FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Photo-freight from Bosanska Bijela to Durdevik

Posted in Bosanska Bijela, Bosnia, Durdevik, Spionica by folkestonejack on April 8, 2010

One of the highlights of the trip to Bosnia was a photo-freight charter on the line from Bosanska Bijela to Durdevik, hauled by a class 33 as far as Zivinice where a class 62 locomotive would take over for the final stretch.

An early start brought us to Bosanska Bijela at first light and the setting was truly atmospheric. All it needed now was a steam locomotive to complete the picture… which arrived 20 minutes late. It was worth waiting for as the glint on 33-504 as it steamed through Bosanska Bijela looked wonderful.

33-504 at Bosanska-Bijela

33-504 at Bosanska-Bijela

Our accomodation for the day was a box car attached to the end of the line of wagons. It was an interesting way to travel but any thought of hearing the steam locomotive work was dashed by the noisy clankety-clank sound of the wagons and box car on the rails. Not that it mattered, as we saw enough of the locomotive during our photo stops.

Our travel compartment for the day...

At Spionica we stopped in the station and the locomotive ran back for a number of runpasts, arrival shots and false departures… for one of these, I walked across a field to a ridge affording a panoramic view. After a while we were joined by our leader, Bernd, who told us that we had crossed a possible minefield! That’s probably a risk too far, even for a good photograph…

Skirting a possible minefield...

Skirting a possible minefield...

Apparently two sticks at either end marked it as uncleared land, though it didn’t have one of the skull and cross-bones signs that we had seen in other places indicating known minefields.

Spionica was a beautiful place to stop and provided seemingly endless opportunities for shots – at the signal box, uinside the box, across the fields, looking down from the hillside, and so on…

A kriegslok at Spionica

A kriegslok at Spionica

Haystacks at Spionica

Haystacks at Spionica

At Duboki Potok we stopped at the station and the locomotive was soon swamped by local school kids so clearly even in a country where a few steam locomotives operate it’s still a relatively rare occurence to see a steam locomotive (unless you happen to be living in or around Bukinje). From here, we re-boarded our coach to get us to a spot in the Tinja valley where we could see 33-504 power through. My camcorder was having something of a bad day so I didn’t get much footage, but what I did get gives a good sense of what workhorses these kriegsloks were…

The afternoon saw us stop a few more times to get shots of 33-504 at work and it was lucky that we had such good weather. It would have been dreadful to be trying to get these shots in the murky weather that we had only a day or two back.

33-504 on the photo-freight

33-504 on the photo-freight

At Bos. Poljana we stopped to allow a diesel hauled freight to overtake us and this afforded an opportunity to escape the box car once more and stretch our legs.

33-504 at Bos. Poljana

33-504 at Bos. Poljana

On the run from Bos. Poljana to Zivinice I had a chance to join a few others on the footplate. Strangely enough, it’s something I’ve never done before and a kriegslok seemed like a hell of a place to get a first taste. I was quite astonished to see the fireman wedge a huge slab of coal in the firebox door, push it in with a shovel and then break it up inside the firebox using a metal rod. Not quite sure why it wasn’t broken up first, but never mind…

The run to Zivinice saw us pass a number of crossings and through a tunnel. It was incredible to get a feel for the speed, the smokiness/darkness of the cab once inside the tunnel and the intense heat when the firebox door is opened. It was an awesome experience which I won’t forget. Thanks to Simon for suggesting I try that… it will certainly give me something to talk about with my father (who was a fireman and driver on steam locomotives in BR days) when I get back!

At Zivinice we had some time to kill as the class 62 locomotive that was supposed to take over had experienced some difficulties on the way there, necessitating a repair en route! However, it did arrive eventually and we were able to continue the final few kilometres to Durdevik mine.

62-111 at Durdevik

62-111 at Durdevik

More photos from the Photo-freight: Bosanska Bijela to Durdevik

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