Richard Neun reports on a March 2010 visit to one of the last hot spots for
real stem in Europe:
Arrival at Sarajaevo airport with Lufthansa; I did hire a car for 5 days (45 € per day, unlimited mileage) and spent the
first night in Sarajevo.
In Kakanj (Catici) the engine I wished to see was in service: 62 020, the last original
American 62 in working order and in regular (nontouristic) service worldwide. Railwaymen are very friendly. The questions concerning a permit for taking photographs I did answer with photos from my visit in 2001.
So, here you will get no trouble. The engine is shunting the internal duties. Railwaymen told
me that the trains to Kakanj railway-station will work with a diesel-engine of the
state-railway. A reason for this could be that the airpump of 62 020 is defect. But I did not see such a train running to the station.
Nevertheless a lot of good spots are possible here. In the engine shed, as expected, 62 366
was cold but serviceable.
I continued to Zenica coalmine. Entrance was no problem (I did wait for the free permit only 5 to 10
minutes). But the mine was not working. Outside dumped and not serviceable engines: 62 003
(American) and 62 648. Inside the locoshed and obviously serviceable: 62 633 and 62 650. They announced
they would steam an engine in April. I assume that this would be for the
Farrail-Tour to Bosnia.
In the late afternoon I changed to the Tuzla-region and took a Motel (Magistrale) between Durdevik and Zivinice (18 € p. night).
Early in the morning I visited Durdevik coalmine. 62 111 was cold but in good
condition. Unfortunately I was informed that there would be no train to Zivinice within the next three days. They depend from the states-railway concerning
At the KREKA-administration in Tuzla - although I had sent an E-mail in
February in order to ask for a permit - they were not able to give it for all three
KREKA-mines. But they offered me a visit to Bukinje inclusive the workshop (20 €). In fact you don't need a permit to take photos of the train outside the not so photogenic modern mines in Sikulje and
Dubrave. The only but expensive advantage of a permit is, that you can ask in these mines for actual time of the coal-trains to the stations of Lukavac and
The visit in Bukinje:
62 123 was the locomotive for rare shunting and the few trains to the
33 236 reserve
62 368 and 62 637; for both engines they are interested to find a purchaser (in form of an interested preservation-society in Europe)
33 216 with the boiler of 33 504; (last year they did overhaul 33 504 with the boiler of 33 216)
in the workshop:
33 248 under heavy overhaul; the boiler had just been successfully tested with water-pressure
33 503 for a monthly check
62 376 in good shape without obvious maintainace-activities.
At 2:30 p.m. 33 504 left Dubrave with a coal train to Lubarcze and returned with empties half an hour later.
At 4:00 p.m. 33 064 arrived in Lukavac with a coal-train fom Sikulje and returned immediately without empties to the mine.
At 8:00 a.m. 62 123 did finish the morning-shunting in Bukinje.
I continued to Banovica where I bought a permit for 2 days (15 € per day) which allows unlimited access in Banovici and in Oskova
(narrow- and standard-gauge). In Banovici 83 158 with the tender of 83 159 was cold but serviceable. The reason for this combination: The tender of 83 158 derailed a few days ago. Also outside and in serviceable condition: the Budapest-engine 55 99, which was overhauled to work tourist-trains. In the workshop was 83 159 at the beginning of a heavy overhaul; boiler and framework still separated. Dumped were the following engines: 25 29, 25 32, 25 33 and 83 181: outside the
area of the mine 25 31 as a rather sad monument.
The working narrow-gauge-engine was 25 30. This CKD-engine had a lot of work in Banovici with pulling the trains slowly while the
coal-wagons were emptied. Here I did observe much more activity than in 2001. On the standard-gauge the new diesel engine normally did replace the steam-locos. But due to a regular 1-day-survey on
Thursday Skoda-loco 19 12 was steamed.
At 2:00 p.m. - half an hour earlier than the day before - 33 504 left Dubrave with a coal train to Lubarcze and returned with empties 30 minutes later.
In Lukavac in the morning from the stationmaster for 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm announced train from Sikulje did work earlier (at about 1:00 p.m.). I did not see the 62 of the Soda-factory.
Czech steam-days in Banovici with 25 30 working the whole day and 19 12 working until 4:00 p.m. The engine was then replaced by the diesel-engine.
2:00 p.m. 33 064 did arrive in Lukavac with a coal-train from Sikulje and did return immediately without empties. Nevertheless good spots with the diverse old signals. Then I returned to
Banovici. At 5:00 p.m. I did start to go back to Kakanj and met at 7:30 pm 62 020 at the waiting-position at the
west end of the mine, which is good for night-photos, supported by the light of my car. I did sleep in Motel Tiron (25 €
including breakfast, good standard).
Last visit to Catici in the morning light with 62 020 working hard and the photogenic mine in the background. Then I returned to Sarajevo and
caught my Lufthansa-flight to Munich.
5 days with best sunny weather (with the exception of Tuesday afternoon and
Wednesday until 9.30 am) and 6 steam locomotives of 5 different types in service: Europe's last stronghold of regular nontouristic steam is still worth a visit.