FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Kolomiya to Ternopol

Posted in Chortkov, Kolomiya, Ternopol, Ukraine by folkestonejack on February 22, 2008

The final day of the tour dawned, but more poignantly than that, this was also to be the last day of steam hauled charter passenger trains on the Ukrainian mainline. To that end, the consist for the final day was somewhat unusual – featuring six locomotives (four steam locomotives and two diesels). The information about the fate of the steam locomotives was a little confused, ranging from a cutter’s torch in a scrapyard to preservation in a museum at Donetsk. I really hope it was the latter.

L 2-10-0 5141 at Kostrytzevka

Su 2-6-2 251-86 and L 2-10-0 5141 double head at Kostrytzevka

Our route to Ternopol took us to a viaduct over the Dnestr at Kostrytzevka, which was used for two rather haphazardly organized runpasts (we were all instructed to re-board when news of the second runpast came through…). I dashed up the hillside but was too late for the shot I intended.

Once the runpasts were completed we re-joined the train and made our way across the viaduct. From the comfort of our coaches we could see a few intrepid photographers standing in the bitter cold of the Dnestr. After going to such lengths I hope they were rewarded with a good shot!

Intrepid photographers in the Dnestr

After heading away from the Dnestr we made stops at a field north of Torske for a runpast with all 6 locos (which I captured very badly on a video which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pMzWEi4f1k) and then at a field somewhere else with the diesels detached (I didn’t catch the name of any stations that we passed to have even the slightest clue where this was!).

Su 251-86 leads a runpast in a field somewhere between Torske and Chortkov

Em 735-72 in a field somewhere between Torske and Chortkov

In the early afternoon we arrived at Chortkov for a water stop and to allow a local train to cross, followed by a false start which would turn out to be the last opportunity of the day to get some photographs in daylight. The platform was packed with passengers waiting for the local service though it was difficult to tell which was the stranger sight to them – the hundreds of mad foreigners or the sudden appearance of four steam locomotives!

DR1A diesel multiple unit at Chortkov

The water stop attracted plenty of attention from those locals (both two legged and four legged!) still around after the service train had departed. It was noticeable that they still had a working water crane here and I wondered how long ago steam had disappeared from these parts, or whether this was only still here for the benefit of charter railtours like ours.

The Su and L took water at Chortkov watched by an attentive local audience

Apart from the work going on around the steam locomotives our lengthy stop held few attractions besides people watching and a wander round the yard (with highlights such as a snowplough to check out!). Finally, we got our last false departure and then clambered back on the train around 3.20pm. Our onward journey took us beyond sunset and into darkness.

Su 2-6-2 251-86 in steam at Chortkov

Our arrival at Ternopil was heralded with much whistling, hooting and blaring of horns so it was just as well that it was early evening! It was an appropriate way to end the steam hauled section of our railtour. The steam locomotives departed around 7pm and we left Ternopil behind at 8.20pm with ‘electric thrust’ (which generated enough power for us to have fully working light in our compartments for the first and last time on the tour!). Our run through the night would take us from Ternopil back to Kyiv with a scheduled arrival time of 8.44am.

Ternopil Station

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