FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Steam freight: Požarevac to Kučevo

Posted in Kučevo, Požarevac, Serbia by folkestonejack on October 19, 2011

The plan for today was to take our charter freight train headed by kriegslok 33-087 into the scenic countryside on the line from Požarevac to Zaječar via Bor.

Our departure from Požarevac had been much delayed and there were times when I wondered if we would ever set off, so it was a relief to be able to board and get under way just before 10am. The first stop along the line was Sirakovo which we reached around an hour later. Under the perfectly blue sky we photographed two runpasts through the station before re-boarding to the familiar cry of “Einsteigen bitte” from our Serbian guide.

33-087 makes a runpast through Sirakovo

After leaving Sirakovo behind we continued along the line until we reached a bridge across a river near Ljesnica around midday. I joined everyone else in clambering down the embankment into a nearby field which offered a good vista of the line away from the bridge.

The strange spectacle caught the attention of two local tractor drivers who stopped to find out what was going on – and soon found themselves becoming a part of the photographic composition. I thought that added the perfect dash of local colour!

Kriegslok 33-087 crosses a river near to Ljesnica

All along the route we were met by a mixture of astonished stares and people reaching for their mobiles to film the surprising sight. In places it seemed that the local population were already well aware of our tour – as we steamed through Turija at 12.30 we found an entire school had been lined up to get a good view of the train (with all the children waving enthusiastically).

Kriegslok 33-087 at a stand in front of a quarry at Zvižde

The next stop was Zvižde at 1pm where the river, road and railway line all run in parallel with a hillside industrial complex (a quarry) in the background. Initially we expected to have a runpast here but this was cancelled as the crew could not set back into the tunnel they had just emerged from. In spite of this, we made the best of some static shots as it was too interesting a location to abandon completely.

It wasn’t long before we reached Kučevo where a fire tender was waiting to fill the loco up with water. As this would take some time we walked up the overgrown track to a signal where we grabbed some shots of the locomotive getting underway again (at around 2.15pm) before re-boarding. The locomotive wasn’t in the greatest of shape with water leaking in both front corners of the foundation ring and the clack valve blowing through.

Water stop at Kučevo

So far we had mostly been passing through flat countryside, but we were slowly getting closer to the scenic stretch of line with hills, forests and impressive viaducts. As we re-boarded there was a degree of anxious consultation of watches knowing that time was tight to reach the most impressive viaduct, high above the valley floor. Sadly, we would never make it…

A slow start at Požarevac

Posted in Požarevac, Serbia by folkestonejack on October 19, 2011

Today’s planned early start at Požarevac fell apart fairly quickly. After arriving at the station things had initially looked better, after all the locomotive was actually here this time, but it seemed that the preparations for our long day hadn’t taken place and this left us with plenty of time to kill.

Some of us wandered around the yard at Požarevac to see what was around, photographing an incoming passenger service hauled by an electric locomotive and one of four ŽS series 666 diesel-electric locomotives. Unlike the other locomotives I had seen in Serbia the ŽS series 666 diesel-electrics were painted blue to match Tito’s blue train and the German moniker of Tito-lok seemed quite a neat way to describe them. Our delayed departure finally took place at 9.57am and we said goodbye to Požarevac.