Balkans (Macedonia, Greece & Bulgaria) – October 2018 (PTG Balkan Circular Charter & Septemvri NG)
Best laid plans! While the 2018 PTG Balkan Circular charter only breezed through Greece, it would still get some Alco’s while in the country; but almost didn’t end up involving Greece at all, thanks to an untimely bridge issue in Macedonia which all but cut Macedonia from its rail connection to any other country.
Once the charter was back into Bulgaria, I’d have three days there on a one-country Interrail Pass and planned to cover the Septemvri – Dobrinishte narrow gauge railway during that time.
Booked through Wizz Air
W6-7702 0855 Luton – Skopje
Booked through Ryanair
FR9962 1205 Sofia – Stansted
Luton – Ibis Luton Airport – typical Ibis hotel but just what we needed on arrival; a bed!
Macedonia – Skopje – Hotel Centar – a 10-minute walk from Skopje station and is housed in a very strange structure that houses an Olympic sized swimming pool; and resembles an industrial warehouse from the outside. Inside though, there was an air of calmness and the place was spotless, rooms and all. Our twin room was on the second floor, overlooking a large roof space that didn’t look finished. The air-con worked a treat, there was scalding hot water, plenty of toiletries and the beds were nice and comfy. Breakfast was buffet style, with plenty to choose from.
Macedonia – Bitola – Hotel El Greco – they El Greco had recently had some water ingress that had resulted in rooms being out of use, so they booked a room at the Hotel Korzo for us instead. Now bearing in mind we’d booked a double and a single at the El Greco, the fact the Korzo only had a triple room played into our hands. Not only did we now have one room, but we had a triple room that was clean, spacious and more than adequate.
Greece – Thessaloniki – Hotel Rotunda – out of Thessaloniki station to the main road, turn right and it’s a 5-minute walk along the main road, on the left. Not much to say, other than it was a bed for a short night’s sleep and the breakfast was buffet style, with loads to choose from.
Greece – Alexandroupoulis – Hotel Alkyon – a 20-minute walk from Port station with unassuming, small twin rooms. It’s like the Greece hotels of old but everything worked ok and we were far enough away from themain drag for it to be in a very quiet location. Breakfast wasn’t up to much at all and nobody made us anything fresh when we went down for it either.
Bulgaria – Svilengrad – Guest House Gebran – run by a red-faced Bulgarian, who spoke no English but communicated through his phone, using Google translate to translate his speaking into English. The man was a right beast and showed us to our spotless rooms straight away. As we had no Bulgarian money between us, he even let us have a beer each, for free, and when asked about taxis to get us to the station the following morning, he offered to take us free of charge and set his alarm for 0343 while we were sat talking. It was a breath of fresh air walking into a place on the cusp of Bulgaria, where no English was spoken and yet communication was not an issue and our host was a cracking guy too.
Bulgaria – Bansko – Aneli Hotel – a 15-minute walk from Bansko station, uphill! I had a sizeable room with a double bed, which was spotless and had great WiFi, although it wasn’t so warm. There was very hot water, and I was given a breakfast bag to take with me when I checked out at stupid o’clock.
Bulgaria – Sofia – Hostel Sylvia – only a 5-minute walk from Sofia station, and I’d stayed there before. It’s a simple place with small bland, but functional rooms, with hot water and a bed for a very reasonable price.
Macedonia – all tickets purchased at ticket offices individually
Greece – none required
Bulgaria – 3-day one-country Interrail Pass (booked direct via the EURail website)
Sunday 29th September 2018 (Heading to Luton)
With a hotel booked for an early morning flight from Luton to Skopje the following morning, I’d originally planned to do 31601 at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, before heading to Luton. The day before though, 31601 decided to break its AVR so I arrived at London in good time, having done 91101 Doncaster – Kings Cross and then back to Durham for 91127 to London instead. After meeting Flossy, Worthy & Modo at Euston, the night was going to be a few pints at the Euston Tap and then head to Luton at a reasonable time. It turned into more than a few pints at the Euston Tap, a crap hoppy pint at some craft place near Kings Cross and then a lock-in at the Lucas Arms, also near Kings Cross, before ending up on the 2336 train from St Pancras to Luton. The landlady at the Lucas had been intrigued with the fact that we were going train spotting in Macedonia and decided to join us for a beer, before locking us in and then giving us a pint on the house; just when we’d probably had enough!
The poor souls on the train to Luton had to put up with 4 drunk train spotters jibbering away for the duration of the journey and listen to Worthy bleating on about the fact we’d wasted a hotel and might as well have done an overnight to get for our plane the following morning! To say he wasn’t happy was an understatement. Surprisingly, there was a shuttle bus waiting outside Luton Airport Parkway station and we managed to make it to the Ibis near Luton Airport just after 1am!
Monday 30th September 2018 (An evening in Skopje before the main event)
I don’t think it would take a genius to figure out that there were four knackered cranks on board Wizz Air’s 0855 Luton – Skopje flight; and a fair few other cranks as well, all heading out for the same thing. Thankfully the flight was on time and we all regrouped on the ground at Skopje after being scattered around the plane during the journey. Someone managed to find the bus gen in the airport foyer, for the airport bus that nobody could find the gen for online; and everyone managed to get onto the 1330 bus from the airport to town, which dropped us off at the main bus station, below Skopje railway station.
As everyone was scattered around tow, in different hotels, it seemed sensible to arrange to meet up back at Skopje station for the first of the two diesel hauled departures at 1610. I’d booked Flossy & I into the Hotel Centar, which I’d stayed at before. It’s a 10-minute walk from Skopje station and is housed in a very strange structure that houses an Olympic sized swimming pool; and resembles an industrial warehouse from the outside. Inside though, there was an air of calmness and the place was spotless, rooms and all. Our twin room was on the second floor, overlooking a large roof space that didn’t look finished. The air-con worked a treat, there was scalding hot water, plenty of toiletries and the beds were nice and comfy. There was nothing to complain about at all.
Our relaxing couple of hours included a history lesson, courtesy of Google, on the 1963 earthquake that flattened 80% of Skopje. The current Skopje station was built in true 1970’s style, from concrete, and is now elevated above the city, the old station was left standing as a memorial to the disaster; with the station clock still set to the time the earthquake occurred. Unfortunately, in 2016 development work started in the surrounding area and access to the old station is now virtually impossible. Hopefully development won’t result in the old station being pulled down.
There were quite a few cranks at Skopje station for the afternoon departures, which turned into one less departure than usual when the international train 892 1610 Skopje – Hani I Elezit was cancelled; which seems to be a regular occurrence these days. The gen on this didn’t go down too well with Youth, who was in Prishtina, Kosovo, and planning on doing the return working back into Macedonia the following morning; but he at least had notice of his impending road move.
MZ electric 441755 was first into the station, with just one coach, to form R2020 1635 Skopje – Tabanovci and it was closely followed by MZ GM 661146, the oldest surviving member of the class in Macedonia, again with just one coach, to form IR660 1650 Skopje – Kicevo. With all aboard, having bought tickets from the large booking hall downstairs, most of us got off at Skopje Sever, after skirting the city with 661146. Some went through to Kicevo to do a bus back to Tetovo, stay the night there and do the661 back in the following morning; meanwhile those of us left in Skopje walked the 5km back to Skopje’s old town and found somewhere pleasant to eat.
After dinner we headed to one of the two brewpubs in Skopje, where the intention was to have a couple and move on. 7 pints later, with a £120 bill, we were ready for bed; I don’t know about moving on! If you ever visit this place, do not try the IPA, its fucking horrible hoppy shite! You’ve been warned. During our time drinking the place dry the inside of the building had gone from empty to being rammed with Skopje’s youth. The music was banging and the floorboards outside were vibrating and we left after having to listen to “whoop, whoop, it’s the sound of the police” reverberating around the place; which became the song of the bash….
As we walked away from the building something very surreal happened, something none of us had ever witnessed before. The stray dogs that some had been petting at the pub followed us away from the place and initially we thought their barking at random cars was their playtime but as more joined their ranks as we walked on, it became clear it was something more. Soon there were nine dogs in total walking amongst us and anyone or anything that came near us was given a telling by our protective posse. The first bike we came across ended up with its rider on the ground, kicking out at the dogs that had brought him down, he threw a glass bottle at them in disgust after he got back up and we were in the distance. The next cyclist we came across managed to stay upright but not without using one of his feet to fend the dogs off his ankles! There were a few people that walked by that didn’t even get a glance from our new friends, possibly because they showed no fear and didn’t look threatening? One poor guy ended up having to jump off the pavement and one the wall by the river, which had a sheer drop of about 20ft, into the water; and I’m sure he had a nip on the ankle in the process! After a 25-minute walk across town we split up to get to our respective hotels and the whole dog posse followed Flossy, Tony & I back to the Hotel Centar, giving us no bother whatsoever, all the way. As quickly as our protection detail had gathered, they soon dispersed as we headed into the hotel reception and with hem, so did a very bizarre 30 minutes of our lives; which thankfully I’d managed to video some of on my phone after they’d brought the first guy off his bike!
It was another night we ended up in bed the day after we’d got up and on this particular night we went to bed with an uncertainty of what we’d actually be doing the following day as at 2100 we were presented with the news that MZ had announced that the line from Veles to Gevgelija had been closed indefinitely due to a bridge strut having sunk 15cm and the track with it. Luckily, we’d been able to cancel off hotels in Thessaloniki at no cost, but nobody had been able to cancel their Bitola hotels for the following night due to the late notice. Apparently, MZ would be offering more news at 1230 the following day, which would be the moment that defined whether we’d all come on holiday by mistake, or not!
Gen for Monday 30th September 2018
441755 R2020 1635 Skopje – Tabanovci
661146 IR660 1650 Skopje – Kicevo
INT892 1610 Skopje – Hani I Elezit Cancelled
Moves for Monday 30th September 2019
|HA-LYR||Luton||Skopje||W6-7702||0855 Luton – Skopje|
|661146||Skopje||Skopje Sever||IR660||1650 Skopje – Kicevo|
Photos for Monday 30th September 2018
Tuesday 1st October 2018 (A Bridge too Far………)
The morning after the night before seemed to be kind to all of us as we had a leisurely breakfast at the Hotel Centar. Youth joined us around 1030 too, having shared a taxi from Hani I Elezit to Skopje, after suffering a DMU from Prishtina. With no news by the time we all checked out of the hotel at 11am, someone found the sense to create a WhatsApp group named “A Bridge too Far” to add anyone and everyone to, to basically allow Rubble to post any developments in one place for all to see. As 25% of the PTG tour’s participants were planning on joining in Macedonia it was in everyone’s interest to be kept abreast of developments, especially if the train didn’t end up coming into Macedonia from Serbia.
Peron 8, the station café at Skopje station, was as good a place as any to meet up and the free WiFi was a bonus. We were all planning on doing the 1330 to Veles for the 1430 Skopje – Bitola to destination to get on the tour the following morning, which is another story, thanks to Serbian Railways forgetting about a 36-hour block. As a result of their fuck-up, only 2 days before the tour, which had been timed through Skopje at 1342, they announced the error of their ways and retimed it to depart Nis, Serbia, at 1630; which resulted in a nice 0107 arrival into Bitola the following morning and had everyone that was planning to get on at Skopje now planning to get on in Bitola the following morning, after a decent night’s sleep!
By the time some gen had come through on the WhatsApp group, we’d been though a whole combination of ways to get out of the situation we might be faced with but at 1235 Rubble posted that everything planned in Macedonia would go ahead as planned; except for heading south from Veles by train. Half an hour later he confirmed that plans were afoot to hire two coaches from OSE to allow the Greek part of the tour to take place as planned and that MZ would provide buses to get everyone from Veles to the opposite side of the disaster zone, and a train from there to Gevgelija to connect with the OSE stock. Feeling relieved, and a little put off by what events would follow, we all bought tickets to Veles and after MZ 441755 arrived with the one coach on R632 1147 Veles – Skopje, 442003 replaced it for R2083 1320 Skopje – Veles. As we were a bit last-miute.com, we all had to stand in the rear vestibule of the one coach for the 50-minute journey to Veles.
At Veles a few beers were consumed at a nearby restaurant and a few more were taken onto the DMU forming the 1430 Skopje – Bitola, to numb the pain. One of the reasons for joining the tour in Macedonia was to do the Bitola line as it was scenic and there was quite a bit of uphill running on the way to Bitola. We had to listen to the DMU being thrashed instead though but at least the air-con and toilet worked.
A timely arrival into Bitola allowed for a sociable evening. Again, we were all scattered about in different hotels and upon arrival at our Hotel El Greco we had t wait for the owner to come and let us in through the front door that we all initially missed when walking through the town. When he got there Tony was invited to wait at the front doo while Youth, Flossy & I were shown to a different hotel around the corner. According to the guy, they El Greco had recently had some water ingress that had resulted in rooms being out of use, so they booked a room at the Hotel Korzo for us instead. Now bearing in mind we’d booked a double and a single at the El Greco, the fact the Korzo only had a triple room played into our hands and when Youth brought this to their attention “the guy” accepted 30 Euros and away he went; out of pocket. Not only did we now have one room, but we had a triple room but the double bed in it allowed Pelham to have a bed for the night, as I didn’t mind sharing with him; and no, it wasn’t the first time either! He’d flown into Thessaloniki earlier and ended up doing the 1930 Thessaloniki – Florina unit and getting a taxi to take him over the border into Bitola, where we met up with him later that night; after a decent meal in a rather empty place at the top end of town.
I was ready for bed after the two previous very late nights and we were all in bed by 2300, knowing that the tour was heading our way with MZ 661410; and it would be another 2h30m before its participants would get to bed and with only a 6h18m turnaround from arriving to departing the following morning! With a long 13-hour day the following day, which MZ managed to turn into an 18-hour one…..
Gen for Tuesday 1st October 2018
INT891 0900 Hani I Elezit – Skopje Cancelled
661146 IR661 0530 Kicevo – Skopje
441755 R632 1147 Veles – Skopje
442003 R2083 1320 Skopje – Veles
PTG Balkan Circular
666001 17901 1630 Nis – Tabanovce
661410 xxxx 2138 Tabanovci – Bitola
Moves for Tuesday 1st October 2018
|442003||Skopje||Veles||R2083||1320 Skopje – Veles|
|711003||Veles||Bitola||IR643||1430 Skopje – Bitola|
Photos for Tuesday 1st October 2018
Wednesday 2nd October 2018 (A Day too Long…….)
Surprisingly, we woke to news that the tour had arrived into Bitola on time and as breakfast didn’t start at the Korzo until 5 minutes after the tour would depart we thankfully managed to find a kiosk open, en-route to the station, which provided breakfast. The load 3 BDZ set was sat in the station and MZ’s 661410 was shut down on the stabling point until 25 minutes before departure. At it had led up to Bitola with its “alligator” short hood leading, it was gay way round for the journey towards Veles but would be right after running around there for the journey to Kochani. Well it would have been if the fucking thing hadn’t burst 44km out of Bitola!
Thankfully, when the ailing 661 started to struggle for power we were on the flat but as the driver could only get it to rev up in the first notch, and then lose power a few second later, it turned into a painfully slow journey to Prilep; where we arrived about 40’ late. Assistance was already sorted but 661234 and its freight didn’t arrive into Prilep until 1015, 15 minutes after we should have been leaving Veles for Kochani! The extended fester at least allowed people to wake up and head t the nearby garage for breakfast & coffee. No time was wasted by the crew on 661234 as they hastily shunted their freight wagons into a siding, dropped the loco on top of 661410, blew the brakes up and were chomping at the bit to get away; and they got us underway well over 3 hours late! The journey down to Veles was much of a muchness and we were in the back coach anyway. It was evident that demic 661410 was better sounding than its rescuer; but still, they’d GM’s and do nothing for my appetite.
At Veles we were hoping for a quick getaway to Kochani but after 661234 dropped 661410 onto the top of a freight in the sidings it went onto the shed for fuel. The lengthy stop allowed the train’s participants to head to the shop outside the station and buy it dry of beer and the burger kiosk next door probably did its best day’s trade in many a year; which pretty much everyone partook in. When 661234 finally got itself back onto the train we departed at 1315, 3h15m late; and 30 minutes after we should have departed Kochani coming back!
The Kochani branch daily train was booked a DMU but has seen sparse loco-haulage, and every report has been of a 642 sewing machine, yet PTG were allowed to take a 661 to Kochani because they, according to MZ, occasionally worked there on the local passenger vice DMU. It’s very random that nobody has ever reported one though. The Kochani line is nothing to write home about for thrash and we had to do 13km of it at 20kmph anyway, due to restrictions on the 661. The scenery along the way is as good as the Bitola line, if not better in places, and it was a pleasant run, despite the severe late running.
At Kochani the run-round could have been done quicker and seemed to take an age, definitely taking longer than the allowed time. We departed Kochani at 1615, 3h30m late, 1h05m after we should have been departing Veles for Gevgelija. We were treated to a nice sunset on the approach to Veles and by the time we arrived it was dark. Two buses were waiting in the car park on arrival and they quickly filled up. There was only just enough room for everyone on the train though and a pissed Flossy & Modo ended up sat in the footwell of our bus’s middle door. Of course, Worthy interrupted proceedings as he was busting for a piss and he had to remove the driver’s underpants from the bog’s pan before attempting to piss into it!
The buses dropped us at Kukuricani and the middle doo opened before we’d stopped, depositing Modo on the floor outside in the process. As everyone was straight down the steps after him his food was trampled on and the lid for his water bottle was in the wind! While the crisps were hastily devoured on board the waiting EMU, the water bottle was conveniently knocked over, straight into Worthy’s lap. It couldn’t have looked any more like he’d pissed himself, if he actually had!
At Gevgelija our EMU pulled up behind the waiting OSE stock, which we already knew had OSE MLW MX636 A506 at the business end and OSE electric 120027 at the rear; which could be seen through the EMU cab window. Nobody was allowed to leave the train until our passports had been processed; which were taken from us by the border security and given back once they’d been processed off the train. Thankfully we were at the correct end of the EMU to be amongst the first off and I legged it to the front of the OSE stock to get us a compo, in what turned out to be a rather pleasant 1st class compo coach, and I managed to get the hopper window open in our compo. The bogs left a little bit to be desired as none in either coach would flush and they were overflowing nicely by Thessaloniki.
After a trundle over the boarded from Gevgelija, Macedonia to Idomeni, Greece, our passports were taken from us again and by the time we eventually departed Idomeni we were over 4 hours late! Unfortunately, the noise from the MLW wasn’t that audible inside the air-con coaches, with only small hopper windows and the small load didn’t help with such a powerful loco, despite the dead electric on the rear. In true OSE style, they original plan to send A453 light to Axios to top the electric to Thessaloniki didn’t materialize and after a very brief reversal 120027 lead the train towards Thessaloniki; departing there well after midnight; and arriving into Thessaloniki at 0110, vice 2027, 283’ late!
There was a mad dash to hotels upon arrival and after we’d cancelled our original Hotel Vergina, we’d rebooked the Hotel Rotunda as the Vergina wasn’t available on Booking.com. Thankfully we were amongst the first to make it there and as we headed to our rooms, a queue began to form at the reception desk. Randomly one of the PTG participants followed us to the hotel, assuming that we were part of the masses! He was last seen walking out in disgust as he headed back to his correct hotel; and probably to a very long queue for checking in!
Gen for Wednesday 2nd October 2018
PTG Balkan Circular
661410 940 0725 Bitola – Veles (to Prilep, fail LOP)
661234 940 0725 Bitola – Veles (from Prilep, 661410 dit)
661234 951 1000 Veles – Kocani (3h10m late)
661234 950 1245 Kocani – Veles (3h30m late)
EMU 301 1510 Veles – Idomeni (start Kukuricani (dep 1944) with bus connection from Veles, to Gevgelija)
A506 (120027 dor) 301 1510 Veles – Idomeni (from Gevgelija), 7911 1850 Idomeni – Axios
120027 (A506 dor) 7752 2010 Axios – Thessaloniki (arr Thess 0110)
Moves for Wednesday 2nd October 2018
|661410||Bitola||Prilep||940||0725 Bitola – Veles|
|661234||Veles||Kocani||951||1000 Veles – Kocani|
|661234||Kocani||Veles||950||1245 Kocani – Veles|
|Bus||Veles||Kukuricani||301||1510 Veles – Idomeni|
|A506||Gevgelija||Idomeni||301||1510 Veles – Idomeni|
|A506||Idomeni||Axios||7911||1850 Idomeni – Axios|
Photos for Wednesday 2nd October 2018
Thursday 3rd October 2018 (Day 1 of 2 in Greece – MLW heaven….)
After immediately hitting the sack the night before, I’d like to say it was a leisurely morning, but it was far from it. I was up, showered and down in the breakfast room before any of the rest of our “gang” and I rushed it all down, as well as rustling up a few sarnies for later, before heading out to the station to get some bits for the journey to Alexandroupolis Port; including some much-needed cash as I was running out of Euros.
Despite the 0901 departure from Thessaloniki, I was at the station for 8 o’clock and found the two coaches we’d had the previous day stabled in the same location we’d left them only 7 hours earlier; right over the far side of the station. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the first on the train but very surprisingly, there was only one compo left empty in the 1st class coach when I arrived; which was duly claimed. Which, by the time we departed Thess was cozy with 7 of us sharing it.
In true Greek style, nothing went right that morning. The bogs were still swimming in crap, and overflowing, and there wasn’t anything attached to the front of the train by the 0901 departure time. However, there was a cleaner going down the train wiping the inner windows of all the compos and replacing toilet rolls! Eventually, which we’d known about the previous day, OSE managed to get MLW’s A506/A451 off shed and onto the train but we were 40’ late leaving. Apparently, there’d been an issue with a loco on shed which delayed them coming off. Unfortunately, all the A451’s that had been on shed at Thess the previous day had disappeared, leaving only A451 & A470, both of which had already worked previous PTG tours; so, that was that!
The reason for pairing, which were in multi, we’d been told was to get a loco to Alex for a freight. We didn’t know it at the time, but the pair would work forward from Alex the following morning and on their return from Svilengrad they’d collect a freight at Pythio, which had entered Greece from Turkey. With Adtranz 220002 providing the ETH supply to the train the light, doors and air-con all worked but even with the dead weight of the Adtranz and the small hopper window open in our compo there wasn’t much to hear. Both locos sounded very good, even A506, but without being ale to lean out o the window the noise couldn’t be heard very well. It didn’t help with 6300hp on a small load with an absolute windbag for a driver either! Some people managed to get a cab-ride later in the day and confirmed that the driver never went above notch 7 and drove mostly in notch 6 max; which is just shit really and spoilt what could have been a bit of a scream with the right driver.
At Drama there was a 1h40m lunch stop, pre-orders for which had been taken on board the train; albeit only so the restaurant knew how many of each meal to make. The restaurant is just over the road from Drama station and there were enough seats to accommodate people. It quickly became evident that the whole event was going to be a massive farce when it took an age for orders to be taken and each order was being hand written and duplicated on a piece of paper for each person so they could take their slip to the cash desk and pay. Those that had been lucky to order first had finished and paid before we even had our order taken and by the time our main courses turned up it was 1500, and the train should have been well on its way! When it became evident that everyone wouldn’t get served a 1510 departure time had been agreed but with my main course having only jus arrived and there being a massive queue for paying, it looked likely that the revised departure time wasn’t going to be met either. The train crew were already blowing the loco horn to get everyone back to the train and in the end those that hadn’t paid ended up leaving money on their respective tables and I had to get the staff to put my schnitzel into a takeaway tray and I polished it off on the train. It took me 20 minutes to eat at a normal pace and I feel for those that had no choice but to rush their food down. The whole debacle was an utter farce but could have been managed so much better.
We should have recovered the lost time by Xanthi, where we crossed train 601 to Alex, but by Alex we were an hour late after pissing about with needless photo-stops in ailing light conditions; when everyone just wanted to get to bed! Those that had been on the tour from Nis had suffered two after 1am arrivals, with turnarounds of 6h17m and 7h51m respectively; and that was from arrival to departure, not including getting to their hotels, eating and getting back to the shack the following morning. Basically, everyone was ready for a bloody rest and we just needed to get there!
Thankfully, it was a quick reversal at Alexandroupolis Dialogi and we were straight down to Alexandroupolis Port, where we arrived about an hour late. Our Hotel Alkyon was a 20-minute walk from Port station and we weren’t the furthest from it either. Some were staying right over the road from Port station, in the Hotel Vergina and we all agreed to meet up later for something to eat.
There are plenty of fooderies to choose from along the front at Alex Port, but we found one on a side-street that only had us eating at it in the end. The owner and his wife cooked us up some decent food and we all left satisfied with what we’d eaten. A couple of beers then beckoned while we reminisced about the day, and previous visits to Alex, but of course for some, a couple of beers turned into a few, then a few more and a bar bill over 100 Euros again; followed by not being able to remember what time they staggered back to he hotel, or if the mess in the toilet pan was the remains of one person throwing up or the remains of another’s violent bowl movement! Photographic evidence of the event was recorded though, so everyone else had chance to make their own minds up about what had happened to the bog pan; which had been severely punished, by the way!
Gen for Thursday 3rd October 2018
PTG Balkan Circular
A506/A451 7610 0901 Thessaloniki – Alexandoupolis Port (220002 inside for ETH)
Moves for Thursday 3rd October 2018
|120027||Axios||Thessaloniki||7752||2010 (02/10) Axios – Thessaloniki|
|A506||Thessaloniki||Alexandroupolis Port||7610||0901 Thessaloniki – Alexandoupolis Port|
Photos for Thursday 3rd October 2018
Friday 4th October 2018 (Day 2 of 2 in Greece and an unexpected bonus)
Everyone really was afforded a leisurely morning and with an 1105 departure from Alex Port we had almost all morning to play with. Of course, a lay-in beckoned after the late finishes and early starts. The dirty stop-outs from the night before mentally had a lay-in but really they’d not had any more sleep than any of the previous sleep deprived nights, only they couldn’t remember how much they’d had; so mentally they were well rested! Clowns!
Breakfast wasn’t up to much at the Hotel Alkyon and there was very little of it, which didn’t get restocked once during our time in the breakfast room. There didn’t seem to be many people staying there and we only saw two other people in the hotel during our stay.
Today’s tour would be formed of two open coaches, the only two remaining operable in the whole of Greece, which had been recently moved from storage in Lianokladi, to Alexandroupolis. Any hope of getting a decent seat would have been out of the window had the Greeks had their act together as by the time we got to the station, at around 1030, most of the trains participants were already waiting patiently on the platform for the stock to arrive. Which, in true Greek fashion, it did so 20 minutes after the booked departure time and there was a scrum to get onto the train then.
Unfortunately, we found out the hard wat that not all the windows in the two fresh-air coaches would open and both coaches were opens. To say they’d not been used in a while they were in reasonable condition and the toilets were in better condition than those on either of the previous two sets of stock we’d had on the tour thus far. There was another problem though, which there was a remedy to, it was sweltering on board as the ETH was plugged in and turned on from Adtranz 220002. What we all didn’t realise though was that without the ETS from the Adtranz the door locks allegedly couldn’t operate; so, when it was removed from the consist at Alexandroupolis Dialogi the guard went through the train and locked all the doors with his key. God forbid there’d be an emergency on board…..
Attempts were made to get A506, which was leading, switched out so only A451 was powering but that didn’t happen and despite the fresh-air stock the run towards Dikea was a massive disappointment. These days it seemed that spare locos weren’t left at Alexandroupolis so we had to have the same two locos again and 6300hp with a trailing weight of about 80 tons was just ridiculous and didn’t tax the MLWs at all; they might as well have been light engine.
Our plan for the day was to only do the tour to Simeonovgrad, which was half way between Svelingrad & Dmitrovgrad, in Bulgaria, where the tour when then branch northeast over the freight line to Stara Zagora and we’d head northwest to Plovdiv on the service train that departed from Svilengrad behind the tour but overtook it at Simeonovgrad; which meant we could get BDZ Cargo’s 07001 in the book, which had, or would, e the only BDZ 07 to feature on the tour throughout. However, 30 minutes into the journey towards Dikea Rubble presented us with a quandary; which none of us had even considered would happen.
We pondered the situation we were presented with almost all the way to Pythio and when we saw 13 loaded TCDD oil tanks there, which was what the MLW’s had been paired up for in the first place, our decision was pretty much made up for us, so we took a leap of faith and an afternoon of adventure awaited us from that point on. Since the tour was now using OSE stock and not BDZ stock, which the MLWs would have left at Svilengrad and then run light back to Pythio to collect their cargo, the OSE stock now had to get back to Alex from Svilengrad. The train crew had told Rubble that they’d take anyone back to Alex with them, if they so wished. So, having asked Apollon to confirm the taxi fare from Alex to Svilengrad (€220) 4 of us decided to make an evening of it. Rather than going through to Svilengrad with the tour, we had t get off at Dikea and await the locos returning with the coaches.
Initially the border guards weren’t going to let us off the train at Dikea ad beckoned that we get back on, until Apollon explained that we weren’t going into Bulgaria. Once we were allowed off they marched us to their office across the way and checked our passports anyway, before allowing us on our merry way. As we walked by the station building one of the station staff gave us a piece of paper with two taxi numbers for Dikea, should we end up on the 0030 bus from Alex to Dikea! Our discussions with the border staff weren’t finished though, and while we were getting the photo of the day, while everyone else was confined t barracks on the train, one of them came over to us. We of course assumed we’d be told to stop photographing, but no, he wanted to check our passports again to make sure our names had been crossed off the list of tour participants that would be crossing the Greek/Bulgarian border. Satisfied, we were finally left to our own devices.
We found a cracking restaurant by the side of the railway, where one of the customers translated for us and we had a slap-up meal, with beer, frappe and a free shot of the local rocket fuel thrown in for good measure. Everything worked out very timely indeed and having paid the bill and got water from the only shop open we were just walking back to the station when the level crossing siren began its chime; and around the corner came our chariot, now with A451 leading the way. The guard was at the front door ready to let us back on board and we had the run of the mill on board the empty train; but for the guard, his shunter and two other guys that go on with us at Dikea.
Looking forward to a good thrash back to Alex, the inevitable happened at Pythio and the two coaches were attached to the rear of the 13 oil tanks for the run to Alex. During the shunting we were shown inside the station master’s office, where there was a desk still set up for the Turkish staff to use and a Turkish red-cap still hung on the wall beside it. On the ”Greek” side of the office were loads of photos, most showing severe flooding in 2005, which looked to be at least knee-high. Others showed other weather extremes, with one being of a BDZ 06 in deep snow. The station building itself wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of a zombie movie, with it being both desolate and rickety looking. The station departure board was still in situ, as was the sign for what used to be the station buffet; the whole building was a memorial to what once was, and it even had a post office attached way back when!
As dusk began to fall, our sightseeing at Pythio came to an end and the MLWs eased their load away from the station; after the crew on the platform took the piss out of the crew on the loco for taking the train way too far beyond the points, and out of sight while shunting it out of the sidings. There’s nothing like a bit of friendly banter between colleagues, especially when they’re calling each other wankers! The run towards Alex was a good one and we arrived at Alex Dialogi at 1915, 18’ late on the booked timings for the train. The guard was very sociable and had been with OSE for 35 years. As he spoke good English we got him to book us our taxi to take us to Svilengrad, which he arranged to pick us up from Dialogi at 1930. He was flabbergasted that we were even considering such a costly venture and insisted that we wait for the 0030 bus to Dikea and get a taxi from there; before finally booking the taxi.
Five of us did the move back from Dikea, the guard took Mike Tyrer back to his hotel near Alex Port and me, Flossy, Pelham & Ciaran waited patiently outside Dialogi station for our taxi, while the MLWs shunted the oil tanks off the stock. Come 1940 I ended up ringing Radio taxis to find out where our taxi was. Thankfully the lady at the end of the phone spoke good English and confirmed that our ride would be with us momentarily; just as a taxi was seen pulling into the wrong carpark, near to the station. Moments later our driver pulled into the correct car park and we were all very surprised to see a female driver turning up; to take 4 guys into Bulgaria.
As is apparently protocol in Greece, we were first taken to Alex police station to be vetted by the local police, before our driver would be allowed to take us over the Greek/Bulgarian border. With the problems the Greeks have faced with immigration recently this makes sense and for a woman driver taking four guys on a 2-hour journey to a place she’d never been before made even more sense. We were only in the police station for 10 minutes and the police were no bother whatsoever. From that point the 185km journey to Svilengrad took 2h05m, including the border stops. The taxi meter was on around €140 on arrival at our hotel of choice but as Greek taxi journeys take into consideration the empty ride, our €220 fare didn’t seem too bad in comparison to the metered fare.
Both border stops were hassle free, although it was clear when leaving Greece that our driver didn’t get out much; bless her. Thankfully for her I’d booked the closest place possible to Svilengrad station, on Booking.com after we’d left Alexandroupolis, which was only 3km away from the Bulgarian border post. After we were dropped off, at around 2215, we were greeted at the Guest House Gebran by a red-faced Bulgarian, who spoke no English but communicated through his phone, using Google translate to translate his speaking into English. The man was a right beast and showed us to our spotless rooms straight away. As we had no Bulgarian money between us he even let us have a beer each, for free, and when asked about taxis to get us to the station the following morning, he offered to take us free of charge and set his alarm for 0343 while we were sat talking. It was a breath of fresh air walking into a place on the cusp of Bulgaria, where no English was spoken and yet communication was not an issue and our host was a cracking guy too. The one downfall of the lengthy day was that to recover from it I had to be on the 0414 departure from Svilengrad, which I’d been planning to do from Plovdiv anyway, and Flossy & Pelham had to be on the 0515 to get to Sofia for their flight. It would all be worth it through…..
Gen for Friday 4th October 2018
PTG Balkan Circular
A506/A451 7680 1105 Alexandroupolis Port – Pythio (220002 inside for ETH to Alexandroupolis), 1683 1257 Pythio – Svilengrad, ecs to Dikea, 93681 1546 Dikea – Pythio (ecs), 80685 1701 Pythio – Alexandroupolis Dialogi (freight with oil from Turkey, coaches attached to rear)
07001 8690 1510 Svilengrad – Stara Zagora
Movess for Friday 4th October 2018
|A506||Alexandroupolis Port||Pythio||7680||1105 Alexandoupolis Port – Pythio|
|A506||Pythio||Dikea||1683||1257 Pythio – Svilengrad|
|A451||Dikea||Pythio||93681||1546 Dikea – Pythio|
|A451||Pythio||Alexandroupolis Dialogi||80685||1701 Pythio – Alexandroupolis Dialogi|
|Taxi||Alexandroupolis Dialogi||Svilengrad||Radio Taxis, Euro 220, 175km, 2h10m|
Photos for Friday 4th October 2018
Saturday 5th October 2018 (A day covering the BDZ Narrow Gauge from Septemvri to Dobrinishte)
Having only arrived at the Guest House Gebran at 2230, the five hours I’d had in bed seemed like 2 minutes, when the alarm went off at 0330! There was no time to waste though and I met Cieran outside the front door of the hotel shortly afterwards. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical about the hotel bert being at his car for the agreed 0345 departure time; yet at 0345 he was doing a 65-point maneuver to try and get his car off his lawn and through the gap in his wall, which was only just big enough to get his car through in the first place; and all while only being able to see out of a small gap where he’d cleared the inside of his windscreen with his hand! This gap also sufficed for the 3km journey to Svilengrad station, where he dropped us off and Google Translate had one last bit of conversation in it; as he dictated to his phone that he apologized that he couldn’t make breakfast at this time in the morning! What a top bloke!
With no Bulgarian money between us, both Cieran & I departed Svilengrad without being able to get any as there aren’t any cash machines at Svilengrad station. When we walked onto the platform the three TCDD sleeper coaches, which had arrived from Istanbul, that formed INT492 0414 Svilengrad – Plovdiv, were in the platform and BDZ electric 44111 was just shunting a single BDZ passenger coach onto the front. We joined the freezing cold open coach and tried to recover a bit of sleep on the way to Plovdiv, where three more BDZ coaches were added and the train then ran forward to Sofia as INT494 0615 Plovdiv – Sofia. When it departed, the move was then back on track after the previous afternoon’s side-track. I’d been planning to do INT494 from Plovdiv all along and once I bode farewell to Cieran at Septemvri, who was heading to Sofia for a flight to Odessa in Ukraine, my day ahead was about as simple as it could get; a day cranking the BDZ narrow gauge line from Septemvri to Dobrinishte, ending up at Bansko where I’d be spending the night.
It was a cold morning and thankfully there’s a cash machine in the station building at Septemvri, which allowed me to use the café of the road to get some breakfast and a coffee; which Goggle Translate had to help me with. The NG platforms at Septemvri are well signed at the station and are on the far side, accessed via the station subway. Two women were tending to the load 6 set stabled on the pit road and shunt loco 71002 was stood off the rake, which included a buffet car. When it eventually shunted the set into “the” platform, I’d managed to blag my way onto the rake or the ride. 75004 was soon along from the shed, coupled up and was teaming away nicely within minutes; which it needed to be as it wasn’t warming up any. The “green” set on the 16103 0831 Septemvri – Dobrinishte seemed to be the premier set on the line and had been recently refurbished, and even had charging sockets fitted. Of course, I tried them, but nothing happened, which was what I expected, but there must be a way to make them work otherwise they wouldn’t have been retrofitted, surely?
As 75004 got the train underway, there were very few people on board and it stayed that way throughout my time aboard train 16103. Everyone I’d spoken to about the line to Dobrinishte had told me it was a nice line t ride on, and they weren’t wrong. The railway offers excellent views through the valley it travels through, as it twists and turns, and doubles back on itself regularly to gain enough height to get over the mountainous region it travels through, often running alongside roadways and waterways. The rising sun took the edge off the chill inside the train and complemented the steam heating, which seemed to be struggling to warm the train through initially.
My journey took me to Cherna Mesta, which was the station before train 16103 crossed 16104 1010 Dobrinishte – Septemvri. En-route we crossed 16102 0535 Dobrinishte – Septemvri with 77009 and a load three rake at Dolene and after a short wait at the deserted station at Cherna Mesta, 75005 came through the cutting and around the curve into the station with 16104. It too had a load three rake and it was better frequented than 16103 had been. On board a Chinese girl seemed to be struggling with the language barrier between herself and the guard. It turned out she was going to Plovdiv, had only bought a ticket to Velingrad and was asking where she could get a bus from Velingrad to Plovdiv from; needless to say, after my intervention, she bought a ticket forward from Velingrad to Plovdiv and relaxed. It cost her a pittance and I’m sure it was the most sensible option anyway!
Velingrad was my destination, aboard 16104 anyway, rather than go forward to Kostandovo where the trains crossed. The station building and yard at Velingrad gave the impression that it used to be somewhere important and it was one of the few stations along the route that had a ticket office, yet others randomly had a red-cap but no ticket office. The crew on board the trains were keen enough though and would make sure everyone had a ticket that needed one. When 77002 arrived with 16105 1234 Septemvri – Dobrinishte that was me Bansko bound, via Dobrinishte, and I was surprised to find others off the PTG tour aboard; having done 07077 from Stara Zagora to Dimitrovgrad and then made their way across to Septemvri for the 1010 departure. I should have probably made the effort to get 07077 in, especially as I was up so early, but I didn’t and was happy with my move thus far.
The afternoon dragged itself out a little, which was something else people had warned about when doing the NG all day. I was glad to get off at Bansko, after spending only 25 minutes at Dobrinishte while 77002 ran-round the set. While the others off the tour headed to the bus station to check out the morning departures to Blagoevgrad, I walked up the hill towards town and my hotel for the night, Hotel Aneli. I was given a sizeable room with a double bed, which was spotless and had great WiFi. As I’d be up early the following morning, I didn’t mess about that evening and headed straight out for food, which I found at a pizza place in town; after the first place I’d tried was closed! It was a little off-season for Bansko, which made its money during the Winter ski season, but there were still quite a few tourists knocking about; enough to keep the place ticking over. I wasn’t late out of bed and was all packed when I went, ready for the early morning departure back to civilization, at Septemvri.
Gen for Saturday 5th October 2018
PTG Balkan Circular
07077 4691 0805 Stara Zagora – Podkova, 4692 1316 Podkova – Haskovo
44111 INT492 0414 Svilengrad – Plovdiv, INT494 0615 Plovdiv – Sofia
61013 shunt 3 coaches onto INT492 at Plovdiv
44144 10xxx 0525 Svilengrad – Plovdiv
EMU 1620 0710 Plovdiv – Sofia
BDZ Septemvri NG
71002 Septemvri pilot
75004 16103 0831 Septemvri – Dobrinishte, 16106 1410 Dobrinishte – Septemvri
77009 16102 0535 Dobrinishte – Septemvri
75005 16104 1010 Dobrinishte – Septemvri
77002 16105 1234 Septemvri – Dobrinishte, 16108 1745 Dobrinishte – Septemvri
Moves for Saturday 5th October 2018
|44111||Svilengrad||Plovdiv||INT492||0414 Svilengrad – Plovdiv|
|44111||Plovdiv||Septemvri||INT494||0615 Plovdiv – Sofia|
|71002||Septemvri Carriage Sidings||Septemvri||Shunt stock in for 16103|
|75004||Septemvri||Cherna Mesta||16103||0831 Septemvri – Dobrinishte|
|75005||Cherna Mesta||Vilengrad||16104||1010 Dobrinishte – Septemvri|
|77002||Vilengrad||Dobrinishte||16105||1234 Septemvri – Dobrinishte|
|77002||Dobrinishte||Bansko||16108||1745 Dobrinishte – Septemvri|
Photos for Saturday 5th October 2018
Sunday 6th October 2018 (Bits of the Dobrinishte NG ad a brief interlude with the tour again)
75008 kindly produced on 16102 0535 Dobrinishte – Septemvri and it was steaming away nicely when it arrived into Bansko. I was the only passenger to board at Bansko, where thankfully there was a coffee machine in the large waiting area; which was the only thing providing anything with heat until the train arrived. It was a cold morning and I was wrapped up well, until the steam heat on the train overpowered me and I was eventually sat in just a t-shirt. The train wasn’t wedged at all on the way back to Septemvri and I was able to catch up on a bit of sleep along the way. The scenery, on a cold misty morning, was interesting and took the boredom out of the journey.
Along the way we passed 77009 with 16101 0205 Septemvri – Dobrinishte at Belica and 77002 at Dolene with 16103 0831 Septemvri – Dobrinishte, where a load of youths were clambering all over the front of the loco and having photos taken. As we rolled by the stock, it looked like carnage inside, with bottles of wine and beer all over the place; and it was rammed! It definitely wasn’t a train to do a long distance move on, by the look of it.
Back at Septemvri, 71002 was quickly dropped onto the rear of the stock to shunt it out onto the pit road and 75008 disappeared off to shed straight away. My plan was to head to Plovdiv and do the PTG tour back to Sofia but with 77009 heading up to Dobrinishte, as I departed Septemvri with 44099 on 1621 0828 Sofia – Svilengrad, I was toying with the idea of getting off the tour at Septemvri and heading out to intercept it coming back in instead.
BDZ Cargo’s 07001 was already at Plovdiv when I arrived off 1621 and the tour seemed quite a lot emptier than when I’d got off in Greece a couple of days earlier. As a few others needed 77009, which meant there’d be company on the NG, I did get off the tour at Septemvri and while the rest of the tour participants photted 75005 departing Septemvri, there were about 10 less cranks on the tour when it departed Septemvri; the participants of which had the last laugh though when 07001 broke its radiator fan near Vakarel. It was rescued by BDZ Cargo 43514, which took the train forward to Vakarel station, where BDZ Cargo 43533 then replaced it, and the ailing 07001, and worked the train forward to Sofia. Both the electrics had departed Septemvri shortly before the tour, top & tailing a container train towards Sofia. Meanwhile, back on the NG we all had to make do with spinning 77009 instead, which even had the cheek to be late.
The connection from NG to BG at Septemvri was held and the redcap was in the underpass when we arrived, to make sure everyone made their connection; which was a little strange with another Sofia bound train being only 30 minutes behind it. I got off 44128, working 10114 1410 Plovdiv – Sofia, at Iskarsko Shose, along with Chris Godby. When 44198 arrived, going the other way, with 8641 1728 Sofia – Stara Zagora, he windbagged it but I took the gamble and did it the short distance back to Iskar; safe in the knowledge that if I’d missed 44144 on 8602 0850 Varna – Sofia, I could have done the metro back into Sofia instead; but it made with about 2 minutes to spare and Chris looked bemused when I rolled back in only 5 minutes after leaving him standing at Iskarsko Shose.
The evening peak had already been in full swing by the time we got to Sofia, but I made the most of it, nonetheless. A quick leap to Sofia Sever and back brought me 44130 out, on 20205 1825 Sofia – Mezdra, for 44189 back in, on 2612 1045 Varna – Sofia. I then got a taxi to Zaharna Fabrika and was rewarded with “coathanger” 61011 back into Sofia on 50232 1705 Dupnica – Sofia; it was then time to check into my hotel and get some food.
The Hotel Sylvia is only a 5-minute walk from Sofia station, and I’d stayed there before. It’s a simple place with small bland, but functional rooms, with hot water and a bed. Most of the other hotels in Sofia are in town, which is about a 15-minute walk, and was where I went in search of food; which was provided at Dominos after both the restaurants I’d searched out were found to be closed.
A late night flurry on the trains rewarded me with another two “coatghangers” on a quick out and back to Zaharna Fabrika, with 61008 on 50215 2130 Sofia – Pernik and 61006 on 5624 1930 Blagoevgrad – Sofia; it was then time for some much needed doss, and I’d be homeward bound the following day.
Gen for Sunday 6th October 2018
PTG Balkan Circular
07001 1690 0936 Haskovo – Sofia (fail near Vakarel – 43514 assist to Vakarel for 43533 forward to Sofia)
BDZ Septemvri NG
71002 Septemvri pilot
75008 16102 0535 Dobrinishte – Septemvri
77009 16101 0205 Septemvri – Dobrinishte, 16104 1010 Dobrinishte – Septemvri
77002 16103 0831 Septemvri – Dobrinishte
75005 16105 1234 Septemvri – Dobrinishte
44099 1621 0828 Sofia – Svelingrad
44197 8610 0710 Burgas – Sofia
44128 10114 1410 Plovdiv – Sofia
44198 8641 1728 Sofia – Stara Zagora
52226 ecs 52046 YES
44144 8602 0850 Varna – Sofia
44130 20205 1825 Sofia – Mezdra
44189 2612 1045 Varna – Sofia
61008 INT7991 1535 Dimitrovgrad (ZS) – Sofia
61011 50232 1705 Dupnica – Sofia
61008 50215 2130 Sofia – Pernik
61006 5624 1930 Blagoevgrad – Sofia
Moves for Sunday 6th October 2018
|75008||Bansko||Septemvri||16102||0535 Dobrinishte – Septemvri|
|44099||Septemvri||Plovdiv||1621||0828 Sofia – Svelingrad|
|07001||Plovdiv||Septemvri||BV1690||0936 Haskovo – Sofia|
|75005||Septemvri||Dolene||16105||1234 Septemvri – Dobrinishte|
|77009||Dolene||Septemvri||16104||1010 Dobrinishte – Septemvri|
|44128||Septemvri||Iskarsko Shose||10114||1410 Plovdiv – Sofia|
|44198||Iskarsko Shose||Iskar||8641||1728 Sofia – Stara Zagora|
|44144||Iskar||Sofia||8602||0850 Varna – Sofia|
|44130||Sofia||Sofia Sever||20205||1825 Sofia – Mezdra|
|44189||Sofia Sever||Sofia||2612||1045 Varna – Sofia|
|Taxi||Sofia||Zaharna Fabrika||5 minutes, 3km|
|61011||Zaharna Fabrika||Sofia||50232||1705 Dupnica – Sofia|
|61008||Sofia||Zaharna Fabrika||50215||2130 Sofia – Pernik|
|61006||Zaharna Fabrika||Sofia||5624||1930 Blagoevgrad – Sofia|
Photos for Sunday 6th October 2018
Monday 7th October 2018 (A morning in Sofia before the flight home)
With there being slim pickings around Sofia in a morning, I was up early to maximise what was on offer and having done an EMU out to Zaharna Fabrika on 50201 0640 Sofia – Pernik, yet another “coathanger” came my way. This this time 61010 on 50230 0440 Dupnica – Sofia. All that was then left to do was a ned leap to Sofia Sever and then head to the airport via Iskasko Shose and the metro. 44196 took me to Sever on 7620 0720 Sofia – Vidin and 44063 brought me back to Sofia on 2660 0525 Vraca – Sofia, before pioneer of the fleet, 44001 dropped me at Iskasko Shose, while working 1621 0828 Sofia – Svilengrad. The new metro to the airport passes through Iskasko Shose and the BDZ station was purpose built for the connection. The metro station is below ground, and tickets are purchased from ticket machines near the entrance gates to the platforms. It’s only a couple of stops from Iskasko Shose to the airport and I was sat having breakfast 25 minutes after getting off 44001!
My Ryanair flight departed from Terminal 2 at Sofia, which is where the metro runs to. I was pleased that it was on time into Stansted, after the 40’ late start from Sofia. After a dash, I made the 1415 Stansted Express to Tottenham Hale and the underground got me to Kings Cross with plenty of time to spare before I did 91120 home to Doncaster on 1S25 1630 Kings Cross – Glasgow Central; thanks to a load of HSTs occupying Kings Cross and bowling me out for an early finish. Another good trip ended, and despite the farces that PTG had to endure, it all worked out in the end; albeit not for 661410 or 07001! I’ll add that all the Alcos on the tour did exactly what they should, without an issue……
Gen for Monday 7th October 2018
52046, 52226, 55142, 55147 Sofia pilots
61010 50230 0440 Dupnica – Sofia
44088 2601 0655 Sofia – Varna
45196 7620 0720 Sofia – Vidin
44144 3621 0715 Sofia – Burgas
44138 5621 0740 Sofia – Petrich
44132 10121 0728 Sofia – Septemvri
44063 2660 0525 Vraca – Sofia
45176 50204 0640 Pernik – Sofia
44002 5620 0525 Blagoevgrad – Sofia
44001 1621 0828 Sofia – Svilengrad
Moves for Monday 7th October 2018
|31003/4||Sofia||Zaharna Fabrika||50201||0640 Sofia – Pernik|
|61010||Zaharna Fabrika||Sofia||50230||0440 Dupnica – Sofia|
|45196||Sofia||Sofia Sever||7620||0720 Sofia – Vidin|
|44063||Sofia Sever||Sofia||2660||0525 Vraca – Sofia|
|44001||Sofia||Iskarsko Shose||1621||0828 Sofia – Svilengrad|
|EI-EBI||Sofia Terminal 2||Stansted||FR9962||1205 Sofia – Stansted|
|379029||Stansted Airport||Tottenham Hale||1415 Stansted Airport – Liverpool Street|
|91120||Kings Cross||Doncaster||1S25||1630 Kings Cross – Glasgow Central|
Photos for Monday 7th October 2018