24th January 2016 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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