The International Steam Pages
Steam in Bosnia, Oskava, September 2014
Bill Jamieson who was here in March 2014 has returned for more. His notes will be helpful for those less familiar with this operation and confirm that genuine working steam worldwide is at such a low level that only those gricers with time on their hands can reasonably expect any degree of photographic success and even that may be minimal.
I was back in Bosnia at the end of last month for another go at Oskova, hopefully to see the recently overhauled 83 158 at work, although in the event this didnít transpire. In fact I spent a full 9 days there (not that I really wanted to be there so long, but it was a question of waiting for good weather to coincide with workings through the washery). Rather than give a blow by blow account of my visit, I have appended a list of the trip workings between the yard at Oskova and the washery (together with explanatory comments), the first time being that of a loaded train leaving for the washery, the second the time the loco arrived light engine back at the yard.
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
Thursday 25th September 2014
Friday 26th September 2014
Saturday 27th September
Sunday 28the Septmeber 2014
Monday 29th September 2014
Tuesday 30th September 2014
It will be seen that activity in the morning could be very meagre, if not non-existent. According to the transport manager at Banovici, planned maintenance at the washery would usually be carried out on weekday mornings and this seemed to be borne out on the ground, with (based on this and previous visits) Monday and Friday mornings being particularly likely to see no unloading done. However on the Sunday morning everything was at a standstill, so I assume that emergency repairs were being carried out. I would agree with John Raby (our visits overlapped by one day) that the quality of the coal coming into the washery is causing severe problems. Itís a pity that mornings donít see more activity because some of the best photographic opportunities at the washery are available between about 09:30 and 11:00 (at this time of year). After that, the washery is pretty hopeless until mid-afternoon, at least when the sun is shining.
On this occasion I bought permits covering four days - obviously titís impossible to get into the works without one, but itís rather hit and miss whether one will be apprehended by security staff at Oskova. I operated there permit-less without a problem for three days, but came unstuck on the fourth. It should be noted that the hillside above the washery can be accessed without having to pass a check-point - go about half a mile down the road towards Hotel Zlaca where a spoil-road crosses the public road and turn sharp right along it. Where thereís a break in the vegetation on the left ascend the slag heap and then bear right at the top to find a spot overlooking the washery yard - itís very unlikely that one would be disturbed by security staff there but it does require walking boots and a reasonable level of fitness to get up and down the slag heap!
My only other comment is that on this occasion the connection to Tuzla was not held at Doboj - train 397 from Zagreb had been severely delayed departing from Volinja, the border station on the Croatian side of the border with Bosnia, and didnít reach Doboj until about 15:50, over 20 minutes after the scheduled departure time of train 6607 to Tuzla, so thereís obviously a limit to how long train 6607 will be held. In this event, head straight out of the station across the river bridge and main road - the bus station is down the first turning thereafter on the right, next to a supermarket (Bingo I think). I got a bus to Tuzla at 17:30 but this was on a Sunday and Iím not sure whether the timing would apply every day of the week (there was no departure board to be seen).