FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Yeşilhisar to Arapli (again)

Posted in Arapli, Turkey, Yeşilhisar by folkestonejack on September 6, 2015

At 3.23pm we set off from Yeşilhisar for the second time. The change in the position of the sun now allowed us to try shots that would have been impossible in the morning, beginning with a few stops at a curve in the track which gave us the mountain village of Akköy as a rather superb backdrop.

TCDD 56 548 steams towards us, with a distant view of the mountain village of Akköy on the canyon rim

TCDD 56 548 steams towards us, with a distant view of the mountain village of Akköy on the canyon rim

After this the scenery just continued to improve with a series of impressive bridges, viaducts and rocky hilltops. The canyon certainly delivered an impressive punch and we continued to make the most of it until the sun dropped below the hills. All the while, the prospect of ever improving photographic opportunities tempted me to go higher and higher, usually regretting my ambitious climbing on the slippery scramble down. I really must remember that I am not a mountain goat!

Our last shot in the canyon (around 6pm) was perhaps the most delightful with a view of a bridge near Arapli, seen from across a pumpkin field, with the rocky hilltops as a rather stunning backdrop. After this, we carried on to the golden fields outside Arapli to try and catch a glint from the setting sun.

Last shot in the rock canyon

Last shot in the rock canyon

Once the light was extinguished we headed on to Arapli and boarded our bus for the drive to Niğde, our stop for the night. A wander around the centre of Niğde didn’t throw up many options for eating but one place was able to entice us in with the prospect of ‘meat on rice’ after some translation difficulties! Still, after such a superb day who could complain!?

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The rock canyon

Posted in Arapli, Turkey, Yeşilhisar by folkestonejack on September 6, 2015

Our tour started with a bus ride from Kayseri to Yeşilhisar, the station at the beginning of the scenic rock canyon. It was here that we expected to find TCDD 56 548, the last operational steam loco in Turkey, at the head of our four carriage train in readiness for the run to Arapli. It was to be a relatively leisurely start as we could not get going until the morning passenger express (the Erciyes Ekspresi from Kayseri to Adana) had passed through.

TCDD 56 548 at Yeşilhisar

TCDD 56 548 at Yeşilhisar

The first part went to plan, with our bus running parallel to the express train on the approach to Yeşilhisar (it departed from the station as we arrived). However, we could not get going straight away for we had a small problem to overcome first…

The sight of the crew banging away at the air pump with their spanners told its own story and was depressingly familiar to anyone who had been on the tour last year. Apparently the loco had been working wonderfully until a small part dropped off during service earlier this morning.

Thankfully there were a few diesel hauled freights around to distract and entertain us until the air pump was fixed. We finally set off at 10.28am and all thoughts of our difficulties faded as we set to work photographing the train at four locations en route to Arapli. The scenery all around was simply stunning, regardless of whether our train was in shot.

Our train with the hill top town of Akköy in the background

Our train with the hill top town of Akköy in the background

Our arrival at Arapli just after midday should have heralded a lengthy wait for our diesel to reach us and haul us back to Yeşilhisar. However, our luck was in – we were able to hitch a lift from a northbound freight hauled by a class 24 diesel. It must have made a strange sight for anyone at the lineside given that the diesel was now effectively hauling (in order) 4 flat wagons, 16 container wagons, our 3 wagons, 4 carriages and a steam locomotive!

Our lift back to Yeşilhisar

Our lift back to Yeşilhisar

The lift made quite a difference, getting us back into Yeşilhisar for a quarter past one. A quick bus ride into town from here gave us a chance for some much needed refreshment. The digital display in town indicated that the midday heat was a fairly unforgiving 38 degrees so most of us found a spot in the shade wherever we could. It hadn’t cooled much by the time we returned to the train in mid-afternoon. Time to begin all over again…

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