FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Never say never again

Posted in Hacikiri, Turkey by folkestonejack on September 10, 2015

Having said that we never wanted to see the Varda Viaduct again after our eight runpasts the other day, we discovered that was precisely where we were headed this morning. I must remember never to say never again (like carelessly remarking how quiet it is at work, which can be guaranteed to herald an avalanche of requests!).

TCDD 56 548 at Belemedik

TCDD 56 548 at Belemedik

Our train headed out of Pozanti at 7.34am and soon took us back into the sequence of impressive tunnels on the way to Hacikiri (tunnel numbers 16-19 lie between Pozanti and Belemedik, followed by numbers 20-31 from Belemedik to Hacikiri). Along the way we were able to squeeze in a couple of runpasts, one on the approach to tunnel 18 and another on a curve in the track not too far from Belemedik.

After arriving at Belemedik (8.37am) we had just over an hour to kill whilst we waited for a clear line to Hacikiri and spent the time photographing the passing freight and passenger services. Finally, we made it to the Varda Viaduct (10.37am) and enjoyed two runpasts from the opposite side (up to 11am). However, that would be it for the next five hours…

The view from the opposite side of the Varda Viaduct

The view from the opposite side of the Varda Viaduct

The skies have once again been very murky, presumably still a combination of heat haze and sand in the air. It was also ridiculously hot (in the 40s once again) so most of us took shelter where we could, drank litres of water and settled in for the wait. I was thankful to have a good novel with me and made myself comfortable in the quiet carriage, followed by lunch in a local restaurant and a long siesta!

A diesel hauled passenger train arrives at Hacikiri during our long pause

A diesel hauled passenger train arrives at Hacikiri during our long pause

At 4pm the action resumed with another eight runpasts at the viaduct (an absurd total of sixteen from this side over our two days at this spot, plus two from the other side in the morning). By the end I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as I saw the wagons rolling back for another attempt! To be fair, it was always an impressive sight and the extra attempts did at least mean that I was able to savour it without photographing it on one run.

You would have to think that is the last time that a steam hauled charter will cross the Varda Viaduct as the line will hold much less appeal once it is modernised. We certainly saw plenty of evident of the preparations for electrification (post holes in place, but no poles in sight yet). If it that really was the last such run, it was at least comprehensively captured by the army of photographers present!

TCDD 56 548 steams over the Varda Viaduct

TCDD 56 548 steams over the Varda Viaduct

Nevertheless, I think everyone was pretty happy to leave the viaduct behind on our departure from Hacikiri at 5.15pm. Thankfully, we had a good run through to Pozanti, arriving at 6.25pm, and were back in the hotel not too long afterwards.

You could say that 18 runpasts at Varda Viaduct was excessive, but at least no-one was left with any desire to go back. I think I will be dreaming of trains crossing the viaduct tonight instead of sheep jumping fences!


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