3rd May 2016 - A Trip Through Four Countries
Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Time to move on from Slovenia, to the Czech Republic in fact but of course we weren’t going straight there; another trip on “Citadella” was a must bearing in mind it might be our last one behind a 664 with electrification imminent. Naturally we went out to view EN415 first and were rewarded with a new class 541 so it was off to Zidani Most to wait for “Citadella” to catch up, EN415 actually arriving there on time for once rather than being held up with engineering works as is often the case.
“Citadella” did not have a loco on when we left but a class 342 was seen at the far end of the carriage sidings as we departed from Ljubljana so it was no surprise when the train arrived with 342.005 on the front. There were still plenty of “cranks” around after the tour yesterday so an attempt had been made to “fix” 664.105 for the diesel leg as many of us required it for haulage and, sure enough, there it was waiting at Pragersko. Only one problem, as it backed onto the train, 664.112 was coupled in front of it – déjà vu for us as exactly the same thing had happen to us in January with 664.116! This time however, there was no chance of a "clawback" on the return journey as we had to keep going unless we wanted to arrive in Brno in the early hours of the morning.
The inevitable happened at Hodoš when 112 went off to work a freight whilst 105 waited to work the return of “Citadella” and just to rub it in we had a dud class 431 onwards whilst the southbound working had a required one; never mind, onwards and northwards.
Things improved a little at Zalaszentiván when required 418.332 turned up on our next train and we had an interesting journey to Szombathely spotting the progress of the lines electrification with many mast bases in evidence plus a shabby class M25 and freshly painted Nohab on works trains duties.
There was time for a quick trip to the café across the square from the station at Szombathely to grab to sustenance to fortify us for the next leg of the journey which would be on a new “FLIRT” EMU, there being few loco-hauled trains on the line to Sopron these days. More drinks and some photographs at Sopron before boarding another unit, a DMU this time which was a mixture of two ÖBB single car class 5047s coupled to a GySEV (ex ÖBB) class 5147. Our Austrian friend had arranged to meet us on this section so we could catch up with each other’s news, punctuated by a bit of a dash at Wiener Neustadt as our train arrived a couple of minutes late.
A platform change at Wien Hbf meant an easy cross platform change to train D100 which only had three coaches hauled by a Czech Railways class 380 but we weren’t on this for long as we had to change at Břeclav for a Budapest to Praha EC train for the last leg of the journey. This turned out to be hauled by a Slovakian class 350 loco, meaning that we had been hauled by locos from five different countries today though only having travelled through four of them. Our hotel for the next three nights was the Grand Hotel Brno, quite posh but not too expensive in our opinion especially as our room was a suite with a separate bathroom, lobby and “sitting room”.
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