25th August 2016 - The Best Laid Plans.......
Thursday 25th August 2016
Our last full day in Hungary and it seemed somehow appropriate that we had another trip on the diesel line round the north of Lake Balaton seeing as it might be electrified by the time we got round to visiting again. We had also been keeping an eye on the class 418s and noticed that 418.152, which we had seen on shed at Tapolca last Saturday was now in the carriage sidings at Déli so looked like a good bet to work the 7:05 or 8:00 departures. The first mentioned was booked to have an air-conditioned IC coach in the consist so we guessed that the 418/3 that was also in the area would be the choice for that train so went out for the 8:00 instead only to find an electric loco on the front.
This loco was required as was the one on the 8:05 to Nagykanizsa so the best move for us would be to take the 8:00 to Kelenföld then the 8:05 from there to Székesfehérvár and see how they were getting on with the station rebuilding there. The answer to this query was that everything was more-or-less complete apart from the footbridge which was unfinished and fenced off though there was no sign of any work taking place. 418.140 was standing outside the shed looking ex-works and, more importantly, 418.152 was showing on the 9:05 from Budapest so we went to try out the new cafe in the station building to await its arrival. Just as we were finishing the sound of a diesel could be heard outside so we drank up and went outside just in time to see "Nohab" 459.022 on a monitoring coach which we had seen several times in the last few days including at Budapest earlier.
After photographing this we watched the shed shunter shuffling some locos round outside the shed making quite a racket for something so small and 418.140 was also running with some people going round it, maybe doing some final checks after it's overhaul / paint job. 418.152 duly arrived on the train to Tapolca with an IC coach on the front so rather than cough up to go in that we perched on a tip-up seat in the bike van with the intention of looking for a proper seat as passengers started to get off en route. Less than 30 minutes later the train stopped at Csajág and stood for a few minutes; we thought that it might be waiting for another service but then some of the passengers got off the train so we went to the door to look out, finding things to be rather quiet at the front end. Some smoke drifted across, somebody's cigarette or was it the loco? The conductor was outside so we went to ask him if we were crossing another train or whether there was a problem but he didn't speak English, so we pointed to the loco and asked kaput? Yes, yes......oh dear nothing else we could do except wait, not very helpful when it was baking hot on the train and not a lot cooler outside. A small group had set up a bong on the platform and sat in a circle smoking it, others had noticed two apple trees across the track and had descended on it with various bags and containers; the fruit on one tree was not quite ripe but that on the other one was more developed. After a bit all the doors on the train slammed shut, they were all power doors so the batteries had probably run out so the conductor had to go round and operate all the emergency releases to keep them open.
It was over an hour after we stopped before we noticed a class 628 and 418/3 in close proximity to each other with a DMU following near Székesfehérvár on the "Vonatdroid" app. The conductor made an announcement to say that passengers for Balatonfured should catch the next train which was kindly translated for us by a young boy of no more than 10 years old. We were unsure whether his parents had asked him to translate for these foreigners or if he wanted to practise his English but he could speak it very well, most impressive for one so young.
Any moves we had thought of had been comprehensively trashed by now so we might as well hang around and see what went on though we doubted that the class 628 would be used to work the train. The class 418 was leading and the two locos were split in the station, the obvious move being for it to shunt the failed loco behind the 628 ready to tow back to Székesfehérvár before attaching to the coaches and working the much-delayed train forward but this presented a slight problem in that two DMUs were booked to cross and there were only three platforms. The red cap had other ideas and emerged from his office waving his cap, shooing the pair of locos out of the platform and along the disused branch to Lepsény.
As soon as they were out of the way the two DMUs arrived; the one to Balatonfured was a four car and already busy, it was distinctly cosy after picking up the punters off the failed train. Once the units had gone, the 628 came back into the platform and the 418 did what we expected and was attached to the train but of course all the doors had to be reset so we finally moved off some 90 minutes late with our plans for a trip to Tapolca behind a "real" 418 in tatters. There was nothing else of interest to us in the area so we bailed at Balatonalmádi to catch the next train back to Székesfehérvár where we hoped to catch up with the class 480 that was waiting at Szabadbattyán for the train to Záhony.
Whilst waiting for this at Székesfehérvár, we noted the first train to Budapest had a required class 431 on so we caught this to Kelenföld and amused ourselves watching two class 630s running round a couple of freight trains whilst we waited for 480.007 to catch up. This was taken to Kőbánya-Kispest where, wonders of wonders, we actually found an escalator that was working before heading into Budapest-Nyugati where our plans of going to eat were disrupted by the sight of required 418.211 on the 17:18 to Lajosmizse; there was no way we were going to let this one get away!
Rather than get off at Kőbánya-Kispest, we decided to go to Gyál felső for the diesel-hauled service in the opposite direction but at the first station after the junction the door nearest to us didn't open, it being a set with the same type of coaches as the failed train we were on earlier. We initially thought that it was just the one door that wasn't opening but soon realised that none of them were and that it was probably a not infrequent problem as a "normal" soon operated the emergency release so the passengers could get off with another one who stayed on the train closing the doors afterwards. The same thing happened at the next station and we did think of bailing off at the next crossing loop as the train was running quite late by now and we did wonder if they would change the crossing point but the train carried on and we made it to Gyál felső. The Budapest-bound train could be seen patiently waiting at the next station in the distance but it took an absolute age to start moving once the other train arrived but 418.185 eventually turned up with a set of older "bangers" in tow, no door problems here; just leave them open!
We couldn't leave Budapest without visiting the Rosenstein so it was straight onto the no. 73 trolleybus to Keleti where we managed to squeeze into a very busy restaurant, perhaps we wern't the only people who had missed them whilst they were on holiday.
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