JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos: Blog https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos (JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos) Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:25:00 GMT Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:25:00 GMT https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u1007686578-o893523952-50.jpg JandJ Cottrell's Rail Photos: Blog https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog 82 120 1st September 2016 - The Terrible Twins https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/the-terrible-twins Thursday 1st September 2016

Much as we had enjoyed our couple of days in Hamburg, it was time to move on to Sweden, ready for a railtour on Sunday but rather than go direct we decided to do what we should have done this time last year and go via Niebüll and Esbjerg. The timings had changed a little since then and there was a much more relaxed connection at Niebüll off the IC onto the DMU to Tønder this time so a good excuse to finally go and do it.

The IC today was a push-pull set with driving trailer leading, completely different to the last two days though there was still a coach missing from the consist according to the departure board. The loco was on the rear this time and the leading two coaches, including the DVT were labelled up for Dagebüll Mole this time; the short formed set probably being the reason for the lack of the Dagebüll portion for the last two days. Changing the locos at Itzehoe took a little longer today as the shunter had to walk the length of the train to attach the pair of class 218s to the front after uncoupling the class 101 from the rear. Talking of 218s it was 218.322 / 321 yet again this morning; talk about the terrible twins. We don't actually need any of these locos for haulage now but it would be nice to get some different ones for a change, especially to replace "wonky-eared" 218.321 with its MTU4000 engine as we dislike these locos, yes we know this "bashing" lark is irrational!

218 321 at Niebüll218 321 at Niebüll31st August 2016. With 218 322 on IC2073 15:26 Westerland (Sylt) to Dresden Hbf.

We duly arrived at Niebüll five minutes early so there was loads of time to queue of for the lift to change platforms to the DMU for Tønder which was an Arriva liveried DMU. The signal department were busily engaged changing one of the semaphore signal arms for one of the Autozug departure roads as we dragged our stuff towards the train and just as we'd finished stashing the cases under the seats a pair of 218s arrived on a car train, a different pair to the ones that we'd seen yesterday.

The DMU was operated by Arriva Denmark with the usual small writing on the side that it was a DB company; last time we did this line (over 10 years ago now) it was run by local operator NEG using a second hand DMU from elsewhere in Germany. The information display inside the unit said it was going to Tønder but the platform departure board said it was going to Esbjerg so did we have to change trains at the former? In the event, the train stood there for a few minutes, passengers got off and on, the driver changed and an extra guard got on but it carried on northwards so there was no need to change.

We quite like Denmark as a country, it is clean and well-ordered (but rather expensive!), the people are friendly and can speak good English but we find it rather "antiseptic" in railway terms. The trains are mostly all the strange-looking "rubber ring units" and it doesn't really help with the country being so flat though we do like the ME class diesels that work a couple of lines from Copenhagen.

ME 1511 at RoskildeME 1511 at Roskilde13th September 2016. On 2549 12:15 Østerport to Holbæk.

We joined the main line from Fredericia and noticed that the line to Esbjerg was being electrified though we did wonder why they seemed to like the unpainted "rust look" for the overhead line masts. Esbjerg was on the coast and had quite a large station but the continuation of the line towards the port area was blocked off with something being built above the track; it could have been a road bridge but we wouldn't have been surprised if it was some other structure that would permanently sever the line, not that there looked as if there was any freight traffic that might go down there.

Forty minutes here gave enough time to visit the 7 Eleven outlet on the station for a couple of rather expensive drinks before returning to the platform to see if the train had arrived. A unit rolled into the platform as we walked out of the door and went right down to the far end before stopping, was there more to come? A driver had gone over to an IC4 unit in the sidings but we weren’t sure if they could couple to IC3 units but as we watched a second IC3 unit arrived with passengers on and coupled to the other unit in the platform. We got into the rear unit where the 1st class was right at the far end in the rear third of the coach. There were only a few seats and we were unsure about reservations but all the places were shown as "can be reserved" apart from one which had someone sitting in it. A man came in and filled up the free drink and snack section so we grabbed a bottle of flavoured water for later on just in case they were all taken before we wanted before we actually wanted one.

These IC3 units come in diesel and electric versions which can couple together and work in multiple but the one we were in was a diesel so we had to put up with the engine noise from underneath. Although not the best experience the noticeable jolt when the thing "changed gear" as it accelerated was worse, it was a rather uncomfortable feeling.

5249 at Høje Taastrup5249 at Høje Taastrup9th September 2015.

Our "new track" finished at Lunderskov and we thought that we might couple up to a train from Flensburg at Kolding but we carried on, avoiding Fredericia, over the bridge to Middelfart then stopping at Odense for 9 minutes. We could have changed to a faster train here which got to Copenhagen 20 minutes earlier but couldn't be bothered to extract ourselves from the nice comfy seat and risk not being able to find an empty one in another train.

All the on-line journey planners advised getting the Metro to Kastrup Airport from Nørreport but we couldn't see the point of this when we had a valid ticket for the mainline trains. We knew that we would have to change trains at the airport as that arrangement had been in place since shortly after our visit around the same time last year when the "migrant crisis" had really kicked off. This transfer would have been fairly easy as we stopped right opposite the lifts but one of the pair had two people with a heavily laden trolley seemingly incarcerated within, unable to decide which level that they wanted to get off at. It was slightly annoying to find that once we'd managed to get in one then walk along the concourse a little further there were two travellators as well.

Entry to the platform was gained by showing our passports to some security people (not the police) and we arrived just in time to see the tail lights of the 18:06 departing, only 20 minutes until the next one. Whilst waiting we pondered on the train working arrangements as those coming from Sweden were going through without everyone having to get off and have their passports checked. We did think that we might end up getting back on the same unit when it returned from wherever it had gone but it was a different one and was very busy. There was a further stop at Hyllie where the Swedish police carried out another passport check before we arrived at Malmö just before 7pm and made our way straight to our hotel a short walk away. This was the Radisson Blu and it was nice to have more time to appreciate it; on the previous occasion we arrived very late and had to leave relatively early in the morning. The room was huge with a separate "dressing area" behind the bed, two armchairs, a sideboard containing tea / coffee making equipment and a desk and could well have been bigger than some hugely expensive Central London apartments.

We had wanted to eat at a highly rated restaurant called "Bastard" (yes, really) but it was very busy and we would have to wait for a table. It was already later that we usually like to eat so we found an alternative at the Mando Steakhouse, very nice but we considered it expensive for what it was but this was Sweden.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Hamburg Hbf   9:19 101 103 IC2314 5:10 Köln Hbf to Westerland (Sylt)
Itzehoe 10:03 10:18 218 322  
      218 321  
Niebüll 11:45 12:06 AR2048 R5738 12:06 Niebüll to Esbjerg
Esbjerg 13:45 14:27 5066 IC848 14:27 Esbjerg to Østerport
København H 17:28 17:43 4411 OTU1880 17:40 København H to Københavns Lufthavn Kastrup
Københavns Lufthavn Kastrup 18:00 18:26 4503 18:26 Københavns Lufthavn Kastrup to Helsingør
Malmö C 18:56      
Denmark Germany Sweden https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/the-terrible-twins Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:24:29 GMT
31st August 2016 - Oops a daisy https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/31st-august-2016---oops-a-daisy Wednesday 31st August 2016

Having achieved or aim of doing the Sylt Shuttle Plus yesterday we had a "spare" day to play with so decided that as the weather was good we would have another day on the Westerland line with the aim of doing some "photting" and seeing if we could pick up some NOB class 245/2s.

We went on IC2314 again which was a different class 101 but the same pair of class 218s as yesterday; we had hoped that they would swap them out or they would have done a different diagram today. Also, just the same as yesterday, we left Hamburg 7 minutes late but were waiting time at Heide and arrived at Niebüll 5 early. Passengers for Dagebüll Mole were being told to change here although there were meant to be through coaches off the front of the IC train; come to think of it, they didn't take the coaches off the train yesterday either.

Our intention was to drop back onto the NOB train and go to Morsum to take some photos but the next one was hauled by one of the two locos that we'd had before. We didn't want to go back south or wait an hour for the next one so got on regardless to carry on with our plan. At Morsum, there should have been a NOB train going south about 10 minutes after we arrived but there was a familiar phrase scrolling round at the top of the departure screen "Zug Fällt Aus", yep, cancelled; don't usually get that sort of nonsense with NOB.

245 206 at Morsum (Sylt)245 206 at Morsum (Sylt)31st August 2016. Working NOB81710 10:40 Hamburg-Alton to Westerland (Sylt).

The 13:04 departure was also cancelled so there was something very strange going on, maybe something to do with the Notfalltechnik (breakdown) van that we had seen on the rear of one of the car shuttles at Niebüll. We did think it a little unusual though didn't really think much of it at the time. After taking a few pictures we decided to carry on to Westerland to see what was going on there, the very first thing we saw being a PRESS class 202/3 (ex DR V100) on the spur to the sidings next to the airport with orange-clad men crawling round one bogie which was sitting on a traversing jack and packing. The Notfalltechnik van we'd seen earlier was parked in the sidings along with two cargowaggons which we presumed the 202 had been moving when it came to grief and blocked the access to the carriage sidings trapping two NOB sets, no wonder there had been some cancellations.

204 012 at Nürnberg Hbf204 012 at Nürnberg Hbf30th August 2017. The former DB 202 525 with 204 354 (202 354).

With a more leisurely schedule today we decided to have lunch in the station cafe before catching a train to Klanxbüll to do a bit of photting there though it wasn't such a good location since the station had been rebuilt a few years ago. Back then it had ground level platforms and a fairly good shot could be taken in either direction from the old goods loading platform but now it was the new footbridge for one direction and a shot off the end of the platform for the other though the latter was spoilt by a large pile of concrete sleepers.

We were expecting two car trains, one in each direction, so when the level crossing started it was a case off seeing which direction the signal was cleared for and trying to get to the best position. The first train was heading to Westerland so we rushed up the steps to stand on the footbridge from where we could see something red in the distance. It didn't look like a class 245 and didn't sound like one either, in fact the train was worked by a pair of class 218s - the first ones we'd seen on an Autozug in the past two days. It was certainly unusual as there appeared to be enough class 245s to cover the work, maybe someone hadn't been trained on them yet or, more likely, it could have been someone’s last day at work but, whatever the reason, they made a very welcome sight and sound.

218 363 at Klanxbüll218 363 at Klanxbüll31st August 2016. With an unidentified classmate on a Niebüll to Westerland (Sylt) Autozug train.

As we turned round, we could see the other train coming down off the Hindenburg Dam so we had to make do with a shot from the footbridge before catching the next local train to Niebüll where we had a look at the NEG station and depot then taking a walk along the footpath that followed the line. The path went round the back of Niebüll “south" signal box and past the car loading terminal on the opposite side of the line providing some decent vantage points for photographs providing you avoided the undergrowth or lighting posts.

NiebüllNiebüll31st August 2016. NOB Driving trailer leading NOB81725 14:52 Westerland (Sylt) to Hamburg-Altona; 245 211 is out of sight on the rear.

We had worked out that the last IC train of the day was the same set as yesterday with limited 1st class seats and the same pair of 218s so decided to take our chances on the NOB services, just managing to rush back to the station in time to catch the 16:31 which terminated at Husum. There was only 30 minutes to wait for next train to Hamburg which was another new loco and, more importantly, had plenty of 1st class seats; in fact we had the whole rear section of the coach to ourselves apart from the two members of staff.

We had a choice of getting off at Elmshorn with a bit of a wait for a local train to the Hbf or going to Altona and catching an S Bahn back which took about the same amount of time so we did the latter and went to eat in the Block House again followed by a post prandial stroll back to the station just on the off chance that the elusive 112.140 was around. Having not clapped eyes on it during several visits here we were rather surprised to see it in the platform attached to a short set of fairly externally tatty-looking ex DR Dostos (double deck coaches) which we took to be a service to Ahrensburg. Rather surprisingly, it was the train to Lübeck and the Ahrensburg service was formed of a nice shiny rake of six new-ish Dostos, the opposite is usually the case.

112 184 at Berlin Ostbahnhof112 184 at Berlin Ostbahnhof14th October 2013. Displaying the popular destination of "Nicht einsteigen"; we think it was working an RE1 service.

Unfortunately for us, it was the wrong way round as the Lübeck train was first stop Bad Oldesloe, only 20 minutes down the line but a "+1" for the return journey or a 1 hour wait. Knowing from past experience that "+1s" don't always make at Bad Oldesloe we reluctantly had to let it go as we didn't want to getting back to the hotel at 11pm, as one of our friends is always telling us "you're not desperate enough"!

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train details
Hamburg Hbf   9:23 101 070 IC2314 5:10 Köln Hbf to Westerland (Sylt)
Itzehoe 10:05 10:18 218 322  
      218 321  
Niebüll 11:45 12:05 245 204 NOB81708 9:40 Hamburg-Altona to Westerland (Sylt)
Morsum (Sylt) 12:26 13:28 246 206 NOB81710 10:40 Hamburg-Alton to Westerland (Sylt)
Westerland (Sylt) 13:42 14:25 245 206 NOB81723 14:22 Westerland (Sylt) to Hamburg-Altona
Klanxbüll 14:48 15:16 245 211 NOB81725 14:52 Westerland (Sylt) to Hamburg-Altona
Niebüll 15:30 16:31 245 214 NOB81751 15:52 Westerland (Sylt) to Husum
Husum 16:59 17:31 245 215 NOB81727 16:22 Westerland (Sylt) to Hamburg-Altona
Hamburg-Altona 19:19   walk  
Hamburg-Altona (tief)   19:31 474 015 S1 19:03 Wedel (Holst) to Hamburg Airport
Hamburg Hbf 19:43      
Germany https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/31st-august-2016---oops-a-daisy Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:31:21 GMT
30th August 2016 - Sylt Shuttle Plus https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/sylt-shuttle-plus Tuesday 30th August 2016

The reason for us spending a couple of days in Hamburg on our way further north was to sample the new "Sylt Shuttle Plus" service on one of our favourite stretches of railway, the "Marschbahn". This was a rather crazy idea (in our opinion) of DB trying to entice passengers off the private operator, NOB, who provided the local passenger services by attaching a class 628 DMU onto the rear of some of their Autozug (car trains). Why did we think it crazy? Well, the DMU had to pick up its passengers from the stations at Niebüll and Westerland before going to the Autozug terminal to attach to the car train with a corresponding move at the other end meaning that it was quicker to wait for the next NOB train and go straight from station to station. Of course such faffing about is a big attraction to enthusiasts, especially track bashers so it just had to be done!

628 503 at Morsum (Sylt)628 503 at Morsum (Sylt)31st August 2016. Class 628 DMU working D1431 12:13 Westerland (Sylt) to Bredstedt on the rear of an Autozug train.

We had a leisurely start this morning and caught the 9:16 IC to Westerland with a class 101 electric on the front until Itzehoe where 218.321 and 218.322 took over for the remainder of the journey. We departed Hamburg around 5 minutes late but were actually waiting for departure time at Heide and pulled into the platform next to the station building at Niebüll rather than one of the two main platforms. We left the IC here and took a NOB train hauled by a new class 245 diesel back to Bredstedt and waited for the class 628 DMU working the "Sylt Shuttle" to follow. There were two other passengers waiting here who displayed a distinct lack of interest in the DMU and presumably knew to wait for the NOB service which would get them to any station beyond Niebüll a lot more quickly.

We were the only two passengers to get on the DMU at Bredstedt with three more people joining at Langenhorn but we noticed the conductor speaking to them at Niebüll and pointing at the platform, indicating that the NOB service would be quicker. He didn't say anything to us but we had heard reports from others that the crews had got used to enthusiasts from the UK wanting to stay on the DMU to get both the Autozug locos and the track "in the book".

628 535 at Morsum (Sylt)628 535 at Morsum (Sylt)31st August 2016. On D1428 11:25 Bredstedt to Westerland (Sylt), running on its own rather than attached to the rear of an Autozug train.

The DMU stood in the platform for a few minutes then the fun started with a shunt to the south end to join the designated car train. We had already worked out that the loco would be 245.022; it being best to keep an eye on what the locos were up to as it wasn't possible to see which one was working once the DMU was attached to the train. The DMU was attached to the rear, behind a rented minibus which we quickly worked out was for the motorcyclists to sit in as there was no longer a coach for that purpose as the DMU had taken its place and it was not possible to walk through as it didn't have an end gangway. The minibus was connected to a generator sitting on the wagon next to it which presumably meant that there was no need to run the engine to provide air-con etc. Each car train had one of these minibuses permanently parked on the south end of the set connected to an external generator so it wouldn't be that easy to just drive them off the train. All these vehicles carried registrations and we could just imagine the conversation with the leasing company; likely annual mileage? Er, none - well not under their own power....... Like we said, utterly barking!

245 026 at Morsum (Sylt)245 026 at Morsum (Sylt)31st August 2016. On a "Sylt Shuttle" Autozug train from Westerland (Sylt) to Niebüll.

Off we went, tagging along on the rear of the autozug and scoring the track through the terminal in the process. It was an interesting experience to see the front of this very long train as we curved left onto the Hindenburgdamm, the only connection between the mainland and the island of Sylt which is rail only, hence the need for the frequent autozug service. The whole thing must be very lucrative so it was no wonder that DB were trying to jealously guard their monopoly from other operators.

Although we arrived in the car unloading terminal nest to the station at Westerland we still had to wait for the DMU to be uncoupled and shunted into the platform; bet the signalmen at Niebüll and Westerland were impressed with all these extra moves to get the unit to and from the autozug terminals. The whole trip from platform to platform took 54 minutes as opposed to 33 minutes on an IC train and 34 minutes on a NOB train calling at all stations en route and was marketed as "Sylt Shuttle Plus" though we couldn't see any advantages to it except for "cranks" needing the track or the AZ locos for haulage.

We noticed that there was a turn-over loco at Westerland (from memory, the 218s used to push out, run round then propel back into the loading road) so it wold mean a different loco for the return so we grabbed some lunch from the station buffet and settled back onto the unit which was now showing as the 14:13 to Bredstedt. Two "normals" got on in the other coach, no doubt naïvely thinking that the 14:13 would leave before the 14:22 to Hamburg but the conductor promptly informed them otherwise.

There was a car train being loaded in the terminal and as soon as it finished and departed, the DMU left the platform and shunted into the loading road, coming to stand in exactly the same position, just one track across but there was no platform here so no changing our minds. 245 026 propelled the lengthy car train towards the DMU, stopping a few feet short with the unit being driven the remaining distance onto the train to be attached. Whilst waiting to leave we amused ourselves by watching the man in charge of loading directing the road vehicles onto the train, cars to the lower deck and vans / SUVs etc to the top deck. One fancy open-topped car tried to take the lane leading to the top deck but "Bert" was having none of it and insisted that they went on the lower deck along with all the other cars.

The return journey took even longer at an hour and 17 minutes as the DMU had to be in position before the Autozug was placed then had to wait for all the road vehicles to be loaded before departing though to be fair, we did spent around 10 minutes at Klanxbüll waiting for the single line to clear. Whilst at Westerland we noticed a required Di6, DE2700-10, arrive and worked out that it should work the 14:52 from there and that we should be able to catch up with it at Niebüll thanks to a 25 minute stand there. We then took this to Heide and waited for the IC train that we were aiming for to catch up.

DE2700-10 at Westerland (Sylt)DE2700-10 at Westerland (Sylt)30th August 2016. On NOB81712 13:00 Husum to Westerland (Sylt).

We hadn't been paying too much attention to the class 218s on the IC trains so had failed to notice that 218.321 / 322 had stepped back a working as the times had changed. The IC sets used to have a longer turn round at Westerland so the locos used to propel out of the station to the sidings, run round, then propel back into the station and work the same set of coaches back out again. Tighter coach working had meant that there was no time to shunt out of the platform and turn-over locos were now required so we would have the same pair of locos that we'd had out this morning. We were even less impressed when the train arrived at Heide and found that the only first class accommodation was the minimal amount in the buffet car but fortunately the 2nd class was not so busy so we went in there instead.

218 321 at Heide (Holst)218 321 at Heide (Holst)30th August 2016. With 218 322 on IC2073 15:26 Westerland (Sylt) to Dresden Hbf.

We couldn't visit Hamburg and not eat at the Block House so paid a visit to sample the usual quality steak and delicious onion soup after which we decided to go back to the station and see what was around. A new Metronom class 146 was soon spotted so we took that to Hamburg-Harburg, hoping that the train from Cuxhaven might be a few minutes late to take us back to the Hbf. We didn't pass the train or see it in the platform and it was still showing on the departure board; good it's late but what is that message scrolling round above the train details? "Zug Fällt aus", train cancelled, cheers then DB so we had to wait for the next Metronom back to the Hbf after all.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Hamburg Hbf   9:21 101 106 IC2314 5:10 Köln Hbf to Westerland (Sylt)
Itzehoe 10:05 10:16 218 322  
      218 321  
Niebüll 11:51 12:01 245 204 NOB81717 11:22 Westerland (Sylt) to Hamburg-Altona
Bredstedt 12:15 12:32 628 501 SSP1432 12:32 Bredstedt to Westerland (Sylt)
Niebüll 12:48 13:02 628 501  
Niebüll 197.4kp 13:05 13:07 628 501  
Niebüll 197.6kp 13:08 13:19 245 022  
Westerland (Sylt) Azug arr 13:48 13:50 628 501  
Westerland (Sylt) yard 13:51 13:53 628 501  
Westerland (Sylt) 13:56 14:13 628 501 SSP1439 14:13 Westerland (Sylt) to Bredstedt
Westerland (LC) 14:15 14:17 628 501  
Westerland (Sylt) Azug dep 14:19 14:35 245 026  
Niebüll 198.?kp Azug 15:23 15:26 628 501  
Niebüll -0.2km 15:28 15:29 628 501  
Niebüll 15:30 15:55 DE2700-10 NOB81725 14:52 Westerland (Sylt) to Hamburg-Altona
Heide (Holst) 16:54 17:08 218 321 IC2073 15:26 Westerland (Sylt) to Dresden Hbf
      218 322  
Itzehoe 17:43 17:55 101 051  
Hamburg Hbf 18:49 20:35 146 516 ME81635 20:34 Hamburg Hbf to Lüneburg
Hamburg-Harburg 20:48 20:53 ME146-02 ME82132 17:07 Göttingen to Hamburg Hbf
Hamburg Hbf 21:01      
Germany https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/8/sylt-shuttle-plus Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:18:04 GMT
29th August 2016 - Heading North https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/7/heading-north Monday 29th August 2016

It was only a brief visit to Wien on this occasion and it was time to move on, for a considerable distance as we needed to be in Sweden by the weekend. The main train of the day was to be the 12:27 from Praha as it would take us straight to Hamburg where we were staying tonight so we had to make sure that we would be there in good time. This meant catching the 7:09 Railjet, not our train of choice as the 8:09 EC would have been more interesting but we deemed a tight connection at Břeclav and 20 minutes to change trains at Praha coupled with engineering works en route to great a risk.

Of course the loco on the Railjet had to be the one that we'd had to Břeclav on Friday but needs must. Our first class ticket was most welcome as that section never got anywhere near full, unlike 2nd class where there were very few spare seats. We got through Brno quite easily considering a couple of platforms were closed and carried on, through a band of rain which was forecast, arriving at Praha 8 minutes late. The main station was still undergoing renovation with a couple of platforms out of use and shot blasting continuing on the overall roof so we chose a platform to go and "veg" at the end of away from the noise; luckily the rain had stopped by now.

Praha hl nPraha hl n29th August 2016. 362 169 and 151 001 at Praha hl n.

As usual, the platform for our train was not shown until shortly before departure time (on one of the ones without  an escalator, really useful for a busy international train). It looked as if the train was going to be busy so we were glad that we had reserved some seats but, naturally, these were the rubbish ones next to a window pillar. We thought that the best course of action would be to sit in them anyway and see what was available once everyone had settled in.

The EC we had contemplated catching was 20 minutes late and we saw it arriving at the time our train should have departed; they did hold the connection and we left 16 minutes late but were pleased that we had avoided all that stress and rushing around by arriving earlier.

A required ČD class 371 meant that we kept up our record of having at least one new loco for haulage a day, there would be next to no chance of getting anything new from Dresden. We passed through some more rain as we ran alongside the river Labe but the sun had re-appeared by the time we crossed into Germany. The loco change at Dresden gave us an opportunity for a leg-stretch and to make a note of the class 101 with a bonus that we saw two vacant seats next to a window and facing in the correct direction so we moved all our baggage down a few rows.

After departing, the train came to an abrupt halt after travelling around a train length and stood for a few minutes before setting off again with no explanation forthcoming. The coaches were all ČD ones, complete with one of their excellent restaurant cars so it was an ideal opportunity to have a meal rather than wait until we arrived at Hamburg when it would be after our normal evening dining time. There is usually no room for luggage in restaurant cars and we didn't want to leave anything unattended so we went to eat individually, using up some of the Czech Koruna that we still had plenty of.

101 116 at Dresden Hbf101 116 at Dresden Hbf9th September 2013. EC176 05:39 Brno hl n. to Hamburg-Altona.

The direct route from Dresden to Berlin was closed due to engineering works and instead of turning right towards Großenhain and Elsterwerda we carried on nearly to Riesa, turning off at Zeithain which got us a short stretch of new track to Röderau. The section of line we now took via Falkenberg (Elster) low level is freight only but we had previously covered it from Riesa on the last IR service in Germany which ran between Chemnitz and Berlin and we think it was the last booked passenger service to use the section between Riesa and Falkenberg (Elster) Low Level.

The train filled up a bit after leaving Berlin but couldn't be described as wedged, just one reason that we prefer to travel in 1st class on these longer journeys and we arrived at Hamburg seven late; not bad considering the loco had a couple of "hissy fits" along the way apart from the one leaving Dresden and there were long term engineering works on the approach to Hamburg as well.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Wien Hbf   7:09 1216 236 RJ70 7:09 Wien Hbf to Praha hl n
Praha hl n 11:16 12:43 371 002 EC378 12:27 Praha hl.n. to Kiel Hbf
Dresden Hbf 14:55 15:07 101 138  
v. Nünchritz, Röderau, Falkenberg (Elster), Jüterbog, Trebbin, Birkengründ, Südkreuz, Hbf (Tief) Spandau        
Hamburg Hbf 19:26      
Austria Czech Republic Germany https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/7/heading-north Thu, 26 Jul 2018 19:48:08 GMT
28th August 2016 - Mistelbach Heizhausfest https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/6/mistelbach-heizhausfest Sunday 28th August 2016

Today was one of the highlights of our whole trip, a special train to the Heizhausfest at Mistelbach from Wien Praterstern. Describing it like this doesn't make it sound very special but the direct line between the two places was closed due to engineering works so the special was routed along the line to Retz as far as Zellerndorf before heading across to Laa a d Thaya along a rather rare bit of freight track which was allegedly proposed for closure in the near future. When we first started coming to Austria there was a sparse passenger service over about 2kms at the eastern end between Laa a d Thaya and Laa a d Thaya Stadt which, like many other things, got filed under "we'll do that one day" but we never did get there before the service finished in December 2006. The rest of the line lost its passenger service in May 1988 and there had been no specials along it that we could recollect so it was no surprise that around a dozen people from the UK had made the effort to come over for this.

MistelbachMistelbach28th August 2016. Line up of class 2143s; 2143 038, 2143 055 and 2143 056.

The organiser given the UK contingent seats in the same coach but the two of us had drawn the "booby prize" of the seats opposite the toilet in their own little cubby hole. We didn't really feel left out though as a couple of people popped in for a chat and to share "gen" and we could freely wander into the main part of the coach to socialise. Unfortunately the "party atmosphere" was somewhat soured when one friend "lost" his laptop; he had put on the luggage rack pushed between two bags and we could only think that either someone had noticed all the people with cameras and other gadgets and decided to whip through the train to see if there was anything worth pinching or a more unpalatable alternative in that someone travelling on the train had noticed the item being put up there and decided to help themselves.

The loco working the train to Zellerndorf was preserved 2143.070, a nice loud specimen which was normally based at Mistelbach and which we'd had on a special to the museum at Strasshof earlier in the year. 2-8-2T steam loco 93.1420 took over from Zellerndorf with the 2143 running round to the rear and we set off a quite a respectable pace for a line that might be facing closure. We could see no reason for the lines continued existence on the first section and there were a couple of level crossings that required the train to stop and the conductor to get off and operate the barriers.

The first sign of any location that produced rail traffic was at Pernhofen where there was a large factory (Jungbunzlauer) with plenty of wagons in the sidings which we guessed was served from the Laa end of the line. On past the closed Laa a d Thaya Stadt station and into the other Laa station on the outskirts of the town where the train had to reverse again. Some work was being done on the station which included a new footbridge but we were told not to get off whist the train reversed which only took four minutes.

2143.070 took over for the run to Mistelbach and although it is a nice loud example of the class we were never going to be able to fully appreciate it as the maximum speed of the two axle coaches was not very high plus they rode quite noisily so we were never going to recreate the experience of one of these blasting out of the old Wien Südost Bf on a train to Marchegg or Bratislava.

2143 070 at Mistelbach2143 070 at Mistelbach28th August 2016. With the coaches off SDZ14734 8:23 Wien Praterstern to Mistelbach Lokalbf which ran via Zellerndorf and Laa a d Thaya.

The train passed straight through Mistelbach ÖBB station without stopping and came to a halt on top of the bridge over bypass road where a reversal took us along the connection between ÖBB metals and the Mistelbach Lokalbahn which had its own station about ¼ mile down the road from the ÖBB one. The old loco shed here is now the base for Verein Neue Landesbahn and is the home for the 2143 and others used by Regiobahn who operate the regular trains on the Ernstbrunn line and ran the special train that brought us here.

There was a fine array of diesel locos on display, plus one electric and steam 93.1420 which had brought us here but we had something a little more pressing to do before looking round the site. Tickets had been on sale on the train for food which was being provided by a mobile grill; we could have waited but the queue was long enough when we arrived and would no doubt get even longer once everyone had got off the train. There was a choice of half a chicken or pork for which we had been given a different coloured ticket according to our choice when we paid and this was exchanged for a portion of the chosen meat served with a chips or salad, very nice and tasty. Our decision to eat first looked to be the correct one as the queue was a lot longer by the time we had finished eating so it was now time to wander round and take photos of the various locos on display, these included a nice line up of three class 2143s, 1110.505 and the sole class 2020 diesel  loco.

Two further class 2143s were inside the shed, one of which, 2143.048, was being worked on; from a purely selfish point of view it would be nice to see that one back in service as it was the only one of the seven class 2143s on the site that we needed for haulage. We were also told that the group had plans to restore the class 2020 to working order in two years if we understood correctly though we thought that timescale sound rather ambitious.

2020.01 at Mistelbach2020.01 at Mistelbach28th August 2016.

There was one other attraction that could be done whilst we were in the area, a rather quirky service over a section of the former Mistelbach Lokalbahn using type X626 personnel carriers which started from a station about half a mile down the road called "Mistelbach Interspar" after the nearby supermarket of that name. This was a relatively new addition as people who had done it before said that previous station was a short distance further on, just beyond the bridge carrying the ÖBB line over the Lokalbahn. A new bypass road had severed the track between Interspar and the Lokalbahn station rendering any further extension in that direction extremely unlikely but the service, running under the name of Zayataler Schienentaxi did have a decent run of around 5.3km to Asparn a d Zaya.

X626.172 at Mistelbach IntersparX626.172 at Mistelbach Interspar28th August 2016. On the 14:00 Mistelbaxch-Interspar to Asparn a d Zaya with X626.144 on the rear; the supermarket that gives its name to the station can be seen in the background.

We had been a little wary of the capacity on this train as the personnel carriers themselves were advertised as carrying nine people including the driver but the passenger seats were a tight squeeze for all but the slimmest people which most of our group certainly weren’t! The journey was booked to take 20 minutes but actually took 16 so there was an extra 4 minutes to look round to add to the 10 that was the booked turn-round time. Asparn was the group's base but there was not a huge amount to see here beyond two further X626s which looked as if they were usable and a couple of other items of rolling stock. The line beyond here to Ernstbrunn was available to be covered if we so desired but we would have to expend some energy to do it as it was now a rail bike operation, maybe something to do on a cooler day than this one.

There were fewer passengers on the return journey so we went back in the open wagon, picking our way back to the Lokalbahn station on arrival at "Interspar" past the supermarket and along the footpathless road. There weren't so many people milling around the site by now and we could actually get into the room at the rear of the shed where there was an impressive N gauge model railway under construction. Outside the shed, the locos had been taken off the train, the 2143 was taking fuel whilst the steam loco was engaged in some shunting, first collecting a "disco coach" which it added to one end of the train then picking up 1110.505 and placing it on the same end, raising our hopes for a winning loco on the return journey though we suspected that the overheads would be off due to the engineering work. The steam crew appeared to be quite keen and were putting on a good show whilst doing all this shunting.

93.1420 at Mistelbach93.1420 at Mistelbach28th August 2016. Shunting electric loco 1110.505.

93.1420 ran round and we did briefly wonder whether we were going back without the 2143 until it came off the shed and attached to the rear of the train behind 1110.505 meaning that the steam loco would be starting off the return journey up the steeply graded connection between the Lokalbahn and ÖBB. The consist now included the extra coach and the dead electric loco so the 2-8-2T had to really dig in to get this lot on the move, the noise was superb as it set about the task, getting slower and slower as the gradient increased. Although it didn't slip once we did wonder if it would just grind to a halt until a roar from the rear indicated that the 2143 had joined in as well. 93.1420 did slip just as it reached the mainline but it was quickly controlled and we reversed on the bridge in the same place as the outward journey where the steam loco was detached, leaving 2143.070 to continue.

We didn't go into the platform at Laa a d Thaya this time and set off along the freight only line to Zellerndorf as soon as 2143.070 had run round. There was a brief wait here for an RE service to come off the single line, a further stop at Hollabrunn for the same reason and again at Stockerau where the preserved "Blauer Blitz" DMU pulled up alongside our train; it had been to a similar event at Sigmundsherberg as the one we had been to. We stood at Stockerau for a bit longer than needed to cross the various trains and noticed that the class 1110 had been detached from the rear - put it on the front please! No such luck though as we think that it went off towards Absdorf-Hippersdorf whilst we carried on with the 2143.

Our train lost a bit of time here and there and we arrived a little late at Praterstern before bidding farewell to our various travelling companions and heading off in our different directions. We hung around to take some photos of the 2143 once it had run round and noisily headed to Ernstbrunn where it usually stables then waited for a required class 1144 that we had seen earlier to take us back to the Hbf to cap an excellent day with a winning loco.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Wien Hbf   7:51 1116 131 R2210 6:27 Payerbach-Reichenau to Retz
Wien Praterstern 8:01 8:25 2143 070 SDZ14734 8:23 Wien Praterstern to Mistelbach Lokalbf
Zellerndorf 9:57 10:23 93 1420  
Laa a d Thaya 11:35 11:39 2143 070  
Mistelbach signal V101 12:13 12:15 93 1420  
Mistelbach Lokalbf 12:19   walk  
Mistelbach Interspar   14:00 X626-172 14:00 Mistelbach-Interspar to Asparn a d Zaya
Asparn an der Zaya 14:16 14:30 X626-144 14:30 Asparn a d Zaya to Mistelbach Interspar
Mistelbach Interspar 14:46   walk  
Mistelbach Lokalbf   16:03 93 1420 SDZ14735 16:00 Mistelbach Lokalbf to Wien Praterstern
Mistelbach 54.8kp 16:08 16:10 2143 070  
Laa a d Thaya 16:39 16:54 2143 070  
Wien Praterstern 19:55 20:27 1144 098 R2265 18:55 Znojmo to Wien Meidling
Wien Hbf 20:37      
Austria https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/6/mistelbach-heizhausfest Mon, 25 Jun 2018 19:22:49 GMT
27th August 2016 - A Nostalgic Return https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/5/a-nostalgic-return Saturday 27th August 2016

Our tickets for the whole trip had been a combination of a European East Pass and Interrail when not doing special trains but no matter which way we tried to fit things in there was always going to be one day that we wouldn't have a ticket for. This day was chosen to be the one to miss out as there is an Einfach Raus day ticket available for two people in Austria although it doesn't include travel on IC trains. In the end we didn't need this as we decided to join our friend for a trip on the one remaining hauled train on the Mariazellerbahn (Nostalgie Elektrozug) running on Saturdays only between May and October which would give us chance to visit the recently extended Museumstramway in Mariazell.

Two priv returns to St Pölten were cheaper than an Einfach Raus ticket but could be used on an IC train as well and just as easily bought from ticket machine. We would have to pay to go on the NÖVOG train and the tramway but didn't have a problem with this, just happy to do our little bit to help keep the 1099s going. We met up with our friend on the 7:55 IC rather than the following Railjet with an 8 minute connection having found out from experience in the past that it doesn't always make; been there, done that, seen the tail lamp!

St Pölten now had a shiny new station but the "Nostalgie Elektrozug" appeared in the usual fashion with the loco propelling the coaches from Alpenbf, we can never remember there being a run round loop at the Hbf in the 16 or so years since our first visit. The whole set and loco was now finished in the traditional brown livery and looked to have a new bar car and panorama wagon.

E7 at MariazellE7 at Mariazell27th August 2016. On 6891 9:07 St Pölten Hbf to Mariazell.

There were only three seats reserved in the panorama coach and as the seats with the rear view were available the three of us decided to go for 1st class in the uphill direction to enjoy the view. St Pölten Alpenbf was looking very bare with the only items of motive power visible being a class 5090 DMU and 2095 diesel loco right down the far end. A lot of work had been done on the track and several loops had been re-instated with the whole line being centrally controlled and now operated by the new "Himmelstreppe" electric units. Whilst it was good that the line had been modernised and was still in use we couldn't help mourning for what it used to be like. More reminders of the past were seen in the form of 1099.008 outside the shed at Ober-Grafendorf, seemingly abandoned, though it could have been kept for spare parts, 1099.06 plinthed at its namesake station of Kirchberg a d Pielach and a further class 5090 in a siding at Laubenbachmühle.

5090 015 at Laubenbachmühle5090 015 at Laubenbachmühle4th September 2011.

The journey up the hill after the latter was as enjoyable as always and the lady from the buffet was doing a sterling job of tempting us with food and drink, the only person missing was the conductor; he knew our friend but surely he wasn't going to let us travel for nothing? He did come round shortly before we arrived at Mariazell, having been busy dealing with quite a lot of bikes en route; after all there was no need to rush round as he knew we were going all the way to the end.

The large number of bikes meant that the train arrived about 30 minutes late which was a bit of a blow as the connection on the Museumstramway had already gone, our original plan being to catch it to Erlaufsee, have lunch during the hours break down there then back to Mariazell to get the new extension in. As always, our friend had a "plan B" which involved walking to Mariazell along a footpath that we hadn't realised was there, though perhaps it had been put in since our last visit and having lunch there instead. The footpath was a pleasant walk alongside the tramway extension for part of its length, past the new terminus and into the town, a vast improvement to walking along the main road which was a bit circuitous and went up and down a bit.

Lunch was taken in "Pirker" a cafe / restaurant which specialised in gingerbread and also sold a lot of candles then we went for a quick look at the Basilica and the memorial to the people who built the railway outside it. We arrived back at the terminus in time to get a photo of the train chugging up the hill from the NÖVOG station.

VL1 at MariazellVL1 at Mariazell27th August 2016. VL1 approaches Mariazell Promenadenweg Grazer Bundesstraße with the 13:25 from Erlaufsee.

The loco was VL1; an 0-4-0DH built by Jung in 1968, the same one that we'd had on other two visits with two coaches and an open wagon which we sat in seeing as it was a nice day. The train propelled down the hill and onto the route of the closed line to Gußwerk which closed in 1988 before reversing and going down to a new halt opposite the shed at the north end of the current NÖVOG line. The exisiting halt for the tramway was a little further south with a single platform on one side of the loop so the train did not stop there heading towards Erlaufsee. We stayed on to the end with the usual 15 minute stop on the turning loop there then back up to the new "town" station in order to get the third side of the turning triangle where the line leaves the route of the original narrow gauge line.

We stayed with the train which did the same performance as previously, propelling back down the hill and reversing on the trackbed of the former line and got off at the new station opposite the old shed around 30 minutes before the train back to St Pölten departed, more than enough time for some more pictures.

E7 at MariazellE7 at Mariazell27th August 2016. The former ÖBB 1099 007 on 6892 15:27 Mariazell to St Pölten Hbf.

We didn't bother with 1st class on the return journey; there was little point in paying twice the price for a view of the rear cab of E7 no matter how much we like these locomotives. We sat in the bar instead where there were some tasty spicy frankfurters which went down a treat with a very quaffable local cider produced in Ober-Grafendorf but at 6.8% not a good idea to have too many bottles of that!

Fortunately there were no delays on the way back to St Pölten, the cyclists had either ridden down or gone on an earlier train so we were in good time for the 18:30 IC back to Wien, the journey taking around half the time of the previous route into Wien Westbf. The frankfurters from the buffet had been enough to fill our stomachs so we bade farewell to our friend and went back to the hotel.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Station
Wien Hbf   7:57 1016 026 IC662 7:33 Flughafen Wien to Bregenz
St Pölten Hbf 8:30 9:09 E7 6891 9:07 St Pölten Hbf to Mariazell
Mariazell 12:14   walk  
Mariazell - Promenadenweg   13:53 VL1 13:52 Mariazell to Erlaufsee
Reversing triangle     VL1  
Erlaufsee 14:12 14:25 VL1 14:25 Erlaufsee to Mariazell
Mariazell - Promenadenweg 14:47 14:52 VL1 14:52 Mariazell to Erlaufsee
Reversing triangle     VL1  
Bahnhof Mariazell 14:57   walk  
Mariazell   15:27 E7 6892 15:27 Mariazell to St Pölten Hbf
St Pölten Hbf 18:04 18:30 1116 269 IC691 12:45 Klagenfurt Hbf to Flughafen Wien
Wien Hbf 19:04      
austria mariazellerbahn https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/5/a-nostalgic-return Tue, 29 May 2018 19:00:03 GMT
26th August 2016 - Class Cleared https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/4/class-cleared Friday 26th August 2016

We had thoroughly enjoyed our time in Hungary, warts and all, and could easily have stayed on but we had an appointment with a special train in Austria over the weekend so had to move on. Our chosen train to get us there was the 8:55 from Kelenföld, one of the few EC services between the two capital cities rather than a Railjet and, as a bonus if the diagrams followed round, it should be worked by our 10th and final MÁV class 470.

470 010 at Budapest-Nyugati470 010 at Budapest-Nyugati21st January 2016.

As catching the 8:30 from Déli was a comparative lie-in, we decided to go down for breakfast without the cases and return upstairs for them afterwards which nearly proved to be a fatal mistake. The Mercure Buda is popular with coach parties and although there were three staying there overnight we managed to get down, eat breakfast and return upstairs with no problems. Going back down with the cases to check out was another matter though as it appeared that at least one coach load of guests were doing exactly the same thing and they were all on the floors above us. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem but it appeared that the lifts were going up to the highest floors first with the result that they were all crammed by the time they reached us on the 2nd floor. In the end we reached a compromise in that one of us would go down to check out whilst the other waited for a lift with a space though this was only acheived by grabbing one that dropped somebody off then going all the way to the top and back down again.

The next obstacle was to try and get onto the platforms at Déli avoiding the stairs. We thought that it was possible to walk round the front of the station to the entrance at street level on the opposite side but this turned out to be an obstacle course. First of all the pavement disappeared then it turned into a slope which was clearly designed to try and prevent people from taking that route, what a palaver!

We couldn't help reflecting whilst sitting on the 8:30 departure that earlier this year we would have happily gone to Wien via Slovenia on this train just for the class 664 from Hodoš. An SŽ class 363 electric loco would have been quite nice but there was no guarantee of having one of those, a class 342 would be far more likely plus engineering work between Graz and Bruck an der Mur would mean a trip on Bertie the Bus so taking the direct route made much more sense. Anyway, EC140 did turn up with 470.010 on the front so we were very happy with this even if the train did loose a few minutes due to single line working en route, there was no need to rush as we'd decided to catch the 13:09 to Břeclav.

1216 249 at Brno hl.n.1216 249 at Brno hl.n.6th May 2016. On RJ71 6:52 Praha hl.n. to Graz Hbf.

Doing this also gave us time to check into our hotel for the next couple of nights, the Motel One, right opposite Wien Hbf which is similar in standard to an Ibis; fairly basic but clean, comfortable and not too expensive. The 13:09 produced a new CD liveried class 1216 and there was a required class 362 on the Přerov service when we arrived but it was not possible to do that, have lunch in the delicatessen and do the 714 later as well.

Part one of lunch was consumed whilst waiting for the arrival of the class 714 which we went out to check just in case it was the one that we'd had last time. It wasn't so back to the Eiscafe for lunch part two before it's departure time. It was a beautiful sunny day so it was no surprise to see a couple of photographers en route but we were surprised to see them again at Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou when we arrived; they must have been moving pretty fast as the train wasn't hanging around.

714 211 at Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou714 211 at Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou5th May 2016. On Os4515 12:55 Znojmo to Břeclav.

Once back at Břeclav we had a bit of a quandry, the only immediate connections were two EMUs and the next loco-hauled wouldn't get us back in time for the next EC to Wien so we just caught the Railjet instead to see if we could pick up any winners round there. Not a lot as it turned out though we don't have a lot of patience when it comes to zipping up and down picking new locos up for minimal mileage, especially somewhere like Wien Hbf where the IC stuff is "upstairs" and the suburban trains "downstairs".

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Budapest-Déli   8:30 431 011 246 8:30 Budapest-Déli to Ljubljana
Kelenföld 8:36 9:02 470 010 EC140 4:51 Nyíregyháza to Wien Hbf
Wien Hbf 11:34 13:09 1216 236 RJ76 10:25 Graz Hbf to Praha hl n 
Břeclav 14:04 15:31 714 226 4518 15:31 Břeclav to Znojmo
Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou 16:24 16:31 854 025 4525 15:55 Znojmo to Břeclav
Břeclav 17:28 18:02 1216 234 RJ79 14:52 Praha hl n to Graz Hbf
Wien Meidling 19:06 19:27 1144 097 R2358 18:38 Wiener Neustadt Hbf to Wien Florisdorf
Wien Hbf (Bst 1-2) 19:32      
austria czech republic hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/4/class-cleared Wed, 11 Apr 2018 19:17:45 GMT
25th August 2016 - The Best Laid Plans....... https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/4/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.

459 022 at Székesfehérvár459 022 at Székesfehérvár25th August 2016. The former DSB (Denmark) MY1156 on a test train.

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.

418 152 at Csajág418 152 at Csajág25th August 2016. 418 152 stands in the station at Csajág after failing whilst working 19702 9:05 Budapest-Déli to Tapolca.

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.

418 331 at Csajág418 331 at Csajág25th August 2016. help has arrived! 418 331 (which took over 19702 9:05 Budapest-Déli to Tapolca after 418 152 failed) with 628 321 which took the defective loco back to Székesfehérvár.

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.

480 007 at Szabadbattyán480 007 at Szabadbattyán25th August 2016.

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!

418 211 at Budapest-Nyugati418 211 at Budapest-Nyugati25th August 2016. On 2946 17:18 Budapest-Nyugati to Lajosmizse.

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.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Budapest-Déli   8:01 431 310 1972 8:00 Budapest-Déli to Tapolca
Kelenföld 8:08 8:15 433 222 18502 8:05 Budapest-Déli to Nagykanizsa
Székesfehérvár 8:53 10:04 418 152 19702 9:05 Budapest-Déli to Tapolca
Csajág 10:32 12:31 418 331  
Balatonalmádi 12:51 13:22 418 313 19705 11:40 Tapolca to Budapest-Déli 
Székesfehérvár 14:10 14:42 431 008 9005 12:05 Szombathely to Budapest-Déli
Kelenföld 15:20 16:07 480 007 16906 12:41 Tapolca to Záhony 
Kőbánya-Kispest 16:23 16:42 432 317 2723 15:48 Cegléd to Budapest-Nyugati
Budapest-Nyugati 17:00 17:18 418 211 2946 17:18 Budapest-Nyugati to Lajosmizse
Gyál felső 17:58 18:14 418 185 2933 16:42 Lajosmizse to Budapest-Nyugati
Budapest-Nyugati 18:52   walk (Trolleybus 73 no. 604)
Keleti pályaudvar   20:40 464 Metro M2
Déli pályaudvar 20:51      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/4/the-best-laid-plans Mon, 09 Apr 2018 20:56:19 GMT
24th August 2016 - In search of More Diesels https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/in-search-of-more-diesels Wednesday 24th August 2016

Our main aim today was to be chasing the "real" (not re-engined) class 418 diesels working out of Nyugati, mostly on the line to Lajosmizse so "VonatDroid" was consulted as soon as we got up only to find that one had gone off to Esztergom on the 7:20 rather than the booked class 418/3. Perhaps we should have got up earlier but we do enough of that for work and this is meant to be a holiday so we compromised by catching a DMU to Piliscsév where we could head it off meaning that we could still have a reasonable run behind it. It proved to be a worthwhile move as having a "real" class 418 on a line with decent track and a couple of hills was certainly good fun.

418 187 at Piliscsév418 187 at Piliscsév24th August 2016. On 2097 9:12 Esztergom to Budapest-Nyugati.

The next job was to chase down the two required locos on the Lajosmizse line, they were following each other round meaning there was little point in catching the 10:18 so we adjourned for refreshments before getting the 11:18 to Gyál felső, a station on the single line before the crossing loop with a small station building and plinthed steam loco, would be rude not to take a photo whilst we were there.

6633 at Gyál felső6633 at Gyál felső24th August 2016. Plinthed 0-6-0T.

There was a level crossing on a main road at an awkward angle just off the end of the platform with the crash barrier on one side lying in a twisted mess next to the railway line; it looked as if someone had come barrelling down the road, misjudged the angle of the level crossing and would have gone straight along the platform if it wasn't for the crash barrier.

The loco on the return journey was as we had expected but back at Nyugati things started to go wrong as, rather than a loco dropping onto the rear of our train for the next departure there was a DMU showing the destination of Lajosmizse in the next platform; no thank you! More to the point there was now no sign of 418.211 and 418.171 looked as if it might have failed as it was being put to one side by the station pilot so it was time for another plan.

A glance across the other side of the station revealed some required electric locos so we switched our attentions to the Szob line, ending up at Kismaros where we had spotted a loco working on the narrow gauge line there earlier though it had departed by the time we arrived. We had a short time to look round so went to look at what we thought was a coach parked outside the shed but closer inspection revealed that it had a driving cab on each end and was in fact a DMU. The driver's seat at both ends looked to be a standard bus driver's seat complete with seat belt and the whole thing looked to be rather home-made though it might well have been based on a (railway) coach chassis.

M06-401 at KismarosM06-401 at Kismaros24th August 2016. 760mm gauge Diesel Railcar.

We ended up at Szob in time for the same EC as yesterday but this time the shunter running round the loco on the train we arrived on appeared to take exception to us taking photos, video in particular. He couldn't speak English and we couldn't speak Hungarian but we stood our ground, if photos were forbidden why had nobody else mentioned it in the past week and a half? In any case, the "Red Cap" hadn't said a thing to us and it was her station. The EC rolled in at this point and the MÁV guard muttered something about photos as he walked across to take over the train but he didn't appear to be overly bothered and maybe only said anything at all as the shunter had been bending his ear.

SzobSzob24th August 2016. Contrasting liveries at Szob; 431 059 on the left wears the standard blue livery with yellow ends whilst 432 343 on the right is in the latest "Fecse" (Swallow) livery to match the coaches.

As we made our way back to Budapest we noticed that the next EC towards Bratislava had not appeared to have left Keleti so we kept an eye out for it and it eventually went past about 50 minutes late with a MÁV class 431 hauling a, presumably failed, ZSSK class 350. On arriving at Keleti we went back to Nyugati to check out the 17:18 to Lajosmizse but that was a two car "Desiro" DMU which looked a little cosy inside. The ever-useful VonatDroid, showed 418.185 standing outside ready to work the next departure in just over an hours time so we nipped across the road to "OK Pizza" for a quick meal before grabbing our fourth class 418 for the day; Kőbánya-Kispest here we come! This station was in an even worse state than on our previous visit with one set of stairs completely cordoned off and the others as uneven as before, in fact the whole station was still a total dump!

We managed to change platforms without breaking anything and got a winning class 432 back to Nyugati and finished the day with a couple of trips between Déli and Kelenföld to keep our class V43 count up.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Déli pályaudvar   7:56 471 Metro M2
Deák Ferenc tér 8:02 8:05 348 Metro M3
Nyugati-pályaudvar 8:07   walk  
Budapest-Nyugati   8:20 426 018 2042 8:20 Budapest-Nyugati to Esztergom
Piliscsév 9:27 9:33 418 187 2097 9:12 Esztergom to Budapest-Nyugati
Budapest-Nyugati 10:10 11:18 418 156 2924 11:18 Budapest-Nyugati to Lajosmizse
Gyál felső 11:54 12:05 418 163 2915 10:42 Lajosmizse to Budapest-Nyugati
Budapest-Nyugati 12:43 13:07 432 277 2144 13:07 Budapest-Nyugati to Szob
Nagymaros 13:54 14:09 432 256 2145 13:56 Szob to Budapest-Nyugati
Kismaros 14:17 14:38 432 343 2224 13:41 Budapest-Nyugati to Szob
Nagymaros 14:45 14:54 431 059 2116 14:07 Budapest-Nyugati to Szob
Szob 15:06 15:25 380 011 EC277 9:52 Praha hl n to Budapest-Keleti
Budapest-Keleti 16:32   walk  
Keleti pályaudvar   16:47 496 Metro M2
Deák Ferenc tér 16:52 16:55 341 Metro M3
Nyugati-pályaudvar 16:58   walk  
Budapest-Nyugati   18:19 418 185 2918 18:18 Budapest-Nyugati to Lajosmizse
Kőbánya-Kispest 18:33 18:44 432 376 2743 17:43 Cegléd to Budapest-Nyugati
Budapest-Nyugati 19:02   walk  
Nyugati-pályaudvar   19:18 227 Metro M3
Deák Ferenc tér 19:20 19:25 501 Metro M2
Déli pályaudvar 19:32   walk  
Budapest-Déli   19:57 431 282 4118 19:55 Budapest-Déli to Pusztaszabolcs
Kelenföld 20:03 20:12 415 061 4621 19:48 Martonvásár to Budapest-Déli
Budapest-Déli 20:20 20:31 431 108 9008 20:30 Budapest-Déli to Celldömölk
Kelenföld 20:37 20:43 415 099 4521 19:48 Székesfehérvár to Budapest-Déli
Budapest-Déli 20:49      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/in-search-of-more-diesels Mon, 19 Mar 2018 21:07:11 GMT
23rd August 2016 - Heading Back East https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/heading-back-east Tuesday 23rd August 2016

After three full days in the Győr area it felt like we had exhausted the area apart from missing out the line between Papa and Csorna; chasing interesting locos had proved a distraction on this occasion. Although we were moving on we would be staying in Hungary and returning to Budapest for a few days before gradually heading north and made two alternative plans depending on whether the class 430 we had seen yesterday appeared this morning or not.

430 327 at Győr430 327 at Győr22nd August 2016. On 9942 8:51 Győr to Sopron.

VonatDroid was checked before we left the hotel and 430.328 had followed its diagram round from yesterday so we would catch that to Csorna then an IC from there to Budapest, getting off at Kelenföld to drop our cases off in the hotel. Once we had established the loco on the Sopron train we allowed enough time to get a ticket for the IC from Csorna at Győr, it was easy enough to change the departure station by tapping a few buttons. Good weather had returned this morning, the DMU for Rajka was on time this morning, the two car DMU didn't have a loco attached to it this morning and the same ČD (Czech Railways) class 363 was knocking around again; we guessed that it was road learning.

363 527 at Csorna363 527 at Csorna23rd August 2016.

Two freight trains also passed whilst we were there, one with a GySEV class 430 on heading east which would have provided a nice shot off the end of the platform if we'd seen it early enough to get down there in time. As this passed, a freight train appeared heading in the opposite direction hove into view so we set up for a shot only for it lurch left towards the yard and pass behind some wagons before going straight out the other side, crossing back to the mainline at low speed. We couldn't fathom this move out unless those in charge of train movements didn't like the idea of it blasting through the platform road at speed even though there were only a handful of passengers there.

430 327 at Csorna430 327 at Csorna23rd August 2016.

The IC to Budapest was hauled by 470.505 again and this deposited us at Kelenföld where we got off and caught the first train to Budapest Déli to dump our bags in the hotel. This was the Mercure Budapest Buda, very handy almost next door to the station which we got at a very good rate, around £50 per night including breakfast. The hotel were very accommodating, giving us a room overlooking the railway at our request; the castle view from the opposite side was all very nice but overlooked a busy road with trams, making it rather noisy.

Domestics sorted, it was back to the station to purchase a 72 hour Budapest travel pass each then across the city to Keleti station where there was a chance that our last MÁV class 470 would be on the 13:45 to Nagykanizsa according to the diagrams. It was no real surprise to us that it wasn't so we cast our eyes round for something else and spotted a ČD class 380 on the EC to Praha, we had a first class Interrail for today so might as well make use of it and the ECs didn't require a reservation.

380 005 at Brno hl.n.380 005 at Brno hl.n.4th May 2016. On EC173 "Hungaria" 6:36 Hamburg-Altona to Budapest Keleti.

This train was an absolute stagger to start off with as it made its way round the city to access the line to Szob, all the local trains on this line depart from Nyugati station. We got off at Vac and found that the station had been completely rebuilt since our last visit with very long platforms, totally over-the-top in our opinion; we can understand building for expansion but these were far more than 12 coaches long and not even the ECs were that long. The station used to be a good place to take photos but not any longer so we took the opportunity to carry on to Szob when a new class 431 appeared as we could catch the next EC to Budapest from there.

431 072 at Szob431 072 at Szob23rd August 2016. On 2116 14:07 Budapest-Nyugati to Szob.

We finished the day with a little dabble on various local trains out of Keleti before heading off to one of our favourite Budapest restaurants, the Rosenstein, only to find that it was shut for holidays until tomorrow; oh bother! The Rákóczi Grill was a relatively short walk down the road so we went there instead, stopping off to top up our water supply at Aldi's, all of around 10p for a litre and a half.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Győr   8:51 430 328 9942 8:51 Győr to Sopron
Csorna 9:20 9:59 470 505 IC317 (6:50 Gleisdorf) to Budapest-Keleti
Kelenföld 11:35 11:48 415 074 4515 10:48 Székesfehérvár to Budapest-Déli
Budapest-Déli 11:53   walk  
Déli pályaudvar   12:58 438 Metro M2
Keleti pályaudvar 13:09   walk  
Budapest-Keleti   13:25 380 018 EC274 13:25 Budapest-Keleti to Praha hl n
Vác 14:09 14:35 431 072 2116 14:07 Budapest-Nyugati to Szob
Szob 15:05 15:27 380 003 EC277 9:52 Praha hl n to Budapest-Keleti
Budapest-Keleti 16:34 16:47 432 199 3356 16:45 Budapest-Keleti to Szolnok
Rákos 16:56 17:17 432 238 3226 17:05 Budapest-Keleti to Gödöllő
Rákoscsaba-Újtelep 17:24 17:33 432 252 3223 17:13 Gödöllő to Budapest-Keleti
Budapest-Keleti 17:56   walk  
Keleti pályaudvar   20:15 463 Metro M2
Déli pályaudvar 20:26      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/heading-back-east Mon, 19 Mar 2018 20:44:56 GMT
22nd August 2016 - V63s to the rescue https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/v63s-to-the-rescue Monday 22nd August 2016

This was our last full day in Győr and there were still a few bits of new track that we wanted to do so so it was probably best to crack on with those. Yesterday's rain had mostly cleared up and though more was promised for today it was not actually precipitating as we made our way to the station for the 8:51 departure to Sopron, one of the few hauled trains left on that line. We took this to Csorna by which time it had started raining again and found another class 430 there attached to a two car DMU. A bit of head scratching ensued before we realised that it was on the 11:41 to Szombathely which was actually a booked turn, the departure time had changed from that in the diagrams we had so we had't spotted it at first. There was no sign of the unit to form the train to Hegyeshalom and Rajka though the "red cap" did briefly pop out of his office and look in that direction. About five minutes before departure time, a single car class 247 unit did turn up which duly departed four minutes late though with a lengthy stand at Hegyeshalom it would easily make that up.

CsornaCsorna22nd August 2016. 430 327 working 9942 8:51 Győr to Sopron passes 430 330 which will later work 39814 11:41 Csorna to Szombathely hauling a DMU.

There were a couple of interesting private locos at Hegyeshalom but as it was still raining there was no incentive to get off the train and photograph them. Our destination of Rajka used to be the border station on what was the main line between Bratislava and Hegyeshalom but these days there were only a handful of passenger trains to here, the through service to Bratislava having been withdrawn in December 2010. Freight still used the route though despite what appeared to be a dodgy bridge en route which had a 10kph speed limit over it, even for our lightweight railcar. It was still raining when we reached Rajka but we braved the elements to get a couple of souvenir shots just to prove that we had actually been.

247 505 at Rajka247 505 at Rajka22nd August 2016. The former ÖBB 5047 031 on 39844 10:56 Rajka to Csorna.

We changed onto an EMU at Hegyeshalom and took this back to Győr as information had been gleaned from Vonatinfó that our fifth and final GySEV "Taurus" was on an IC to Sopron. We decided to give the ticket machine a go to get the reservation this time but although it was a bit convoluted going through the menu, the whole process was easier than battling with the language barrier and there were no queues.

The GySEV class 470 were now "cleared" but we had ended up at Sopron again though this time we caught the EMU to Szombathely as it would get us there in time for the 15:01 departure which might be worth a punt following 628.303's failure yesterday. 628.302 was standing in a likely position as we ran in but there was also a dilemma in the shape of a required class 430 electric on a service back to Sopron and there was no way of doing both. A quick check in the diagrams revealed that the 430 should be on the 8:51 Győr to Sopron in the morning if it followed the turns so we did the diesel instead.

628 302 at Celldömölk628 302 at Celldömölk22nd August 2016. Passing some engineering works whilst working 9203 15:01 Szombathely to Győr.

Our friend from Vienna had heard about the 628 and was catching an EC to Győr after work even though he would only be able to do it for a short distance; meanwhile at Szombathely we noticed that the 14:49 IC hadn't arrived so we checked on Vonatinfó and discovered that it was running over half an hour late. A couple of swipes on the screen revealed the possible reason for this, the loco was normally freight only 630.033! The train had left Budapest late so it looked to have been a last minute substitution and was probably going to work the return from Szombathely so we fired off a quick text to our friend and got busy working out how to get it ourselves; quite easily if we waited for an hour at Győr. Our friend messaged back to say that he would now go for the class 630 rather than the diesel so we got ourselves some reservations for the train from the machine and went to a nice cafe next to the bus station for a cup of tea and await his arrival.

630 033 at Győr630 033 at Győr22nd August 2016. On IC913 17:10 Szombathely to Budapest-Keleti.

Shortly before the EC was due we checked up on its location and discovered that it had seemingly "disappeared" at Hegyeshalom and then got a message that the Austrian 1116 loco had been unable to raise its 25kv pantograph to run in Hungary so had failed meaning our friend would not be here in time for the IC from Szombathely and would be unlikely to make the 18:40 diesel departure either.

We had just taken our seats on the IC, which did have 630.033 on the front, when we got another message that 630.032 was going to rescue the EC; we could actually do both trains but would have to stay on our current one to Tatabanya, bearing in mind that our reservation was only to Komárom where the EC didn't stop. The conductor was coming through the coach by now and appeared to be taking a tough line regarding reservations, we guessed that many people waiting for the delayed EC had simply hopped on this train instead so were sans reservation and "Bert" looked as if he was doing a roaring trade selling new reservations. It didn't look as if he would reach us before Komárom and a further complication was that we didn't yet know exactly how late the EC was going to be so could end up having an extremely long wait or even getting stranded in Budapest if we waited for it so we reluctantly got off as booked. At least there was the usual motley selection of stuff parked here so we got a couple of photos whilst waiting for the EMU to Győr.

761 006 at Komárom761 006 at Komárom22nd August 2016.

The EC turned out to be only 50 minutes late so we would probably have made Budapest OK, even allowing for losing some more time but it was too late for that now so we met our friend and all went for dinner in the Belgian beer restaurant, at least he got one rare loco so his journey wasn't totally wasted.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Győr   8:51 430 327 9942 8:51 Győr to Sopron
Csorna 9:19 9:39 247 505 39837 9:35 Csorna to Rajka
Rajka 10:48 10:55 247 505 39844 10:56 Rajka to Csorna
Hegyeshalom 11:09 11:36 425 001 9447 10:48 Bruck a d Leitha to Győr
Győr 12:10 12:38 470 505 IC942 11:05 Budapest-Keleti to Sopron
Sopron 13:36 13:44 415 506 9174 13:43 Sopron to Szentgotthárd
Szombathely 14:32 15:01 628 302 9203 15:01 Szombathely to Győr
Győr 17:15 18:21 630 033 IC913 17:10 Szombathely to Budapest-Keleti
Komárom 18:41 18:50 415 055 4946 17:20 Budapest-Déli to Győr
Győr 19:16      


hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/v63s-to-the-rescue Mon, 19 Mar 2018 20:03:45 GMT
21st August 2016 - Child's Play https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/childs-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.

415 502 at Bük415 502 at Bük3rd March 2014. 9154 11:22 Sopron to Szombathely


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.

492 at Nagycenk (kastély)492 at Nagycenk (kastély)21st August 2016. 0-8-0T no. 492 "András", built by MÁVAG in 1923, works no. 4756 on train M4 11:20 Nagycenk (kastély) to Fertőboz.

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.

5 at Nagycenk (kastély)5 at Nagycenk (kastély)21st August 2016. 760mm 0-6-0T built by Krauss (Linz) in 1916, works no. 7124.

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.

424 140 at Fertőboz424 140 at Fertőboz21st August 2016. 4-8-0 built by MÁVAG in 1943, works no. 5358 with 520.030, a 2-10-0.

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.

4744 300 at Sopron4744 300 at Sopron21st August 2016. Brand new Siemens "Ventus" EMU.

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.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Győr   8:51 415 501 9942 8:51 Győr to Sopron
Fertőboz 9:56 10:00 "András" M3 10:10 Fertőboz to Nagycenk (kastély) 
Barátság 10:16 10:20 "András"  
Nagycenk (kastély)  10:32 11:23 "András" M4 11:20 Nagycenk (kastély) to Fertőboz
Barátság 11:35 11:39 "András"  
Fertőboz 11:51 11:57 415 500 9915 11:43 Sopron to Győr
Csorna 12:33 12:59 470 504 IC942 11:05 Budapest-Keleti to Sopron
Sopron 13:38 14:21 470 504 IC933 14:21 Sopron to Budapest-Keleti
Győr 15:19 16:02 418 310 9216 16:02 Győr to Celldömölk
Pápa 17:11 17:36 418 308 9223 16:49 Celldömölk to Győr
Győr 18:29      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/childs-play Thu, 08 Mar 2018 18:10:17 GMT
20th August 2016 - Lakeside Larks https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/lakeside-larks Saturday 20th August 2016

Today was to be mostly a diesel day round Lake Balaton but it got off to an excellent start with the only electric loco of the day, "Taurus" 470.009 our penultimate one for haulage of this ten-strong class. Our friend was also on this train as his main aim for the day was the 9:25 service to Keszthely which was booked to be hauled throughout by a former DB (German Railways) class 232 now in service with GySEV in Hungary and our little group would be further increased at Szombathely by another friend who was arriving from Wien via Sopron.

651 008 at Tapolca651 008 at Tapolca20th August 2016. On 19804 16:42 Keszthely to Szombathely.

651.008 was on the train as expected, one of the two such locos still with GySEV, the other pair being sent back to DB's Romanian sector. The journey to the lake went quickly with two friends to chat to and we scored some new track between Ukk and Tapolca on the way. Ourselves and the Austrian friend got off at Tapolca, leaving the remaining one of our group to carry on to Keszthely for a connection round the south side of the lake back to Budapest. On the way to Tapolca we had been given a demonstration of how to find train consists on the Vonatinfó app which not only shows train running information but with a couple of swipes on the screen will show what traction is working it as well and it uses much less data than the vonatDroid app.

418 328 at Tapolca418 328 at Tapolca20th August 2016. On 6906 12:41 Tapolca to Záhony.

We put this new found information to use at Tapolca and found that our planned move to Badacsonytördemic-Szigliget to meet yet another friend and his family who were on holiday in the area would get us one new engine each, the only issue being that there wasn't enough space on the Interrail journey diary to fit the destination in unless it was abbreviated or written in very small writing. At Tapolca the friends went for a meal whilst we decided to get required 418.328 seeing as it was sitting on the proverbial plate in front of us before doubling back to join the others who had now moved along the road to  the local "Dessert Shop" where it was "Kremes" all round then back to the station for the 14:41 departure.

418.149 was on this so we enjoyed some original M41 action before heading our separate ways again, the single friend to Budapest and the family and ourselves to Badacsony. Whilst they were going to continue with their holiday, we we aiming for another 628/3 (320) which had a regular summer turn on the final section of the through train from Záhony but the "app" showed that this was running around 30 minutes late. We guessed that the crossing point would be changed from Badacsonytomaj to Révfülöp and that the train we were on should arrive a few minutes before the other so stayed on board and the leap was easily made; there was even time to get a photograph.

628 320 at Révfülöp628 320 at Révfülöp20th August 2016. On 16907 7:03 Záhony to Tapolca.

Time for a late lunch at Tapolca so we went the short distance to the pizza restaurant that the others had been to earlier, La Pergola. It was still open and had a wood-burning pizza oven so no mass-produced rubbish here and we were served very quickly though that probably had more to do with the fact that it was late afternoon so we were the only people eating at that time.

Our final move was to catch the through train to Pécs as far as Keszthely where there was an 18:45 departure direct to Győr hauled by original-engined 418.118. Although the journey was less than 100 miles in distance it took 2 1/2 hours which was not a problem for us; we were only too happy to have a direct service back to base with a decent loco on the front and a little bit of unusual track via the Celldömölk avoiding line.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Győr   7:38 470 009 IC910 6:10 Budapest-Keleti to Szombathely
Szombathely 8:46 9:25 651 008 19807 9:25 Szombathely to Keszthely
Tapolca 10:46 11:41 418 327 19705 11:40 Tapolca to Budapest-Déli 
Badacsonytördemic-Szigliget 11:51 12:15 418 306 19702 9:05 Budapest-Déli  to Tapolca
Tapolca 12:26 12:41 418 328 16906 12:41 Tapolca to Záhony 
Badacsony 12:55 13:25 418 149 19792 10:00 Budapest-Déli to Tapolca
Tapolca 13:39 14:43 418 149 19793 14:41 Tapolca to Budapest-Déli
Révfülöp 15:11 15:16 628 320 16907 7:03 Záhony  to Tapolca
Tapolca 15:45 17:18 418 309 18893 17:18 Tapolca to Pécs
Keszthely 17:49 18:45 418 118 19808 18:45 Keszthely to Győr
v. Tapolca, Ukk, Celldömölk avoider        
Győr 21:18      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/lakeside-larks Thu, 08 Mar 2018 14:23:54 GMT
19th August 2016 - In search of the unusual https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/in-search-of-the-unusual Friday 19th August 2016

We'd enjoyed our time in Debrecen but it was now time to move on and head to the other side of the country, Győr. We caught a tram to the station, not forgetting to validate the tickets that we'd bought last night, and arrived with half an hour to spare before the train to Budapest via Nyíregyháza and Miskolc. There were two reasons for going round this way rather than the shorter route into Nyugati; firstly we needed the track between Görögszállás and Miskolc and, secondly, the train to Győr started from there so no messing around with the Metro or trams / trolleybus. A third, bonus, reason was that we should drop on to the 13:05 IC service which had been producing one of GySEV's recently hired in "Vectron" locomotives.

After viewing many required V43 locos working the IC trains over the previous days it was a little annoying to get a dud one but there was absolutely no point in changing plans now, plus we'd already paid for the reservation. The train was quite busy, even in 1st class but it was a Friday and tomorrow was Hungary's national day so there were more people travelling than usual.

We arrived on time into one of the bay platforms at Keleti so had to walk all the way down to the end only to find that the IC to Sopron didn't have a platform assigned to it yet. It was eventually announced with only 15 minutes to departure, in one of the bays on the other sde of the station so we had to hike all the way down the other side of the station where the coaches with 193.246 already attached had been pushed in by the one of the station pilots.

193 246 at Budapest-Keleti193 246 at Budapest-Keleti19th August 2016. On IC934 "Scarbantia" 13:05 Budapest-Keleti to Sopron.

We arrived at Győr in the middle of a torrential downpour so sat on the platform until the rain eased off before making a dash to the Ibis hotel around 10 minutes walk away. There was one person already checking in and there appeared to be some sort of issue as both they and the receptionist were making a right meal of things leading us to wonder if we would actually get sorted out and back to the station for the 16:02 departure. We did eventually get checked in and made it to the station for the 16:02 which was hauled by 418.307 as we had guessed when we noticed where it was standing earlier.

We took this to our usual "leaping shack" of Szerecseny to wait for the 15:01 from Szombathely which had been worked a class 628/3 for much of the summer. The station hadn't changed from our previous visit except the level crossing attendant appeared to have a trainee and we were there for less than 15 minutes before "Sergei" 628.303 appeared, only our third one of the Hungarian examples and our first rebuilt one; just like the 418's the rebuilt and re-engined ones are identified by their xxx.3xx number.

628 303 at Szerecseny628 303 at Szerecseny19th August 2016. On 9203 15:01 Szombathely to Győr.

Although it was still fairly early when we arrived back at Győr we decided to go and eat in the Belgian beer restaurant in the Hotel Raba as the only moves available were on IC trains and we were meeting a friend later so it made sense to eat now, drop the bags in the hotel then meet our friend back at the station. We then paid another visit to the Belgian Beer restaurant, just for drinks this time whilst our friend had dinner then back to the Ibis hotel where all three of us were staying.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train details
Kossuth  tér   8:17 526 Tram 1
Nagyállómás 8:23   walk  
Debrecen   8:54 431 341 IC650 6:23 Budapest-Nyugati to Budapest-Keleti
v. Miskolc        
Budapest-Keleti 12:32 13:05 193 246 IC934 13:05 Budapest-Keleti to Sopron
Győr 14:32 16:02 418 307 9216 16:02 Győr to Celldömölk
Szerecseny 16:37 16:50 628 303 9203 15:01 Szombathely to Győr
Győr 17:16      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/in-search-of-the-unusual Thu, 08 Mar 2018 14:04:29 GMT
18th August 2016 - Tying up some loose ends https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/tying-up-some-loose-ends Thursday 18th August 2016

Our last full day in the Debrecen area and the weather had returned to being hot and sunny so we dusted off the plans for yesterday which involved an earlier start on the 7:33 "O" train from Záhony. Breakfast at the hotel didn't start until 7am so we decided to walk to the station and visit the bakers en route instead.

The 7:33 handily produced 431.090 which we had seen on the shed at Záhony yesterday and we took this the comparatively short distance to Püspökladány to catch the diesel hauled IC to Biharkeresztes on the Romanian border; according to the mapper the loco for this should have been 418.321 which was indeed waiting when we arrived. The train itself had started from Budapest-Keleti and was running around 15 minutes late, not a problem for us as there should have been about 30 minutes to have a quick look round before catching a train from Romania back. In fact both trains should have been at Biharkeresztes at the same time with each having half an hour to change locos and perform border checks as Romania was not in the Schengen area.

The IC from Budapest arrived and changed locos but then stood for a few minutes waiting for a DMU on a local train to come off the single line before we could set off. Track condition was poor considering that this was an international route with IC trains and our train bumbled along, unable to make up any time; not that we were particularly bothered as the train had a dining car and we had ensconced ourselves in there and ordered some much needed cups of tea. Although this was an IC train it covered for a local train between Püspökladány and Biharkeresztes so no reservations were required. In the end we only had about 10 minutes to swap trains at the latter so couldn't hang around but the only item of interest there was a Romanian GM engined class 65 diesel which was working the Romanian leg of both services and we managed to grab a photo of it from the door of our return train.

65 0990 at Biharkeresztes65 0990 at Biharkeresztes18th August 2016. After taking over from 418 321 on IC367 5:55 Budapest-Keleti to Braşov.

There was a choice of a +5 minute connection at Püspökladány or a +65 and the latter was diagrammed to be 431.090 again so we kept everything crossed that the +5 would make which it did. There was no point in going straight back to Debrecen as we would have over an hour to wait for our next connection and the station was not very good for photos so we decided to hop off at one of the intermediate stations and wait for the train an hour behind. Ebes appeared to be as good a place as any so we got off there and walked down the old goods yard alongside the line and waited for some trains to turn up. As is usual out here, there were no fences to impede the view and the locals were quite happily taking short cuts across the tracks rather than walk down to the distant level crossing, nobody paid us the slightest bit of notice in the hour that we were there and we saw five trains during that time only one of which was a freight.

1116 046 at Ebes1116 046 at Ebes18th August 2016.

Back at Debrecen, the 12:45 left 5 minutes late for some reason as seemed usual on this line at the time of our visit but it was on time by the time we reached our next stop-off at Hortobágyi Halastó giving us 17 minutes to do the short walk down the road to the narrow gauge railway terminus. This consisted of an open platform with a small shelter, a generously proportioned shed with the doors closed though we guessed that the loco and coaches in use would take up most of the space inside and a nice new building containing the ticket office.

C50-403 at Hortobágy-HalastóC50-403 at Hortobágy-Halastó18th August 2016. On 15346 14:00 Hortobágy-Halastó to Kondástó.

The train consisted of thee open-sided carriages hauled by a C50 type locomotive so perhaps it was just as well we didn't do it yesterday though the coaches were fitted with drop-down plastic "curtains" to protect the passengers if necessary. It was a pleasant journey, chugging along between a drainage channel and some fish ponds, some of which contained some large fish, with some water buffalo grazing in the adjacent water meadows or cooling off in the ponds. Around halfway along this 4.9km long line, the track switched to the opposite side of the drainage channel and carried on in a straight line until it reached the terminus, next to a couple of large lakes and a viewing platform.

C50-403 at KondástóC50-403 at Kondástó18th August 2016. On 15343 15:15 Kondástó to Hortobágy-Halastó.

There were 45 minutes to explore before the return journey and we waited until the loco had run round before taking some photos and having a look round ourselves. Everything was nicely laid out with boarded walkways leading to viewing hides and plenty of information boards in Hungarian, German and English explaining the history of the site and with illustrations and descriptions of some of the wildlife that could be seen.

HortobágyHortobágy18th August 2016. View across Hortobágy National Park and Kondástó station.

The return journey was booked to arrive at 15:44, just in time to miss the 15:45 to Füzesabony on the main line but our hopes that it would arrive a little early were fulfilled, giving us just the right amount of time to arrive back at the mainline station just as 418.188 propelling it's driving trailer pulled up. As we arrived at Tiszafüred, we noticed that the Bzmot on the service to Karcag appeared to be nowhere near as full as two days ago so we decided to get off and return to Debrecen via Karcag to round off the day. The mainline train suffered a delay here due to the large number of people with bikes who all had to queue to put them into the guards van in the driving trailer; they were still labouriously humping them aboard one by one as we left on our single Bzmot.

104 at Hortobágyi Halastó104 at Hortobágyi Halastó18th August 2016. BDt type driving trailer leading 6626 14:45 Debrecen to Füzesabony with 418 188 on the rear.

Like many such lines in Hungary this line, with only two return services a day, was nothing to write home about, passing through farmland interspersed with the odd village and station. We noticed that one particular station (Pusztakettős) was only served for six months of the year between April and September and found that it was a bar / railway museum with lots of railwayana on display including front of an M41 cab mounted on the wall facing the railway. That proved to be the only bit of excitement en route and we arrived at Karcag with half an hour to spare before the train to Debrecen.

431 265 at Karcag431 265 at Karcag18th August 2016. On 6203 14:03 Záhony to Budapest-Nyugati.

At Debrecen we decided to try somewhere different for dinner but struggled to find anywhere that appealed until we came across a bar that also did food in a busy street off the main throughfare. The menu was all in Hungarian which the waiter kindly assisted us in translating but we did think something had gone awry with the order when only one main course arrived. We had both ordered the steak but only one starter to share (which arrived with two plates) but when only one main course arrived as well we did think something may have got lost in translation though we had asked for the two steaks to be done differently. Just as we were on the verge of going to complain, the second main turned up and the steak was indeed cooked as specified. Food quality was good but we did consider it rather expensive though it was to be expected that steak would cost than pork or chicken and we were in the centre of the city again rather than a few hundred yards away.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Debrecen   7:33 431 090 6239 5:37 Záhony to Cegléd
Püspökladány 8:07 8:42 418 321 IC367 5:55 Budapest-Keleti to Braşov
Biharkeresztes 9:38 9:49 418 326 IC362 6:54 Cluj Napoca to Budapest-Keleti
Püspökladány 10:50 10:55 431 112 6292 8:28 Budapest-Nyugati to Záhony
Ebes 11:19 12:20 431 090 6214 10:24 Cegléd to Záhony
Debrecen 12:29 12:50 418 120 6624 12:45 Debrecen to Füzesabony
Hortobágyi Halastó 13:43   walk  
Hortobágy-Halastó   14:02 C50-403 15346 14:00 Hortobágy-Halastó to Kondástó
Kondástó 14:30 15:15 C50-403 15343 15:15 Kondástó to Hortobágy-Halastó
Hortobágy-Halastó 15:37   walk  
Hortobágyi Halastó   15:44 418 188 6626 14:45 Debrecen to Füzesabony
Tiszafüred 16:10 16:13 117 169 36953 16:13 Tiszafüred to Karcag
Karcag 17:12 17:41 431 025 16236 16:24 Cegléd to Nyíregyháza
Debrecen 18:29      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/3/tying-up-some-loose-ends Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:47:45 GMT
17th August 2016 - To the Ukranian border https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/to-the-ukranian-border Wednesday 17th August 2016

The weather forecast for today was not so good and it was actually raining when we got up so our plans to do the narrow gauge line at Hortobágy were put off until tomorrow when the forecast was a lot better. More new track would be on the menu for today instead so we headed to Mátészalka to carry on where we left off two days ago, the rain had stopped by the time that we'd arrived.

First off was the line to Tiborszállás which, unlike Csenger and Zajta, actually went through to Romania though we would not be able to do it on this occasion as the times were not convenient. The train was formed of a Bzmot and trailer, the state of the track was similar to the other lines though not as much as a totter as Zajta and there were quite a few passengers on board, most of whom got off en route. Tiborszállás appeared to be an unmanned station so the train crew had to run round the trailer themselves including unlocking the moveable barrier at each end of the run round loop and moving it out of the way.

117 216 at Tiborszállás117 216 at Tiborszállás17th August 2016. Running round its pair of trailer cars to form 36314 11:55 Tiborszállás to Mátészalka.

After 20 minutes to have a look round and take photos we went back to Mátészalka for an eight minute connection for a train to Záhony, also worked by a Bzmot but with two trailers this time. It was another fairly tedious line which would not rush to have another trip over until shortly after leaving Tornyospálca where there was a spacious set of sidings which did not appear to have seen much use. We did think that it might have been something to do with the army but rather than joining with the "main" line, the line to the sidings continued on a separate alignment, causing us some head-scratching until we approached Mándok where the proverbial penny dropped when we saw some wagons with Cyrillic script on and one of the lines went straight across our track with no actual connection; it was "Russian" 5 foot broad gauge and the sidings we passed earlier must have been a transhipment area!

We passed under one end of a large yard on the approaches to Záhony where two, presumably broad gauge class 628/5 locos were stabled with a third one engaged in some shunting. There was a small halt (Eperjeske alsó) near the end of the yard and we wondered if it was possible to get off there and walk up to view the yard bearing in mind that the whole area was rather close to the Ukranian border. There were more broad gauge class 628/5s stabled outside a shed as we ran into Záhony and 418.153 was standing in the station on a single coach with a posse of police standing outside the door, the train to Chop in Ukraine. This loco was required and a quick look at the times showed that a return journey was possible but the train's imminent departure and our lack of a ticket deterred us from doing this short journey.

375.1503 at Záhony375.1503 at Záhony17th August 2016. 2-6-2T plinthed at Záhony station.

We had about 45 minutes before our train back west so went for a look outside the station and were immediately accosted by a taxi tout offering to take us to Chop. No thanks, we've just let a train to there go so why on earth would we want a taxi instead? He was quite insistent, maybe he thought that we'd missed the train but we eventually managed to fend him off and head towards the Co-Op over the road where we discovered an interesting way of buying bread. One of the border police went to the counter and said something, pointing to a loaf of bread, which the lady serving then picked it up and popped it into a machine which sliced it up. Further words were exchanged with "PC Plod" pointing to one section of it whereupon four slices were put in a plastic bag for him with the rest of the loaf being left on the counter presumably for anyone else who might want a few slices but not a whole loaf; an interesting idea but we did think that the loaf would quickly dry out now that it had been cut.

A new class 431 electric loco took us back towards Debrecen and we decided to stop off at Nyíregyháza to have a quick look round and do a quick move to Görögszállás. As we sat down on the train back from there we were accosted by two young ladies, instantly recognisable as the Hungarian equivalent of Jehova's witnesses by the large black rectangular badges they were wearing. They gibbered something at us in Hungarian to which we (politely) replied that we only spoke English and braced ourselves for a lecture on the merits of following the teachings of the Bible but it turned out that they merely wanted to go to Nyíregyháza. At this point the train started to move and they started to flap and we gained the impression that they had maybe mistaken this small rural junction station for a much larger town and junction. It did occur to us that they might do something stupid like try and get off the moving train or pull the alarm but we did manage to get through to them that their stop was the third one and they couldn't miss it as the train terminated there.

431 132 at Nyíregyháza431 132 at Nyíregyháza17th August 2016. On 6213 15:03 Záhony to Cegléd.

Back at Nyíregyháza we had enough time to have a look round the remains of the once extensive narrow gauge system which closed rather abruptly in 2009 and take a couple of photos before boarding the next "O" train to Debrecen when it should have been dinner time but for the small matter of required 418.135 on the 18:50 to Füzesabony. We knew that it should cross the next inbound working at the first station of Tócóvölgy but there was no guarantee that we would actually be able to catch this train. The line to Füzesabony curved round the west side of Debrecen and there might well be a bus back into town or, worst case scenario, it wasn't beyond reasonable to walk so we got on the train with our cause not being helped by a four minute late departure after waiting for a connection. The other train was already waiting at Tócóvölgy but it was cross-platform so we did make the connection back to the main station.

418 135 at Debrecen418 135 at Debrecen17th August 2016. On 6618 18:50 Debrecen to Füzesabony.

Now we were running a little later than our original intentions we were on the lookout for somewhere quick to eat but preferably not McDonalds! A bit of advance online searching had thrown up a place called Wok to Box which had a reasonable rating, it was basically a take-away though there were a small number of seats both inside and outside. The food was quite good for what it was but some of the things on their website were no longer available and our first attempts at choosing something from the menu on the wall were met with "we don't do that any more"......

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train Details
Kálvin tér   8:31 521 Tram 1
Nagyállómás 8:37   walk  
Debrecen   9:12 418 120 6322 9:12 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat
Mátészalka 11:01 11:05 117 216 36315 11:05 Mátészalka to Tiborszállás
Tiborszállás 11:35 11:55 117 216 36314 11:55 Tiborszállás to Mátészalka
Mátészalka 12:25 12:33 117 377 36824 12:33 Mátészalka to Záhony
Záhony 14:15 15:03 431 132 6213 15:03 Záhony to Cegléd
Nyíregyháza 16:12 16:39 431 148 5113 16:39 Nyíregyháza to Miskolc Tiszai
Görögszállás 16:57 16:59 431 107 5124 15:35 Miskolc Tiszai to Nyíregyháza
Nyíregyháza 17:15 17:44 431 205 6293 16:03 Záhony to Budapest-Nyugati
Debrecen 18:26 18:54 418 135 6618 18:50 Debrecen to Füzesabony
Tócóvölgy 18:59 19:01 418 188 6643 16:58 Füzesabony to Debrecen
Debrecen 19:06      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/to-the-ukranian-border Sat, 24 Feb 2018 22:24:59 GMT
16th August 2016 - A Day with M41s https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/a-day-with-m41s Tuesday 16th August 2016

We had planned to do the Zsuzsi narrow gauge line today as their timetable indicated that they were running from their base at Fatelep again, som 800 metres from where we had caught it previously at Hétvezér. We had intended to catch the 8:45 departure but a quick change of priorities occurred when required 418.130 was seen on the 9:12 to Fehérgyarmat. We did consider doing this to Nyíradony where it should have made the opposite working easily based on yesterday's evidence but we wimped out and got off at Aradványpuszta instead, catching the other train back to Debrecen Csapókert which was a lot closer to Fatelep than the main station.

418 130 at Debrecen418 130 at Debrecen16th August 2016. On 6322 9:12 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat.

Debrecen Csapókert had staggered platforms either side of a level crossing to we exited the station in the correct place, turned right along a back road which quickly became a dirt track before degenerating into a footpath alongside the mainline. Unlike the UK there was no trace of a fence and people were happily taking short cuts across the tracks at various points, some even lugging their bikes over the rails. The sun was just right for photos but no trains passed whilst we were following the line and we couldn't hang around or we'd miss the train on Zsuzsi. Finding the narrow gauge shed was easy enough and a peek through a missing window revealed a steam loco with Mk48.2002 just inside the door undergoing some quite extensive-looking work.

Mk48.2002 at Debrecen FatelepMk48.2002 at Debrecen Fatelep16th August 2016. Mk48.2002 receiving attention inside the shed at Debrecen Fatelep.

Mk48.2006 was standing outside the shed with one coach and there was another rake of coaches at a platform outside another shed; was that where the train started from? As we pondered this question another Mk48 came into view running light engine, it was Mk48.2009, the one that we'd had on our previous visit. There was still some time before the next departure so we followed the line to the compound near the next station (Hétvezér) where there were two coaches complete with tail piece on one end. There was no sign of another station on the way so we could only assume that the train was starting from Hétvezér like it did on our previous visit. A quick discussion ensued, the conclusion being that there wasn't a lot of point doing the line with no new track or loco and with a required 418 likely to be on the 14:45 to Füzesabony we decided to go walk back to Csapókert after taking a photo of the departure from Hétvezér.

Mk48.2009 at HétvezérMk48.2009 at Hétvezér16th August 2016. On 14364 11:40 Hétvezér to Hármashegyalja.

There was no need to rush back so we photographed the train from Záhony rather than getting on it before catching the one from Fehérgyarmat which proved to be a good move as it was a required class 418. It would have been nice to have a longer ride behind this loco as it went back on the 13:12 but some altered timings on table 110 would not get us back for the 14:45 and we needed to get some reservations for a train on Friday. The new ticket machines could apparently do reservations but we'd been unable to work out how to get 1st class ones so had to queue up at the ticket window instead which took some time but, aided by our trusty piece of paper with requirements already written on, the reservations were efficiently produced. We also took the opportunity to check for timetable supplements in the information centre but they'd run out however they did have a copy of the excellent MÁV  system map dated 2012 (cost around £5) which we thought was out of print so we bought another copy to keep for "best" as our previous one was showing signs of wear and tear.

418.172 was indeed on the 14:45 so we decided to take it for a spin all the way to Füzesabony and back though we were tempted to catch the DMU to Karcag on the mainline for some new track. The fact that it was a) wedged and b) we'd have to mess around with reservations for an IC back to Debrecen persuaded us to stick with the diesel for the rest of the day.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train details
Kálvin tér   8:29 514 Tram 1
Nagyállómás 8:35   walk  
Debrecen   9:12 418 130 6322 9:12 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat
Aradványpuszta 9:51 10:10 418 131 6327 8:22 Fehérgyarmat to Debrecen
Debrecen Csapókert 10:43 12:44 418 145 6315 10:22 Fehérgyarmat to Debrecen
Debrecen 12:48 14:50 418 172 6626 14:45 Debrecen to Füzesabony
Füzesabony 16:47 16:58 418 172 6643 16:58 Füzesabony to Debrecen
Debrecen 19:04      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/a-day-with-m41s Sat, 24 Feb 2018 21:50:23 GMT
15th August 2016 - Exploring Eastern Hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/exploring-eastern-hungary Monday 15th August 2016

Plan A this morning was to catch the 7:12 to Fehérgyarmat as that train had a good connection to Zajta, which didn't have too many trains, but further investigations revealed that we could catch the 9:15, do the lines to Csenger and Fehérgyarmat and go to Zajta later on. There was also an 8:45 to Füzesabony and a 9:12 to Valea lui Mihai in Romania so we made sure that we were at the station in time to look at those as well. The latter had a required 418/3 on but it was a "move to nowhere" as if we had taken it to the border there would be a two hour and twenty minute fester there before anything back and we didn't want to cross the border having neither a CFR timetable or currency.

The class 418 on the 9:15 was not required but the main aim of the day was new track so we got on for the slow journey to Mátészalka which was quite a large station where four lines diverged and services to a further two places which branched off the other lines. We only had four minutes to change trains with more than one to choose from but the nearest Bzmot was clearly labelled as going to Csenger so there were no problems. There were few people on board, most of whom got off at various stations en route but we stayed on until the end of course, taking a couple of pictures before returning on the same unit to Mátészalka where there was about half an hour to visit the Co-Op mini opposite the station and photograph the plinthed steam loco outside the station.

376.513  at Mátészalka376.513 at Mátészalka15th August 2016. 2-6-2T plinthed outside the station at Mátészalka.

Next, we took another loco-hauled train to Fehérgyarmat to connect with a unit to Zajta, which was a heavily rebuilt class 127 "Inter Pici" Bzmot which had new seats and air conditioning; truly a silk purse from a sow's ear. If we thought that the lines we had been on so far today were slow then they had nothing on this line, 50 minutes to do 25 kilometres and we have to confess to nodding off on the way.

Zajta was not as good as Csenger for photographs but we did take a token photo before heading straight back after six minutes at this outpost of the MAV network.

127 415 at Zajta127 415 at Zajta15th August 2016. On 32413 15:08 Zajta to Fehérgyarmat.

As the train stopped at the first "station" after leaving Zajta a white car screeched to a halt in a cloud of dust next to the dirt platform, doors flew open, two young people leapt out and raced round to the boot to collect their luggage before running to the train, talk about cutting it fine. We did wonder whether they had actually intended to get on at Zajta, missed the train and got their driver to chase after it, probably no mean feat as the roads looked as if they were in no better comparable condition than the railway.

By the time we got back to Fehérgyarmat, the sky was very dark and threatening to the north though the sun was still out where we were so a couple of pictures were taken including a narrow gauge C50 type loco, Gv3729, which was plinthed inside a barbed wire topped compound.

Gv3729 at FehérgyarmatGv3729 at Fehérgyarmat15th August 2016.

A couple of stations further down the line, the sun had disappeared and something went "clonk" on the roof, followed by another one, then another, then it sounded as if we were inside a steel drum and it was barely possible to see further than a couple of hundred yards across the fields. At the first signs of the downpour we had leapt up and closed all the windows in our section of the train but didn't realise that one in the vestibule was open, only noticing when a stream of water started running under the door!

The rain had just about stopped by the time we got to Mátészalka but there were large puddles everywhere though it hadn't rained everywhere as some places we passed through on the way back to Debrecen looked quite dry. After sitting on the train for most of the previous 2 1/2 hours we decided to walk back to the hotel as it was not raining and passed one of the restaurants that had been marked on our map last night. It was called Belga and was a little further along than where the "X" had been marked on the map and had a good  selection of Belgian beers; perhaps it was a friend of the similarly-stocked restaurant in the hotel Raba in Győr? The food was very good but almost double the price of the Csokonai last night and more like the amount we would expect to pay in somewhere like the UK or Germany.

Music could be heard as we walked the rest of the way back to the hotel after eating and this was traced to the stage that we had noticed yesterday in the main square which had been moved a short distance and was now occupied by an orchestra who were playing "Clair de lune" by Debussy. The concert was being filmed and relayed to a couple of large screens to the side so that people further back in the crowd could see the musicians at work. We stopped and listened for a while and noticed what looked to be an army band preparing to perform next, there was a plain dull green coach parked nearby which looked rather military. Standing in the open air listening to a free concert was certainly a nice relaxing way of rounding the day off.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train details
Kossuth  tér   8:30 522 Tram 1
Nagyállómás 8:35   walk  
Debrecen   9:12 418 188 6322 9:12 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat
Mátészalka 11:00 11:05 117 369 36214 11:05 Mátészalka to Csenger
Csenger 11:54 12:10 117 369 36215 12:10 Csenger to Mátészalka
Mátészalka 13:00 13:34 418 131 6314 11:12 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat
Fehérgyarmat 14:06 14:12 127 415 32416 14:12 Fehérgyarmat to Zajta
Zajta 15:02 15:08 127 415 32413 15:08 Zajta to Fehérgyarmat
Fehérgyarmat 16:00 16:16 418 120 6333 16:14 Fehérgyarmat to Debrecen
Debrecen 18:53      
hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/exploring-eastern-hungary Mon, 19 Feb 2018 19:18:56 GMT
14th August 2016 - Going Hungary Again https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/going-hungary-again Sunday 14th August 2016

This trip was one of those that started off with one idea and just grew and grew until it morphed into something lasting a whole month! Our rostered annual leave was in August this year and we had toyed with the idea of trying to swap it for something earlier but this was easier said than done so we stuck with what had been given. The PTG tour in Sweden started less than a week after the leave period finished and taking rest days into account we would have been returning to work for just two days before heading back for that. We had enough leave to cover these two days so these were applied for and granted so, deep breath, two large suitcases packed and off we go.

The first port of call was Hungary as we were hoping that the M61 would have a turn round Lake Balaton again but not this year. Never mind, there was still plenty of things we wanted to do in that country so it was off to Budapest on a late morning flight from Luton to Budapest with Wizz, fighting our way through the huge queue of traffic trying to get up to the bus station and drop-off point. You would have thought that such major work woud have been scheduled for outside of the holiday period but this looked as if it was so extensive that the whole project would take well over a year to complete

The flight was pretty full and notable only for one person who rocked up at the gate with a handbag and a small suitcase so instantly got "chinged" for the extra bag at the gate. We arrived about 5 minutes early, waited for about as long as we expected for the luggage then went to the BKK office in the arrivals hall and bought two tickets to Ferihegy station, a flat fare of 350 HUF each (around £1). It is possible to buy them from the driver but this costs an extra 100 HUF each.

Bus 200E runs every 7 to 8 minutes and one turned up just as we got to the relevant bus stop. There was a bit of a scrum to get on, not helped by all the passengers having to enter via the front door past the driver then many displaying a reluctance to move along to the far end of the vehicle (it was a "bendy bus"). The bus dropped us on the opposite side of the road from Ferihegy station, near the huge footbridge spanning the busy throughfare and we were not best pleased, to put it mildly, to find the lift on this side was out of order. Fortunately, the lift on the other side was working and the ticket office, housed in a shipping container, was on the same side that our train went from. The lady there couldn't speak English but we had anticipated this and had written our requirements on a piece of paper which we pushed through the hatch along with our FIP cards with two tickets for the 15:43 IC train to Debrecen being produced in return. We had been given seats 67 and 68 whch we thought were side-by-side but they were actually diagonally opposite each other in a bay of four. Being a Sunday afternoon, the train was very busy and we did consider that we might have been lucky to get any seats at all, let alone be seated in close proximity to each other. We did ponder the question if these trains ever get fully booked and what happens then, we've been "bowled" like that in Spain in the past, hearing the dreaded word "completo" when trying to book tickets for longer distance trains.

We arrived around five minutes late at Debrecen and had our first laugh at the expense of a "normal" passenger. The train was booked to stand for five minutes to detach a portion for Mátészalka and this was quickly done but just as the Záhony portion was dispatched a man came dashing up the subway steps, waving his arms and shouting. He might have just turned up too late and missed it but as he appeared rather frantic we got the impression that he may have nipped over to the station for something and his family / luggage may have been off to Záhony without him. It did cross our minds that they might have been on the Mátészalka portion and he didn't realise that it was still in the platform but the arrival of a class 418 from the opposite direction diverted our attention.

418 188 at Debrecen418 188 at Debrecen15th August 2016. On 6322 9:12 Debrecen to Fehérgyarmat.

Our hotel for the next few days was the Centrum Hotel, about a mile down the road but there was a tram service with tickets costing 300 HUF or 400 HUF from the driver. There was a ticket office inside the terminal loop outside the station and we easily purchased some tickets from the nice young lady in there who could speak good English. The hotel was quite nice but had a strange arrangement where the reception was on the ground floor in the middle of a row of shops and all the rooms were above the shops. The building was an odd shape which meant the interior was rather like a rabbit warren with the breakfast room being a little hard to find down one end.

We asked the receptionist for recommendations of where to have an evening meal and he marked out three on a city map but we were flummoxed when it came to finding the nearest two (or read his writing for one of them!) so went to the furthest (Csokonai) which was his highest recommendation. The menu was in Hungarian and English with pictures and some dishes were available as half portions which was probably a good idea looking at the size of some of the servings. Two starters, two mains and three drinks cost the equivalent of under £30, so hardly likely to break the bank by eating here.

On the way back to the hotel, we passed an interesting looking ice cream parlour so went in to try it as a treat seeing that it was our first night. Once inside we saw that it was self service with about half a dozen different flavours of ice cream dispensed by pump with a large selection of toppings in containers to choose from. You started off by choosing the desired size of tub which you then filled with whatever you wanted with the price being worked out by weight, an interesting and, judging by the number of people inside, popular idea.

hungary https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/going-hungary-again Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:19:22 GMT
8th & 9th June 2016 - Farewell to class 664 on Citadella https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/farewell-to-class-664-on-citadella Wednesday 8th June 2016

The dreaded day of the overhead wires being brought into use between Pragersko and Hodoš had finally arrived and to mark the end of regular class 664 haulage on booked passenger trains in Slovenia a "fix" had been arranged with SZ for one of these locos to work "Citadella" throughout from Ljubljana to Hodoš and back again. The date had been set for Thursday 9th June and caused a number of rather desperate leaps from various protagonists to say their goodbyes to this popular class of loco on regular passenger trains.

Fortunately, there was enough notice to get a reasonably priced flight between Stansted and Ljubljana with Easy Jet, helped by that fact that only two nights away meant that we could manage with hand luggage only and it was also handy that the school holidays hadn't started yet not to mention that the date co-incided with a couple of rest days off work.

Not having to wait for a suitcase reaped dividends on arrival at LJU as it was straight out of the terminal and onto a bus which arrived at the station in time to view the 17:25 to Maribor which had a required class 363 on the front. It's a good job that the train is usually prepared in plenty of time as it allowed us to view then walk back to the ticket office which is some way from the platforms to get a return to the usual "leaping shack" of Zagorje.

363 016 at Ljubljana363 016 at Ljubljana9th June 2016. On IC504 14:44 Koper to Maribor "Pohorje".

For some reason, hotels in Ljubljana were quite expensive tonight but the Hotel Meksiko, next to the main hospital, wasn't quite as much as the others so that had been booked instead of one of our more usual haunts. After a quick wash and brush-up it was off to the Sokol for a meal.

Station / Airport Arr Dep Motive Power Train / plane details
STN   12:54 G-EZGE EZY3245 12:55 STN to LJU
LJU 16:52   bus  
Ljubljana   17:25 363 003 IC504 14:44 Koper to Maribor
Zagorje 18:08 18:19 342 022 LP2272 17:06 Dobova to Ljubljana
Ljubljana 19:10      

Thursday 9th June 2016

So this was it, the final day of 664s between Pragersko and Hodoš; there hadn't been enough time to order FIP tickets for this but it wasn't much of a problem as an FIP return ticket was less than 20 Euros. There was also no point in doing any fancy moves to scratch the loco in on EN415 either as 664 118 was already on the front of "Citadella" complete with extra coach for the large contingent of cranks (over 40!) and the restaurant car from Maribor which had been specially requested as there was no Hungarian one due to engineering works in that country.

664 118 at Ljubljana664 118 at Ljubljana9th June 2016. On MV247 8:45 Ljubljana to Budapest Déli "Citadella" which it worked through to Hodoš to mark the end of 664 haulage on this service.

We set off a few minutes late along the scenic main line that follows the river Sava until Zidani Most with 664 118 very much sounding the part though we did have a driver who knew exactly what we all wanted; plenty of noise where possible. Our driver for the day (Robi) had also arranged an order of tee-shirts to commemorate the occasion; when informed that they were green, most of us were probably expecting a muted dark green to match the livery of the loco but they turned out to be a rather eye-catching emerald green instead! It wasn't long before many people migrated to the bar coach to toast the occasion including an American couple who wondered what on earth this sudden invasion of English speaking people clad in identical bright green tee-shirts was all about. They were probably even more surprised when we told them to get anything they wanted before Hodoš as the coach was going back with us to Ljubljana.

The two extra coaches were detached at the same time as the loco at Hodoš with most people staying on board whilst this was done, gaining an extra mile of haulage from 664 118 in the process. The train from Hungary was on time and we were soon on our way back south after the usual half hour break with a bonus "phot stop" at Pragersko as the train did not have to change locos like it usually did.

664 118 at Pragersko664 118 at Pragersko9th June 2016. On MV246 8:30 Budapest Déli to Ljubljana; this loco worked throughout on the Slovenian section from Hodoš to Ljubljana to mark the end of 664 haulage on this train between Pragersko and Hodoš.

The kilometres rushed past, helped by the beer flowing in the restaurant car, until we finally arrived at Ljubljana, bringing down the curtain on 664 locomotives in regular passenger service on SŽ . It wasn't quite the end as there were a couple more 664s working between Pragersko and Hodoš in the following days until the change to electric traction kicked in fully but at least a large number of "cranks" had the chance to see the end of regular diesel hauled services in Slovenia off in style.

Station Arr Dep Motive Power Train / plane details
Ljubljana   8:52 664 118 MV247 8:45 Ljubljana to (Budapest Déli)
Hodoš 12:29   664 118 shunt, 68.45 - 68.8 - 67.85 - 68.25km
Hodoš   664 118 664 118 MV246 8:30 (Budapest Déli) to Ljubljana
Ljubljana 16:44   bus  
LJU   22:43 G-EZFX EZY3248 22:55 LJU to STN
STN 23:50      
slovenia https://jandjcottrell.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/farewell-to-class-664-on-citadella Sun, 18 Feb 2018 22:43:08 GMT