The International Steam Pages


Case Notes - Steam in Turkey 1984, Part 1
European Turkey

Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.

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For earlier tales in this series see:


I had long wanted to visit Turkey, photos by Ted Talbot in issues of Continental Railway Journal and reports in World Steam being the main catalyst. The trouble was I did not have the contacts for a bash of Turkey, and despite the military lifting curfews I did not feel at ease traveling solo. David Thornhill’s World Steam 'organisation' was offering their second tour to Turkey in 1984 and it fitted into an extended holiday giving me a chance to see something of the country and see its remaining steam workings. 

If you want to see some of the steam workings that car borne travellers found in the 1970s try Robin Lush’s site http://www.1974.trainsofturkey.com/robinlush_foreword.htm.

Locomotive details are given in 'Steam in Turkey, Ted Talbot, Continental Railway Circle, 1981, ISBN 0950346969 (Abe Books Link)

On the 30th September 1984, the Skyliner 2 tour departed Istanbul’s Sirkeci station. 4-8-0 46018, one of the second batch built by Henschel in 1933 was the tour engine for the European sector. The numerous plates that adorned the engine and tender reminded me of the Indonesian steam locos in the way they were badged. The engine was one of two of the class retained at Cerkezkoy shed, primarily for ballast trains. By now they were the only active TCDD steam locos allocated to the European side of Turkey. 

One of the features of the “Skyliner” tours was the availability of footplate rides which I took full advantage of. 46018 had an unusual feature, a gap in the cab floor near the driver’s feet gave a view of a rear driving wheel and connecting rod rotating and this was a loco recently ex works! 

Cerkezkoy marked the end of the electric section from Istanbul, our loco visited its home shed and we trooped over to watch it take water and be coaled by a steam grab. Cerkezkoy’s other 4-8-0 46008 (Henschel 1927) was having some welding attention to the smoke box in preparation for working a p.w train. In the shed yard was a real gem, possibly the last Creusot 2-8-0 45507 built in 1927, now lying abandoned. The class was once common on this section and even worked the Orient Express.

Glint at Alpullu en route to Edrine.

Edrine, the crew prepare to detach the engine.

The tour catered for track bashers and saw us venturing to the Bulgarian and Greek border stations. More interesting were the photo runpasts on the Pehlivankoy branch although the scenery was not as dramatic as that found in the east and north of the country. This was a staged shunt at Pehlivankoy.

This is on the mainline returning to Alpullu.on 2nd October 1984.

On the same day at Alpullu, we had a visit to the sugar factory organized by the town mayor. The factory’s small industrial 0-4-0T had been built by Orrenstein and Koppel in 1934, it was a delightful machine that was busy shunting a yard full of wagons.

Back on the mainline we were instructed to clear the section as the engineers intended to take full possession. We found 46008 was employed on a lengthy ballast train which performed for us. 

Returning to Istanbul in the evening I stood next to the open doors of the baggage car, the guards proudly pointing out the lights of the mosques and palaces, rail is a great way to see the city.


Rob Dickinson

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