The International Steam Pages
Bosnian Steam Weekend 2012
James Waite has made another flying visit:
I joined the FarRail Tours visit to Banovici over the weekend of 25th and 26th February 2012, arranged to make use of both the railway's class 83 locos in the short period after no. 83-159 returned to traffic after overhaul in the middle of February and before the boiler certificate of no. 83-158 runs out in March and to give a double-headed run over the whole length of the line.
As you can see the trip was blessed with good weather and lots of snow on the Saturday. I've been to watch the shunting and discharge operations at Oskova several times in the past but this was the first time that I've travelled on the line. The first photo, taken on Friday evening on our way to Banovici, shows Skoda 0-10-0 no. 19-37, one of six of the type built in 1947 for the Jugoslav railways and which ended its days at Banovici. It's now preserved in the town of Doboj outside the headquarters of the Republika Srpska Railways which serve the Bosnian Serb part of the country. No fewer than 4 of these locos have survived into preservation, the others being 19-34 at Prijedor station and 19-33 at Banja Luka, both in the Republika Srpska (see my 2011 Croatia and Bosnia visit report) and 19-32 on the Třemešná ve Slezsku - Osoblaha branch in the Czech Republic (see my 2011 Czech visit report. They're huge and impressive locos for their gauge. The second photo is of one of no. 55-99, one of the classic Budapest-built 490 class 0-8-0T's at the depot in Banovici. Its design dates back to the early years of the 20th century. This one is one of a batch built in 1949 for the Banovici railway when operations there were greatly expanded after WW2. For many years it was preserved on a plinth in Banovici town centre but was overhauled between 2005 and 2009 and put back into use for visiting enthusiast specials.
The rest of the photos are of the double-headed train of coal empties. The line is double track from Oskova as far as the loading point at Gryvice, around 4 miles to the west, passing Banovici town on the way. The final 2 miles to the colliery at Turinje were closed for a long time and rebuilt as a single track line a few years ago.
This was a 2-day event but the second day was marred by heavy rain and extreme cold. As we had our own car we were able to opt out of this and started the journey earlier than we'd planned back west to Zagreb airport (now an Easyjet destination) for the flight home. By great good fortune we were held at the level crossing over the Dubrave colliery branch on the main road towards Tuzla as Kriegslok no. 33-248 plodded slowly past with a train of empties bound for the colliery. Back at Banovici the transport for the train-bound gricers was a flat, open wagon attached to the back of the coal wagons. I fear that those who stayed on won't have enjoyed their ride in the rain.
The Bosnians are very welcoming and hospitable people even though many of them live in depressing poverty. Food is always good, especially so in the Hotel Zlaca in the mountains near Banovici which is run by the mining company. Another great gricing trip!
Skoda 0-10-0 no. 19-37:
Here's the charter train.
Finally the real steam - courtesy of Neil Edwards, which also gives an idea of the weather conditions on the second day::