3rd & 4th March 2016 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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