The International Steam Pages

Real Steam in Three Countries 2017

Tom Short reports on a trip which featured real working steam in three countries in five days, probably a unique opportunity in the world in 2017...


Mondi Paper, Ulmerfeld Hausmening Monday 3rd April 2017

The fireless was working there and pulled quite a long run of wagons to the station giving some good sound effects. When I went into the factory it was on charge-its Westinghouse pump is no longer used, or is no longer working, and it is charged with compressed air for the brakes while being charged with steam. The factory seems quite proud of using surplus steam for shunting and there is a plaque at the charging point giving details of the loco.

Traffic into the factory is pulp and also tanks of acid and corn starch. Paper is taken out by rail. When I was back at the station after seeing some shunting in the factory the locomotive came up with another train of pulp wagons, and frustratingly, just as I got on my train to Linz, it came up with a four wheel acid tank and a bogie corn starch tank.


Ljubljana Power Station Thursday 4th April 2017

The fireless was working pushing wagons to the emptying point. It came out of the gates a few times and was easy to see up close. It gives good sound effects and works quite hard. The steam comes out of the conventional chimney and due to there being no blast pipe each puff of steam comes out at an opposite diagonal angle, which looks quite strange. A guard suggested I should ask in the office for permission to enter but when I tried I was told I would have to apply by e mail beforehand. At 11.45 the locomotive was put at the stabling point with some speed and the pace at which the men left and the fact that the locomotive was not put to charge suggested that that was it for the day!


Dubrave 5th April 2017

33-248 was shunting and quite active while I was there. I was able to see a lot as it was at the head shunt end of the yard close the farm road as the far side of the tracks. After pushing wagons under the loader it pulled a long train out, then departed to the far end of the yard, too far away to see. Then it moved to the middle. I thought that was it but on checking after lunch it came back to the head shunt end and did quite a bit more, and was still working there when I left.

Sikulje 6th April 2017

I got the train from Tuzla to Lukavac and walked from there to Silulje. 33-064 was there. I crossed the tracks and walked up beside the public railway; being Winter the vegetation was hardly grown and I was able to get up all the way to be level with the loading point. The locomotive was shunting wagons slowly under the loader. When this was completed it did a long run the other end of the yard and then pushed a long line of wagons, which were coupled to its original train, under the loader, coming right up under the loader itself. This made for a good bit of action although the best close up was interrupted by the passing of a coal train on the main line. Access by the way I used would have been less easy in Summer when all the vegetation was grown.

The branch line from Tuzla to Lukavac is very pre- Beeching in atmosphere. Last time I was in Tuzla it had a railcar but this time a locomotive hauled train of two compartment coaches , complete with smoking and non-smoking sections. The stations have a station master, controller with red hat and a porter. I wish I had had time to travel up the whole line to Duboj.

Not far from the station, I was able to get a 9 bus back to Tuzla. I think this was timed for mine staff and previously I had a long walk back to the centre of Lukavac. By the way, the Bosnian time expression is a bit like the French in that the girl in the bakery said the bus would be there at “half past two” when she meant half past one. I think she meant two o’clock minus half as a direct translation.

Bukinje 6th April 2017.

I got off the 9 bus and went into Bukinje works. It was about ¾ hour before the end of their day but I got a look around. 33-236, 504 and 503 were there. The shed makes its own parts. Heavy overhauls were still being undertaken. It has had a notable “natural wastage“ reduction in staff and was noticeably quieter than on my previous visits in 2013 and 2014. 62s 376, 123, 637 and 368 were still outside. Two of them are in reasonable condition and it is a pity no British preserved railway with Southern connections would think of trying to buy them. The works closes at 3.30. Interestingly, the time quoted to me was “half past four” which seems to confirm the bus times confusion. 

Banovici/Oskova Friday 7th April

The derelict locomotive which was behind the bus station on my previous visit it 2013 was not there. There is a display of a 25 class loco, some open sided coaches, a digger and a big drag line crane on the way from the bus station to the depot opposite the mine offices. I photographed it and a security guard shouted at me and ran over to get me to stop. I walked away and then came another shout - I looked round and a man in a suit had come out of the company office and shouted at the guard who then came after me and told me I could photograph the display!

The man at the depot spoke English and took me round. 83-158, 55-99 and 25-30 were all parked serviceable but dead. Frustratingly, as he took me round there was a whistle and puff of steam, from behind a building. It turned out 83-159 was leaving the depot for Oskova. I had not realised it was there. He said it would have come up for coaling or some other problem. He said one of 83-158 or 159 is always at Oskova and used every day. He said they change every four days which seems a very short turn around for the effort of steam raising from cold, I wonder if he meant four weeks. I walked to Oskova and as I approached 159 was pushing a train of wagons away from the washery. When I got there it did not move another inch, and I was there for two hours. Diesel 740-100 was there dead and another 740 arrived with a train of coal. There was a line of full wagons at the plant but everything was stationary. The train pushed out by 159 as I arrived was full of coal and I wonder if there was a problem at the plant as nothing was happening on the standard gauge lines either and it was mid- afternoon, not lunch time. The men came to 159 and used injectors, stoked, used the blower, but nothing else happened and all I did was sit on the bank and enjoy the presence of the loco. . As I waited for the bus back to Tuzla the standard gauge diesel started shunting so maybe there had been a problem.

Rob Dickinson