The International Steam Pages

Steam in Bosnia, March 2016

Jakob Stiliing writes of his visit.

A brief update based on a visit to the Tuzla area in the beginning of March, with a small group consisting of Jens Ingemann, Tommy Jensen, Steen Cavour Nielsen and myself. We flew into Tuzla on the twice weekly direct Wizz-service from Malmö, very convenient for us, and hired a car for local transport.

The Kreka engines are still confined to the washeries in Sikulje and Dubrave. There is still one class 33 working in each mine, and shunting one to two trains a day, which are now worked to and from the state railway by the diesel working the connecting train.

Thus, only the internal shunting, moving the empties to the start of the wire worked line under the washery, and assembling the full train afterwards is done by steam. 

Unless a visitors permit is arranged via Sikulje or the main office, only the two headshunts af Dubrave (from the transporter bridge to the west or the level crossing at the points to the east) are accessible, and a long wait must be expected before the crew decides to move the engine.

In Sikulje, a shunt with the empties around 7.30-8.00 along the track south of the mine seems to be standard, however, the crews are quite eager for tips. 

In Bukinje, work is still under way on the boiler repair on 33 248. A cold boiler test on weldings at the edges of the firebox was conducted during our visit, on March 2nd.

Sister engine 33 504 was cold and spare in one track of the works, while 33 064 was also inside the works with a missing axle that has gone to Slavonski Brod for retyring.

Outside, the tender of 33 248 was waiting to be reunited with its engine.

Outside the tender of 33-316 and the usual lineup of 62-123, 62-376, 62-634, 62-368 and the torso of 33-216.

During our visit on March 2nd the workshops seemed to be in full swing.

However, according to the Farrail newsletter there are development plans for the whole workshop area, and plans to establish a small workshop in Dubrave or Sikulje for day to day repairs. 

If these plans materialize any need for big repairs to the cl. 33s will be difficult to solve.

No signs of this were seen during our visit and the workshop staff did not mention this. The new 4 lane main road includes a level crossing for the connecting line to the workshop area.

In Oskova, black 83 158 was working the washery on March 1-3.. The green 83 had failed. An outdoor museum has been opened next to the parking lot just east of Banovivi station, with 55-99 and 25-33 plinthed outside with mining equipment, including an excavator from the mine. At the far end of the line a new loading track is being constructed.

Durdevik was visited on March 1st. 62 111 is parked outside, and is according to the friendly security staff “very old and broken”. The connecting line is definitely out of use, and a big pile of coal is lying across the tracks north of the washery.

We had booked a special in Banovici on March 2 and travelled the whole line behind 83 158 with numerous runpasts. The washery was diesel worked in the meantime. On the following day, we had arranged for 19-12 to shunt the standard gauge station at Oskova. 

In Lukavac it was noted that the cokery diesel is allowed to work into the station, so the ban on using private railway engines seems to apply to the Kreka engines only.

Permits for special trains can be arranged, later in March another group used 33 504 on trains to Sikulje and Oskova.

With a local Kreka guide unlimited access was possible to Sikulje and Dubrave, and some good false starts and runpasts were performed by the crews.

Is it all turning into a circus? Maybe. 

With the permits and guides in place, a three day visit to the area can give you very good coverage even without specials in Banovici. Even though the cost for such a small group is high, it seems worthwhile. 

And where else to go in Europe for 2 SG and a NG steam engine in daily industrial service within a 20 km radius?

We have not sent any pictures of our specials, all are “real” workings.

1st March

2nd March

3rd March

Rob Dickinson