FolkestoneJack's Tracks


Posted in Romania, Vișeu de Sus by folkestonejack on September 27, 2015

The derailment of the lone railcar had taken place just 1km up the line from Faina, just before a small bridge. It had involved one of the more unusual vehicles on the line, a ranger’s draisine, which was essentially a road going minibus converted into a railcar. On the railway we had already seen a wide of variety of these home-built vehicles, ranging from Ford transits to VW camper vans, but this one was adapted from a Mercedes 2120.

Derailment at Faina

Derailment at Faina

Thank goodness the derailment had not occurred a metre further on, at the bridge, or the results might have been rather more serious. The first step was to pull the railcar back from the brink, which was simply achieved by our steam locomotive and a cable ‘tow rope’. Next, the crew set about jacking the railcar up so that they could lift it back onto the rails, succeeding at the second attempt (impressively just over half an hour after our arrival).

The broken rail that caused the derailment was easy to spot. The crew set about tackling the track repairs next, including the replacement of the old sleeper. The repairs were completed and successfully tested at 4.50pm, exactly an hour after our arrival. The crew’s efforts were all the more impressive considering that they had the distraction of thirty photographers snapping away from every angle!

Derailment on camera!

Smile for the camera…

We followed our train over the bridge and re-boarded the ‘Valei Babei’ express for the last kilometres, arriving at 5.15pm. Our accommodation for the night was a school dormitory with some rather curious frescoes (Baza didactica “valea babi”) which turned out to be quite a bit more civilised than any of us expected (though the members of our parties with ground floor cabins might have taken a different view after finding chickens in their beds!).

As rain began to fall we scurried over to the dining hall where we were served up a hearty meal of cheese porridge (mămăligă) with sausage, goulash and cherry sponge – washed down by beer, tuică and homemade blueberry liqueur. Fueled for the night, all that was left after this was a quick dash across the rain drenched grounds to the dormitory. Time to snuggle down under our donald duck duvets in time for lights out!


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