FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Back on the road

Posted in Romania, Sibiu by folkestonejack on October 2, 2015

It took us an hour to make it down the 20km unsealed road from Comandău, reaching Covasna just after midday. It was always going to be a long, long day on the road but few of us would have guessed how frustrating it would be once we headed it into the brilliant blue skies of the afternoon… here was the weather we had been hoping for all week and we couldn’t do anything with it. I think we must have been sitting under a cloud surrounded by blue!

Catedrala Ortodoxă Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul din Făgăraș (under construction)

Catedrala Ortodoxă Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul din Făgăraș (under construction)

The drive was not without points of interest, ranging from striking fields of blackened sunflowers to the impressive Făgăraș mountain range (the highest peaks in the Southern Carpathians). It was inevitable that we would see plenty of churches along the way, on which oodles of money must have been lavished, though the prize for the shiniest must go to the gold capped orthodox cathedral that is under construction in the centre of Făgăraș.

After passing through the centre of Făgăraș we continued on our drive to the west, reaching Sibiu around 3.15pm. As we were making good time we were able to take a break at the small open air museum attached to the railway depot. It is a little tricky to find, accessed down a short alleyway from a back street on the opposite side of the railway to the station (the museum can be accessed by passing through the castellated blue arch marking the depot entrance, ignoring the signs stating that access is only permitted to railway personnel).

Sibiu (the depot can be seen in the distance, on the left)

Sibiu (the depot can be seen in the distance, on the left)

The museum was opened on 28th August 1994 and exhibits are arranged in a fairly small space between the administration block and the roundhouse, with many exhibits partially hidden behind hedges (a curious display strategy!). The site holds around thirty locomotives and a couple of steam cranes, including:

CFR 077 (Hanomag, 1915)
CFR 20.064 (Henschel & Sohn, 1924)
CFR 94.649 (BMAG – Schwartzkopff, 1914)
CFR 131.040 (Resita, 1941)
CFR 150.1105 (BMAG – Schwartzkopf, 1943)
CFR 375.032 (MAVAG, 1911)
CFR 388.002 (Wiener-Neustadt, 1896)
CFR 389.001 (Wiener-Neustadt, 1885)
CFR 620 (Société Franco-Belge de Matériel de Chemins de Fer, 1890)
CFR 764.201 (Uzinele 23 August, 1949)
CFR 1493 (Henchel & Sohn, 1894)
CFR 6845 (Borsig, 1908)

Although we only had half an hour to wander round this was sufficient to see everything in the museum and take a few photographs (even if one of the grumpy railway workers was easily upset by anyone pointing their cameras at modern traction (even relatively elderly diesels and electric locos) pointing at the steam locomotives that we should be snapping! Blogger Bazsó-Dombi András has put together some really interesting posts describing each of the steam locos which can be accessed through his post Steam Locomotive Museum in Sibiu.

Class 62 diesel-electric loco 62-1011-6 at Sibiu depot

Class 62 diesel-electric loco 62-1011-6 at Sibiu depot

Everyone re-grouped on time, except for the coach driver (and coach!). Half an hour later he re-appeared and led us through the maze of narrow streets back to the main road where the coach was parked (muttering something about the police having stopped him from driving back down the side streets to collect us). After a quick drop-off at the railway station we headed back on our way, using the new motorway (some stretches look close to completion but are unfinished, so the route involved switching from motorway to local roads in a few places). Once it is finished the motorway will run all the way to Bucharest.

The route ran parallel to the railway for a good distance but we had seen very few trains for the most part, but around Turdaș (which we passed through around 6pm) we saw a very slow moving diesel multiple unit, a slow hauled passenger and an electric locomotive hauling tanks. Our mights have been a long drive, but at least we had a bit of speed on our side.

We finally reached our destination, Brad, at 7.22pm. On arrival we were served up a ‘light supper’ at the Pension Juliana which consisted of an endless series of platters until no-one could face another morsel! A good end to a somewhat frustrating day, but with the prospect of good weather ahead.