The International Steam Pages
Notes - Steam in Turkey 1984, Part 10
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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By 13th October 1984, the tour had ended and I joined a few fans for a day riding the ferries; trying to ride the steam powered ones. It was a good way to become attuned to this great city. I joined two English fans to share a room at the Hotel Pera Palas, which passengers from the Orient Express stayed in and was owned by the Wagon Lits Company. It remains an opulent 4 star hotel with a grand entrance hall. Lounge and Drawing rooms and even the bar had beautiful old chairs and tables. The huge bedroom was lavishly decorated and included a magnificent Turkish carpet. It was one of those “must do” affairs and to hell with the expense!
I now had time for some tourist activity in Istanbul and along the coast to Izmir. Next I headed for Burdur, but thoughts of riding trains were thwarted when I became ill. Plan B saw me in more comfortable accommodation in Afyon. The hotel was on a main thoroughfare and I was stunned at the amount of horse drawn carts on the road outside. I realised I was witnessing the end of an era as throughout my journey I had seen deliveries of new tractors and trucks that would displace animal power.
On the morning of 24th October 1984, I gingerly made my way to the station, still feeling fragile. A major change had occurred since the tour visited Afyon a few weeks before. Now diesels were rostered both for the passenger and mixeds to Konya, whilst a diesel multiple unit was on the Denzili passenger.
The Usak mixed departed near scheduled time at 07.05, before the sun had risen. 57 class pilots were busy at both ends of the station and I enjoyed photographing them in the early morning light, they kept me entertained. A Kriegslok joined the fun shunting ballast wagons to assist with the track relaying and ballast removal in the station area. The work was being carried out by a huge gang of labourers with no mechanical help. This was Afyon. 57021 on yard pilot duties:
A Kriegslok shunts ballast wagons.
A large Henschel 2-8-2 46052 arrived around 09.30 on a lengthy freight from Konya. The crew were friendly and posed for photos, the driver taking the initiative and requesting them.
That was the end of the morning activities and was about as much as my sick body could endure without a break. However, next day, I finally felt well enough to enjoy the rail workings and not worry where the nearest toilet was, it was just as well as this was my final morning here before leaving for Ankara.
At the Konya end of the yard two 57s (57001 and another) were busy moving heavy freight rakes and occasionally losing their grip, sending the wheels into a spin and huge streams of smoke high in the air. 57021 was again busy at the Usak end shunt.
56535 was ready to depart on the mixed to Usak, running late it left as the sun had risen, making a wonderful steam trail as it passed 56518 standing light engine at the yard head shunt. 56518 was a decorated engine and I thought it had been rostered for a Dinar freight, but a DE18 was the surprise power on that job!
56535 passes on the Usak mixed. Note how beneath the exhaust gives an illusion of a false sky.
56501 came off shed, as the old carriage in the background catches the glint.
Krieg 56501, with deflectors and a Van der Built tender was in the station building area working with the permanent way crew, later it departed in the Usak direction.
I found 56106 tucked away in a siding quietly brewing up at the head of a long freight bound for Konya. Included in the consist was a string of brand new bogie tanker wagons on a delivery run to Iran.
A diesel pulled in on a freight from Konya, more signs of the approaching demise of steam on this route, once the line was clear 56106 disgraced itself, or rather the fireman did. The engine primed resulting in a mass of steam being forced out of the cylinders and wet steam exiting the chimney, the engine went into a series of wheel slips as it struggled to get its mammoth train underway. After the train had passed I stayed back and talked to an old man, whose dogs had been upset by my presence. He was obviously a retired railway man, acting as some form of gatekeeper, nice bloke, but the dogs looked vicious!
56518 which had been standing in a siding for two hours was finally set to work assembling a lengthy permanent way train, with modern hopper wagons, this got away about 09.40. That turned out to be my final Turkish steam seen on my 1984 trip.