FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Steaming beyond Sandikli

Posted in Karakuyu, Sandikli, Turkey by folkestonejack on October 14, 2014

After spending a little time at Tinaztepe we set off on our journey south, passing through Kocatepe (1.18pm) and Cigiltepe (1.30pm) before making it to Sandikli (2pm) where we took a late lunch stop. It was impressive to see a working water column here, given that in so many countries the infrastructure from steam days has rusted away or been removed long ago.

TCDD 56 548 at Sandikli

TCDD 56 548 at Sandikli

The news of the arrival of Turkey’s only working steam locomotive soon attracted the attention of the local kids and a couple of gentlemen from the media, who gathered a few reluctant photographers (including me) to pose awkwardly for a shot to be used in a story for their paper. Who could have anticipated that my 15 minutes of fame lay in the Afyon Gazette!?

Our stop at Sandikli also cleared the line for two freight trains that passed through in the direction of Afyon (the first just after our arrival and the second at 3pm precisely). The freights were notable for their use of GE PowerHaul PH37ACai diesel locomotives, a new class of locomotive which only began to roll off the production line relatively recently.

Old (1943) meets new (2014) at Sandikli

Old (1943) meets new (2014) at Sandikli

Tülomsas are building 20 locomotives of this type for Turkish Railways and another 30 for export (under a strategic partnership with General Electric). The first examples in Turkey had somewhat disappeared from view, so it was fascinating to see that they all had 70 (Afyon) allocations and are being used on this stretch of line. It makes much sense from a testing perspective as any failures here would have a low impact, given the light traffic we have seen.

DE36002 passes DE24295 at Sandikli

DE36002 passes DE24295 at Sandikli

After departing from Sandikli (3.47pm) we continued our journey south, passing through some stunning and quite deserted landscapes before reaching Ekinova (4.15pm) and the Karakuyu loop (5.05pm). The sun was about to drop below the hillside so the time for photography was rapidly running out. Nevertheless, we managed four runpasts on the loop before the light finally disappeared.

The spot for our runpasts, a rock cutting next to a quarry on the loop, looked stunning bathed in golden light but the location was not without its challenges, notably a strong wind which blew the smoke in all sorts of undesirable directions. On one of the runpasts the smoke even managed to mask the locomotive entirely to the grumbles of the assembled photographers! Nevertheless, I think we all managed to get something out of the location.

A runpast on the Karakuyu Loop

A runpast on the Karakuyu Loop

From the loop we made the short run into Karakuyu station at 5.40pm, where another DE36 hauled freight was waiting for us to clear the line (DE36004 this time). After a brief stop we began the final leg of our journey to Burdur at 6pm, passing through Capali (6.11pm), Keciborlu (6.32pm) and Gümüşgün (6.50pm) before reaching Burdur at 7.30pm.

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