21st August 2016 - Child's Play
Sunday 21st August 2016
Having been spoilt by the mostly excellent weather so far it was payback time today with rain forecast though we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't actually raining in Győr......yet. We had considered the wisdom of doing a narrow gauge line in the wet but the line's steam loco only ran once or twice a month so it was a case of get it whilst you can.
There are few hauled local trains on the Győr / Sopron route these days so we had to take one of GySEV's "Flirt" EMUs, running into the forecast rain en route which was absolutely chucking it down by the time we arrived at Fertőboz. The connecting train was standing on the far side of the mainline a short distance along from two unserviceable standard gauge steam locos.
Despite the weather, the train was reasonably busy so we found a couple of seats then braved the weather to get a picture of the train thinking that the rain might keep the usual hoards that stand right next to the loco away but we didn't bargain for a man brandishing a colourful golfing umbrella in one hand and leading a small boy with the other going and inspecting the loco at close quarters. We waited for them to move clear and were just about to press the shutter when another man walked up, heedless of the rain, and started chatting to the loco crew. As departure time was now approaching and the conversation showed no signs of being brief it was time to beat a hasty retreat into the train.
This narrow gauge line had a rather unusual route; it briefly followed the mainline before turning away until it came to a road on an embankment which looked to have severed the track bed. The loco ran round here and retraced its route to a junction, turning right to carry on in its original direction and meeting up with the main line again which it followed for a short distance before turning away and terminating at a station called Kastély on the outskirts of Nagycenk. It was still raining but we hung around as the other passengers scuttled off, presumably to the castle which was the main reason for the railway being here.
There was a extra return journey shown to the run round loop next to the road embankment in the timetable with a footnote which we were unable to decipher though we, correctly, assumed that it wasn’t running today. Some of the staff were youngsters and had GySEV uniforms so we guessed that this line was their equivalent of the MÁV Children's Railway in Budapest.
After taking more pictures now that the kettle, a numberless 0-8-0T but bearing the name "András" on a brass plate, and a rather odd-looking cross between a loco and DMU which carried Dmot 953 on the side we retreated into the cafe though that proved to be a waste of time. No tea, no milk, only black coffee, a few bags of crisps, chocolate bars, a freezer full of ice cream / lollies and a fridge full of fizzy drinks. As it was comparatively cold outside we had an ice cream and sat down at one of the tables to eat it then noticed several narrow gauge engines outside on the opposite side of the building to the railway. They were neatly lined up, each one on its own little section of ballasted track with a plaque giving details of that particular locomotive.
It had stopped raining by now so we went outside to photograph them and look at the details which were in Hungarian and English. There were two empty sections of track outside the cafe but it wasn't clear if it was room for expansion or any of previous occupants had been sold, moved or even returned to service somewhere.
On the return journey to Fertőboz the train stopped outside the loco shed a short distance from the station, the loco ran round and propelled the coaches the short distance to the station. There were only six minutes to spare before the EMU back to Győr so after grabbing a final shot of "András" it was straight back over to the mainline station from where we tried to get some pictures of the standard gauge kettles but didn't have time to get as close as we wanted.
After our lesson in the use of "Vonatinfó" yesterday we had shelled out for 250mb of internet access which should be enough to last us for the rest of the trip provided that we didn't go mad and this payed off almost immediately when we discovered that our penultimate GySEV "Taurus" locomotive for haulage was on a Budapest to Sopron IC that we could head off at Csorna. There was no ticket machine here so we resorted to putting pen to paper and handing the result, along with the tickets, to the booking clerk who quickly issued the required reservations for what turned out to be a very busy train.
With Sopron being very near the Austrian border, the preferred way out for us was to return on the same loco and coaches we arrived on, the service to Szombathely is nearly all EMUs these days. GySEV didn't appear to be into ticket machines yet so it was off to the booking office again for another reservation. This was efficiently produced again so we had enough time for a walk to the far platform to inspect the contents of the loco shed and try to ignore the shiny new "Desiro" EMU that looked as if it had just been delivered.
Our reservation was for coach 64 which we couldn't understand as the set we had arrived on was numbered 412 to 414 then we noticed the station pilot adding an extra coach to the set whilst the train loco was running round. Strengthening trains for busy periods? what a novelty!
More enquiries on Vonatinfó on the way back to Győr indicated that required 418.310 might be on the 16:02 to Celldömölk and, even better, winning 418.308 would be on the 16:49 return which we could get at Pápa. 628.303 was on the same train as two days previously so there was no need to bother about that one but whilst monitoring the running of our chosen train we noticed that the 628 had changed to a 418/3 and the train was running about 30 minutes late. It turned out that a couple of friends had been on the train at various stages and filled us in with the details later. The 628 had started off on the train but shut down after a couple of stations but athough the driver did manage to get it re-started there were still some problems and it was replaced at Celldömölk, much to the dismay of the person who had gone there for it. The other friend had gone to Sárvár so was more fortunate in his quest; such are the trials and tribulations of this esoteric hobby.
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