4th May 2016 - Czech Circular
Wednesday 4th May 2016
It was time for us to start getting acquainted with the Czech Republic so we devised a circular trip for today starting with the 7:20 to Plzeň which was diesel-hauled to Jihlava along a line with pleasant scenery and old fashioned infrastructure including semaphore signals; right up our track! The loco was a rebuilt “Goggles” loco (class 750) which was nothing to write home about in the noise stakes though neither was the original version; a classic case of something looking far more interesting than it sounds.
We made a schoolchild error at Jihlava and caught a DMU to Havlíčkův Brod when we should have carried on towards Plzeň with the class 242 electric loco then had two more and still been able to carry on with our leisurely journey. The idea of stopping off and taking photos at various locations on the way was not helped by the fast that it was raining by the time we reached Havlíčkův Brod but the only thing in a suitable position for phots was a green and white class 742 standing outside the shed.
The next departure from here was towards Praha and it had a required loco on the front which wasn’t really surprising given how little we had done in the country so we took this to Kolín, where it was still raining so it was off to the station café for lunch. 25 minutes was quite long enough here so we headed for Pardubice where it was still raining and some notable late running from the Budapest direction though there were a few items of interest to photograph.
From here we caught a local train to Choceň where we planned to step back onto the following “R” train which overtook the local train here but it turned out to be a “Regio Panter” EMU. Getting back onto the all stations to continue our journey would have taken a lot longer so we boarded the new unit which was so new that it still had that “new train” smell.
Next stop was Česká Třebová, 20 minutes further down the line, so we didn’t have to spend too long on this new contraption and had an hour to spend in this interesting location which proved to be quite interesting though the rain continued to fall.
We had arranged to meet a friend at Břeclav just before 6pm so caught a semi-fast train to Brno hauled by a class 242, changing there for a local train with another class 242 on the front to Břeclav which took an hour as opposed to 30 minutes for a faster train but there was no need for us to rush there and at least we got a seat, unlike the previous occasion two months ago on an EC train.
Our friend and a companion arrived off a northbound EC soon after we arrived and we went to the usual Eiscafe though they were a bit disorganized on this occasion. We chose our food and ordered it at the till, the drinks quickly arrived and were followed a short time later by three (sweet) pancakes despite the fact that we had also ordered some toasties. We had assumed that common sense would dictate that the savoury stuff would be served before the dessert but maybe the fact that the main part of the business was serving cakes and ice cream meant that they found it easier and quicker to serve things “back to front”!
Kristoff had only ordered a sandwich wrap and that took longer to arrive than the toasties; it took so long that he was getting worried that it might not arrive before his train back to Wien but it did eventually turn up and there was no requirement for a “doggy bag” to take it away.
After waving our friends off back to Wien we chose to get another local train back to Brno as the next EC heading that way had a dud Slovakian class 350 on the front. Although we couldn’t initially find the train in the class 242 loco diagrams it did turn out to be hauled and we eventually tracked the turn down in one of the two diagrams for the two class 263 locos; it was probably a bit much to expect 100% class availability all the time so perhaps it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to find other locos covering one of the turns. One advantage of catching this train was that it stopped at all stations which enabled us to get a shot of 721.517 in the last of the daylight being prepared for a nights work whilst we stood at Šakvice, a nice little bonus at the end of an interesting day.
Keywords: czech republic
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