FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Steam on the Isparta branch

Posted in Isparta, Turkey by folkestonejack on October 18, 2014

It was not without a little trepidation that I wheeled my suitcase down to the station in Isparta this morning, but I needn’t have worried – our steam locomotive was in the platform looking resplendent in the morning light. Better still, the air pump was working!

TCDD 56548 at Isparta

TCDD 56548 at Isparta

A little chat before the start of the day’s adventures gave us the explanation for this impressive change. It transpired that the two air pumps were not identical, so the exchange in Dinar had not been quite as straightforward as had been expected. The replacement from Uşak needed some extra work when we made it to Isparta but was working properly late last night. I was comforted by this reassuring news, which I hoped would put us in good stead for the day ahead of us.

As this was an extra day, after the official end of the tour, the numbers of photographers had thinned rather dramatically. However, one of our fellow photographers had brought a coach full of friends so we didn’t find ourselves rattling around empty coaches for very long.

A beautiful day for a charter

A beautiful day for a charter

At 8.25am we set off up the branch line hauled by our trusty diesel. At the appropriate spots the diesel and service car were detatched for runpasts. The branch may only be 13km long but it certainly packs in some wonderful scenery, which we tried to capture as best we could – from the fields, hillsides and atop rock cuttings. We were not alone in this endeavour – a photographer in a microlight could be seen buzzing above our position, before heading away with a friendly wave. It was one of those occasions where everything came together – steam locomotive, scenery and sun!

One of the guys on the tour reminded us that when a regular train passes it is nothing, but when a steam train passes it is a happening. It certainly seemed true today – no one could take their eyes of this majestic locomotive, whether it be the teenagers on the platform or the fruit pickers in the fields. Mind you, the branch has been closed to passenger traffic for some years, so any passenger train would have been somewhat unusual!

Steam on the Isparta branch

Steam on the Isparta branch

The Isparta branch was originally constructed in the mid-1930s and whilst it is closed to passenger traffic now there are plans to reconnect the city to the rail network with the contruction of a new high speed line from Afyon to Antalya. The contrast was striking, particularly as we reached the former junction station of Bozanönü and the now closed line to Egirdir (the track is still there for now, albeit grassed over).

Our short run from the junction brought us back to Göltaş and on to Gumusgun, which we reached at 12.43pm. At this point six photographers hopped out, having arranged for a dolmus to pick them up here. This was probably the sensible option but I figured that as I had gotten so far that I might as well see it through to the end, hoping that this wasn’t a very foolish move!

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