FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Ivano-Frankovsk to Chernovtsy

Posted in Chernovtsy, Ivano-Frankovsk, Ukraine by folkestonejack on February 18, 2008

The day began with an 8am departure from Ivano-Frankovsk and a series of runpasts carried us through the day. Our timetables gave us a rough idea of where and when these would take place but there were plenty of deviations from the plan, so you always had to keep an ear out for an unexpected blast of the whistles signalling a runpast (usually accompanied by quizzical looks at whoever was around, as if to say did I just hear what I think I heard!?).

2M62 at Ivano-Frankovsk

Passenger service topped by a M62 and tailed by a 2M62

The locations for our runpasts included stations, fields and a bridge. The latter were, it seemed, the most carefully organised as bridges and tunnels are still regarded as strategic targets and special permission had to be requested by the company organising the railtour for us to be able to take photographs. You could see the importance attached to these locations as they were usually guarded – the set up varied as we made our way across the Ukraine but typically included guard huts, barbed wire and armed guards.

2M62U on a bridge over the Prut

Er 0-10-0 797 86 on the line between Kolomiya and Chernovtsy

Our lunch was just coming to an end as we arrived in Chernovtsy and the stop-start jolting that this involved seemed to have been perfectly timed to cause chaos as the waitresses tried to pour out coffee! Suitably refreshed we headed out to see the locomotives against the backdrop of the rather grand looking station, before boarding buses that would take us to Chernovtsy depot for a visit.

Er class locomotive 797-86 in the grand surroundings of Chernovtsy Station

Er class locomotive 797-86 sits in the platform at Chernovtsy

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Lvov to Ivano-Frankovsk

Posted in Ivano-Frankovsk, Lvov, Ukraine by folkestonejack on February 17, 2008

The journey from Lvov to Ivano-Frankovsk would take us most of the day, broken up with a series of runpasts. The plan sounded simple in theory – all the photographers would have to listen out for three long blasts of the whistle which would signal that the train had reached the spot for a runpast. The carriage attendants became quite practiced at opening carriage doors in the middle of nowhere so that we could scramble out into at chosen spot. Sometimes it was an easy drop down, on other occasions not so much – it was still much easier than the return, which usually involved grabbing the handrails and launching yourself up far enough to clamber on board.

Su 251-86 passing through a field somewhere on the line between Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk

The choice of photo stops was to some extent dicated by the size of the contingent and I think it was predictable that they would sometimes be a little dull (three locations that come to mind are a grass field, a muddy field and a field of black-earth!).

Su 251-86 is passed by a DMU at Vibranovka

The organisers were not photographers themselves so we would sometimes find that the runpasts would be in entirely the wrong place for the light, but you just had to make the best of the situation. It was an interesting challenge to make fields photographically interesting, which usually involved looking for some point of interest in the foreground or an interesting arrangement of telegraph poles. I wouldn’t say that I was particularly successful!

Su 251-86 at Glebovichy

A few old hands who had visited the area many times before confirmed that there were better locations but these simply wouldn’t work for the numbers on this trip. At least, not without World War 3 breaking out!

The gallery awaits a runpast...

...and my version of the shot

The pattern of the day then was one of relaxation in our compartments or in the corridors chatting as the world flew by, punctuated by the utter panic to get dressed for the cold and dash out to get to a reasonable spot for a photo. If I’m honest, it was rather fun… though from as far back as our carriage it was often difficult to make out what were three whistles!

Sights from the Ukrainian landscape (by train)

After our arrival at Ivano-Frankovsk Galina led a group of us on a tour of the compact city centre which took in the art deco Ratusha in Ploshcha Rynok (market square). I didn’t take any photographs myself on this occasion as night had already fallen. After a good walk we headed back to the train at 8pm ready for our evening meal.