FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The busiest blocked line

Posted in Çiftehan, Turkey by folkestonejack on September 9, 2015

It looked like our meagre supply of luck had run out today with the news that electrification works will close the line in the morning. In the circumstances the only option open to us was steaming the loco and taking it the short distance to the old shed at Pozanti for some static shots. However, once we reached the station we were surprised to see a freight coming through. So much for the line being closed…

A freight train on the supposedly blocked line...

A freight train on the supposedly blocked line…

After seeing two more freight trains pass through before 8am we wondered if something had gotten lost in the translation, thinking that perhaps the line would close after the morning passenger service. But no, there were still more freight trains after this. It is probably the busiest we have seen it!

No doubt some electrification work was taking place, particularly as we had seen workers with machinery on the track between Çiftehan and Pozanti, but this line was clearly far from closed. The side effect of this was that we could not even contemplate shunting our loco for some posed shots. In the end we gave up and drove back to the hotel by bus (with the minor excitement of a stop at a temporary army checkpoint) and headed to the pool.

The upside of the interruption to proceedings was that it gave the crew a break from their heroic efforts on the footplate in incredible heat (it’s bad enough under normal circumstances so I have no idea how anyone copes in temperatures in the low 40s!). However, it was very strange to be in the pool and hear the roar of a diesel locomotive reverberating loudly throughout the valley.

Poolside in Çiftehan

Poolside in Çiftehan

Meanwhile, the situation on the tracks was anything but clear. We were told that the regional control office had indicated that the line would now be closed in the afternoon. Just when it began to look as though the arrangements for our tour to run were falling apart an agreement was reached. We would spend the afternoon on the stretch of line north of Pozanti, whilst work continued on the southern stretch (deepening the ground level in the tunnels to create the necessary headroom for electrification).

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