FolkestoneJack's Tracks

A derailment (or maybe not?)

Posted in Lapovo, Markovac, Serbia by folkestonejack on October 18, 2011

The plan for today was to use 33 087 for a coal train on the line from Markovac to Resavica. However, when we turned up at Markovac at 7.30am there was no locomotive to be seen!

The plan had already hit a stumbling block – the locomotive was facing tender first and would need to be turned. In theory this shouldn’t have presented a problem as there was a triangle on which this could be done, but there seemed to be some reluctance to do this – possibly because the track was not in great condition and the locomotive might be de-railed. After a while conversations with officials elicited the news that not only was this a possibility – it had already happened! The story was that 33 087 had derailed at 7.30am whilst turning on the the triangle.

We re-boarded our coach and headed off to Lapovo, the site of the derailment, to get a first hand view of the situation. To our surprise we found 33 087 sitting outside the station seemingly re-railed (if it had ever been de-railed!?!!) and being readied to depart! I could see already the difficult job that our tour organisers and guides must have had in trying to sift out the facts from everything that they were being told. Still, the optimist in me was encouraged that the outlook for a day photographing a kriegslok had improved significantly.

Kriegslok 33-087 departs from Lapovo

To make the most of the situation we gathered to take a shot of 33 087 departing from Lapovo around 9am (albeit with steam leaking from all the wrong places) before returning to Markovac by coach.

A service train approaches Markovac

After retracing our steps to Markovac we spent some time watching the loco collect some more wagons before running around. After all the morning drama the loco hadn’t actually turned so we would still be heading out tender first. The new plan was to take the coal train as far as Despotovac and then head off for lunch. In the meantime, the loco would be turned at Resavica and we would then reboard the train for the final leg of the journey.

Our re-timed departure took us out of Markovac at 10.15am but made grindingly slow progress up the line. The early stretch of the line could hardly be described as scenic but there were some interesting points along the route that would have been worthy of a stop, had our engine been facing the right way. The most notable of these was a combined road/rail bridge between Markovac and Svilajnac. The road and the tracks take up the same space on the bridge so when our coal train arrived the traffic was stopped in both directions to allow us to cross – a rare enough occurence with any type of locomotive here, let alone a steam locomotive.

At midday we finally reached Despotovac and left the train, so that the locomotive and single passenger car could continue on to Resavica to turn. Time for lunch!