17th & 18th May 2003

.B.B.
???

Locos Used MDC: T679.0019 & 556.036
BB: 1116 004 & 2143 029
ZSR: 742 001 & 742 051
Stock Used three BB 'SIG' FO's + ZSR restaurant/kitchen car

Route:

Date Loco(s) Route
17/05 1116 004 (1) Wien Sud (Ost) - Bratislava Petrzalka (1)
17/05 742 001 Shunt at Bratislava Petrzalka
17/05 T679.0019 Bratislava Petrzalka - Leopoldov - Trencin - Puchov - Zilina - Vrutky - Deviaky - Cremosne - Banska Bystrica
17/05 T679.0019 Banska Bystrica - Podbrezova - Chvatimech - Hronec
18/05 556.036 (2) Banska Bystrica - Zvolen - Hronska Dubrava
18/05 556.036 (3) Hronska Dubrava - Kremnica
18/05 556.036 (3) Kremnica - Kremnica Bane
18/05 556.036 (4) Kremnica Bane - Deviaky - Vrutky
18/05 T679.0019 (5) Vrutky - Vrutky museum depot
18/05 T679.0019 Vrutky museum depot - Zilina - Puchov - Trencin - Leopoldov - Bratislava hlavni
18/05 742 001 shunt at Bratislava hlavni
18/05 2143 029 (6) Bratislava hlavni - Marchegg - Wien

Notes :
(1) Attached to service train 7603, 07.31 Wien to Bratislava.
(2) Plus dead T679.0019
(3) T679.0019 (banking assistance).
(4) Plus idling T679.0019
(5) 556.036 on rear.
(6) Attached to service train 2529, 19.07 Bratislava to Wien.
(7)  Headcodes: Nick Lawford comments: Tried to determine the train numbers while on the train itself, and were given the rather odd explanation that it did not have any but used a number of scheduled trains numbers from on the permanent graph so that it would not conflict.

Source : Nick Lawford

Tour Review
(by Nick Lawford)

Report of weekend railtour operated by BB into Slovakia. Main haulage sections worked by 'pomoranc' diesel T679.0019 (ex ZSR 776019, now MDC preserved item). Dave Craik and myself were on this train throughout (almost). Two day tour, outwards Wien - Bratislava to Hronec (for Cierne Balog) and Banska Bystrica on Saturday 17th May, returning to Wien on Sunday 18th May. Tour included one night hotel stop in Banska Bystrica, one meal each day served at seat on train. Not really a crank traction tour, but a tourist train which happened to have a high proportion of cranky traction.

Wien to Bratislava and return were by attaching the special train as a portion to service trains outwards from Wien Sud (Ost) to Bratislava Petrzalka, return from Bratislava Hlavni via Marchegg. From Wien rolling stock was only load 3 SIG type open firsts seating just 42 passengers each - and the train was not fully booked. Advantage of this stock that despite being open, they have full glazed droplights lowering about 3/4 of the window height, lower than usual European 1/2 height droplights. Amazingly, there were no complaints about having windows open to sample noise or scenery despite the high fossil content of the other clientele (although there were some other ranting, see later.) The stock is also relatively modern (1970s) construction and possibly better than some ancient museum stock out of step with the traction.

Saturday 17th May 2003

 The three SIG coaches were attached to the rear of 07:31 Wien - Bratislava, an OBB Taurus on load five double deckers. ZSR 742001 shunted the tour portion between platforms at Bratislava Petrzalka. 'Pomoranc' T679.0019 - carrying number T679.019 - took over, with ZSR restaurant car coupled behind the loco. Ex-ZSR 776019 - now a museum item based in Bratislava - sounded in fine form, loud, unsilenced, idling like a slow UK class 40, and like a class 50 in the bottom one or two power notches. The turbo whistle particularly English Electric like and continuously noticeable. Very slow power take up and power off to idle was also apparent. It seemed there was a speed limit of 80 km/h with the train never exceeding speeds of this order even on the fast main line; perhaps this is a limit applied to museum stock.

 The advertised route from Bratislava was to have been more or less eastwards via Galanta, but the train was diverted via Trencin, Zilina, Vrutky and Cremosne due to over running engineering work west of Zvolen around Hronska Dubrava. This is quite a diversion, taking the train well away from almost the entire booked outwards route, significantly extended diesel kilometres, and a far far better scenic line. Lunch was served at seat, soup followed by a sort of chicken in batter but not exactly a schnitzel. This route taken via Cremosne was already dud for myself for a 'pomoranc' on passenger being the same line over which 775005 worked in August 1995 when fixed by myself. 775005 was not in good order on that day with demic traction motors and incapable of high power notches, while the restricted opening hopper windows of the train did not help matters either. 776019 run round today was at Banska Bystrica, only here gaining the advertised booked route for the last 40 km or so to Hronec. It was clear a different driver was in the seat - clearly a man with a mission, although not sure if this was simply to make up time or to derail or to deafen us. East of Banska Bystrica is not a straight line and the numerous curves were taken in a series of lurches to the tune of something that was being thrashed. The tour was not really that late despite the long diversion, but time was regained by Podbrezova, with the thrash undoubtedly the highlight of the trip double underling the worthwhileness of the move. If anyone who was there to sample 775005 was not impressed, then you would have had this impression rectified by 776019. Here at Podbrezova an Austrian of ignorant neanderthal nature shouted abuse at myself for blocking his photo shot for about one second; I understand this same individual had been noted in similar mode on previous OBB/ZSR tours.

 After Podbrezova, tour continues east on passenger route to Chvatimech there diverging right for about 1-2 km along a non-passenger line to Hronec, to connect with the Cierne Balog narrow gauge steam railway, possibly the highlight of the weekend for the normal tourists. Remaining with the tour at this point would not see us in Banksa Bystrica much before 22:00, so despite missing out on the inclusive barbecue, we left it there, walking along the ZSR ballast and parallel road back to Chvatimech for the next local service into Banska Bystrica, with 750182. This did mean we missed 40 km of 776019 haulage, but were in Banska Bystrica for 17:05 to meet local friends for beer. Tour hotel was the 'Lux' - used on several previous visits to this area - stopping there first to secure our room; they already had a list of names off the OBB tour, before a tour of assorted bars in the town centre locating assorted dark beers ... .. .

 Sunday 18th May 2003

 06:45 booked start this morning for transfer buses from hotel to station, but again we digressed from the plan, opting for a fresh air walk to wake up from the previous evening beer. On approaching the station from well down the road an unsilenced 781 (M62 type) could clearly be heard drumming away. Wondering now if there had been a further plan change, to museum loco 781168, but it turned out this was on the usual water tender and fire precaution train which follows all kettle movements. Booked kettle 556.036 looks impressive, post war freight design with small five coupled wheels, and allegedly from books on the subject one of the most advanced steam designs in Europe, but I thought it was rather feeble on the sound front. Whenever 776019 powered, the kettle could no longer be heard, perhaps a quiet kettle was a good thing.

 Today now on the planned booked route, 556.036 alone powered the train via Zvolen as far as Hronska Dubrava, with 776019 not doing anything on the rear. But the diesel soon started to bank, and bank hard. There were two photo stops with run-bys, but the locations were badly planned with lineside obstructions and bad lighting, us staying on the train for the run past moves, which involved setting back about 0.5 km or so, thrashing 776019 at full bore to get the train up to speed as soon as possible, then shutting off to allow the kettle to make smoke. It was a far better move to stay on board for this performance, than being ordered by loud hailer to stand in a line in a field and click. Onwards and upwards to Kremnica, where there were buses to take the fossils to an organ recital and some other stuff. Had the tour included the Kremnica silver mint then maybe would have done that, but it was closed, so again we digressed from the tour party, waiting for 781168 and the water train to catch up. Kremnica station amazingly tranquil, two museum diesels and a kettle, and hardly a soul in sight. Then wandered down the steep footpaths into town. Kremnica town centre although historic was a bit of a disappointment not much to see.

 After the three hour break, back on the train continuing the climb to Kremnica Bane, where 776019 shut off allowing the kettle to run downhill into Vrutky. From Vrutky station the tour reversed into the MDC museum depot adjacent to ZSR Vrutky shed. We sneaked a look around the diesel shed - not that anyone seemed to mind as the whole place seems to have a public foot path running through it - with various 771s 742s and 751s, as well as 710002 and 710041, and 720030, survivors of the few remaining of each type. The museum depot does not really amount to much, a small shed, but at least they are making the effort, and it is a relatively new set up, so probably needs time (and investment) to make something of it. The same Austrian neanderthal was noted similarly ranting and grunting at others in his way. From there 776019 was on its own back up the main line through Zilina to Bratislava, with not much else to report. A late lunch was served with soup followed by large dumpling + pork + sauerkraut. Arrival in Bratislava Hlavni was just over one hour early around 17:30, but had to wait time until the booked 19:07. The sky opened with a massive thunderstorm which was over in about three minutes after flash flooding the place. 2143029 was only on load two normal stock, our three coaches attached to the back by another ZSR 742. Arrival Wien Sud on time. 2143029 is a loud one. No idea what people see in these things. It drones. A loud drone yes, but wholly uncharismatic.

 On the whole a very worthwhile exercise, especially with over 500 km of haulage with 776019, which as a Bratislava based machine was required any both of us, having only had Zvolen freight machines before. The tour price was 169, not extortionate considering it was first class travel, one night hotel, three planned events, and two meals thrown in. My criticisms would be that seating was not reserved - it was a free for all - which could have been a problem with a larger group; there was no detailed timing sheet - only locations important to the itinerary. On balance these were minor irritations.

Nick Lawford (with Dave Craik) on train as reported

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