2067 though only the latter was running and we guessed that there would not be any issues with being on the train when the shunt was done to claim the haulage, all we had to do was make sure that we were on the train when the move took place.

2060.74  at Heizhaus Strasshof2060.74 at Heizhaus Strasshof5th March 2016. With 2067 090.

Most of the active locos based here were either inside the shed or parked just outside and it looked as if the most of the large number of locos parked in the open at the south end of the site were little more than mobile spare parts banks to keep the active stuff in service. By the time we returned to the special train the book launch had finished so the opportunity was taken to get some photos of 2045.20 and to have a look at the new book. It was a quality product filled with every detail imaginable about the class 2045 from their inception to demise and it was also lavishly illustrated; needless to say one was purchased to add to the pile of timetables that had already been acquired.

1020 038 at Heizhaus Strasshof1020 038 at Heizhaus Strasshof5th March 2016.

By this time, the class 2045 had been removed from the train and the 2067 / 2060 combination had been attached ready to release 2143.070 though only the 2067 was actually working and, as expected, there were no problems with being on-board whilst the shunt was done – in fact nearly all the passengers were on the train by now.

Fifty minutes later we were back at Praterstern (the former Wien Nord station) and a decision had to be made, stay on board for some more entertainment in the tunnels or get off and grab that required class 1144 that was temptingly less than 20 minutes behind the special. The latter option won and proved to be a good move as one new class 1144 turned into three, the perfect excuse for a trip with a couple of friends to the Lichtenthal Brew Pub, a 30 minute ride away on Tram route “D” past many of Vienna’s  interesting buildings.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Wien Hbf   8:25 1116 224 D15533 8:25 Wien Hbf to Lienz
      1116 247  
      1116 063  
Wien-Meidling 8:29 8:37 1116 217 RJ262 8:03 Flugahfen Wien to Salzburg Hbf
      1116 238  
St Pölten Hbf 8:58 9:10 1116 231 RJ49 5:05 Inssbruck Hbf to Budapest-Keleti
      1116 214  
Wien Hbf 9:39 9:55 1116 157 IC548 9:33 Flughafen Wien to Salzburg Hbf
Wien-Meidling 9:59 10:24 1144 079 R2322 9:38 Wiener Neustadt to Florisdorf
Florisdorf 10:50 11:05 4020 205 S24426 10:21 Mödling to Wolkersdorf
Wolkersdorf 11:27 12:03 2143 070 SZ14372 12:03 Wolkersdorf to Heizhaus Strasshof
Heizhaus Strasshof     2067 090 shunt
Heizhaus Strasshof   16:12 2143 070 ??? 16:20 Heizhaus Strasshof to Wolkersdorf
Wien Praterstern 17:02 17:18 1144 006 R2353 17:09 Florisdorf to Payerbach-Reichenau
Rennweg 17:24 17:36 1144 202 R2350 15:55 Payerbach-Reichenau to Florisdorf
Florisdorf 17:51 18:09 1144 096 R2357 18:09 Florisdorf to Payerbach-Reichenau
Wien Hbf (Bst 1-2) 18:28   walk  
Alfred-Adler-Straße   19:25 624 Tram D
Augasse 19:56 22:11 624 Tram D
Alfred-Adler-Straße 22:40      


Austria http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/read-all-about-it Tue, 21 Mar 2017 21:41:11 GMT
3rd & 4th March 2016 - Making the Most of It http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/making-the-most-of-it Thursday 3rd March 2016

Six rest days off work, a stash of FIP coupons which expired at the end of the month burning a hole in the desk drawer, sounds like a recipe for another trip! Vienna ended up being the chosen location with one night in Ljubljana, no prizes for guessing that the reason for the latter was to have yet another trip on “Citadella” as the overhead lines to Hodoš were imminently due to be energised.

The chosen flight was with Easy Jet from Gatwick but although it was now possible to use an Oyster Card to get there, it actually turned out to be marginally cheaper to buy an open off peak return (PRIV) and this was done a couple of days beforehand at our local booking office. The flight itself was unremarkable and landed in a rather damp Wien on time meaning a quick dash across the stand to take shelter in the bus.

Our Vienna-based friend had come to the airport to provide a “meet and greet” service and, since the timetable change in December, there was the bonus of being able to take an hourly loco-hauled IC train into the city rather than rely on the half-hourly S Bahn service or premium priced “CAT” (City Airport Train). The IC trains have a very quick turn-round at the airport so run top and tailed from Wien Hbf and the trip got off to a good start when the leading “Taurus” proved to be a required one and things got even better when we pulled into the Hbf opposite a required 1216 which was taken to Meidling before heading for the hotel. This was the fairly new “Motel One”, right opposite Wien Hbf and was exactly as expected, clean and comfortable with friendly and helpful staff.

Friday 4th March 2016

With a full set of FIP coupons available, the plan for today was either go to the Czech Republic or Slovakia and go to the other country on Sunday. The original thought was to go to Slovakia today as there were more trains to go for on weekdays but that also applied to the Czech Republic so when our Austrian friend said he was having a trip to Břeclav after work that became the deciding factor.

The day started with a dud 1216 on the 7:09 to Praha which was taken to Břeclav with the intention of heading to Přerov for some new track. According to the diagrams it should have been loco-hauled but something that looked like a shiny new unit appeared in the bay platform, fortunately a closer look revealed that it was a driving trailer with 362.087 on the north end. This was taken to the snappily named station of Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště where we risked stepping back onto EC104 for a new class 380 for the rest of the journey. This train was running a little late which made an already tight “plus” onto the Luhačovice service at Přerov even tighter making it a run through the subway, dive into the rearmost door and a walk through the train to see what the loco was though it was guaranteed to be new as we’d never had a CĎ class 150 before.

150 215 at Praha hlavní nádraží150 215 at Praha hlavní nádraží6th September 2013.

On the way back there the conductress came round, asked where we were going and when told “Luhačovice”, tried to direct us to the next coach as the front one was presumably being removed along with the loco at Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště. No, it’s OK – we’ll move when we get there, plenty of time whilst the locos get changed; this exchange went on a couple of times before she wandered off and left us in peace. Shortly before the train arrived at Staré Město etc etc, she came round again so we decided to keep the peace and move, getting off at S.M. etc to take pictures anyway.

The loco for the journey to Luhačovice was a class 754 “Goggles” diesel, they look quite interesting but are utter rubbish in the “thrash” stakes though at least it meant doing the line loco hauled rather than in a DMU. It was a pleasant enough line with about 40 minutes to look round a rather chilly Luhačovice and get lunch, an easy enough task as there were two bakers quite close to the station with at least another couple and some cafés within a few minutes walk.

754 018 at Luhačovice754 018 at Luhačovice4th March 2016. On R885 6:55 Praha hl.n. to Luhačovice.

The newly acquired Czech time table was put to use on the journey back to the main line with a view to doing the diesel line across to Brno but there were no suitable connections and a lack of hauled turns in the near future so it was back to Přerov to go round to Brno that way. It was a bit galling to get 150.202 again but it was possible to step back at Otrokovice for the local push-pull train behind, having first checked the diagrams to ensure that it wasn’t the same one as earlier.

We arrived in a bay platform at Přerov and noticed what looked like some sort of locomotive works next to the station with several electric locomotives in various states outside. This was the DPOV works, part of České dráhy and specializing in the repair / overhaul of electric locos but they also appeared to deal with private operators as well judging by some of the items outside.

182 094 at Přerov182 094 at Přerov4th March 2016.

Twenty minutes was ample to photograph all the locos outside the works before boarding a regional train to Brno which arrived there just in time for the evening peak meaning a move could be done to Tišnov using three different locos on stopping trains. There was one semi-fast train in the midst of all these which only had one stop between Brno and Tišnov so it was decided to give that one a miss, just as well as it was the same loco and coaches that had worked the train from Přerov, cleverly continuing to Praha as another train and avoiding the need for the loco to run round.

362 172 at Brno-Řečkovice362 172 at Brno-Řečkovice4th March 2016. On R976 16:20 Brno hl. n. to Praha hl. n.

A quick change of direction at Tišnov to catch a regional train which was taken to its one intermediate stop of Brno-Královo Pole then another step back onto a class 242 on a local train and back to Brno to wait for the Budapest EC back to Břeclav. This was showing five then ten minutes late and finally arrived behind a winning class 380 but any thoughts of sitting in the restaurant car for a nice drink quickly disappeared as it was rather full, along with the rest of the train, good job Břeclav was only half an hour away.

The Budapest EC arrived at Břeclav within a few minutes of our friend’s train from Wien and we had an hour here before the next train back south, ample time to visit the Eiscafe Delikana next to the station with its mouthwatering array of cakes which just had to be sampled. Our train back to Wien was a Czech Railjet which had a restaurant car on so dinner was had on board rather than later when we met two more friends at the 7Stern Bräu.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train / Plane Details
LGW   16:59 G-EZGF EZY5353 17:00 LGW to VIE
VIE 20:03   walk  
Flughafen Wien   20:33 1116 144 IC840 20:33 Flughafen Wien to Salzburg Hbf
      1116 146  
Wien Hbf 20:50 20:58 1216 210 RJ371 16:49 Praha hl.n. to Graz Hbf
Wien-Meidling 21:02 21:15 1144 204 R2264 21:15 Wien Meidling to Florisdorf
Wien Hbf (Bst 1-2) 21:20      
4th March 2016        
Wien Hbf   7:09 1216 230 RJ70 7:09 Wien Hbf to Praha hl.n.
Břeclav 8:08 8:35 362 087 4207 8:35 Břeclav to Přerov
Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště 9:29 9:43 380 011 EC104 8:09 Wien Hbf to Gdynia Główna
Přerov 10:09 10:11 150 202 R885 6:55 Praha hl.n. to Luhačovice
Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště 10:46 10:55 754 018  
Luhačovice 11:40 12:20 754 018 R886 12:20 Luhačovice to Praha hl.n
Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště 13:12 13:20 150 202  
Otrokovice 13:29 13:50 362 165 4211 12:35 Břeclav to Přerov
Přerov 14:22 14:44 362 172 R834 13:35 Bohumin to Brno hl.n.
Brno hl.n. 16:00 16:08 242 264 4940 15:41 Hrušovany u Brna to Tišnov
Brno-Řečkovice 16:27 16:41 242 228 4624 15:15 Břeclav to Tišnov
Čebín 16:53 17:06 362 082 4978 16:35 Brno hl.n. to Tišnov
Tišnov 17:12 17:15 362 160 R983 14:06 Praha hl.n. to Brno hl.n.
Brno-Královo Pole 17:30 17:54 242 261 4913 16:34 Žd'ár nad Sázavou to Vranovice
Brno hl.n. 18:06 18:37 380 013 EC281 15:52 Praha hl.n. to Budapest-Keleti
Břeclav 19:05 20:01 1216 229 RJ371 16:49 Praha hl.n. to Graz Hbf
Wien Hbf 21:03   Bus  
Siebensterngasse   23:17 719 Tram 49
Dr Karl-Renner-Ring 23:20 23:26 762 Tram D
Alfred-Adler-Straße 23:42      
Austria Czech Republic http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/making-the-most-of-it Sat, 11 Mar 2017 11:31:52 GMT
2nd February 2016 - Glass Half Full http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/glass-half-full Tuesday 2nd February 2016

Our host had kindly mention last night that there was a large group staying in the hotel who had arranged to have breakfast at 7 o’clock this morning so it would not be a problem if we wanted to go down a little earlier as well so we decided to give them a bit of a head start and went down at 7:15. Our loco this morning was the same one that we had photographed last night (649 in “20 minutes” livery) though we would have preferred 648 “Susch” as that loco was now our lowest mileage Ge4/4iii and it was currently in the original red RhB livery rather than advertising colours.

648 at Filisur648 at Filisur1st February 2016. View from the Hotel Grischuna of Ge4/4iii no. 648 "Susch" on RE1117 6:58 Chur to St. Moritz.

Some “gen” had been gleaned from the internet that our two missing SBB Re4/4s had been seen working, 11244 had been spied working between Zürich and Locarno and 421.383 had been one of the locos on the 18:09 EC departure from Zürich last night. Though the latter was not booked to appear until 18:09 tonight, long after our flight time, if it followed the diagrams around there was no harm in going from Chur to Zürich via St Gallen just on the off chance that it might appear on EC196. As a bonus, if we got off at St Gallen and cut across to Arth-Goldau on the Voralpen Express we might also catch up with 11244 if it had followed the diagrams around.

It was a nice cross-platform connection to an IC train at Chur so we had the bright idea of catching that to Landquart so save trundling the cases through the subway onto the RE train, thinking that the IC and RE trains would depart from the same platform at the latter. However, SBB had other ideas and put the RE over into the “loop” platform at Landquart so we had to traipse through the subway there instead.

The RE train was our first experience of one of the newish class 511 double deck EMUs but we can’t say that we were particularly impressed with it as 1st class was 2 + 2 seating rather than the more usual 2 + 1 and the base cushion was too small; to us, it felt like we were perching on the seat instead of sitting in it. Having said that, the seat was nice and soft to sit on, it’s just that there wasn’t enough of it! The train wasn’t very busy so we went into 2nd class and tried the seats in there which were strangely better and some rather un-scientific measurements determined that the seats were actually the same basic size; the extra padding on the 1st class seats actually made them more uncomfortable!

511 022 at Rorschach511 022 at Rorschach2nd October 2016. On RE4977 15:01 Wil SG to Chur.

We got off the RE train at St Margrethen to find that the EC was running around 10 minutes late, giving us enough time to photograph the Re4/4 in the head shunt then walk down the platform to phot the two Tms in the yard. There were two lots of border police waiting for the EC with a dog which sniffed disinterestedly as we walked past, it looked friendly enough but we weren’t going to test that theory out.

232 212 at St Margrethen232 212 at St Margrethen2nd February 2016.

As the EC approached we were surprised and delighted to see that it was 421.383 rather than 421.394 as we were expecting, the gamble of coming round this way had paid off handsomely. A quick revision of plans saw us heading to Zürich for more mileage with 383 rather than get off at St Gallen, we should still be able to catch up with the train from Locarno that we were after by catching the 12:09 from Zürich. The EC recouped the 10 minutes or so lateness as we expected and we went straight across to the usual platform for the Locarno IR service, finding that it was expected to leave 8 minutes late, not a problem as we had the best part of 30 minutes at Arth-Goldau.

421 383  at Zürich HB421 383 at Zürich HB2nd February 2016. On EC196 7:17 München Hbf to Zürich HB.

Next thing we knew, the platform had changed to 15, rather unusual for here, and the inbound train eventually arrived more than 8 minutes late – most un-Swiss. As the new loco was being attached we heard an announcement that the train would not be calling at Zug, so we guessed that it would be going via Rotkreuz, it certainly looked as if the inbound working had come that way judging by the platform it was in.

As we set off like the proverbial clappers we discovered from an announcement that the direct line via Zug was either closed due to the weekend engineering works overrunning or at least had restricted capacity, so it might mean that the train we were after would be diverted as well. The train was still speeding along so we were still hopeful of getting to Arth-Goldau in time but it slowed down considerably after leaving Othmarsingen and an extra stop was announced at Rotkreuz. By the time we arrived there it was looking doubtful that we would get to Arth-Goldau in time so we bailed off thinking there would either be a chance of the other IR stopping here as well or we might have a chance of getting another train to Zug if it went on its booked route.

Although there was a train heading to Zug we were not sure if it would get there in time for the northbound IR so decided to wait at Rotkreuz to see if it would stop here as well. Needless to say , the northbound IR never did appear and must have gone via Zug but we did get a small consolation in the shape of an Re10/10 (Re6/6 and Re4/4 coupled) on a freight which came racing through the middle road.

11272 at Rotkreuz11272 at Rotkreuz2nd February 2016. With Re6/6 11637 "Sonceboz-Sombeval".

Whatever was going on north of Zug, it wasn’t affecting the Luzern / Zürich IR service as we caught one of these, waiting at Zug whilst an EC from Italy went first. Our train called as usual at Baar, went up the hill and into the Albis tunnel where there was a severe speed restriction and jointed track, it looked like the line hadn’t been handed back in the intended condition which reduced capacity. The S24 service had been replaced by a bus and we guessed that the 12:09 to Locarno had missed its slot through being late so had been diverted. Never mind, there was no guarantee that 11244 would have stuck to its diagram and there was no sign of it lurking at Zürich so maybe we hadn’t missed out and SBB had given us a timely reminder that even the best railways get problems sometimes.

It was only just over two hours until our flight departed so we got the next hauled train to the airport and went to check in with our fingers crossed. Why? As we didn’t have access to a printer last night when we checked in on-line we had the boarding cards sent to our mobile phones and were worried that we might somehow delete them before checking in or that they might not scan properly. In the end, scanning the code on the phone proved to be surprisingly effective and painless, just like the rest of the journey home though the ongoing issues south of Bletchley on the Up Slow would no doubt come to haunt us when travelling in the opposite direction to work in the coming days.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train / PLane details
Filisur   8:01 649  
Chur 9:03 9:09 460 007 IC564 9:09 Chur to Basel SBB
Landquart 9:17 9:22 511 022 RE4866 9:12 Chur to Wil
St Margrethen 10:12 10:29 421 383 EC196 7:17 München Hbf to Zürich HB
Zürich HB 11:59 12:24 11196 IR2421 12:09 Zürich HB to Locarno
Rotkreuz 13:02 13:54 460 043 IR2650 13:35 Luzern to Zürich HB
Zürich HB 14:30 14:39 460 115 IR2123 14:37 Zürich HB to Konstanz
Zürich Flughafen 14:49   walk  
ZRH   17:05 HB-JVR LX466 17:10 ZRH to LCY
LCY 17:50      
Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/glass-half-full Fri, 10 Mar 2017 11:50:00 GMT
1st February 2016 - Bernina Bahn http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/bernina-bahn Monday 1st February 2016.

By choice we would have moved on from Filisur this morning but couldn’t be bothered with all the hassle of changing hotels for just one night so we decided to stick around on the RhB for one more day as it was a few years since our last visit of more than the odd day. After checking that 703 was not down to work (it was still on repairs at Landquart) we decided to have a trip on the Bernina Bahn as it was possible to have a ride over most of the line using the two diagrams for the old (well, 1980s) ABe 4/4ii motor cars.

The 9:02 from Filisur to St Moritz allowed us around 40 minutes to observe the goings on, take photos and grab a drink. We watched the pair of motor cars arrive from the Pontresina direction but, rather than run straight round their train, they went into the sidings and brought out two more coaches. The shunting tractor which we had seen being delivered on Saturday was stabled in the sidings with one of the doors to the engine compartment open; they hadn’t broken it already, had they?

112 at St Moritz112 at St Moritz30th January 2016. Ge6/6ii no. 701 has just arrived from Samedan with Tm2/2 112 in tow. 701 has been attached to the coaches to form RE1358 16:45 St Moritz to Landquart whilst 112 will uncouple and replace classmate 114 as the station pilot.

The motor cars pushed the two extra coaches onto the pair that they had left in the platform and set the whole lot back towards the buffer stops but the rearmost pair of coaches were then uncoupled and left behind when we departed on time at 10:48. Ten minutes later we were in Pontresina where the Bernina Express coaches were to be added, this used to be done by a shunting loco so we got off to see it that was still the case and to try and “blag” a ride only for the doors to shut as soon as we stepped onto the platform and the train, complete with bag and tea, departed towards Tirano!

Fortunately, the train stopped just off the end of the platform to wait for the BEX coaches to turn up, their arrival being preceded by the grinding of the OHL switching gear as it changed the voltage from the Bernina Bahn’s 1,000V DC to the standard RhB 11kV AC. The loco, 623, was uncoupled and crossed over to the opposite line then the switch gear ground into action again to change the voltage back to DC ready for the two units to back their train ono the BEX portion; by the time they returned to the platform, the tea was just the right temperature to drink.

By now, the early mist had cleared to bright sunshine meaning we would get some great views of the mountains on the way to the summit near Ospizio Bernina and a clear views down the valley on the descent to Poschiavo. We had to get off at the penultimate station of Campocologno as the train we were aiming for departed from Tirano at the same time as the one we were on arrived but as we had done the line before that wasn’t an issue for us. The twenty minutes we had here was not quite enough time to walk down the road and try to get a picture of the shunting loco in the freight terminal, but there were some of the open “panorama wagons” stabled around the station that get attached to some services in the summer season.

B2098 at CampocolognoB2098 at Campocologno1st February 2016.

We had to catch one of the new “Allegra” units to get back to Poschiavo for the other pair of ABe4/4s and weren’t overly impressed with the door between first class and the vestibule that wouldn’t stay shut, nor the toilet that didn’t flush properly; modern rubbish!

3515 at Poschiavo3515 at Poschiavo1st February 2016. ABe 8/12 "Allegra" unit 3515 on 1652 13:00 Tirano to St. Moritz.

Numbers 54 and 55 had already arrived when we got to Poschiavo and were in the process of running round their train so photographs were taken along with De 2/2 no. 151 on a works train in the yard and former ABe 4/4 no. 48 which had been converted into a service vehicle.

232 01 at Poschiavo232 01 at Poschiavo1st February 2016. Xe 4/4 232 01 which was converted from ABe 4/4 no. 48.

The journey back up to Alp Grum and Ospizio Bernina was most enjoyable, the line winds its way up the hill with wonderful views to the south as the train zig-zags up the mountain, accompanied by the whine of traction motors from these powerful EMUs. There was a distinct shortage of snow around the summit of the line though the weather had started to cloud over some maybe there was some much-needed “white stuff” on the way.

PoschiavoPoschiavo1st February 2016. View over Poschiavo and Lago di Poschiavo from a train near Cadera.

Rather than go back to St Moritz and return straight to Filisur, we decided to change at Pontresina and go round in a circle via Klosters and Davos to avoid getting back too early. 633 was our loco to Sagliains then it was 619 for the trip through the Vereina tunnel which was flowing a bit better today, probably due to less car traffic as one of the sets was parked up in the siding at the Selfranga loading point. Klosters was reached on time which gave us six minutes to grab a photo of 701 on a one-wagon train carrying two waste containers and dash through the subway for the train to Davos.

701 at Klosters Platz701 at Klosters Platz1st February 2016. Ge6/6ii no. 701 "Raetia"

Unfortunately the train to Davos was an Allegra unit, though it should have been a Ge4/4iii loco according to the diagrams but we had to go that way now as the journey via Landquart and Chur would take over twice as long. There was a half hour wait at Davos where the unit dropped off the coaches attached on the rear and we grabbed a photo of shunting loco no. 120 and a cup of tea from the kiosk before re-boarding the same unit for the remainder of the journey to Filisur.

120 at Davos Platz120 at Davos Platz1st February 2016.

It was dark now and hard to see outside with the bright lights in the unit but it did look as if there was more snow on the ground in this area, perhaps something to do with all the hot air from the annual World Economic Forum which had been held in Davos just over a week previously!

There was time for one last photo attempt at Filisur then into the nice warm hotel for one final meal before settling our bill with the lady of the house as we wanted to be on the 8:01 departure in the morning.  Browsing idly on the internet later reminded us that this trip was about to end with the news that the West Coast main Line was in chaos yet again, this time due to a landslip near Bletchley; yes it was, despite the National Rail Enquiries site consistently saying the problem was near Watford Junction!

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Filisur   9:02 643 RE1121 7:58 Chur to St Moritz
St Moritz 10:06 10:48 52 1625 10:48 St Moritz to Tirano
Campocologno 12:49 13:08 3515 1652 13:00 Tirano to St Moritz
Poschiavo 13:35 14:27 54 1656 14:24 Poschiavo to St Moritz
Pontresina 15:47 16:02 633 1956 16:02 Pontresina to Scuol-Tarasp
Sagliains 17:00 17:03 619 RE1256 16:41 Scuol-Tarasp to Landquart
Klosters Platz 17:23 17:31 3513 RE1057 16:47 Landquart to Davos Platz
Davos Platz 17:56 18:31 3513 1849 18:31 Davos Platz to Filisur
Filisur 18:54      
RhB Rhätische Bahn Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/bernina-bahn Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:36:23 GMT
31st January 2016 - Dampffahrt Engadin http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/dampffahrt-engadin Sunday 31st January 2016

We had to be on the 8:00 train this morning so went down to breakfast about 7:15 and, as we suspected, the stuff had already been laid out so we got stuck in and finished just after the booking office opened at 7:45. Although the trip we had booked on would take up most of the day, we still decided to purchase a Lokdienst, if only to check that 703 hadn’t been resurrected and was on the booked Ge6/6ii turn from Landquart to St Moritz (it wasn’t). Whilst standing on the platform waiting for the train to St Moritz, we idly flicked through the turns to see what Ge4/4iii would be on our train only to find that it was Ge6/6ii 705, a welcome sight in the dull and rainy weather.

705 at Filisur705 at Filisur31st January 2016. Arriving at a gloomy Filisur on RE1117 6:58 Chur to St Moritz.

The rain turned to snow as we gained height but had more-or-less stopped by the time we arrived at Samedan where we had over an hour to wait before the special departed. We could have caught the train an hour later but chose to get there earlier in the hope that we might get some pictures rather than get there with a few minutes to spare and dive straight onto the train. This proved to be the correct decision as Tm2/2 no. 88 was buzzing around the station area shunting various coaches including a green liveried “heritage” set for the steam special.

88 at Samedan88 at Samedan31st January 2016. Tmf2/2 88 with vintage coaches for the Engadiner Dampffahrt which would be worked by steam loco G4/5 (2-8-0) no. 108.

The only sign of the steam loco was some smoke issuing forth from the shed but it appeared to be reluctant to emerge in front of its expectant passengers until about 25 minutes before departure time when a whistle was heard from the depths of the shed. We peered into the gloomy interior, expecting to see some lights heading towards us but they appeared one-by one from the side instead; there must be a traverser inside with more roads behind the offices that were at the front on the left hand side of the building.

108 at Samedan108 at Samedan31st January 2016. G 4/5 (2-8-0) no. 108 "Engiadina" comes off shed to work a special to Scuol-Tarasp.

Our loco for the day was one 29 2-8-0s (G4/5 in Swiss parlance) built for the RhB between 1904 and 1915 of which two (107 and 108) remain on the railway to work special trains such as the one we would be doing today.  We had noticed Ge6/6i “krokodil” loco no. 415 on the Lokdienst working a similarly timed train to the steam special and assumed that it would be coming with us in some sort of supporting role but there was no sign of it though a friend of ours who was also on the trip seemed confident that it would appear at some stage during the day.

Comparing the special train’s timings to those of a service train showed that it was going to be a very slow journey and we guessed that there would be some prolonged stops along the way to let other trains overtake or pass. Sure enough, after crossing a train at Zuoz we stopped at S-chanf where there was another train booked to cross and one to overtake us as well. Quite a few of the other passengers crossed the track to get a photo so we decided that when in Rome (Graubünden!) etc  and followed suit. Some people clambered up the small bank to a narrow road but as it was rather slippery we chose to stay at track level.

108 at S-chanf108 at S-chanf31st January 2016. G 4/5 (2-8-0) no. 108 "Engiadina", working 2930 9:55 Samedan to Scuol-Tarasp, is given a quick check-over whilst waiting to be overtaken by a service train.

Two stations later and we were at Zernez where the train stopped for an hour for various other trains to cross and overtake and gave us the chance to get some more photos. Whilst there was not the scrum that usually takes place in the UK whenever a steam train runs on the mainline it was still a challenge to get a photo of 108 without anybody standing in the way.  We thought that 415 might catch us up here but there was no sign of it nor was there any sign of 108 needing to take water which we also thought might have happened.

108 at Zernez108 at Zernez31st January 2016. G 4/5 (2-8-0) no. 108 "Engiadina", working 2930 9:55 Samedan to Scuol-Tarasp.

Setting off again, we had a brief stop at Susch to cross another train then had the rare experience of passing through Sagliains non-stop before making one final stop at Ardez to cross the two trains that depart Scuol-Tarasp within 10 minutes of each other. On arrival at Scuol-Tarasp, 108 dragged its train up the headshunt before propelling it into a loop opposite the platform before heading off to be serviced and answering our question regarding turning the loco; yes, there is a turntable here.

108 at Scuol-Tarasp108 at Scuol-Tarasp31st January 2016. G 4/5 (2-8-0) no. 108 "Engiadina".

We photographed the trains arriving from Pontresina and Disentis then went for a lunch break before returning in time for the next two arrivals an hour later. Just before the first of these, a member of staff went across to the station’s shunting loco, started it up and drove it down the siding next to the small goods yard. The train from Landquart arrived first with a refrigerated van on the rear, motor whirring away, which the shunting loco quickly grabbed before the train loco ran round. By now, the train from Pontresina could be seen standing at the home signal but the loco carried on with the shunt which we found slightly puzzling until it headed back towards the station, placing the van on the buffer stops in the bay platform, quickly dropping it off there and scurrying back into the siding. Once this move was completed, the train from Pontresina was allowed into the station, straight on top of the van which was coupled to the rear of the push-pull train ready to drop off at whichever station it was bound for; told you this railway was good when it came to operations!

111 at Scuol-Tarasp111 at Scuol-Tarasp31st January 2016. Tm2/2 no. 111 places a freight wagon into the platform to be attached to the 14:34 departure to Pontresina.

We were still half expecting “krokodil” no. 415 to turn up but it never did, meaning that 108 would have to tackle the steep climb up to Ardez on its own. It had to work very hard and the sound could be enjoyed by opening the window opposite the toilet in the middle of the coach which was separated from the seats either side by a solid door meaning there were no complaints about draughts.

It was trying to rain / sleet again as we passed non-stop through Sagliains again and we stopped to cross another train at Susch before arriving at Zernez again where we had another wait of around an hour for both service trains to cross here. We got out of the train, expecting it to be shunted into the third platform but it promptly shunted to the opposite main platform, then into a siding beyond the station. It was a good job we had taken our bags with us as it was raining harder now and a lot colder making the idea of catching the 15:20 Landquart to St Moritz train rather tempting even though we knew 703 would not be working it. This would get us back to Filisur an hour earlier and, much as we had enjoyed the ride behind 108, a Ge6/6ii was not to be sniffed at so that and the earlier finish time got our vote.

704 at Zernez704 at Zernez31st January 2016. Ge6/6ii no. 704 "Davos" on RE1351 15:21 Landquart to St. Moritz.

The driver of 704 was very keen and shot off with gusto, arriving at Samedan with just enough light to take a few final photographs for the day before heading for the “Avec” store for a nice hot drink to warm up. A bit of uncharacteristic late running was in evidence as the combined RE and Glacier Express to St Moritz was running 17 minutes late though it didn’t affect our train which turned up on time with 646 on the front.

The booking office was still open when we arrived at Filisur so we decided to try and get a Lokdienst for tomorrow, having heard from various sources that it is normally published between 4pm an 5pm the previous day.  The lady in the booking office greeted us and went straight over to the computer as soon as we walked through the door (think she had us "sussed" by now!) and we were soon leafing through the pages looking for 703 which was still on repairs though it would have given us a rather large dilemma if it was booked out on the one weekday turn which starts at Ilanz at 7:53 and which would mean leaving Filsur long before breakfast to do it.

After suffering a burger last night it was a pleasure to eat in the hotel again with it excellent and beautifully presented food.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Filisur   8:02 705 RE1117 6:58 Chur to St Moritz
Samedan 8:50 9:55 108 2930 9:55 Samedan to Scuol-Tarasp
Scuol-Tarasp 13:03 14:50 108 2949 14:45 Scuol-Tarasp to Samedan
Zernez 15:50 16:29 704 RE1351 15:20 Landquart to St Moritz
Samedan 16:58 17:17 646 RE1160 16:57 St Moritz to Chur
Filisur 18:06      
RhB Rhätische Bahn Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/dampffahrt-engadin Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:20:58 GMT
30th January 2016 - Rhaetian Ramblings http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/Rhaetian-Ramblings Saturday 30th January 2016

With numerous visits to the RhB dating back to 2003 we had long since had all the railways locos in everyday service for haulage except for one; Ge6/6ii no. 703. These Bo-Bo-Bo locomotives usually work freight trains but have always had the odd booked passenger turn as well as being the favoured power to cover the occasional shortage of Ge4/4iii locos on the Chur to St. Moritz services. In early 2016 their booked turns were down to an early morning one way trip from Chur to Ilanz on Monday to Fridays, one St Moritz to Landquart service on Saturdays and a balancing service in the opposite direction on Sunday. As just about the sole purpose of the day was to do the Ge6/6 turn which departed St Moritz at 16:45, we just planned to have a general “bash” around sticking to Ge4/4ii locos as much as possible and aiming to end up at St Moritz some after 4pm.

621 at Klosters Plpatz621 at Klosters Plpatz30th January 2016. On RE1244 13:41 Scuol-Tarasp to Disentis/Mustér.

Luckily the RhB is very “crank” friendly and will sell you a “Lokdienst” from most manned offices for 3CHF. This document lists all the items of motive power in service on the day and what trains they are working and, unlike the versions available on our previous visits, ran to 11 pages and covered the whole system including the Bernina Bahn.

Breakfast at the Grischuna did not start until 7:30, the ticket office opened at 7:45 and trains in both directions called there just after 8am meaning it would be a bit of a rush to eat breakfast, get a Lokdienst and catch one of the 8am trains. We had no real need to rush off so went across to the ticket office to purchase a Lokdienst just after 8 and digested it along with a leisurely breakfast before heading outside to catch the train to Chur just after 9am. 703 was shown under repair at Landquart but we decided to cover the 16:45 from St Moritz anyway and target some low-mileage Ge4/4ii locos; before that though we had to start off with 651 again, Ge4/4iii locos being a fact of life on the Chur / St Moritz trains.

651 at Filisur651 at Filisur30th January 2016. On RE1124 7:57 St Moritz to Chur.

From Chur, our next move was to Landquart with a choice of standard or narrow gauge trains to get there, we chose to stick with the metre gauge, not least due to the fact that although it was a longer journey it left earlier and would get there first leaving slightly more time to have a look round and maybe get some photos.

Our target from Landquart was 617 on the 11:20 to St Moritz via Klosters and some amusement was provided whilst we waited by some “normals” laden with skiing kit who appeared to be totally confused. We thought that they might have wanted Klosters or Davos but they managed to miss both trains heading that way whilst standing on the wrong platform, talking and gesticulating animatedly whilst their two pre-teen kids looked on, cringing at their parent’s antics.

622 at Landquart622 at Landquart30th January 2016. Ge4/4ii no. 622 wearing Hakone Tozan Railway (Japan) livery on RE1228 9:41 Scuol-Tarasp to Disentis/Mustér.

617 duly appeared as booked on the 11:20 to St Moritz and we took it round to Zuoz where we popped into the Co-Op for lunch before doubling back with 618 to Klosters Platz where we intended to get the next Landquart to St Moritz train. Unfortunately we had noticed that there appeared to be some delays in the 19km long Vereina Tunnel which is mostly single track with two passing loops inside it. The tunnel was opened in 1999 to provide a direct route between Klosters and the Engadin valley and is very busy with car carrying shuttles, three sets in total which all looked to be fully loaded. We can only assume that ensuring the maximum number of cars could be loaded onto each train was causing delays to departures with consequent hold-ups to other trains waiting to cross in the two loops.

The upshot of this was that instead of having six minutes to double back at Klosters, we arrived at time the other train should have departed, we might have made it if the trains were cross-platform but there was no chance of making it under the subway. Never mind, at least it gave us the chance to photograph diesel 243 on the tunnel rescue train and a couple of other things before carrying out “plan B” which involved getting the Scuol-Tarasp train to Sagliains and changing there for a Scuol-Tarasp to Pontresina train.

611 at Klosters Platz611 at Klosters Platz30th January 2016. On RE1245 13:49 Landquart to Scuol-Tarasp.

This actually left a few minutes late and also suffered more delays in the tunnel but the connection with the Engadin Valley train at Sagliains is booked so we (and plenty of other passengers) made it with ease. There was no chance of our planned short break at Zernez now and we only just made it in time to Samedan to connect with the train to St. Moritz, we should have had 10 minutes there. Whilst changing trains we bumped into a fellow UK crank who was also after the Ge6/6 diagram but had other plans first so would be joining it later on in the journey.

At St Moritz, 643 was detached from its train and headed off into a siding beyond the station where it was attached to a restaurant car and proceeded to pull it out into an empty platform before carrying on to complete the run-round movement of its train. As we stood there pondering this strange move the shunter split the train and the half attached to the loco went across to the restaurant car, picked it up, then went back to the other half of the train, neatly sandwiching the catering facilities in the middle of the set. Simple, no fuss and just the sort of slick operation that endears the RhB to us.

643 at St. Moritz643 at St. Moritz30th January 2016. Ge4/4iii no. 643 "Vals" runs round its train.

Two of the older Abe4/4iii Bernina Bahn EMUs (53 and 56) arrived from Poschiavo next, then 701 arrived to work the 16:45 departure with a shunting loco (112) in tow. We guessed the latter was do some sort of swap with 114 as the latter was started up and thrashed down the platform emitting a large amount of black “clag” as it did so and whilst this was going on, 701 had been driven straight onto the coaches that would form its train. 112 was uncoupled and set off along the platform with 701 and train following whilst 114 went into the far end of the siding that the train had vacated, no doubt waiting to be collected and returned to Samedan with the next loco heading that way.

114 at St Moritz114 at St Moritz30th January 2016. Tm 2/2 built by SCHÖMA.

By now another UK crank had appeared who had arrived on the Bernina Bahn train and joined us for the short trip to Samedan. The first crank we bumped into got on at Madulain and we were joined by two more at Zernez. We took 701 all the way back to Landquart and had a quick change to a standard gauge IC train back to Chur where we had just over an hour for dinner, the idea being to dive into the restaurant just across the road from the station which we had been to a couple of times previously. There was one minor flaw with this plan however; the restaurant was closed – not just for the day but completely by the look of things as the rest of the building looked to be empty as well.

Knowing from experience that Chur is a little thin on the restaurant front we decided to have a very quick walk round the block before returning to the station and raiding the bakers that we noticed was still open but we stumbled on a Mc Donalds just round the corner. This place is normally the last resort for us food-wise and memories of the last one we visited in Uppsala a few months back came to mind (it was awful!). However, needs must and we didn’t want to gamble on what might be available at the station so we gritted our teeth and went in. There was no need to worry as this branch was pretty much to Mc Donalds normal standards and we easily finished in time to get a cup of tea from the Co-Op and catch the 19:58 back to Filisur.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Filisur   9:01 651 RE1124 7:57 St Moritz to Chur
Chur 10:03 10:21 632 RE1724 8:44 Disentis/Mustér to Landquart
Landquart 10:39 11:24 617 RE1335 11:20 Landquart to St Moritz
Zuoz 12:55 13:10 618 RE1342 12:45 St Moritz to Landquart
Klosters Platz 14:01 14:38 611 RE1245 13:49 Landquart to Scuol-Tarasp
Sagliains 14:59 15:01 615 1945 14:34 Scuol-Tarasp to Pontresina
Samedan 15:48 15:51 643 RE1145 13:58 Chur to St Moritz
St Moritz 16:05 16:45 701 RE1358 16:45 St Moritz to Landquart
Landquart 18:39 18:43 460 046 IC579 16:33 Basel SBB to Chur
Chur 18:51 19:58 643 RE1169 19:58 Chur to St Moritz
Filisur 21:01      
Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/Rhaetian-Ramblings Sun, 26 Feb 2017 02:33:27 GMT
29th January 2016 - Would you like jam with that? http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/would-you-like-jam-with-that Friday 29th January 2016

Time to move on again, this time to Filisur on the narrow gauge RhB railway but not before we had a final stab at the Cargo Re4/4 locos, though we chose not to get up earlier to allow extra time to pack the cases and check out of the hotel before heading to Zürich HB in time for the 8:36. We dumped the bags in a left luggage locker and returned to the station, noting that the 8:40 to Graz hadn’t left yet so started walking briskly down the platform to see what was on the front. We never did find out as the train pulled out when we had got halfway down its length so we carried on to the subway and changed platforms to see what was on the 9:09 to München. That was one of the same two Re4/4s that we had seen on the EC trains over the last couple of days so it was off to platform 7 to get the first non loco-hauled train since we had arrived in Switzerland.

500 024 at Zürich HB500 024 at Zürich HB28th January 2016. On ICN517 9:06 Genève-Aéroport to Zürich HB.

This was a pair of class 500 ICN units which would take us to Arth-Goldau to connect with the Re4/4-hauled IR to Locarno, so we went to the front unit working on the basis that there was less of a walk to the other platform at Arth-Goldau. Just before departure time we noticed a school party walk past outside, cutting it a bit fine we thought then the peace was shattered as some of the school party clutching snow boards and toboggans started to walk through inside the train. We expected them to carry on towards the front but they proceeded to plonk themselves down in our coach though we doubted that they had 1st class tickets and would be surprised if such a large group did not have a reservation of some sort somewhere in the train. A couple of teachers turned up but rather than move the children on, they sat down as well and the conductor walked past and just smiled at everyone without checking tickets so we were stuck with them. To be fair they were well behaved but as one would expect with a large group of young people on an outing they were quite boisterous so peace and quiet was in short supply for the next 35 minutes.

The school party got off at Arth-Goldau as well and we were a bit miffed to see that opposite platform was out of use having some work done on it so we had to go down the subway which was also undergoing some work to change trains. An Re10/10 (Re4/4 plus Re6/6) combination was in the loop opposite our train so we grabbed a quick photo expecting to be held up whilst the school party came across but there was no sign of them. We eventually spotted them as the train pulled out, lugging their sliding equipment along the road towards the Rigi Bahn station which had still not returned to its rightful place above the main SBB platforms.

620 074 at Arth-Goldau620 074 at Arth-Goldau29th January 2016. With 11325.

As the train was already in the platform and we got on at the rear end we hadn’t seen the loco but assumed it should be 11193 going by yesterday’s diagrams; but you know the old saying about assuming (it makes an ASS of U and ME) so a little 10 coach long walk was in order. It was 11193 but we had already noticed locos not following the diagrams around from one day to the next so it was best to make sure. Göschenen was the furthest we could go and guarantee being able to complete our planned moves via Basel and get back to Zürich in time for the 16:07 departure; on this occasion we decided to sacrifice a full trip over the Gotthard in favour of getting more different Re4/4s for haulage and it gave a chance of grabbing a photo of the freight that we saw at Arth-Goldau which followed the IR train south.

420 344 at Göschenen420 344 at Göschenen29th January 2016. With 620 065 "Ziegelbrücke".

11157, a new loco for this trip, was the motive power for the journey to Luzern and 11164 took over from there to Basel, proving the point about locos swapping diagrams as it should have been a different loco. Particular attention was paid at Basel, the loco on the IR to Locarno was not required but the Zürich IR was tucked away in one of the bay platforms with the loco hidden behind other trains. There was also the odd IC turn departing at 14:07 which was booked for an Re4/4 rather than a class 460, the number of which we also didn’t catch as we were running in although we could tell that it wasn’t worth rushing round for as it the loco had the older style pantograph marking it out as being one of the lower numbered passenger sector ones.

With a few minutes to spare, we grabbed a drink and a snack before toddling along the bay platform to see what was on the front of the IR and could hardly believe our eyes; it was 11245 – where had that been hiding? Perhaps we should have got something a little stronger than tea to mark the occasion!

It was a good run via Frick to Zürich and left plenty of time for a look round before retrieving the cases and making our way in good time to grab some seats on the 16:07 to Chur as we expected it to be busy. Once we had settled in and stowed the cases, it was time for a stroll to the front end to see what was there and it was 11243; four down and two to go! Our virtual “jam pot” was working overtime today. This loco had actually been spied on one end of a line of Re4/4s opposite Hardbrücke station yesterday but it had disappeared this morning though there was no way of finding out where it went or what it actually did.

11255 at Basel SBB11255 at Basel SBB28th January 2016. On IR1967 10:13 Basel SBB to Zürich HB.

11243 efficiently whisked us to Chur where we had 36 minutes to spare before the connection to Filisur, time which we used to collect the previously arranged tickets for a steam hauled trip on Sunday. This trip had been advertised on the RhB website and had been booked by phone and guaranteed with a credit card. All we needed to do was go to any RhB ticket office with the booking number that was e-mailed to us and pay, there was even an FIP (“priv”) rate – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Ge4/4iii 651 was waiting for us on the 17:58 to St. Moritz so our “jampot” must have departed somewhere between Zürich and Chur but, to be honest, our chances of getting our last RhB loco, discounting shunters and preserved / heritage locos, (Ge6/6ii 703) on this train were rather remote. We were rather surprised to still be the only two people in our coach when the train departed until we looked out of the window and realised that the booked connection, the 16:37 IC from Zürich had not arrived. It should have been a six minute / cross platform connection and must have been extremely late otherwise the RhB train would have waited; none of this no connections held nonsense you so often see in the UK. The next train to St Moritz was an hour later and wasn’t booked to have a restaurant car like this train did so there were probably a few people not having the best start to their weekend of winter sports.

644 at Chur644 at Chur1st February 2008. On train 11173 20:56 Chur to St. Moritz.

Filisur was noticeably colder than Zürich but it was only a short walk to the Hotel Grischuna  which is actually at the end of the platform and has rooms overlooking the station which can be requested if you would like a view of the railway. Ownership of the hotel had not changed since our previous visit six years ago and the lady who runs the hotel side of things said she actually remembered us from back then. Her husband is the chef in the restaurant and the food there is excellent; we had been looking forward all afternoon to a meal here and it didn’t disappoint.

Update: the hotel was put up for sale a few months after our stay and, as far as we can tell, hasn’t yet been sold as of January 2017. According to the website family Uffer are still running the hotel though we haven’t stayed there since this trip or have tried to make a booking.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Zürich-Hardbrücke   8:29 450 097 S3 18331 8:15 Dietikon to Wetzikon
      450 085  
Zürich HB (pl. 41 - 44) 8:31   walk  
Zürich HB   9:09 500 008 ICN865 9:09 Zürich HB to Lugano
Arth-Goldau 9:46 9:52 11193 IR2315 8:04 Basel SBB to Locarno
Göschenen 10:48 11:18 11157 IR2320 9:47 Locarno to Basel SBB
Luzern 12:43 12:54 11164  
Basel SBB 13:55 14:13 11245 IR1975 14:13 Basel SBB to Zürich HB
v. Frick        
Zürich HB 15:25 16:07 11243 IC929 16:07 Zürich HB to Chur
Chur 17:22 17:58 651 RE1161 17:58 Chur to St Moritz
Filisur 19:02      
Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/would-you-like-jam-with-that Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:33:53 GMT
28th January 2016 - If at first you don't succeed..... http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/if-at-first-you-dont-succeed Thursday 28th January 2016

Despite the lack of Cargo locos yesterday we still made sure that we were at Zürich HB in time for the 8:36 and 8:40 departures and made our way to Hardbrücke about 10 minutes earlier this morning. We didn’t have the patience or time to fish around for the half dozen class 450s we still needed so just hopped on the first one heading in the correct direction which was a triple set, the first one of which was a winner – one down five to go!

If the previous days diagrams had followed round then the locos on the 8:36 and 8:40 departures would not be required; they were as expected, so we followed “plan A” and got on the front coach of the 8:36 to Basel to see what we could find there. This coach was a refurbished “banger” coach painted in the new black and white colours with nice new carpets and cloth seat covers but still with some opening windows. We guessed that it might not be worth the effort and expense of fitting air-con if the coach did not have a long-term future but did find it slightly surprising that the toilets had not been fitted with retention tanks, thought that would have been de-rigueur these days.

11115 at Zürich HB11115 at Zürich HB28th January 2016. On IR1962 8:36 Zürich HB to Basel SBB.

Time to turn the scanners on as we ran into Basel; there was 11196 which should work the 10:04 to Locarno if the diagrams followed on from yesterday and, at last, one of the five Cargo locos we were seeking in the form of 11255. This dropped on to the same set of coaches that we arrived on so it was back to Zürich via the same route with a celebratory cup of tea from the Tekoe Tea outlet above the platforms; it was far too early for anything alcoholic.

About halfway back, the train stopped shortly before Stein-Säckingen and an announcement was made fairly promptly apologizing for a “Störung” on the bahn and that we would be delayed. A yellow class 460 shot past in the opposite direction then our train was on the move but there wasn’t anything obviously wrong and we arrived in Zürich only a couple of minutes down.

11255 at Basel SBB11255 at Basel SBB28th January 2016. On IR1967 10:13 Basel SBB to Zürich HB.

We considered that we had done quite well to get one of our required Cargo locos in the book so our next move would be to check the 12:08 to Basel and, if that was not required, do the 12:09 towards Locarno for a bit of mileage and a ride over the Gotthard before the new tunnel opens at the end of the year. The 12:08 to Basel turned out to be a fresh set of coaches from the carriage sidings and these were propelled into the station by 11249, another winner, so it was off to Basel again!

11249 at Zürich HB11249 at Zürich HB28th January 2016. On IR2266 12:08 Zürich HB to Basel SBB.

There was no sign of any of our three remaining Cargo locos at Basel so we went for a quick walk round before catching the 14:04 to Locarno which was taken over by Cargo 11247, which we had seen yesterday, at Luzern. The train ran from Luzern to Arth-Goldau via Kussnacht am Rigi rather than the usual route for IR trains via Rotkreuz and we stayed on until Erstfeld where we had just under 20 minutes to catch the IR straight back to Zürich in time to view the pairs of locos on the 18:09 to München and 18:35 to Schaffhausen. Unlike last night, both trains had pairs of locos on but none of the four were required so it was time for dinner which was at the Zeughauskeller again, mainly because we needed the exercise from the walk down the road but also that the threatened rain had only amounted to a brief shower which had now stopped so we wouldn't get wet going there.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Zürich-Hardbrücke   8:06 450 073 S15 19529 7:34 Niederweningen to Rapperswil
      450 037  
      450 028  
Zürich HB (pl. 41 - 44) 8:08   walk  
Zürich HB   8:36 11115 IR1962 8:36 Zürich HB to Basel SBB
v. Frick        
Basel SBB 9:47 10:15 11255 IR1967 10:13 Basel SBB to Zürich HB
v. Frick        
Zürich HB 11:26 12:08 11249 IR2266 12:08 Zürich HB to Basel SBB
v. Lenzburg / Aarau        
Basel SBB 13:15 14:04 11159 IR2327 14:04 Basel SBB to Locarno
Luzern 15:04 15:18 11247  
v. Küssnacht am Rigi        
Erstfeld 16:23 16:40 11194 IR2430 14:47 Locarno to Zürich HB
Zürich HB 18:00   walk  
Zürich HB (pl. 41 - 44)   20:07 450 032 S9 18976 19:41 Uster to Schaffhausen
Zürich-Hardbrücke 20:09      
Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/if-at-first-you-dont-succeed Sat, 31 Dec 2016 16:27:59 GMT
27th January 2016 - Drawing Blanks http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/drawing-blanks Wednesday 27th January 2016

It was straight out this morning in the hunt for the newly converted Cargo Re4/4 locos of which we needed five plus 421.383 which had recently appeared working EC trains between Zürich and Lindau in Germany. According to the diagrams, there should have been a couple of Cargo locos at Zürich at 8:36 and 8:40 but they were conspicuous by their absence so we went across to 421.371 on the EC to München for a trip to St Gallen instead.

We had been a little puzzled why it was now booked to leave at 9:09 rather than 9:16 which it had done so for several years previously but a leaf through the timetable revealed that the times had been tweaked to match up with the new hourly IR service to St Gallen with extra stops at Wil and Gossau, hence the slightly earlier departure. The train had also expanded to eight coaches in total (was previously six) and although we thought that the front two might be taken off along with the loco at Lindau, they were labelled up for München so presumably were going all the way.

We got off at St Gallen and waited for the EC in the opposite direction which was running ten minutes late, not an unusual state of affairs in Germany these days though we later received an e-mail from somebody “bashing” in that country who reported that EC196 was hauled by a single class 218 diesel instead of a pair which might explain the relatively minor loss of time.

421 371 at St Gallen421 371 at St Gallen27th January 2016. On EC193 9:09 Zürich HB to München Hbf. This loco will work the train to Lindau Hbf in Germany.

A few minutes were picked up on the run to Zürich where we had a choice of three Re4/4s; one to Basel, one to St Gallen and one to Locarno. Two of the three were diagrammed to be Cargo loks but none of them were; in fact the only such loco we had seen so far was 11248 which was passed at Winterthur and was not one of our required ones. We are not fans of “deckchairing” (setting up camp in one location and watching / waiting for locos to turn up) and had Interrails burning holes in our pockets so to speak so we took the lowest mileage Re4/4 on offer, 11164 on the IR to Locarno, as far as Erstfeld.

Despite carefully checking any Re4/4s that we saw there was still no sign of any Cargo ones though we did get a minor bit of new track in as the southbound line had been moved across towards the portal of the new Gotthard base tunnel just north of Erstfeld. The northbound line was still using the old alignment but it didn’t look as if it would be long before it was also diverted.

Two freight trains turned up in the 13 minutes we spent there but we only managed to get a picture of one of them along with the snow blower and class 841 diesel shunter parked in the sidings there. Further to the north, 460.084 was parked in the remains of the tunnel construction sidings on what looked like a test train for the new tunnel.

11291 at Erstfeld11291 at Erstfeld27th January 2016.

11194 was the loco on the northbound IR and it went to Luzern rather than Zürich so we decided to go there for a change but there was still no sign of the elusive five Cargo locos or any others from that particular batch. 11196 took over the IR  for the run to Basel and we stayed on board despite the temptation of 11138 on an “Ersatzzug” set covering for a class 460 and double deck set on an IR service to Zürich Flughafen. Also present at Luzern was BLS 465.004 and it’s matching “Kambly Zug” train advertising Kambly biscuits which runs every day except Monday and is marked in the timetable; perhaps we should go on it one day to find out if there are any free samples on board!

465 004 at Luzern465 004 at Luzern1st October 2016. 465 004 and train in matching promotional livery for Kambly biscuits on IR4376 14:57 Luzern to Bern. The Kambly factory is next to Trubschachen station on the Bern to Luzern line.

Around half-a-dozen Austrian Railways class 1042/1142 were passed at Sursee en route to Basel and there was also an Ae6/6 seemingly plinthed under a shelter in the Galliker Logistik factory near Dagmersellen but still no sign of any Cargo Re4/4s until we reached Basel where 11247 was waiting to work the train that we were on back to Luzern but it wasn’t one of the ones we were looking for. Another Re 4/4 was seen approaching the station as we got off the train but we nearly ignored it as it had the old style pantograph meaning it was a passenger sector one and we’d had all of those except one which was confined to ECS workings at Basel……err wait a minute….where are we?

It was indeed 11120 but it rolled into the platform and was attached to a rag-bag set of coaches which were obviously some sort of works or inter depot move. The temptation to try and get on and play the “dumb tourist” if we ended up in the carriage sidings was great but there were too many staff around to sneak on un-noticed and we guessed that the doors might be locked anyway. The other option was to actually ask one of the shunters overseeing the move if we could have a ride into the carriage sidings but we doubted that their English would be up to trying to comprehend an explanation of “bashing” from two crazy foreigners!

11120 at Basel SBB11120 at Basel SBB27th January 2016. On an empty stock working to the depot; this loco is restricted to such workings.

We decided to let 11247 go in favour of returning to Zürich to view a couple more diagrams that hadn’t been seen, the 16:47 was our old friend 11148 from last night but the 17:13 looked as if it was going to get a class 460 and it was not on the Re4/4 diagrams in any case so the earlier train it was. It turned out that we need not have rushed as both the 18:09 to München and 18:35 to Singen were duds, not helped by the fact that both trains only had one loco on instead of a pair.

It had been a rather frustrating day but, looking on the bright side, we’d had some nice runs with a good selection of different Re4/4s and had the best part of another two days to find the locos we were looking for so it was time to head to the Zeughauskeller for the usual slap-up meal.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Zürich-Hardbrücke   8:15 450 008 S12 19229 7:37 Brugg AG to Seuzach
      450 102  
      450 025  
Zürich HB (pl. 41 - 44) 8:17   walk  
Zürich HB   9:09 421 371 EC193 9:09 Zürich HB to München Hbf
St Gallen HB 10:17 10:55 421 392 EC196 7:17 München Hbf to Zürich HB
Zürich HB 11:59 12:09 11164 IR2421 12:09 Zürich HB to Locarno
Erstfeld v. Rotkreuz 13:23 13:37 11194 IR2324 11:47 Locarno to Basel SBB
Luzern 14:40 14:54 11196  
Basel SBB v. Aarau / Lenzburg 15:55 16:47 11148 IR2279 16:47 Basel SBB to St Gallen HB
Zürich HB 17:52   walk  
Zürich HB (pl. 41 - 44)   20:37 450 009 S9 18978 20:11 Uster to Rafz
Zürich-Hardbrücke 20:39      
Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/drawing-blanks Sat, 31 Dec 2016 10:21:46 GMT
26th January 2016 - Alpine Transit http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/alpine-transit Tuesday 26th January 2016

Time to love and leave Slovenia this morning although our original plan of catching the 9:28 was changed to the 7:28 instead as we considered a 25 minute connection to the Zürich EC at Schwarzach St. Veit insufficient if anything went wrong. One issue that we had considered was the “migrant situation” and although it looked as if they were being put on their own special trains at Dobova on the border with Croatia and sent straight to Austria, we still went out for the earlier train as other things were more than capable of going wrong.

541.016 had followed the diagram round from yesterday and was on MV314 as expected. It was a beautiful morning with the rising sun glinting off the Julien Alps and we tried taking a few pictures from the window between Kranj and Jesenice with mixed results.

Julian AlpsJulian Alps26th January 2016. View from a train between Kranj and Lesce-Bled.

The border police had a wander through the train during the stand at Jesenice but didn’t appear to find anything or body of interest so it left on time, arriving one minute early at Villach Hbf. There were no through coaches on this working so we had to change trains here, fortunately only across the platform to a Klagenfurt to Dortmund IC train. This was a standard DB (German Railways) IC set hauled by a class 101; boring but needs must as it was far too early for lunch and we still didn’t want to risk the +25 onto the Zürich train later on.

101 056 at Weimar101 056 at Weimar10th September 2011. Working IC2158 1020 Dresden Hbf to Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbf.

We thought we were in luck when we found an empty compartment in the buffet coach, nice and close to the hot drink supply but quickly realized that it was b****y freezing though not quite as bad as the front coach on the train to Hodoš yesterday. A hasty retreat was beaten to the open coach at the rear where things were a lot cosier and investigations made into where to have lunch; we settled on Bischofshofen as it was a bigger place than Schwarzach St. Veit and there was slightly less time to kill. The weather was still nice and clear, affording us some nice few from the train though it did get a little misty at the top of the Tauern and there was not as much snow as we were expecting up there.

The place we had eyed up at Bischofshofen was allegedly a six minute walk down the road according to our map “app” but it turned out to be a little further than that and although we walked past plenty of shops, there was nothing by way of places to eat a meal in. This didn’t bode well, as when we arrived at the location there was a sign on the door saying that smoking was allowed which put us off straight away so we turned round and headed back towards the station to see if anything could be found in the other direction.

We hadn’t gone far when we saw a restaurant up a side street which we hadn’t seen as it would have been behind us when walking in the opposite direction. The board outside the door said food was served from 11:30 and as it was 11:20 now we, correctly, guessed that being 10 minutes early would not be a problem.  It was a family owned restaurant named Ortners and we were made welcome, ushered to a seat straight away and handed a menu, opting for the fixed menu of green vegetable soup and turkey curry which was very tasty and most definitely home-made. As we still had some time to spare we pushed the boat out and had dessert as well which was every bit as good as the rest of the meal and beautifully presented; we would definitely eat here again if we happen to find ourselves in the vicinity in the future.

Back to the trains and the EC to Zürich produced a dud 1116; at least it was not a class 101 and the weather, which had earlier clouded over, brightened up again. It was interesting to note the former Mariazellerbahn EMUs in the sidings at Zell am See; heaven knows what the Pinzgaubahn want to do with those bearing in mind the line is not electrified though they might find the centre coaches and driving trailers of use if they can be adapted to be hauled by something else.

4090 002 at St. Pölten Alpenbf.4090 002 at St. Pölten Alpenbf.23rd May 2006. With 4090 001 on the rear working 6807 12:24 St. Pölten Hbf to Laubenbachmühle.

During the six minute stand at Innsbruck, the air-con went off alerting us to the possibility that there might have been a loco change; being in the rear coach meant it would be a long walk to the front to check but it was easy enough to wait for the first curve so we could see the front and discover that there were now two locos on the front. After enjoying the trip over the Arlberg route in the last of the winter light, it was time for a walk up the front just in case the extra loco was taken off at Bludenz or Feldkirch but it stayed on until the train reversed at Buchs and proved to be a winner meaning that we wouldn’t end the day empty-handed.

1116 032 at Buchs SG1116 032 at Buchs SG4th October 2016. With 1016 029 on EC163 8:40 Zürich HB to Graz Hbf.

A brisk walk along the platform to the other end was had just in time to see Re4/4 11148 backing on. So much for EC164 being listed in the nice set of diagrams headed “SBB Cargo Re420” as we had been hoping for one of the Cargo locos in the 1124x and 1125x series that had recently been fitted with UIC18 equipment to work passenger trains. Still, at least it was an Re4/4 and not a class 460 for the final leg of the journey to Zürich where we stopped off to buy the latest timetable for 16 CHF (about £12) before heading downstairs to the S Bahn where a train formed of two class 450-hauled sets was in the platform. They were both dud of course but with just 6 out of 115 locos required we were not going to bother setting up the proverbial deckchair at this time of night so it was straight to our usual abode in Zürich, the Ibis Zürich City West near Hardbrücke station.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Ljubljana   7:28 541 016 MV314 5:41 Dobova to Villach Hbf
Villach Hbf 9:07 9:28 101 093 EC114 8:42 Klagenfurt Hbf to Dortmund Hbf
Bischofshofen 11:07 12:50 1116 112 EC164 9:45 Graz Hbf to Zürich HB
Innsbruck Hbf 15:37 15:43 1116 044  
      1116 112  
Buchs SG 18:01 18:12 11148  
Zürich HB 19:19   walk  
Zürich HB (pl. 41 - 44)   19:37 450 060 S9 18974 19:11 Uster to Rafz
      450 032  
Zürich-Hardbrücke 19:39      
Austria Slovenia Switzerland http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/alpine-transit Fri, 30 Dec 2016 11:36:06 GMT
25th January 2016 - Here we go again http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/here-we-go-again Monday 25th January 2016

“Citadella” departs at the sociable time of 8:45 from Ljubljana but an EN (Euro Night) train to Beograd runs 20 minutes in front of it so it is no great hardship to turn up 20 minutes earlier to see what is on that. This turn is booked for a class 541 electric loco which was required 541.016 this morning, wearing a livery to mark the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of relativity. A look at the diagrams after we got on the train revealed that the same loco should be on the train we were planning to catch tomorrow morning; oh well, but it was probably a good idea to do it now in case the diagrams got swapped round in the next 24 hours.

541 016 at Zidani Most541 016 at Zidani Most25th January 2016. On EN415 20:40 Zürich HB to Beograd.

There was no loco on “Citadella” as we pulled out of the station and EN415 was soon whizzing along nicely but we came to a stop at Litija with just the loco on the platform, had it failed or was there some engineering work ahead? The train stood for at least 5 minutes and we were starting to get a little twitchy as it had stopped in an unusual place but then 541.102 went past on the morning train from Zagreb and we set off again over a section of single line working. As the train was not booked to call at Litija, the driver must have stopped with the train off the platform to avoid any problems with people trying to get on.

We were only five minutes late arriving at Zidani Most where there were a group of welders / grinders working on the track a short distance from the platform and whilst watching the activity we were accosted by a man in SŽ uniform who we think was the station “red cap” sans hat. We have never experienced any grief whatsoever whilst taking photos in Slovenia nor were we about to now as it turned out that the gentleman was interested in photography and wanted to discuss cameras, having seen that we had a Canon 5D; he was thinking of purchasing a 7D.

363 011 at Zidani Most363 011 at Zidani Most25th January 2016. On MV247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest Déli "CITADELLA"

“Citadella” was also running five minutes late and, much to our surprise and delight, appeared with a class 363 rather than the expected class 342 on the front. A few more minutes were lost north of Celje and we arrived at Pragersko to the sight of a nice clean class 664 waiting in the sidings but it was not quite close enough to read the number. Electric loco off, diesel starts moving, oh goody it’s a winner…..not. 664 111 was attached to it and the angle was such that it couldn’t be seen until nearly in the platform. Unfortunately 664s do not have multiple working and although the rear loco was manned and would be providing ETH for the train there was no easy way of telling if it would actually work or not.

664 116 at Pragersko664 116 at Pragersko25th January 2016. With 664 111 about to attach to MV247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest Déli "Citadella" which they will work to Hodoš.

Slinking back to our compartment in the rear coach, we spent a while peering out of the window to try and decide if both locos were working but as 664s do not do “clag” as a rule it was impossible to tell. Even a wander up to the front coach, an air-con 2nd class MÁV compartment which was freezing without a single vestige of warmth, did not yield any clues so we couldn’t really count 664.116 for haulage.

Both locos were removed at Hodoš and replaced by the usual MÁV class 431 but we were a little surprised by the sight of a GySEV sister loco, class 430, which had arrived on a car train. Whilst watching this, we tried to keep an eye on the pair of 664s, one of which went on a freight but we couldn’t be sure which one as they were both the same way round. It was nearly time for “Citadella” to arrive from Budapest which we photographed to take our minds off the suspense of waiting to see which 664 we would get back and it turned out to be 664.116; there is a “664 bashing God” after all!

664 116 at Hodoš664 116 at Hodoš25th January 2016. On MV246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana, "Citadella".

We thoroughly enjoyed the run back to Pragersko but were nearly presented with a dilemma at Ormož when we passed 664.106 on the 12:25 Maribor to Murska Sobota; it was a good job that we didn’t need it as there was probably insufficient time to grab our stuff and leap for it.

664 106 at Ormož664 106 at Ormož25th January 2016. Covering for an unavailable DMU on LP3854 12:25 Maribor to Murska Sobota.

363.011 was waiting at Pragersko, it was probably too much to expect that it would go to Maribor and get swapped for another one; that would be too greedy! Another 363 was passed en route standing in for a class 342 on an RG service and a 342 was seen vice an EMU before we arrived back at Ljubljana a few minutes late and hung around to see what would work the 17:25 and 17:45 departures.

The carriage shed “pilot” loco was a class 642 rather than the smaller class 732 and this kept us entertained thrashing around and emitting a fair amount of black “clag”. 644.012 was parked opposite the carriage sidings and 661.032 was on the fuel point and had to shuffle around a little to get off “shed”, thus providing further amusement whilst we waited.

661 032 at Ljubljana661 032 at Ljubljana25th January 2016.

We thought that the “carriage pilot” loco would do the same as yesterday and put the coaches for both the Maribor and Koper trains in the same platform as one shunt but today it was only the stock for the IC to Maribor that appeared. 363.011 dropped on to this as expected, so there would be no point in doing that and the two class 541s we could see that might be for the Koper IC went onto a freight instead, not that any coaches had appeared for it. Another class 363 then appeared in the distance and dropped on top of 363.011 and the 17:25 to Maribor; the pantograph was dropped on the latter, the two locos were coupled and 363.028 was required so that’s the next move sorted. There was still no sign of the 17:45 to Koper by the time we departed but it was all rather irrelevant now as it was only possible to do one or the other.

363 028 at Ljubljana363 028 at Ljubljana25th January 2016. With 363 011 DIT on IC502 17:25 Ljubljana to Maribor.

Off we went, past the power station where the fireless steam loco was busy shunting wagons to be tipped, then we became aware of a smell of dragging brakes but could not see or hear anything that was obviously amiss even after opening the window and looking out. The smell waned only to re-appear a short time later and when the train had its booked stop at Litija one of the conductors went rushing up to the loco so it wasn’t just us that noticed. The driver got out, went to the dead loco and fiddled with something under the sole bar causing a rush of air, went back to the cab and the conductor gave the “right away” but there was no movement. Exit the driver from his cab again for another fiddle and we were just wondering whether it would be best to cut our losses and get off here when he got back on and departed. There was no further acrid smell of binding brakes so whatever had been done must have sorted it and we arrived at Zagorje 5 minutes late, still in plenty of time for the train back.

Zagorje doesn’t have a footbridge or subway so passengers have to wait on the same platform as the station building until invited to cross both tracks to the other side. The announcement was duly made so we crossed over and were delighted to find that the EMU to Ljubljana was actually 342.023 and a set of coaches, shame it wasn't one number lower (342.022 our last one for haulage).

342 023 at Ljubljana342 023 at Ljubljana26th August 2014. RG631 15:35 Ljubljana to Dobova.

As we were a little later than yesterday we didn’t bother walking all the way into the centre to eat so went to Rio Momo, a Serbian restaurant which we have visited before and a place where the portions are generous to say the least.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Ljubljana   8:25 541 016 EN415 20:40 Zürich HB to Beograd
Zidani Most 9:26 9:46 363 011 MV247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest Déli
Pragersko 10:58 11:06 664 111  
Hodoš 12:34 13:03 664 116 MV246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana
Pragersko 14:31 14:42 363 011  
Ljubljana 16:46 17:25 363 028 IC502 17:25 Ljubljana to Maribor
Zagorje 18:08 18:19 342 023 LP2272 17:06 Dobova to Ljubljana
Ljubljana 19:07      
Slovenia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/here-we-go-again Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:54:55 GMT
24th January 2016 - Moving On http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/moving-on Sunday 24th January 2016

There was so much more that we could have done in Hungary but it was time to love it and leave for this trip and move on to Slovenia for what might be our last chance for class 664 haulage on service trains before the overhead wires get switched on between Pragersko and Hodoš later in the year.

“Citadella” had been retimed to depart Budapest Déli at 8:30; it left at 13:30 at the time of our previous visit, hence the reason for us staying this side of town. Further changes from last year’s train was that the Ljubljana portion had reverted to being combined with a train to Szombathely meaning that the portions divided at Boba again rather than running via the avoiding line there when it went straight to Ljubljana. There were also two extra coaches to be detached at Zalaegerszeg tacked onto the rear as well which brought the train up to nine coaches, quite a long train by Hungarian standards.

We settled down into a compartment in what would be the front coach in Slovenia, it was the usual half second class / three compartments of first class and space for bikes / luggage complete with the all-important opening windows to appreciate the class 664 diesel from. The loco from Budapest was a winner just for a change and another new loco was provided from Boba as the one that worked from Budapest carried on with the Szombathely portion of the train. The 12 minutes we had at Boba were useful in that there was time for a quick leg-stretch to break up the long journey as well as the chance to take a couple of photos.

BobaBoba24th January 2016. 431 078 working 905 10:05 Szombathely to Budapest-Déli stands next to 431 177 which has just taken over EC246 8:30 Budapest-Déli to Ljubljana "CITADELLA".

More leg-stretching was partaken at Zalaegerszeg where another V43 loco was in evidence but it was not for our train unfortunately as 431.177 ran round whilst the “spare” loco sprang into life to shunt the extra coaches out of the platform. Onwards to Hodoš where we arrived a couple of minutes early, crossed the opposite working of “Citadella” from Ljubljana and nervously scanned the sidings for the diesel that would work to Pragersko. There was no worry on that front as there were only two other locos here, a MÁV class 480 electric loco and a 664 which we presumed must have worked inbound; although the diagrams show both IC trains being worked by two different locos the same one often works both.

The loco in question was 664.117, previously had by us in 2013, also with snow on the ground but on the opposite side of the country on the Avtovlak train on the Bohinj line. Still no joy with new 664s but at least it wasn’t one of the awful Siemens ER20 type locos, so we might as well open the window and enjoy it whilst we can with 664.117 giving us quite a good run. The electrification work looked to be complete but there must still have been a bit of work going on as a couple of the local trains were being replaced by busses during the week.

664 117 at Hodoš664 117 at Hodoš24th January 2016. On EC246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana "CITADELLA".

We were out of luck with hoping for a class 363 electric loco from Pragersko as a class 342 could be seen waiting the other side of the level crossing for the diesel to come off but any disappointment was quickly dispelled when it turned out to be 342.010 one of only two still in service in Slovenia that we needed for haulage. We hadn’t seen or heard any reports of it working for several months now and thought that it might have been withdrawn but here it was with a nice shiny red paint job and an overhaul date of 23/12/2015, one month and one day out of works.

342 010 at Pragersko342 010 at Pragersko24th January 2016. On EC246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana "CITADELLA".

Clouds now replaced the sunshine for the rest of the journey though the sun did break through just as it was setting on the approach to Ljubljana. There were hardly any locos standing outside the shed as we went past and the long line of locos parked opposite the station platform was down to just one this afternoon though that happened to be our other required class 342, no. 342.022. Although the line to Koper had re-opened for electric traction now, we had never seen so few locos parked up around Ljubljana; somewhere must be hiding them.  A further unusual sight parked next to the station was one of the older class 311/5 EMUs with no graffiti on it; both EMUs and DMUs in Slovenia usually get plastered in it quite quickly.

813 111 at Pragersko813 111 at Pragersko25th January 2016. On LP3820 10:40 Maribor to Ormož.

Half an hour was ample time to whizz down the road, check into the hotel (Central Hotel) and return to the station to look at the 17:25 to Maribor and the 17:45 to Koper. The former was 342.010 as we expected with the latter having 541.004 on the front, we were quite pleased in some ways that the latter wasn’t required as we didn’t really fancy a trip to Logatec in the dark for an EMU back to Ljubljana around 19:30. A nice relaxing evening beckoned so it was off to the Mercator supermarket for supplies then look for somewhere to eat. The nearest restaurant, Šestica, was closed after 17:00 on Sundays so we headed to the Sokol at the foot of the castle instead which was up to its usual standard.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Budapest Déli   8:30 431 336 IC246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana
Boba 10:57 11:09 431 177  
Zalaegerszeg 11:55 12:12 431 177  
Hodoš 12:47 13:03 664 117  
Pragersko 14:32 14:42 342 010  
Ljubljana 16:44      
Hungary Slovenia http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/moving-on Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:20:14 GMT
23rd January 2016 - Karcag carry-on http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/karcag-carry-on Saturday 23rd January 2016

Our last day in Hungary for this trip so we took a few minutes to consider what to do; not that we were struggling to think of anything, more that there was so much we could do it was hard to choose. As we had spent a couple of days mostly pootling around Budapest it was perhaps time to go a little further so we settled on Debrecen with the aim of doing the line to Fehérgyarmat. It would probably mean having the same loco out and back but at least it would put some miles on the Interrail and ensure that we would get to do this 95 mile stretch of line hauled in case the services went over to DMU before we could arrange a return visit.

The IC reservations were purchased at Keleti the previous evening and, just for a change, there was a 1st class coach on the train though the loco was dud which was slightly annoying as there were still huge gaps in our V43 haulage list. A further issue arose on board when we found an older man sitting in one of “our” seats surrounded by a stack of luggage but as there were plenty of free places available, we sat elsewhere hoping that we hadn’t chosen someone else’s seat. Nobody did come to stake a claim so we stayed happily ensconced until Karcag where the train came to a rapid halt just beyond the station which did not bode well as the next stop should have been Püspökladány some 15km further on. Perhaps there was some single line working; but a train passed in the opposite direction and there was still no onwards movement then there was an announcement which we couldn’t make head or tail of but we guessed that it was not good news.

431 128 at Budapest-Nyugati431 128 at Budapest-Nyugati23rd January 2016. On IC652 8:23 Budapest Nyugati to Budapest Keleti.

Something was obviously wrong now so we got up for a leg-stretch, found a door open at the front of the train and had a peek outside; the loco had come to a stand on the loop points with the rear door of the train just on the platform. Some people were starting to gather their belongings when a further announcement was made at which point nearly all the other passengers stood up and reached for their stuff so it was game over and, presumably, walk to the rear of the train to get off.

Of course some people just headed for the nearest door and jumped out onto the ballast on both sides of the train including one chap who went base over apex upon landing. Needless to say, we have had plenty of practice regarding “ballast leaps” on various tours over the years so we followed suit as it would save a long walk, bailing out carefully into the nice large space on the “wrong” side, rigorously checking that nothing was approaching before crossing the track and walking to the “up” platform where the following “O” train had caught us up. It was unable to go in to the adjacent platform as the failed train was blocking the points and it was obviously being held for the passengers off the failed train although it would no doubt be heavily delayed in the process.

431 349 at Debrecen431 349 at Debrecen23rd January 2016. On 6205 10:03 Záhony to Budapest-Nyugati.

We were quite surprised by the number of people on the four coach IC train who were trudging along both platforms towards the already comfortably loaded “O” train. We quickly found a couple of spare seats on the latter and amused ourselves marvelling at the amount of time that some people had taken to extricate themselves and their luggage out of the failed train; in fact it looked as if the guard had to go through the train to shoo some people off.

The “O” train finally left Karcag around 40 late but even if it had been on time we would have missed our intended connection so alternatives had to be worked out. Fortunately, the Wi-Fi in the IC train had been fairly good so we had used the Vonat Droid app to work out which diesel locos were around and found that there were two working between Debrecen and Fehérgyarmat. The downside was that we would have to wait an hour at Debrecen but this was not too onerous as there were a couple of things to photograph, most notably an Austrian class 1116 on a freight.

1116 020 at Debrecen1116 020 at Debrecen23rd January 2016.

We now had two choices, two return trips to Aradványpuszta which would get both required locos or one longer trip to Mátészalka; we did the former as another visit would be needed do the rest of the line at a later date so we might as well go for the locos instead. These couple of moves went without a hitch apart from getting accosted by a dubious individual on the return of the second trip who tried to engage us in conversation despite not seemingly knowing a single word of English – you do get to see and meet allsorts on trains!

418 167 at Aradványpuszta418 167 at Aradványpuszta23rd January 2016. On 6316 15:15 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat.

There was enough time to grab a quick photo of 418.172 after it arrived from Romania and grab a cup of tea (no sugar this time!) before the IC back to Budapest turned up. We had wondered why our seat reservations were in coach no. 372, a much higher number than usual, and were a little surprised when the train arrived formed of Czech coaches despite being a Budapest Keleti to Nyugati via Miskolc service. Even better, it had a dining car, something which has long since disappeared from internal Hungarian trains so that sorted out the problem of where to eat this evening as we are not keen on eating a full meal too late in the day. The meal was good value with three courses and cider from Plzeň of all places setting us back the equivalent of a mere £17 for both; oh, and did we mention that the loco was a “winner” as well? A good result with the day ending a lot better than it began.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Déli-pályaudvar   7:38 456 Metro M2
Deák Ferenc tér 7:44 7:50 3078 Metro M3
Nyugati-pályaudvar 7:53   walk  
Budapest Nyugati   8:23 431 128 IC652 8:23 Budapest Nyugati to Budapest Keleti
Karcag + 200m 10:17   walk (failed)
Karcag     11:27 480 025 S6252 8:28 Budapest Nyugati to Záhony
Debrecen 12:14 13:15 418 120 6324 13:15 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat
Aradványpuszta 13:52 14:10 418 167 6325 12:12 Fehérgyarmat to Debrecen
Debrecen 14:43 15:15 418 167 6316 15:15 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat
Aradványpuszta 15:50 16:10 418 154 6313 14:20 Fehérgyarmat to Debrecen
Debrecen 16:43 17:07 431 192 IC566 13:30 Budapest Keleti to Budapest Nyugati
Budapest Nyugati 19:45   walk  
Nyugati-pályaudvar   20:07 235 Metro M3
Deák Ferenc tér 20:09 20:15 492 Metro M2
Déli-pályaudvar 20:21      
Hungary http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/karcag-carry-on Sun, 04 Dec 2016 12:53:33 GMT
22nd January 2016 - Esztergom at last http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/esztergom-at-last Friday 22nd January 2016

It was our last weekday in Hungary so we couldn’t put off the trip to Esztergom on the hauled turn that departed Nyugati at 7:20 in the morning any longer. As we expected, the loco was 418.313; for some reason this one turn is booked to be a re-engined class 418/3 rather than one of the original 418/1 type that are booked to work all the other diagrams from Nyugati. It was just getting light as we left Budapest and the forecast was for good weather all day though it was still bitterly cold. It was a nice enough line, quite scenic in places and had been totally rebuilt, hence the reason for it having been closed for the last three years although they hadn’t finished the planned electrification which had not got any further than the odd section with masts in situ.

There was a nice photo at Esztergom once the loco had run round and there appeared to be some freight in the area in the shape of a scrap yard and a Suzuki car plant. Štúrovo, in Slovakia, was just across the River Danube and the station was only 4 ½ miles away, taking about 1 ½ hours to walk according to our phone app; an interesting idea but not something that appealed to us today so we took some photos and sat back inside the nice warm train.

418 313 at Esztergom418 313 at Esztergom22nd January 2016. On 2097 9:12 Esztergom to Budapest-Nyugati.

Having had our fill of the lines from Nyugati over the last couple of days, we went for a tea break then caught the number 73 trolleybus to Keleti, arriving just in time to get a reservation and catch the 12:10 IC to Győr. By some miracle there was no queue at the ticket office though we did need two attempts at getting the reservation. The first clerk spoke no English at all and stared at our note saying “helyjegy” with the train number and the Interrails like she had never seen such things before. Luckily there was still no queue so we tried the next window, one quick look at our note and the tickets, tap, tap, tap on the keyboard and two reservations produced in seconds and we didn’t even need to run up the stairs to catch the train. There wasn’t time to get down the front so we looked up the loco number (480.016) on “Vonat Droid” once we had got the Wi-Fi to work though it would have been quicker to walk through the three coaches to the front to check in person!

480 016 at Győr480 016 at Győr22nd January 2016. On IC914 12:10 Budapest Keleti to Szombathely.

Required 418.316 was in the platform attached to some stock when we arrived at Győr but it wasn’t the first train out so we took dud 418.305 out to Ménfőcsanak to get the incoming train which turned out to be a Bzmot DMU; schoolkid error, should have checked the diagrams! Back out with 418.316 and we decided to hop off a couple of stops before we needed to in the hope that we might see a freight train but there was nothing around.

418 316 at Győrszemere418 316 at Győrszemere22nd January 2016. On 9234 14:56 Győr to Celldömölk.

The train back to Győr was a Bzmot as expected but we were rather withered as we arrived when an “O” train from Budapest Keleti arrived behind 630.151. We had seen it in the carriage sidings there earlier but there had been no clues as to what it was going to work so we were none the wiser. The 2 minute connection onto the next IC back to Budapest was rejected due to having no reservation so we trotted off to the booking office to get one for the following Railjet only to get the usual answer of “train full” which we knew was unlikely to be correct. Railjets are meant to be compulsory reservation within Hungary but we guess that the MÁV reservation system can’t issue one once the train has started its journey which could be from somewhere as far away as München.

There was no problem in finding seats of course and our tickets didn’t even get checked in the end as the conductor walked straight past without so much as a glance. We got back to Keleti on time and after a quick trip to the rear of the train to make sure that the loco number matched the set number (it did and it was dud) we went straight to our favourite restaurant in Budapest, the Rosenstein which lived up to its reputation as usual.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Déli-pályaudvar   6:51 452 Metro M2
Deák Ferenc tér 6:58 7:01 331 Metro M3
Nyugati-pályaudvar 7:03   walk  
Budapest Nyugati   7:20 418 313 2022 7:20 Budapest-Nyugati to Esztergom
Esztergom 8:45 9:12 418 313 2097 9:12 Esztergom to Budapest-Nyugati
Budapest Nyugati 10:39   272 Trolleybus 73
Budapest Keleti   12:14 480 016 IC914 12:10 Budapest Keleti to Szombathely
Győr 13:35 13:50 418 305 9224 13:50 Győr to Celldömölk
Ménfőcsanak 14:05 14:17 117 296 9225 12:49 Celldömölk to Győr
Győr 14:30 14:56 418 316 9234 14:56 Győr to Celldömölk
Győrszemere 15:21 15:58 117 345 9235 14:49 Celldömölk to Győr
Győr 16:19 16:58 1116 218 RJ65 11:34 München Hbf to Budapest Keleti
Budapest Keleti 18:22   walk  
Keleti-pályaudvar   20:45 448 Metro M2
Déli-pályaudvar 20:56      
Hungary http://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/esztergom-at-last Wed, 30 Nov 2016 20:38:23 GMT