Tuesday, 31 October 2017
There is something quite magical about dilapidation. One of the best places to find this across the world can be subway systems. Even in modern prosperous cities there can be corners that seem to be forgotten about. The New York Subway is almost famous for it- beneath the metropolis you can still find gems such as Canal Street station which time, and repair seems to have forgotten.
On a recent trip to Romainia (September 2017) I discovered that the subway systems has some beautiful brutallist soviet station buildings, but in the large part very modern, clean and well looked after trains built in recent years by CAF and Bombadier- there was however one exception, Metro line 4 which time really seems to have forgotten and which soldiers on, for now, with native Astra built IVA stock constructed in Arad.
A total of 508 cars of IVA stock were built by Astra for the Bucharest metro between 1976 and 1992. Only a small number now remain in service on the short Line 4 from Gara de Nord to Straulesti and will be replaced when the signalling system is finally upgraded. Late in the evening there is certainly an eery and somewhat forgotten feel to this line. The trains are not regular, there are few people around and the stock is plastered from head to tail in graffiti. Next to marble clad columns and bright plastic chairs the IVA's slowly wind down their last few years in service almost totally ignored by the city above.
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Thursday, 12 October 2017
|078 arrives into Dublin Heuston with one of the several daily trains to be powered by the 1977 built GM 071 class. 31/03/2008|
|The GM 201 'River' class were delivered in Orange/Black and|
worked the majority of passenger trains. 31/03/2008
Days were numbered for traditional trains in Ireland with the first of the Rotem 22000 DMU's having recently entered service. Steam Heated 'Cravens' coaches had finished in 2006 and BR built Mk2's had worked their last train the morning we arrived in the country. The small GM's (classes 141 and 181) together with the single cab 121's had lost all passenger work, though small GM's could still be found working freight and on pilot duties at Dublin's Heuston station. Despite this almost all passenger services were still formed of loco's and stock at this time with the GM 201 class predominating and 071's making several daily appearances. None of the class 201 had been stored at this time and rolling stock was comfortable BR built Mk3's formed into traditional rakes with generator coaches as well as several smaller push/pull rakes which featured cab cars with a built in generator.
Today just a handful of loco-hauled trains remain, all hauled by the 201 'River' class on the Dublin - Cork main line (with Irish Mk4 stock) and on the Dublin - Belfast 'Enterprise' with De Dietrich stock.
|'Small GM' 173 is one of two station pilots at Dublin Heuston. 31/04/2008|
|087 passes 077 at Limerick Junction. the 4 wheel cement 'bubbles' are now long withdrawn. 02/04/2008|
|River class 201 approaches Portarlington with an evening peak service from Dublin. 02/04/2008|
|In the then new IE livery, 085 approaches Thurles with the 13:25 Heuston - Limerick. 02/04/2008|
Friday, 6 October 2017
|CFR's 40 0887 passes PO H.Oirza on the outskirts of Bucharest with a freight. 09/09/2017|
Sunday 3 September
With very little sleep (having finished night shifts) I made my way to Luton for my late afternoon flight to Budapest. There was never going to be time to do much with the day but I could at least get a ride into the city from Feirhegy (Airport station). Or so I thought at least. I missed a bus in the scramble to get a ticket at the airport but didn't have to wait too much longer for the local bus to from the airport to the station. The machine wouldn't take my Forints (left from a previous trip) so it ended up being a card transaction. The timetable at Feirhegy revealed that I should have just missed a train and unfortunately it looked like it would be a 25 min wait for something hauled into the city. Long before the 25 minutes was up it became apparent that all was not well. It turns out the announcement in Hungarian was a message of doom and another passenger finally tipped me off that there was a problem with the trains and 'maybe' there would be none until 21:00, I waited a little longer just to see, but with no sign of a train eventually gave up and headed back to the bus.
|MAV-Start 432 450 approaches Kobanya Kispest. 04/09/2017|
Monday 4 September
|Heritage liveried M41 2143 with a late running service from Budapest Nuygati which would terminate at Kispest 04/09/2017|
My one day in Budapest started with a trip to the bank to exchange my 'Old Forint's', which it had turned out had only expired around a month earlier. The railway target of the day was the Lajosmizse M41 turns from Budapest Nuygati which I had failed to cover on previous trips. These run hourly for most of the day with a couple of gaps which appear to be filled by Desiros. With a plan in hand I had time to explore the beautiful soviet architecture on Metro line 3 (plenty of material for a later post!). By the time the sun had come out there was a little time to spend with my camera at Kobanya-Kispest during which time I was rewarded with 3 freights, and a surprise, the Venice Simplon Orient Express (in totally the wrong place and direction for a photo). I also bumped into heritage M41 2143- noting it's diagram so that I could finally catch up with it later in the day.
|Czeck 242 451 with OBB 1116 018 in hot pursuit in|
a busy moment at Kobanya Kispest 04/09/2017
|M41 2143 at Kispest after terminating due to signalling problems.|
After picking up my bag it was time to head over to Budapest Keleti for the 22:50 to Bucharest. The refurbishment of the station is now mostly complete and it is certainly a fitting gateway to an international journey. On less of a positive I had no idea whether my train had a restaurant car and had missed the SPAR over the road to spend my last few 'New Forints' on emergency supplies. Fortunately the 24 hour alcohol shop came to the rescue as it did also sell water.
After watching the Belgrade sleeper depart, the Bucharest train arrived from Vienna with 470 003, after a quick check of our forwarding loco, Romainian 47 7689 it was time to take my position in my 4 bed compartment for the night. Unfortunately this was already occupied with 3 passengers and was a top bunk. After enjoying the fresh area at a corridor window until the outskirts of Budapest it was time to sleep and it didn't take long after a busy day.
|MAV 470 008 arrives into Budapest Keliti with the Vienna - Bucharest sleeper.|
Tuesday 5 September
|'GM' 64 1179 pauses at Sibiu where it will be removed from the Vienna - Bucharest train. 05/09/2017|
|Lunch on board the International train|
from Budapest in the restaurant car.
|A RegioTrans ex-SNCF Carvelle 67-0669 waits between duties at Brasov.|
|62 1202 shunts at Bucharest Gara de Nord. 05/09/2017|
We had made notes of the RegioTrans arrival times with more ex-SNCF BB25500's (4 diagrams a day are booked between Brasov and Bucharest) and also enjoyed a few diesels before calling it a day. It had clouded over and with an excellent forecast for the week ahead it seemed a good opportunity to have a look around the city before it got dark -seeing the city before dark- most unusual for these trips!
Wendesday 6 September
|82 0443 passes Chitila with (possibly a late running) R9112 12:00 Târgovişte - Bucureşti Nord. 06/09/2017|
|RegioTrans BB25576 arrives into Bucharest with the 07:00 from Brasov.|
|CFR's 60 1200 shares the yard at Chitilla with GFR's ex-SNCF BB25208 and BB25222 'Frenchies'. 06/09/2017|
|40 2302 the last example of its subclass at Bucharest Gara de Nord.|
|A very fresh looking 81 0422 shuts at Bucharest.|
|62 1196 pauses at Bildana with R9013 the 15:03 Bucharest - Tirgoviste.|
Thursday 7 September
|40 0850 passes eastbound from Medgidia as it heads towards Constanta. 07/09/2017|
|Constantin Grup 40 1083 heads east at Medgidia.|
|CFR 47 4011 heads east from Medgidia with a cereal train.|
|Ex-SNCF BB25109 is one of the highlights of the day pictured heading towards Medgidia. 07/09/2017|
|DB's 47 0783 heads towards Constanta with a class 651 'Ludmilla' at the rear.|
At this point the railway follows the Danube - Black Sea canal.
|60 1212 heads into the cement works at Medgidia having crossed the|
Danube - Black Sea canal.
Friday 8 September
|40 0572 brings up the rear of a long CFR coal train lead by 40 608 at Halta Porta Alba. 08/09/2017|
|63 1143 waits to depart Constanta with a through train to Mangalia.|
|47 0451 approaches the station at Medgidia.|
|Bogie 'Malaxa' 78 0785 works the 16:22 from Medgidia to Tulcea Oras. These ancient DMU's date from 1939! 08/09/2017|
|Astra Transcarpartic run a colourful daily train between Arad,|
Bucharest and Constanta. The 11:00 Bucharest - Constanta is
seen approaching Medgidia behind 40 0316. 08/09/2017
|63 0847 waiting for departure - possibly the 23:15 Bucharest - Piatra service.|
Saturday 9 September
|'Malaxa' DMU 77 0907 arrives into Rosiario with the 16:32 Rosiario Nord - Tumu Magureli. 09/09/2017|
|BB25517 works the 11:40 Bucharest - Brasov for RegioTrans.|
The run out of Bucharest behind 60 1038 was good fun and we took this to Cacaulati where we bailed onto 62 1051 heading back into Bucharest on the 06:05 from Slobozia Veche, this providing a nice out and back Sulzer run of about an hour in each direction.
|45 0364 stands at Rosiario Nord having worked the 13:50 from Bucharest.|
|472 002 'Mricea Eliade' is stabled at Buftea waiting it's next|
duty. The loco will be better known to British enthusiasts as
92001 which has been exported by DB Schenker to Romainia.
Finally reunited with James having left him on the Sulzer from Slobozia Veche some hours earlier we camped out waiting some Malaxa action. One appeared as booked for the 16:32 to Tumu Magureli- These DMU's are very ancient originally dating from 1935 and re-built in 1987- I had considered taking a ride but while the DMU's are photogenic on the outside the interior was certainly nothing special. Instead I spent the some time hanging around 60 0938 which was forming the 16:30 to Alexandria. Despite my best efforts I failed to get a cab ride from Rosario Nord to Rosario (I'm sure the secondman would have been fine with it but the driver was less keen!) so had to ride on the one coach instead.
|60 0938 prepares to haul its single coach with the 16:30 to Alexandria.|
The last activity (and last train of Romainia as it turned out) before heading 'out' was a ride on the graffiti ridden Astra IVA train sets which now exclusively work Metro line 4 in the last days of their lives. This was the only time we had really had any hassle in this country taking photos- they definitely don't like it underground.
|40 0848 passes Chitilla at speed with an express bound for Bucharest. 06/09/2017.|
|47 7871 with what must be one of the best liveries I have seen passes Chitilla.|
We encountered very few issues with photography, the only real issue being at Bucharest when to be fair we were probably somewhere where we shouldn't have been. We didn't attempt to visit any depots having been warned against it before leaving home!
|470 738 is seen heading west from Medgidia. 08/09/2017.|
As with anywhere it is great to see proper diesel loco and stock workings and there are certainly plenty to chase around Romainia even if a lot of them are quite few and far between. The Sulzers are lovely locos but one shouldn't expect much thrash out of them on trains which are often very lightly loaded and certainly don't go all that fast. It was nice also to bump into so many other British enthusiasts- five in total across our time in Bucharest. David (at Bucharest on the first day) Chris and Mike (in the IBIS) and Gruntle and Mike (at Bucharest on the last day)- I hope you all had successful trips.
Unfortunately a good week ended rather disastrously with a the flight home being a complete farce- but that, as they say, is another story!
|41 0122 has arrived into Bucharest with a set of stock as a passenger waits for his train. 08/09/2017|