FolkestoneJack's Tracks

For a few Dinars more

Posted in Dinar, Karakuyu, Turkey by folkestonejack on October 17, 2014

The scene that awaited us at Dinar station in the morning lifted our hearts – our kriegslok was sitting in the platform and seemed to be in much better health than when we left her. We were not alone in our appreciation for the locomotive, with quite a number of straggling schoolkids having made a detour on their way to school in order to get a selfie with the locomotive and the historic green carriages.

Steam returns to Dinar

Steam returns to Dinar

The town secured its place on the railway map of Anatolia in 1889, following the extension of the line operated by the Oriental Railway Company between Izmir and Aydin. The staff at Dinar are justifiably proud of their connection to railway history (the stretch between Izmir and Seydiköy was the first to open within the footprint of present-day Turkey) with many reminders of this illustrious history on display at the station (a plinthed steam locomotive from 1928, a model of a steam locomotive, a small railway museum and some historic remnants from the ORC on the platform). It seemed perfect to add a working steam locomotive to this picture, if only for a little while.

Dinar is not likely to be on any tourist itinerary, although its position on a major crossroads on the route to Antalya means that it is never short of traffic. It is sadly more likely to be remembered as the epicentre of an earthquake in October 1995 that killed 94 people and left many more injured or homeless. Our visit was too fleeting to appreciate the changes to the town since then, but our trip into the surrounding hills demonstrated the considerable natural beauty offered by the area.

Into the hills

Into the hills

After departing Dinar at 8.55am we made our way towards Karakuyu with just two carriages and a wagon, stopping frequently for runpasts. The scenery was quite superb throughout and delivered more opportunities than we could possibly take. The dilemma of which spot to choose was exacerbated by the limited time in each location, which was certainly a good thing – it seems that the more time you give some photographers, the more they doubt the position they have chosen, prompting a good impression of a headless chicken. I have been guilty of this in the past, but these days tend to stick to my spot for better or worse!

A beautiful setting for a steam tour

A beautiful setting for a steam tour

The last shots of the morning came from the tunnel mouth at the 388km mark, which included the unusual and entirely unexpected sight of a colony of bats emerging from the tunnel along with the locomotive.

Our train arrived at Karakuyu station at 12.18pm where we found DE36 002 dropping ballast for collection. After taking a ride around the loop we headed on to Isparta, stopping not long after Karakuyu for a runpast at a particularly delightful spot of marsh.

TCDD 56548 at Karakuyu station

TCDD 56548 at Karakuyu station

The next stop, just beyond Capali at the 401km point, was not so welcome. TCDD 56548 was once again beset by problems with the air pump. The diesel returned with the service car and the crew got to work, sadly to little reward from the recalcitrant pump.

The three hour stop gave us ample opportunity for a barbeque, with the meat cooked on a shovel in the firebox. I particularly liked the confidence and finesse with which salt was sprinkled on top, as if to say that this was the way any good chef would choose to cook if they could!

Time for a picnic

Time for a picnic

At 5.07pm we set off again, with diesel assistance, reaching Gümüşgün at 5.46pm. DE36 004 was waiting there with a freight, presumably held up by our unexpected stop. After this we contnued on to Goltas (6.12pm), with its vast cement works, the former junction station of Bozanonu (6.18pm) and finally Isparta (6.40pm). Our run in had given us a tantalising glimpse of the beauty of the branch line and left us all hoping that our loco could could deliver something special for our last day.


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