Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Eastern Europe – Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo & Bulgaria; via Denmark & Sweden! September 2015

Travelling round Eastern Europe had been a lot easier than I’d expected when doing it for the first time in 2014 so a return trip was always on the cards; and in a similar fashion to the trip the previous year, Eastern Europe was used as a gateway to get into Greece for the PTG MLW tour in early October 2015.

With the exception of the countries that essentially bordered Russia, we’d not managed Kosovo or Bosnia on the previous trip so they were featured in and bizarrely we couldn’t find direct flights from the UK to Sarajevo in Bosnia so ended up booking via Copenhagen & Stockholm of all places!

Of course nobody could have foreseen the issues in Europe that would cause by the mass movement of people from Syria and the chaos it would cause to both domestic and International trains in Macedonia, Hungary, Croatia, Austria & Germany; the only good thing about the whole situation was that when in Macedonia & Croatia we seemed to be going in the opposite direction to the masses so would hopefully get away without having any complete farces!



Booked through Easyjet, Norwegian & British Airways direct and Zagreb – Skopje through Opodo with Croatian

EZY5371 1955 Gatwick – Copenhagen – £34.16

DY4343 1740 Stockholm – Sarajevo – £50.50

OU368 1405 Zagreb – Skopje (booked 14 hours before flight!) – £110

BA887 1710 Bucharest – Heathrow – €48.32



Copenhagen (Denmark) – Hotel City Nebo

A 2 minute walk from the side entrance to Copenhagen station. With a 24 hours check-in desk the guy manning it was soon down at the front door to let us in when I kept pressing the buzzer, almost constantly! Check-in was simple and quick and we were shown straight to a room on the 2nd floor that had a double bed and a single bed; I’d booked a triple room to get the separate beds as all doubles seemed to be double beds and not twins. The room was spacious and had its own sink. There was no en-suite but the showers and toilets were just down the hallway with towels provided in the room.


Sarajevo (Bosnia) – Hotel Octagon

Over the road from the airport, the sign for which can be seen as you walk out of the airport. The girl at reception spoke fluent English and even changed us a few Euro’s to New Bosnian Marka, which would hopefully last us the 20 hours or so we’d be in the country. The hotel didn’t seem busy and the restaurant was closed when we arrived. The room we were given was a twin room with a little annex type thing which had a room all to itself. It was spotless, had hot water but toiletries weren’t provided. WiFi was free throughout the hotel and very strong in our room.


Prishtinë (Kosovo) – Hotel Denis

We were booked into the Hotel Denis for the following two nights and there was no problem at all adding the extra night to the front of the booking. The girl at reception couldn’t understand why I’d not been able to either make an extra booking the previous night or amend my original booking but still all was sorted and we were apparently given the best room in the hotel; room 204. It was massive, with a double bed and two singles and even had its own adjacent room, with chairs in it, tucked away in the corner. WiFi was free throughout the hotel, toiletries were provided and the shower was one of those that had about a dozen shower heads scattered all over it and looked like it could be a nightmare to actually operate! The only issue we had was the fact that we couldn’t lock the door when we wanted to nip out for some food but the receptionist’s master key resolved the issue and actually sorted it permanently.

We only had to walk out of the front door for food, to the adjoining Chalet Denis, which is a pizza restaurant open from 0700 to midnight, and where the hotel breakfast is served. The food in the Chalet Denis was excellent and very cheap. We were give sandwiches each morning as we were out before breakfast; which were asked for the previous night each time.


Sofia (Bulgaria) – Hotel Sylvia

The room we were given was massive and despite being a twin room it actually had three beds, although only two were made up. Even though breakfast was included in the room rate we’d be leaving too early to get any. The facilities were clean, water hot and for the price it was decent place.


Train Tickets

Interrail Global Pass 22 Days – £377

Booked direct through Interrail online


SJ Sleeper Reservation done through the SJ Website – SEK375 each

NT2 2237 Malmo Central – Stockholm Central

Berths in a three berth compartment


Sleeper berth reservations done through Rail Canterbury over the phone

EN411 2348 Zagreb GK – Belgrade

D335 1850 Belgrade – Skopje

D334 2214 Skopje – Belgrade

D293 2205 Belgrade – Sofia

All berths in a six berth couchette compartment


Thursday 24th September 2015

Having only been back in Doncaster since Sunday night, and at work two night in between, the same engine that had brought me home on Sunday night delivered me back to Kings Cross for my third jaunt on my current 22 day global Interrail pass; 91101 providing the power and unfortunately not delivering me to Kings Cross on time thanks to a broken rail at Rossington. The delays weren’t to end there and after meeting Aidy at East Croydon, off my late Thameslink, we got to Gatwick to be greeted with the news that our plane was going to be 30 odd late departing due to the late inbound flight; as if it wasn’t arriving late enough into Copenhagen as it was at 2245!

After walking to what felt like a different city, it was that far away in the terminal, our plane emerged eventually and those getting off then proceeded to do so as an alarming pace; alarming as it was so bloody slow. Thankfully I’d already e-mailed the hotel in Copenhagen to tell them we’d arrive late but considered doing it again; just in case.

Having flown out of Copenhagen the previous week I should have realised before we landed how far it was to walk from the F gates, which Easyjet used, to the main terminal buildings and railway station. A brisk walk after immigration had us on the station platform a 2322, for the 2324 to Copenhagen; or so we thought. For nearly midnight on a Thursday the screen looked shocking, with trains cancelled and re-timed. The long and short of it being that we ended up on a 2350 to Copenhagen, that wasn’t in the timetable and didn’t stop at the two intermediate shacks either; that the guard seemed to be making a big deal of as she announced it on numerous occasions before the train departed.

Thankfully, after my stay there very recently, I’d changed our hotel booking for the night to the Hotel City Nebo, which is only a 2 minute walk from the side entrance to Copenhagen station. With a 24 hours check-in desk the guy manning it was soon down at the front door to let us in when I kept pressing the buzzer, almost constantly! Check-in was simple and quick and we were shown straight to a room on the 2nd floor that had a double bed and a single bed; I’d booked a triple room to get the separate beds as all doubles seemed to be double beds and not twins. The room was spacious and had its own sink. There was no en-suite but the showers and toilets were just down the hallway with towels provided in the room. All was a little irrelevant with the lack of time we’d ultimately spend in the room anyway and we were grateful to be in bed by 0030!


Friday 25th September 2015 (Copenhagen madness 2)

A mere 6 hours after entering the building we were exiting the Hotel City Nebo through the same door. I’m not convinced the guy at the front desk had believed us when we’d arrived and told him we’d be up at 0600 but he certainly did now. Breakfast was provided by McDonalds on the station concourse upstairs, where the Refugee Camp that had been there less than 2 weeks ago was a thing of the past!

Things didn’t get off to a good start when having watched new ME1513 depart with 2513 0627 Østerport – Holbæk we then watched EMU 2101 arrive with 4111 0637 Østerport – Ringsted vice EA! With no real option though we ended up doing it to Valby to view 4204 0544 Nykøbing Falster – København, which was on a diagram that technically died until 1355 that afternoon; which produced ME1526 and it duly was duly turned back out just over an hour after arriving with 2521 0836 København – Holbæk, on a different diagram.

I’d not expected to find much different to when I’d been in Copenhagen the previous Monday/Tuesday but when ME1504 rolled in with 4206 0534 Nykøbing Falster – Østerport that was two new ones out already with plenty of diagrams left to view; so having nedded ME1504 in to Nørreport and watching EA3022 arrive behind it with 4106 0653 Ringsted – Østerport I set sail for Høje Taastrup on 1517 0744 Østerport – Kalundborg to cover 1512 0658 Kalundborg – København which died on arrival into the Danish capital; as I had done on my previous visit. I was safe in the knowledge that 1513 wouldn’t be far behind when I watched ME1506 depart with train 1512, then the EMU head back into town to die for the morning with 4110 0753 Ringsted – Østerport.

My game plan was changed when ME1509 rolled in, going the opposite way, with 2213 0811 København – Nykøbing Falster; which not only meant I’d be flagging 1513 back towards town but meant a brisk run over the footbridge at Høje Taastrup, which I could have done without and it took me until Roskilde to recover from it but at least I made it! I didn’t have long to wait before ME1514 took me back to København, so I could cover ME1513 going back out of town again, where I was immediately sidetracked by ME1511 sat in waiting to go with 2217 0911 København – Nykøbing Falster. I only just made it due to arriving a little late and at that time, while I hadn’t actually spotted the number on the 0711 København – Nykøbing Falster, I hadn’t realised but figured out later that the 0711, 0811 & 0911 København – Nykøbing Falster’s had all been winning ME’s for me with ME1516 being the culprit on the 0711 that I’d have to try and claw back later in the day.

I waited at Valby for 1513 with 2525 0927 Østerport – Holbæk and did it out to Høje Taastrup for EA3022 back to København on 4317 0920 Ringsted – Østerport to view and lose and then do it back out to Valby on 4127 1037 Østerport – Ringsted to view the last turn that needed to be spotted before the afternoon rush hour; which never turned up and we assumed to have been caped as a result; the train being 2218 0910 Nykøbing Falster – Østerport. This resulted in us ending up on ME1519 back into København on 4516 1016 Holbæk – Østerport where we both parted ways for the rest of the morning and early afternoon.

With all the diagrams but one having been seen, with the exception to the 3 that didn’t actually kick off until the afternoon rush, I was confident I could get everything in later if I needed to cover anything. The morning rush had been a bit of a contrast to my previous visit with a caped train, 2 sets of DMU’s out and an EMU vice EA as well. By the time I got back to København that afternoon it had become very evident, based on the gen from Aidy, that DSB seemed to be short of sets to cover trains with everything going into Nykøbing Falster seemingly turning straight back around and not sticking to diagram as a result, which meant some of the ME’s ended up having been on three different diagrams for the day by the time they’d finished!

I was wary that as I departed København on HST536 1124 Østerport – Stockholm SJ X2000 set that ME1524 was sat in the carriage sidings and hadn’t yet come out to play, so Aidy was armed to gen me on what it did, if anything, while I was playing X2000 bingo in Malmo! This was the second attempt I’d had at this move, with overhead wire issues stopping play the previous week, but on this occasion all seemed to be well and HST536 made HST525 0821 Stockholm – Østerport at Lund with ease, which was X2000 set 2031.

Upstairs at Malmo I found two SJ X2000 sets in the station, in adjacent platforms, which were already shown on the screens for the 1314 & 1414 departures from Malmo. I’d initially thought there could be a choice of X2000’s to do on some of the moves out to Lund and back but the Göteborg high speed trains are formed of SJ X3000 EMU’s so it wasn’t to be. I had a hard time figuring out which trains stopped where on the EU Rail app as well as bizarrely some are pick-up only at Lund and others are set-down only while some are actually booked to set-down and pick-up! Either way they all stop at Lund and between Lund/Malmo/Copenhagen there is no reservation required with the SJ website actually telling you so if you buy a ticket! I soon found out what it would bring if I boarded a set-down only train at Lund going into Malmo, and for that matter did a pick-up only X2000 out of Malmo to Lund; the answer was nothing as HST538 1314 Malmo – Stockholm, with X2000 set 2015, wasn’t gripped going out and I managed to board HST527 0921 Stockholm – Malmo, with X2000 2003, at Lund while the conductor was looking in the opposite direction.

The next move out to Lund, with X2000 2039 on HST540 1414 Malmo – Stockholm, had to be a bit more calculating but wasn’t end of the world if I was denied boarding or was ejected from the train after boarding, as I’d end up on the same X2000 from Lund as I was going to do forward from Malmo to København anyway but thankfully a coordinated game of hide and seek by the footbridge on platform 2 at Lund had me board Snälltåget’s 3941 0925 Stockholm – Malmo without being seen and I just made myself scarce in an empty compartment for the run into Malmo; with Hectorrail 242532 doing the honours at the helm. While Interrail tickets are actually valid on board Snälltåget trains a reservation is required and the Snälltåget trains are pick-up or set-down only at Lund.

As we arrived into Malmo SJ Rc6 1380 was sat with the stock to form IC204 1505 FO Malmo – Stockholm and sat on the platform waiting for 3941 to arrive was a Snälltåget crew who would presumably reverse the set out, run 242532 round and then propel the lot back in to form 3942 1604 Malmo – Stockholm Snälltåget train. I wasted no time in getting downstairs, after a quick photo of 242532, for HST529 1021 Stockholm – København with X2000 set 2037. The crew of which were walking down the platform before its arrival telling everyone that you needed a special ticket to travel on the X2000’s and that their local tickets to the airport and København were not valid. One even tried to tell me something as I boarded but I just ignored her and carried on regardless; knowing full well that I was completely valid in what I was doing!

Having been in touch with Aidy a few times during my jaunt to Sweden I was fully in the know of what was doing what and the farces that had occurred. It was while I was away that I learnt that ME1516 had done 2222 1010 Nykøbing Falster – Østerport only to be replaced by ME1524 for 2233 1258 Østerport – Nykøbing Falster; which meant I now knew that I’d missed ME1516 earlier when it had departed København with 2209 0711 København – Nykøbing Falster as I’d been approaching with ME1526 on 4204 0544 Nykøbing Falster – København. Without any other new ME’s having appeared while I’d been away I resigned myself to a fester at København to see if/when ME1516 appeared, knowing that ME1524 should arrived back into København at 1713 with 1244 1541 Nykøbing Falster – Østerport; and fester is exactly what I ended up doing, on the footbridge at the north end of the station, just viewing and losing for the remainder of the afternoon!

As I’d arrived at 1524 a pair of DMU’s had been departing vice ME with 3545 1524 København – Kalundborg everything arriving and departing between that and me departing with ME1524 on 1244 1541 Nykøbing Falster – Østerport, that was booked to be hauled was indeed hauled with the exception of 2540 1446 Holbæk – Østerport & 2553 1627 Østerport – Holbæk, which was a pair of DMU’s and both trains were part of the same diagram. The only other exception to the norm was ME1520 covering the afternoon part of EA diagram 851/2 as it departed with 4151 1637 Østerport – Ringsted. Unfortunately there was no sign of ME1516 and assuming it had one back out on something earlier in the afternoon we wouldn’t be able to get it in as we’d be leaving before all the diagrams it could have worked got back into town.

After a quick fill-in move to Nørreport with ME1514 out on 2548 1646 Holbæk – Østerport and ME1519 back on 4553 1755 Østerport – Holbæk and on arrival back into København the place had a completely different karma to that it had an hour previously when people had been rushing home with the weekend ahead of them! The platforms were almost desolate but for the odd few stragglers and those wanting to get to the airport.

Our exit strategy from København was on HST550 1836 København – Stockholm SJ X2000; mainly because Aidy had managed to buy his Interrail to start the day the following day and not the day he actually needed it and so had to use his staff coupons all day, which aren’t valid into Sweden of course! The result being that a ticket on an X2000 to Malmo was a lot cheaper than one on a local train; which I found a little bizarre to say the least. Still, we were delivered to Malmo 30’ late after some farce with the train prevented us departing København on time and just made last orders at the Chinese food bar in the food hall by the station concourse; the shutters literally went down the moment we’d paid!

I’d not realised that Snälltåget ran multiple trains a day between Stockholm and Malmo and when we figured out there was a 1559 Stockholm – Malmo it would have been rude not to nip out to Lund to try and get another Hectorrail engine in. There was a choice of EMU’s from downstairs at Malmo Central, to do out, and at Lund we had the back-up of a København bound X2000 right behind the Snälltåget train if needed. Unlike earlier in the day, when things had seemed more straightforward, the lack of arrivals screen made things a little harder to figure out and the platform screens didn’t help at all as Snälltåget’s 3943 was shown on platform 1 at one point yet 2 other trains arrived into platform 1 before it was eventually moved to platform 2 as it was at the platform end! The result of which for us was quite good as there was more to hide behind on platform 2 while the train arrived; and just like earlier in the day, having hid behind the steps as 242516 brought the train in, we boarded and mingled while the train crew were pre-occupied with shutting doors behind people on the platform.

Upon arrival into Malmo Central SJ Rc6 1350, which we’d watched depart Lund with a 45 minute late running IC207 1514 Stockholm – Malmo, was already in the carriage sidings and thankfully the stock for our NT10002 2237 Malmo – Stockholm was already in platform 6 with SJ Rc6 1413 attached and ready for departure. Our coach was only a few from the front of the train but it wasn’t until we’d walked almost the length of the platform that one of the train crew suggested that we see the train manager near the buffer stops otherwise we’d only get woken up if we didn’t get checked off before boarding; which in the end didn’t matter anyway!

Once checked off we got ourselves sorted, a little annoyed with the fact that the third occupant of our three berth compartment would be boarding at Hassleholm at just before midnight, which turned out to be a bigger inconvenience that we’d ever have thought. We were both sock on when said person was let into the compartment by a coach attendant and rudely awoken when some jibbering started between them. It turned out that the guy had booked the lower berth, which Aidy was dossed out in, and didn’t want the upper berth. It turned out that Aidy & I did in fact have the middle and upper berths but when we were being checked off by the train manager the berths had been upside down on his list with the upper being at the bottom and we’d just assumed we had the lower and middle based on that. The result was that Mr I want the lower berth wanted all the bedding from the upper transferring to the lower berth and obviously vice versa and the coach attendant was insistent that we do it ourselves; in hindsight I should have told the dick he can do it himself if he’s being that insistent on wanting a lower berth. It was only when I nearly fell of the ladders that I actually questioned my judgement on that one but the job was nearly finished by then. The twat was younger than us both, more agile and yet still wanted the lower berth; I should have given him a lot more of my thoughts at that time but he certainly knew how we felt and I just left it at that so as not to wind myself up even more and so I wouldn’t get back to sleep.


Gen for Friday 25th September


ME Diagrams

It seems that DSB may have been short of sets on this day as hardly anything saw its diagram out and sets doing Nykøbing Falster services seemed to come back after turning straight round there.

A full list of ME’s out during the day is as follows:

1504, 1506, 1508, 1509, 1511, 1513, 1514, 1516, 1519, 1520, 1521, 1524, 1525, 1526, 1528, 1530, 1533, 1535, 1537

Those sticking to diagram are as follows (diagram as per Summer 2015 10/08/15 to 12/12/15):

1504 – 801/4, 1508 – 801/3, 1513 – 802/2, 1519 – 801/14, 1521 – 801/11, 1526 – 801/2, 1533 – 801/1, 1535 – 801/15, 2xDMU – 801/5


See photos of the timetable below with the gen written on it for a comprehensive list of what worked what during the day:


EA Diagrams

3022 = 851/1 viewed on the following:

4106 0653 Ringsted – Østerport

4317 0807 Østerport – Ringsted

4316 0920 Ringsted – Østerport

4127 1037 Østerport – Ringsted


EMU = 851/2 am viewed on:

4111 0637 Østerport – Ringsted

4110 0753 Ringsted – Østerport


ME1520 = 851/2 pm viewed on:

4151 1637 Østerport – Ringsted


SJ (X2000’s)

2003 527 0921 Stockholm Central – Malmo Central

2015 538 1314 Malmo Central – Stockholm Central

2031 525 0821 Stockholm Central – Malmo Central

2032 550 1836 København – Stockholm Central

2037 529 1021 Stockholm Central – København

2039 540 1414 Malmo Central – Stockholm Central

2040 536 1124 Østerport – Stockholm Central


SJ Rc6

1413 NT10002 2237 Malmo Central – Stockholm Central



242516 (Hectorrail) 3943 1559 Stockholm Central – Malmo Central

242532 (Hectorrail) 3941 0925 Stockholm Central – Malmo Central


The Photos Copenhagen/Malmo Friday 25th September 2015:


Saturday 26th September 2015 (How to not do Rc6’s on Gävle turns)

When I woke we were stationary and a quick check of the SJ real-time information for Stockholm confirmed that out NT10002 had actually arrived into Stockholm at 0608, 8’ early. An announcement was made by the train crew at 0630, while we were making a lot of noise in getting our stuff together, to advise that the train was in Stockholm but people could stay on board until 0700 if they wanted; we didn’t want to and made a noisy exit from the compartment as we got off!

It was McDonalds for breakfast for a second day running before viewing the T&T Rc6’s on the first loco-hauled train out of Stockholm and when 1360/1358 produced it would have been rude not to do them. Either luckily or unluckily, whichever way you see it, Rc6’s 1376/1352 were just departing Marsta when we arrived so at least we saw what they were; this had Aidy doing a quick return trip to Knivsta to get them in, when we got to Uppsala, while I managed to find myself an EMU to Arlanda to return to Uppsala with Rc6 1379 on IC80 0813 Stockholm – Östersund. Unfortunately due to major works north of Gävle towards Lulea neither the Narvik – Stockholm or Lulea – Göteborg overnights were running so there would be no getting in the northern based Rc6’s on this occasion.

With only two sets of T&T Rc6’s required for the Stockholm – Uppsala’s at a weekend the moves were a bit limited, especially as the Stockholm – Hallsberg service was also more limited at a weekend. The only option was to do SJ IC’s for the morning between Uppsala and Arlanda, and with a plan to be in Stockholm to cover the 1255 Stockholm – Eskiltuna, which had reportedly been T&T Rc6’s recently, we set about doing a round trip to Arlanda which revealed Rc6 1415 with IC15 0739 Falun – Stockholm and Rc6 1422 with IC42 0945 Stockholm – Mora. As we hammered down the main line, before turning off to Arlanda, we passed two trains that were hauled, one being the T&T Rc6’s with their Stockholm – Uppsala service, the second we could only assume was 276 0711 Linköping – Gävle.

Back at Uppsala we attempted to check-in for our Norwegian flight to Sarajevo later that evening but the machine by the coffee place on the concourse was having none of it; a bit like the Norwegian website the previous evening! The nearby Co-op provided us with food for lunch and a few snacks to keep us going and the hour and 10 minutes we had at Uppsala while waiting for Rc6 1408 to arrive with IC43 0832 Mora – Stockholm flew by! A bit of de ja vu en-route to Stockholm when we passed two hauled trains again; again one being the T&T Rc6’s on their Stockholm – Uppsala train and the second we could only assume was 290 0911 Linköping – Gävle. Quite how I’d managed to find the only Gävle – Linköping service that was EMU that morning, for my trip to Arlanda, was quite unfair to say the least!

At Stockholm disappointment reigned when a pair of double-deck EMU’s produced for the 1255 Stockholm – Eskiltuna but hot on its heels was 297 1056 Gävle – Linköping with Rc6 1338; this could well have just about feasibly been the first set I’d passed that morning with 276 0711 Linköping – Gävle but with only a 6 minute turnaround at Gävle I was a bit skeptical about whether there were actually three sets out on the Linköping – Gävle’s or not. Unfortunately 297 was right away Södertälje Syd so we couldn’t get off at Flemingsberg for 135 1329 Stockholm – Hallsberg behind an to watch Rc6 1407 arrive at Södertälje Syd instead; which in the end only just made the train we did back towards Stockholm anyway.

Södertälje Syd is a station elevated a good 100m above the valley below and there’s not a great deal to do there at all. We just festered on the platforms and during our time there managed to witness an SJ X2000 stop out of course to evict a passenger, who was then carted away by two waiting police officers. As with Lund the previous evening the departure screens gave us the runaround when it came to our train out of the place but thankfully not involving any footbridges or underpasses, only across the platform! Strangely, when our train was due in the road came off for something to pass through the platform in the opposite direction and then cross back over to the right line. As it turned out Rc6 1407 arrived in with 135 1329 Stockholm – Hallsberg and just as Rc6 1383 arrived with 232 1232 Norrköping – Stockholm a solo X2000 power car ran through the adjacent platform in the opposite direction; which seemed to be overtaking 1407 and train?

We’d only been on the platform at Flemingsberg a few minutes when Rc6 1419 arrived behind us with 132 1238 Hallsberg – Stockholm and a few minutes behind that into Stockholm was Hectorrail 242516 with Snälltåget’s 3940 0920 Malmo – Stockholm; at which point our bash in Sweden was effectively over and we were airport bound for our flight to Bosnia. We did manage to spot the 1455 Stockholm – Eskiltuna with a pair of double deck EMU’s and watched Rc6 1406 depart with 293 1256 Gävle – Linköping only to then end up on a pair of double deck EMU’s to Arlanda Central on 298 1312 Linköping – Gävle; so that was two moves involving Gävle turns that had both been EMU’s and at least three train’s we’d seen on the circuit that we couldn’t do or passed en-route! That’s how not to bash Rc6’s on Linköping – Gävle turns!

Stockholm Arlanda airport seemed to be never ending as we walked through to get to check-in. Thankfully we could check-in at one of the self-service machines before walking to security. It was then a bit of a walk to gate F65, with immigration in between, but there were plenty of seats to choose from when we got there. Boarding was nothing short of a farce and with announcements initially in Swedish only we just joined the growing gathering that had formed round where people were going to be allowed to board. When asked, a girl at the check-in desk told me that the plane was full and people’s bags were going to be randomly checked in to the hold as the boarded; from what I saw as we went through it was generally people with suitcases that had them checked in and a second thought was never given to my rucksack. When the luggage racks were closed on board there seemed to be plenty of space left so maybe quite a bit had been put in the hold, or maybe it was an overreaction?

My impressions of Norwegian had been ok thus far but they went downhill rather rapidly after takeoff as the plane very rapidly became the noisiest I’ve ever travelled on, not only was it full of kids the kids were allowed by their parents, and the airline staff I might add, to run up and down the corridors once the food service had been concluded! Not funny, not safe and definitely not what I’d expect from an airline that is allegedly winning awards all the time for its service; I’ve never been so thankful to get off a plane in all my life. It was a shame I couldn’t leave the headache I’d collected on board where it had been generated. Unfortunately though there was one last headache to overcome; immigration at Sarajevo airport. A plane from turkey had landed just in front of us and the queues were shocking and pretty much a free for all; just like they’d been when boarding the plane and so the experience continued.

30 minutes after joining the queue, which again was more like a gathering round, we were stamped into Bosnia and walking out of the airport to hotel, which was literally 100m from the airport entrance; unfortunately the big mesh fence round it’s perimeter made it more than double that distance but it was worth the walk when we arrived.

Initially I’d booked a hotel near to Sarajevo station but had cancelled it after my hotel of choice couldn’t fulfill the booking. So rather than mess around with taxis when we got there I booked us in at the Hotel Octagon which is over the road from the airport, the sign for which can be seen as you walk out of the airport. The girl at reception spoke fluent English and even changed us a few Euro’s to New Bosnian Marka, which would hopefully last us the 20 hours or so we’d be in the country. The hotel didn’t seem busy and the restaurant was closed when we arrived. The room we were given was a twin room with a little annex type thing which had a room all to itself. It was spotless, had hot water but toiletries weren’t provided. WiFi was free throughout the hotel and very strong in our room.

We wasted no time and took the girl from reception’s word when we walked through the local neighbourhood to find something to eat. Dino’s Pizza was only a 5 minute walk away and served up a decent murdered spaghetti bolognaise for £4 a throw. After a very quick derance and bag shunt I was so pleased to get to bed; unfortunately an 0600 alarm call beckoned!


Gen for Saturday 26th September 2015

SJ Rc6’s

1338 297 1056 Gävle – Linköping

1352/1376 8xx 0711 Uppsala – Stockholm Cen, 8xx 0811 Stockholm Cen – Uppsala then odd xx:11 Uppsala – Stockholm and even xx:11 Stockholm – Uppsala

1360/13598 808 0711 Stockholm Cen – Uppsala, 8xx 0811 Uppsala – Stockholm Cen the odd xx:11 Stockholm – Uppsala and even xx:11 Uppsala – Stockholm

1379 IC80 0813 Stockholm Cen – Östersund Cen

1383 232 1232 Norrköping – Stockholm Cen

1406 293 1256 Gävle – Linköping

1407 135 1329 Stockholm Cen – Hallsberg

1408 IC43 0832 Mora – Stockholm Cen

1415 IC15 0739 Falun Cen – Stockholm Cen

1419 132 1238 Hallsberg – Stockholm Cen

1422 IC42 0945 Stockholm Cen – Mora



Rc6 (1) 276 0711 Linköping – Gävle (could have been 1338)

Rc6 (2) 290 0911 Linköping – Gävle (could have been 1406)



242516 (Hectorrail) 3940 0920 Malmo Central – Stockholm Central


The Photos Stockholm/Uppsala Saturday 26th September 2015:


Sunday 27th September 2015 (How many trains are hauled in Bosnia!!?)

That bloody alarm! I did have another set for 0605 just in case but it wasn’t needed. We were up and out of the hotel by 0630 with the taxi ordered by the woman at the front desk arriving in less than 2 minutes! It cost us KM10.80 to the station on the meter and took about 10 minutes. We’d been hoping to get rid of all our money in a supermarket but it seemed that we’d have to wait for that as there were only coffee shops open!

With nothing else better to do we found ZFBH 441902 at the head of 723 0715 Sarajevo – Capljina with load 3 ex Swedish coaches that a sign inside said had been donated by Swedish Railways. Unfortunately while we sat minding our own business ZFBH 441908 arrived with 2151 0501 Zenica – Sarajevo and ran round its two coaches to work 2152 0717 Sarajevo – Zenica, which rather inconveniently departed two minutes behind us so we couldn’t even do it to Alipasin Most; but had we known could have saved some taxi fare and done 441908 in from Alipasin Most instead! An EMU arrived with 715 0359 Doboj – Sarajevo and went to shed but nothing arrived with 2400 0503 Konjic – Sarajevo; which we later found out was cancelled, along with all services on the Konjic line at the moment, as per the timetable listed in the booking office at Sarajevo.

The need to gather snacks outweighed the need to do the maximum mileage move of a morning so we got off 441902 at Hadzici for a 90 minute fester. Departing Sarajevo was a bit of an eye-opener to the past as the signalbox is littered with bullet holes yet is still fully functional. Bizarrely the block of flats by the station at Hadzici were also riddled with what appeared to be bullet holes but the station buildings weren’t!

ME Maps had shown a supermarket by the station, which we did actually find open but not until we’d spent almost all of our money in a bakery over the road from it; so we spent 5 minutes in the pop aisle trying to figure out the best way to spend our remaining MK1.30, which is less than a quid, and we managed to get a bottle of fizzy water and a small bottle of Pepsi!

With no money to now spend on coffee we festered in the cold at the station watching the station dog follow a security guard round. ZFBH T&T 441’s 441911/441905 passed through with a freight while we were waiting and were surprised when staff came out of the station office more or less to time for 720 0629 Capljina – Sarajevo; which arrived with ZFBH 441404 and load 2. Upon arrival into Sarajevo we found ZFBH 441907 running round a load 2 set, or so we thought, it actually ran off into the distance and was never to be seen again and 441901 eventually pushed the set to the shed. 441404 was run round on arrival and propelled its set to shed and then brought off a load three set to form 396 1043 Sarajevo – Zagreb International train; unfortunately 441404 stayed bolted to the stock. We could only assume that 441907 had arrived into Sarajevo with 2153 0747 Zenica – Sarajevo and that 441901 would probably then work 2154 1119 Sarajevo – Zenica; how many loco-hauled trains, that nobody had ever reported, and it didn’t end there!

We managed to get ourselves a compo in the second coach, which was half first class and half second class but the guard confirmed there was only one class throughout the train! The train was quite empty out towards Doboj where the ZFBH 441 was removed from the train and strangely a pair of ZRS ones replaced it; 441529/441402. The weather en-route was a bit crappy but still it was nice to look out of the window as we ambled through valley’s; thankfully a bit faster than we’d ambled to Hadzici earlier as that was painfully slow!

At Banja Luka we stopped at the side of ZRS 661274, which appeared to be attached to a set of stock. What then happened was our pair of 441’s shunted the front coach off and into the yard while 661274 then shunted a coach (devoid of people by the way) onto the rear of our train. 441519/441402 then backed back on and 661742 went to collect the coach that had been shunted off the front; which everyone had been kicked out of on arrival, so correct move played in not getting into the front coach at Sarajevo. I didn’t see 397 0918 Zagreb – Sarajevo leave Banja Luka as the 661 had been in the way but it was an orange 441 with only load 2. When we departed Banja Luka ZRS 441055 revealed itself at the front of two coaches labelled for Dobrljin, with people sat on it so could only have been 6424 1545 Banja Luka – Dobrljin, which was running late awaiting connections from our train we assumed.

Upon arrival at Dobrljin our passports were collected by the Bosnian border security and taken away with everyone else’s for processing; ours were handed back last and only after a few questions were asked. The border security guy seeming to be a little concerned that we’d only entered Bosnia the previous evening and were leaving so soon; according to him this “was not normal” and he wanted to understand why. With no real explanation other than the fact we were travelling with Interrail passes he seemed to satisfy his curiosity and leave us be.

Upon departure from Dobrljin I randomly pulled down the window to look out and was surprised to find only one loco at the front of the train; both had definitely been attached at Banja Luka and we’d not stopped anywhere long enough for it to be removed en-route to Dobrljin so it must have been removed there, only we hadn’t noticed it or realised it had been until we’d departed. We could only assume that it may have detached and run into the yard while we were being quizzed by the border security; which would have certainly kept our attention focused in one place of course?

6km after departing Dobrljin, Bosnia, we arrived into Volinja, Croatia; where our passports were checked on board without being taken away for processing this time. HZ 1141310 was sat on the adjacent road when we arrived and shunted out while ZRS 441402 was being uncoupled. The engine change didn’t take too long and we were away from Volinja about 25 late; after we’d been running about that late since Doboj.

With cheaper text messages on offer in Croatia some gen was sought from a certain Colin Garner back home in the UK and when duly acquired we knew what was coming in to Zagreb from Dugo Selo. As we’d used the EU Rail app to put together a makeshift timetable for trains to Dugo Selo during our time in Zagreb we were left with only one move available to get a new engine in, based on the gen we’d got. As we were 25 late we missed the 2007 Zagreb – Vitrovica so ended up having to do 2109 2035 Zagreb – Novska out to Sesvete, which was unfortunately EMU 6111008, for HZ 1142011 back in with B748 1720 Vinkovci – Zagreb. The only other winner our being 1142007 which arrived as we departed with B782 Osijek – Zagreb.

Randomly we found another move we could do when we got back to Zagreb, which involved going out on the Ogulin line but when Colin confirmed the train coming back in was a new EMU we decided to give up on moves for the evening and seek out some food instead. Having been in Zagreb in April it seemed that newly delivered EMU’s were releasing the older 6111 EMU’s which were then standing in on what had previously been hauled turns; 2109 2035 Zagreb – Novska being an example?

We’d toyed with the idea of doing EN498 2120 Zagreb – Munich through to Krsko in Slovenia for our booked overnight, EN411 2105 Ljubljana – Beograd back, which would of course get us two SZ 541’s in but we decided against it based on the possible border farce at Dobova with going in and out in a short space of time. We also couldn’t find EN498 in the station at Zagreb and it wasn’t until we looked at the main screens at the station front that we found not only EN498 to be cancelled but also EC159 1555 Wien Hbf – Zagreb cancelled as well! Further scrutiny of the screen then revealed our EN411 2105 Ljubljana – Beograd to be showing cancelled on the arrival screen but not on the departure screen; which kind of confirmed what we’d expected in that it might start at Zagreb while the refugee issues continued. Quite why EN498 & EC159 where cancelled we never did find out, however a quick visit to the information desk at Zagreb station, to settle our minds about our own overnight before we went for food, resulted in a bit of a shock, to say the least!

The woman behind the counter spoke decent English and when asked about EN411 all she replied was “all trains to Beograd have been cancelled for two weeks now, due to refugees”. Obviously a stunned silence followed her statement and then a moment of panic, then when the realisation sank in the mind went into overdrive trying to figure out how we were going to get out of this situation. The woman to us that tram No.6 would take us to the bus station, three stops from outside Zagreb station; which we already knew how to get to anyway. Other than that she could offer us no more help at all; my solution to the situation was to walk to the Best Western Astoria Hotel, about 5 minutes from Zagreb station, and ask if we could sit in reception to use their WiFi and look at some options, before probably staying at the hotel anyway! When at the hotel the woman at the check-in desk told us they’d had quite a lot of people in recent weeks that had suffered the same plight; and it only just dawned on me at that point that there’d been no notices or anything at all at Zagreb station advising of the cancellations to international trains, which of course would be nice.

While the WiFi at the Best Western wasn’t particularly great it certainly allowed us to check out buses and planes. Our plan should have had us doing EN411 to Beograd where we’d then have the day and then do D335 1850 Beograd – Thessaloniki to Skopje; which we already knew wasn’t running beyond Gevgelija in Macedonia and thanks to a bit more info from Colin the ZS website confirmed that to be the case with OSE running busses to/from Thessaloniki.

We found various buses from Zagreb to Beograd, some even departing that night, all taking about 8 hours but then weighed up the fact that it was possibly a waste of time even doing it, the then just go overnight to Skopje; from where we were only going into Kosovo anyway. There were some direct buses to Prishtinë in Kosovo, which took about 12 hours, but were completely dismissed based on the travel time. In the end Opodo revealed a flight at 1405 the following afternoon with Croatian Airlines to Skopje and for only £110 each; which I was very surprised at. Needless to say it got booked there and then and while I was sorting the flight Aidy sorted the hotel room, which was apparently only available for the one night and cost HRK720 (approx. €94). This was randomly less for turning up on the night than I’d paid 3 months in advance when staying there in April!

With a plan now sorted when dropped our stuff in the room and headed straight out for some food; the nearest place being a Chinese restaurant that was open until midnight, where we were the only two people in it. Triposo had guided us to the Asia Restaurant but hadn’t told prospective customers just how bland the food served would be. I had a Chicken Kung Pao, which was very filling and of course as fresh as can be; it was just the blandest Chinese meal I’d ever had and if it hadn’t been for the pepper that had been used during cooking there would have been no taste at all; it was shocking but strangely edible! Thankfully a cheap beer washed it down quite well.

Back at the hotel by 2330 there was definitely no persuasion needed for sleep that night and the eyelids were checking themselves out for holes within seconds of hitting the pillow; with the alarm set for 0620 so we could check the 2044’s coming into Zagreb on the Varazdin line in the morning.


Gen for Sunday 27th September 2015



441404 720 0629 Capljina – Sarajevo, 396 1043 Sarajevo – Zagreb to Doboj

441901 2154 1119 Sarajevo – Zenica (load 2 – assumed)

441902 723 0715 Sarajevo – Capljina

441903 freight at Podlugovi

441905/441911 T&T freight through Hadzici

441907 2153 0747 Zenica – Sarajevo (load 2 then light away)

441908 2121 0501 Zenica – Sarajevo, 2152 0717 Sarajevo – Zenica (load 2)



All Sarajevo – Konjic services currently cancelled (scribbled out on departure board in booking office)

10 ex TCCD hire locos stabled near Alipasin Most plus a new EMU still under wraps on a car train, waiting to be offloaded?



441xxx 397 0918 Zagreb – Sarajevo from Dobrljin to Doboj

441055 6424 1545 Banja Luka – Dobrljin

441529/441402 396 1043 Sarajevo – Zagreb from Doboj to Volinja

Note: 441529 removed from front at Dobrljin with 441402 working over the border to Volinja on its own

661274 shunt coach to 396 at Banja Luka



1141305 2022 1540 Vinkovci – Zagreb

1141310 INT397 1043 Sarajevo – Zagreb (from Volinja), 4064 2137 Zagreb – Ogulin

1142007 B782 1620 Osijek – Zagreb

1142011 B748 1720 Vinkovci – Zagreb

1142015 2211 2041 Zagreb – Koprivnica

EMU 6111008 2109 2035 Zagreb – Novska


The Photos Bosnia Sunday 27th September 2015:


Monday 28th September 2015 (A tale of a few cities…..)

When the alarm went off at 0620 it was definitely an intrusion into my life that morning but the phone was kicked immediately into life and the HZ mapper used to write engine numbers down on a pre-written list of trains that were arriving from both the Varazdin line and from Dugo Selo. This revealed that 2 of the 3 2044’s coming in that morning were dud with 2044006 showing on 3003 0341 Varazdin – Zagreb, 2044008 on 3005 0428 Varazdin – Zagreb and 2044007 on 991 0525 Varazdin – Zagreb; the good thing about the winner was that it should go back out on 3004 0903 Zagreb – Varazdin. Coming in from Dugo Selo I was surprised to find a raft of EMU’s shown to arrive with trains 786, 2170, 984, 2204 & 744???? The only hauled trains were 2010 0353 Vinkovci – Zagreb and 2012 0635 Vinkovci – Zagreb, which were showing 1141383 & 1141303 respectively; the former being new. We worked out we needed to be on the 0745 ex Zagreb to Sesvete so the alarm was immediately reset for 45 minutes later and a little more sleep had before eventually getting up and making our way to the station to go out for 1141383 coming in.

As we approached the station IC571 0534 Varazdin – Zagreb arrived with 1142006 dragging 2044002 dead in train; the latter would ultimately work one of the afternoon commuters out of town and dragged 1142006 onto shed after being detached from IC571. It was pleasing to find new 1141385 sat waiting to depart with 2011 0745 Zagreb – Vinkovci and only 5 minutes before departure it was joined by 1141388, which was dropped straight on top; both locos had crews and both were panned up on departure from Zagreb. At Sesvete 1141383 produced as allocated and dropped us back into Zagreb with enough time for me to rush back to the hotel and check to see what else was coming into Zagreb; this revealing 1141301 4057 0804 Moravice – Zagreb, which we could conveniently go out for after doing 2044006 to Kustosija on 3004 0903 Zagreb – Varazdin; which it was already coupled to when we arrived in off 1141383.

While was sat on 3004, 1141307 was dropped onto INT396 0918 Zagreb – Sarajevo and just before we departed 1141311 arrived with 4055 0610 Moravice – Zagreb, which would be the stock for our move back out to get 1141301 in later; hopes of it being shunt released would be dashed though as despite it actually being shunt released we found it nowhere to be seen when we got back from Kustosija on an EMU and 1141383 had dropped onto the stock to work 4052 0952 Zagreb – Ogulin; which was a little unfortunate.

We knew from the arrivals screen at Zagreb that 4057 0804 Moravice – Zagreb was 20’ late coming into Zagreb so went out to Horvati to await it’s arrival. It was quite a pleasant fester in the morning sunshine and we even had the pleasure of HZ Cargo’s 1141027 running through with a freight while we waited. We were alerted to 1141301’s arrival by the barrier bells on the crossing at the platform end; which were going off for a good 5 minutes before it arrived. Upon arrival into Zagreb we were surprised to find EN415 sat in with an 1142 and apparently running to Beograd if the departure screens were to believed; bearing in mind we’d been told the previous night that all trains to Beograd had been cancelled for two weeks! We had no time to investigate as it was away seconds after we arrived but I have seen EN415 2208 Buchs – Beograd only run to Vinkovci on a previous trip and the fact that it only had Croatian stock and no Serbian stock in the consist led me to believe that it was probably only running to Vinkovci on this occasion. If it had run through it would have made our Skopje overnight at Beograd with 90 minutes to spare! Either way we had 3 hours before our flight departed for Skopje and we needed to get a bit of a shift on to get a bus to the airport after we collected our bags from the hotel.

Check-out was quick and easy at the hotel and having left Zagreb station at 1105 we were at the bus station, after going via the hotel, at 1130; just in time to watch the 1130 bus backing out and doing one! The next bus was at 1200 and was rammed full, unlike the 1130 we’d watched depart with about half a dozen people on board. The shuttle buses to the airport are run by Croatian Airlines and depart from the first stands you come to if walking to the bus station; if you look at the bus station head on from the front it’s the furthest right hand stands. Despite what appear to be booking counters in the waiting area tickets are bought on board the bus and are HRK30 single and bizarrely HRK40 for what appears to be a day return only! The driver comes through just before departure to ching everyone up and unfortunately all bags have to go in the bus’s hold, unless they’re small rucksacks.

The journey to the airport took 30 minutes and we immediately set about looking for a self-check-in kiosk with having hand luggage only; there aren’t any for Croatian Airlines at all at Zagreb airport yet if you’re flying with Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines or SAS then there is a self-check-in kiosk. The queue for manual check-in wasn’t small and while in it I actually attempted to use the 15 minutes’ worth of free airport WiFi to check-in online but that didn’t work on Croatian Airlines’ website either! Having queued for 20 minutes and gone nowhere I left Aidy in the queue and went to talk to Croatian Airlines at their information window, where I was told to use the business class check-in desk and we were checked in within 5 minutes and sat waiting at the gate 5 minutes after that. Something that we found at the security desks should be installed at every airport in the world and that is a frame over the conveyor that sends bags into the x-ray machine, which limits the size of hand baggage; now that would definitely sort out the fiascos that airlines clearly can’t manage between them!

Surprisingly there are no direct chutes to planes at Zagreb airport and every plane departs with buses taking passengers out onto the tarmac; our plane was 100m from the gate, wasn’t well loaded and departed spot on time. The service on board was decent with a bag of bits being handed out and drinks en-route. We landed in Skopje a little early at 1500 and were straight through immigration and had bus tickets in our hand as purchased from the Vardar Ekspres counter for MKD175 each. It’s directly opposite the door you exit the customs lanes, before exiting the airport itself. We were told the next bus to Skopje was in 20 minutes, at 1520, unfortunately it wasn’t, it was at 1550; with the journey taking 30 minutes it would drop us at the railway/bus station at 1620, which is what time IC892 1620 Skopje – Prishtinë international train departed! While sat on the bus contemplating doing a bus from Skopje to Prishtinë if we missed it I noticed taxis out of the rear window of the bus and we ended up dissing the bus in favour of guaranteeing to make the international train to Prishtinë; which we didn’t actually know was running as there’d been a strike in Macedonia the previous week which had resulted in most trains being caped!

The journey to Skopje station took 18 minutes in a taxi and cost €20, which is a fixed price and shown on a big board by the taxi stand and inside every taxi on the dash board. Our driver spoke fluent English, as well as French and German, and was a pleasure to ride with. En-route he confirmed that the rail strike had finished and that it had been about pay; what else! With 20 minutes to spare, at what appeared to be a revamped Skopje station, we had time to get some bits for the train and confirm at the booking window that all trains were running. In the station shortly before we departed were DMU 712103 forming R2020 1618 Skopje – Tabanovci vice EMU, 642404 with one coach forming our IC892 1620 Skopje – Prishtinë and behind it in the same platform 661234 with one coach forming IR662 1650 Skopje – Kicevo.

The sewing machine didn’t really do much as it headed out of town and smelt like nit was burning oil. The one coach was c in what appeared to have been either an oil spill or diesel spill and the whole concept of the fact that the train was an international one just didn’t seem to mean anything to MZ. There were about 15 people on board from Skopje and most got off at Dorce Petrov; leaving about half a dozen to go through to Kosovo! At Blace, the Macedonian frontier station which has clearly seen better days and was developed for its international service, the border security took our passports away for processing and even took the guard’s off him too! It was a bloody good job I was looking out of the window as we departed, without our passports having been returned, to see the border security hand them back to the guard as he boarded! They were handed back immediately, only to be taken from us again 6km later when the Kosovo border security boarded after 642404 arrived into Hani I Elezit with the MZ leg of IC892 1620 Skopje – Prishtinë.

The Trainkos leg of IC892 departs Hani I Elezit at 1745 and is formed off TL4101 1605 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit and is usually a DMU; recent reports had the train being hauled vice DMU though and we were very thankful when Trainkos 2620005 rolled in with TL4101, which is ex HZ 2044031 and still had its old Trainkos number, 001, on the front as well as its recently added UIC number. Our passports were soon hand and we were directed from the MZ train to the Trainkos train; which was formed of a generator van and 2 ex Swedish coaches, a plaque inside which indicated they too had been donated by SJ in March 2004 like the ones in Bosnia had. It was lovely and warm on board and I was quite impressed with how clean the stock was inside, toilets excluded, and how pleasant a journey it was. As Interrail tickets aren’t valid in Kosovo tickets were purchased on the train and when the guard told us it would be €5 we assumed that would be each but it was for two singles to Prishtinë, not one!

The train never filled up at all and more or less emptied out at Fushë Kosovë, where we spotted ex Swedish single car DMU 5800 004 waiting to depart with TL4103 1913 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit which meant we didn’t have to try and cover it the following morning! With seemingly only one DMU in service it could be a few good days ahead for us?

Arrival into Prishtinë was spot on time, where the hunt for the hotel, that we were booked into the following night and not on this night, started. Thanks to ME Maps we figured it out quite easily but between us and it was a massive great hill and some buildings; the walk round the streets looking like a rather lengthy affair. Luckily for us there was an American crank on board who confirmed there was a footpath up the hillside and we basically allowed him to lead the way and found the Hotel Denis when we came out onto the main road at the top.

We were booked into the Hotel Denis for the following two nights and there was no problem at all adding the extra night to the front of the booking. The girl at reception couldn’t understand why I’d not been able to either make an extra booking the previous night or amend my original booking but still all was sorted and we were apparently given the best room in the hotel; room 204. It was massive, with a double bed and two singles and even had its own adjacent room, with chairs in it, tucked away in the corner. WiFi was free throughout the hotel, toiletries were provided and the shower was one of those that had about a dozen shower heads scattered all over it and looked like it could be a nightmare to actually operate! The only issue we had was the fact that we couldn’t lock the door when we wanted to nip out for some food but the receptionist’s master key resolved the issue and actually sorted it permanently.

We only had to walk out of the front door for food, to the adjoining Chalet Denis, which is a pizza restaurant open from 0700 to midnight, and where the hotel breakfast is served. Thankfully the menu was in English as well and the two pizzas we had were very good with the most expensive one on the menu only being €5. We even celebrated our get out of jail move from Zagreb to Prishtinë, via Skopje and avoiding Serbia, with a couple of beers before an effectively early night at 2200!


Gen for Monday 28th September 2015


2044002 571 0534 Varazdin – Zagreb (dead inside 1142006)

2044006 3003 0341 Varazdin – Zagreb, 3004 0903 Zagreb – Varazdin

2044007 991 0525 Varazdin – Zagreb, 3006 1120 Zagreb – Varazdin

2044008 3005 0428 Varazdin – Zagreb


1141301 4057 0804 Moravice – Zagreb

1141303 2012 0635 Vinkovci – Zagreb

1141307 INT397 0918 Zagreb – Sarajevo (to Volinja)

1141311 4055 0610 Moravice – Zagreb

1141383 2010 0353 Vinkovci – Zagreb, 4052 0952 Zagreb – Ogulin

1141388/1141385 2011 0745 Zagreb – Vinkovci

1142001 B986 0928 Vitrovica – Zagreb

1142003 2203 0804 Zagreb – Koprivnica

1142006 IC571 0534 Varazdin – Zagreb (2044002 dead inside)



DMU 712104 R2020 1618 Skopje – Tabanovci (vice EMU)

642404 IC892 1620 Skopje – Hani I Elezit

661234 IR662 1650 Skopje – Kicevo



2620005 TL4101 1605 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit, IC892 1745 Hani I Elezit – Prishtinë

DMU 5800 004 TL4103 1913 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit


The Photos Zagreb to Prishtinë via Skopje Monday 28th September 2015:


Tuesday 29th September 2015 (Stepping back in time with Trainkos)

After a good night’s sleep in our massive room the alarm call on this morning was nowhere near as obtrusive as it had been the previous morning and it wasn’t a struggle at all getting out of bed. The two guys in reception handed us a bag with two sandwiches in and a bottle of orange juice each as we left the hotel; with breakfast starting at 0700 we had no time for it with needing to possibly be on the 0710 departure from down the hill!

Just as we got to the bottom of said hill 2620005 rolled in with the stock to form IC891 0710 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit so we ended up walking back up the hill to get a few bits from a supermarket that opened at 0700 and even managed a coffee for breakfast before heading back down the hill to do TL4201 0750 Prishtinë – Pejë, which was booked hauled and had to reveal a new engine for us with the only one we’d had in Kosovo having just departed for Hani I Elezit. The train only produced Nohab 2640003 (ex Trainkos 007 and NSB Di3 3641 of 1959 vintage), which rolled in bang on time with IC760 0532 Pejë – Prishtinë and promptly ran round to work TL4201.

Pleased with our Nohab we bought return tickets to Pejë which cost €4.80 each; worth noting is the fact that a single each way would have cost €3 each so it’s worth buying returns, even if the train fares are dirt cheap! It wasn’t a warm morning and the condensation on the inside of the windows after IC760 arrived remained there for most of the journey to Pejë. Whether it was the poor weather putting a slant on things or not, the scenery wasn’t much to write home about with the exception of the hills surrounding Pejë, which had clouds clinging to their sides very low in the valley.

The train never really wedged out at all and we kept a bay of four each all the way to Pejë. The journey was pretty much spot on time throughout and we were a minute early into Pejë. The 1959 built machine at the front of the train did a cracking job and was driven well; having only had one Nohab before I wasn’t expecting much from the trip after the massive disappointment that had previously greeted me in Hungary with M61017! Well I was pleasantly surprised when 2640003 actually made a bit of noise and was even a bit meaty with it. It wasn’t as loud as 2620005 we’d had the previous noise but the noise contrast was very evident with the 2044 being raspy, yet easily the best 2044 I’ve had, and the Di3 being meatier and having a slight growl to it. With it being cold there was no opening the windows so bellowing had to be done from the drop-down window in the front vestibule of the train and after a decent outward run we were hoping for more of the same on the return; in the meantime we had Pejë to explore for 2h20m.

If you need car parts, want some grilled meat or bags of peppers then Pejë is the place to be with every other shop being one of the three aforementioned and the others being bakeries or barbers! There’s not a great deal to do other than sit in a café during the fester and after walking round aimlessly for a while, which did include getting stuck in the cemetery in the middle of town as there is only one entrance/exit, we just bought some bits for lunch from a supermarket and a nearby bakery and then got back on the train 45 minutes before departure; and we weren’t the first to board either!

The return journey with 2640003 on TL4200 1210 Pejë – Prishtinë was pretty much the same as the outward had been, the only difference being that the train was wedged by the time it got back to Fushë Kosovë; which was where we decided to get off and walk down to the shed, rather than go back into Prishtinë and return to Fushë Kosovë with TL4401 1430 Prishtinë – Fushë Kosovë.

We just walked off the end of the platform and down the tracks towards the shed and as we did so 2760001 (ex MDD3-01) brought the stock off shed, and deposited it in the station, for what we could only assume to be TL4101 1605 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit with it being the same rake that had done the morning Hani I Elezit. By the time we got to the level crossing near the shed 2760001 had come back from the station and was reversing towards the carriage shed to collect what turned out to be an ex Swiss coach, which it took towards the main shed.

2620005 was set off the main shed area, shut down, at the front of the shed were 2640007 (661228), 2640010 (modernised 661203) and 2640004 (Di3 3643), inside the shed was DMU 5800003 and out of the back of the shed was 2640002 (Di3 3633) and a little way along the yard were three ex FS 668 DMU’s, 668 1534, 668 1531 & 668 1528. Having managed to sneak a few photos of the locos at the front of the shed we came across a security guard and a member of staff at the rear of the shed so gestured with the camera, only to be told no photographs. The member of staff eventually pointed us to the station and the Trainkos office to ask for permission but it would have been a half an hour round trip to get it so we didn’t bother and walked into the adjacent field to get photos of Nohab 2640002; which the security guard didn’t seem to like and approaches when we got back to the public footpath with the word police written on his telephone. When we pointed out that he could prevent us from photting on Trainkos land but not public land I don’t really think he understood what we were trying to tell him so we just walked off on our merry way and that was the end of the debate.

Fushë Kosovë station is sizable with very long platforms and a large booking hall, which would have been grand in its day no doubt. Thankfully it wasn’t run down and the buildings seemed to be the main offices for Trainkos. There was a booking office window open for ticket sales and a few coffee shops within the booking hall area. Old electronic departure boards, with two separate ones for different languages, were stung up on the booking hall balcony for all to see when they walked into the premises; which of course didn’t work nowadays with the timetable for all Trainkos trains being on the booking office window. Outside the station in the surrounding undergrowth, which I think is supposed to be a park, is a large steam loco with the number 01-043 on the front an 26-042 on the tender. Right outside the main entrance were a couple of buses with yellow stickers advertising they were service #1 and plying a route from Fushë Kosovë – Prishtinë and listed the stops too.

By the time we’d finished our coffee 2620005 was just returning from shed and dropped onto the stock to work TL4101 1605 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit at about 1520. Return tickets to Hani I Elezit were duly bought and cost €3.50 each. At about 1540 2640003 brought its stock in to form the unadvertised TL4402 1600 Fushë Kosovë – Prishtinë, which departed bang on time at 1600 with quite a lot of people on board as well. 2620005 departed 5 minutes later with our TL4101 1605 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit and ran on time all the way to Hani I Elezit. Despite the generator running in the generator van no power was being provided to the train and as a result we were without heat all the way; unlike the previous evening where the train was nice and toasty!

MZ’s 642404 was already at Hani I Elezit when we arrived at 1730 and people were soon off, after their passport checks had been completed. 2620005 was promptly run round while we walked through the two coaches to the other end of the train and our 15 minutes at Hani I Elezit seemed to fly by. Thankfully there were lights on the return journey, if no heat, which at least was something; I have to say the old Swedish coaches do make the journey feel like it was in a time gone by and a little surreal at the same time.

As had been the case all day Trainkos delivered us into Fushë Kosovë on IC892 1745 Hani I Elezit – Prishtinë on time, where just as had been the case the previous night, DMU 5800 004 was waiting to depart with TL4103 1913 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit. Upon arrival into Prishtinë 2620005 was run round by the time we hiked it to the top of the hill. As things are so cheap in Kosovo we loaded up in the supermarket near the hotel and then headed straight into the Chalet Denis for and evening meal; or in my case two evening meals as the first done didn’t touch the sides! I can recommend both the spaghetti bolognaise and the penne arribiata as a result.

As predicted the shower in the hotel room had been a bit of a nightmare to work and by the time Aidy had figured out that there were buttons for lighting and even a radio, he’d also managed to get the actual shower head working; yet when I chose to get in I couldn’t get it to produce any hot water and gave it up as a bad job initially, before returning for one last go and managed to then get piping hot water out of it; very strange indeed! With alarms set for 0630 again it was bedtime at a little after 2200!


Gen for Tuesday 29th September 2015

Kosovo (HK)

2620005 IC891 0710 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit, TL4102 1050 Hani I Elezit – Fushë Kosovë, TL4101 1605 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit, IC892 1745 Hani I Elezit – Prishtinë

2640003 IC760 0532 Pejë – Prishtinë, TL4201 0750 Prishtinë – Pejë, TL4200 1210 Pejë – Prishtinë, TL4401 1430 Prishtinë – Fushë Kosovë, TL4402 1600 Fushë Kosovë – Prishtinë, IC761 1630 Prishtinë – Pejë

DMU 5800 004 TL4103 1913 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit

2760001 shunting stock at Fushë Kosovë


Fushë Kosovë Shed

2640007, 2640010, 2640004 & 2640002

Also present was DMU 5800 003 inside the shed blocked in and ex FS DMU cars 668 1534, 668 1531 & 668 1528; which looked as yet unused!


Fushë Kosovë station plinthed

Steam loco 01-043 with tender 26-042


For reference the following applies:

2620005 is ex 001 (HZ 2044031)

2640001 is ex 005 (NSB Di3 3619)

2640002 is ex 006 (NSB Di3 3633)

2640003 is ex 007 (NSB Di3 3641)

2640004 is ex 008 (NSB Di3 3643)

2640006 is ex 002 (JZ 661132)

2640007 is ex 003 (JZ 661228)

2640008 is ex 004 (JZ 661231)

2640010 is ex 010 (JZ 661203 but heavily rebuilt with dual cabs)

2710009 is ex 009 (Vossloh G1700)

2760001 is ex MDD3-01 (Shunter)

2760002 is ex MDD3-02 (Shunter)


Macedonia (MZ)

642404 IC892 1620 Skopje – Hani I Elezit


The Photos Kosovo Tuesday 29th September 2015:


Wednesday 30th September 2015 (More of the same, not including the crap weather…..!)

Another 0630 alarm call had us up in time to sensibly view the empties coming in from Fushë Kosovë to Prishtinë, to form IC891 0710 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit, from the top of the hill and not the bottom as we had done the previous morning! When 2620005 (ex 2044031) rolled in at 0655 we were sat in the Chalet Denis at 0700, the moment the doors opened, wait for some form of breakfast to be served. Bizarrely we’d been given sandwiches on our way out of the hotel at 0645, which we hadn’t actually asked for the previous night, which would come in handy for dinner; meanwhile a decent omelette was rustled up and coffee served while we waited for it. The breakfast was included in the room rate and was well worth having and the croissants on the table managed to make their way to Pejë with us.

As we walked down the hillside towards the station 2640003 (ex Di3 3641) arrived with IC760 0532 Pejë – Prishtinë and was again promptly run round to work TL4201 0750 Prishtinë – Pejë. It was possibly colder than the previous morning and I was very glad of my jumper and coat as there was nothing coming from the generator van, which was basically long for the ride to make the numbers up! Unlike the previous morning it proved to be a little harder to get tickets in the booking office but 5 minutes before departure the train guard was in there with another guy and returns to Pejë for €4.80 were duly purchased.

The run out to Pejë was very routine with nothing much happening along the way, the only real difference was the driver’s driving style, which was way better than the previous morning. From standing starts at stations the driver had the Nohab in notch 8 in seconds and it was actually quite a pleasant run that had me bellowing from the window in the vestibule more times than I’d probably admit to. By Pejë though I was ready for a walk round and we left the Nohab to run round in the cold while we basically walked round Pejë for 35 minutes non-stop; we’d actually been in search of the Mill, which is actually a tourist site and museum, but it was under renovation and completely cordoned off; so we went in search of some bits from a bakery and ended up sat on the stock at 1045, just the 1h25m before departure.

Rather a lot of bureaucracy was caught up with before departure then our faces were stuffed with a plethora of train food that had been gathered from the hotel, a supermarket in Prishtinë and the bakery in Pejë; we certainly weren’t going to go hungry! Going completely against the weather forecast the sun made an appearance on the way back to Prishtinë and the stock warmed up quite nicely as a result; which ultimately put me into an afternoon nap!

Just like the previous day TL4200 1210 Pejë – Prishtinë was wedged by the time we approached Fushë Kosovë but we decided to go through to Prishtinë with it on this occasion and return with the unadvertised 1430ish Prishtinë – Fushë Kosovë. When we ran by the shed at Fushë Kosovë 2640007 (ex 661228) was sat where 2620005 (ex 2044031) had been sat the previous afternoon when it had then worked TL4101 1605 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit; and when we noticed 2620005 (ex 2044031) on the shed, albeit not on the main shed, we thought our luck could be in with a different engine on the Hani I Elezit later in the afternoon. With 2640010 (modified 661) free on the shed too we headed into Prishtinë hoping that both engines might get swapped that afternoon.

Prishtinë definitely provided us with the photograph of the day once 2640003 (ex Di3 3641) had run round as the sun was almost perfect on the front, if only a little head on. Once TL4401, which departed Prishtinë at 1424, had deposited us at Fushë Kosovë the sun was even better on the engine but we didn’t have long to get our photos as the damn thing was off to shed, in less than 60 seconds.

The stock for TL4101 1605 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit was already in when we got to Fushë Kosovë and we just bode our time there enjoying the sunshine on the platform while it lasted. Aidy was told he couldn’t sit on the wall of the footsteps to the underpass by the security guard but it seemed ok for young children to wonder over the tracks as they pleased; it took us telling him about a few kids running up and down the tops of the demic wagons in the yard over the back of the station to actually do something about it. It then seemed he had a bee in his bonnet as a couple of lads on roller skates were bollocked for doing so on the platform and then another group of kids messing about on the station were chased off. Those on the wagons tops didn’t desist mind, they just went into the second or third row back so they couldn’t be seen and were last seen balancing precariously as they attempted to walk round the edges of an open wagon, which was at least a 6ft drop into it, which I might had didn’t seem to have a bottom either!

We’d obviously been lulled into a false sense of security when we’d spotted 2640007 (ex 661228) on the shed as 2620005 (ex 2044031) was off shed and bolted to the stock of TL4101 1605 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit by 1525; which was the same set as the previous night with a genny van and two ex-Swedish coaches. We then saw the Nohab shunt onto the stock on the shed in the distance and sure enough 2640003 (ex Di3 3641) brought the stock in at about 1545 to form TL4402 1600 Fushë Kosovë – Prishtinë; which at least made for a decent photograph as it arrived.

It was the same bert at the ticket window that had sold us tickets the previous afternoon and he even still had the post-it note I’d written on to explain to him where we’d wanted to go the previous afternoon as well. Once he’d confirmed we wanted the same two returns to Hani I Elezit were duly written out and cost €3.50 each again. 2640003 (ex Di3 3641) departed spot on time towards Prishtinë at 1600 and we departed 5 minutes later, also spot on time, towards Hani I Elezit.

Unfortunately the sunshine disappeared within 10 minutes of us departing Fushë Kosovë and while the train was busy en-route we had plenty of room to spread out throughout the journey. We opted to sit in the second coach on this occasion as some strange kid was already in the front coach with the window wide open when we boarded; he’d been on the previous afternoon as well and despite being told on numerous occasions by locals to close the window it was soon back down again; it was as though he had the attention span of a muppet!

When we arrived into Hani I Elezit we did so into the platform nearest the station buildings but buffered up to a wagon as we did so. The Macedonian portion of IC892 hadn’t arrived but by the time 2620005 (ex 2044031) had shunted the wagon clear of the front of our train and up the yard we were very surprised to find MZ 661235 roll in with IC892 1620 Skopje – Hani I Elezit and very much hoped it would be sat there waiting for us, as we headed back into Macedonia, the following morning. Our Trainkos 2620005 shunted the wagon onto the rear of three others that were sat in the third platform at Hani I Elezit before dropping back onto the stock to work the Kosovan portion IC892 1745 Hani I Elezit – Prishtinë back north. MZ 661235 disappeared after running round its single coach and as we departed it was nowhere to be seen whether it would take the freight wagons into Macedonia that evening or attach them to the one coach for the following morning remained to be seen; of course we hoped it would be the latter but of course the 661 could have stood in for the 642 sewing machine on this occasion as the 642 probably wasn’t man enough to move the 4 wagons!

It was an interesting journey back towards Prishtinë with the driver clearly wanting to get there and not being careful with the power handle at all; it was a bit of a shame that 2640007 (ex 661228) hadn’t worked the train otherwise it would probably have been a better run.

Half way back to Fushë Kosovë we passed 2640010 with a freight heading towards Hani I Elezit and from that point on assumed that 661235 would be taking those wagons forward to into Macedonia with 2640010 possibly bringing the ones at Hani I Elezit back to Fushë Kosovë?

As per the previous two evenings now, Trainkos delivered us into Fushë Kosovë on IC892 1745 Hani I Elezit – Prishtinë on time, where just as had been the case the previous night, DMU 5800 004 was waiting to depart with TL4103 1913 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit. Upon arrival into Prishtinë 2620005 was run round but didn’t quite make it by the time we’d hiked it to the top of the hill on this occasion.

Another good, cheap meal went down a treat in the Chalet Denis before we packed up and were ready to head off back into Macedonia the following morning; hoping, just hoping, that something other than 2620005 would produce for the morning Hani I Elezit but not a DMU of course.


Gen for Wednesday 30th September 2015

Kosovo (HK)

2620005 IC891 0710 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit, TL4102 1050 Hani I Elezit – Fushë Kosovë, TL4101 1605 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit, IC892 1745 Hani I Elezit – Prishtinë

2640003 IC760 0532 Pejë – Prishtinë, TL4201 0750 Prishtinë – Pejë, TL4200 1210 Pejë – Prishtinë, TL4401 1430 Prishtinë – Fushë Kosovë, TL4402 1600 Fushë Kosovë – Prishtinë, IC761 1630 Prishtinë – Pejë

DMU 5800 004 TL4103 1913 Fushë Kosovë – Hani I Elezit

2760002 shunting stock at Fushë Kosovë


Fushë Kosovë Shed

2640007, 2640010, 2640004 & 2640002

Also present was DMU 5800 003 inside the shed blocked in and ex FS DMU cars 668 1534, 668 1531 & 668 1528; which looked as yet unused!


Fushë Kosovë station plinthed

Steam loco 01-043 with tender 26-042


For reference the following applies:

2620005 is ex 001 (HZ 2044031)

2640001 is ex 005 (NSB Di3 3619)

2640002 is ex 006 (NSB Di3 3633)

2640003 is ex 007 (NSB Di3 3641)

2640004 is ex 008 (NSB Di3 3643)

2640006 is ex 002 (JZ 661132)

2640007 is ex 003 (JZ 661228)

2640008 is ex 004 (JZ 661231)

2640010 is ex 010 (JZ 661203 but heavily rebuilt with dual cabs)

2710009 is ex 009 (Vossloh G1700)

2760001 is ex MDD3-01 (Shunter)

2760002 is ex MDD3-02 (Shunter)


Macedonia (MZ)

661235 IC892 1620 Skopje – Hani I Elezit


The Photos Kosovo Wednesday 30th September 2015:


Thursday 1st October 2015 (Walking to Skopje Sever is waste of shoe leather!)

With enough bits from the supermarket to suffice as food before we got to Skopje we didn’t bother with a pizza topping sandwich on this occasion and headed straight down the hill to Prishtinë station; where we weren’t at all surprised when 2620005 (ex 2044031) rolled in with the empties to form IC891 0710 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit. Our €2.50 singles to Hani I Elezit were purchased from the ticket office before departure and we made ourselves comfortable in the rear ex Swedish coach for our last run in Kosovo.

At Fushë Kosovë DMU 5800 004 was already sat in having arrived with TL4100 0548 Hani I Elezit – Fushë Kosovë and shortly afterwards 2640003 (ex Di3 3641) with IC760 0532 Pejë – Prishtinë; the latter being full and standing down the aisles throughout the train as it headed towards Prishtinë. Our run towards Hani I Elezit was pretty uneventful really and we were quite pleased to find a 661 at the head of the usual one coach when we arrived; unfortunately though what we’d assumed would be 661235, having returned light from wherever it had taken the wagons to the previous night, was actually 661223, which we’d had to Kicevo a couple of times on our previous trip!

The Kosovan border grip was done on board the Macedonian train and not before you get off the Kosovan part of IC891; once done 661223 was allowed to head for the Macedonian border with IC891 0900 Hani I Elezit – Skopje on its load 1. As on the outward passports were taken off us and we were processed back into Macedonia before the passports were again handed back after departure by the train crew! Upon arrival into Skopje 642006 was dropped onto the one coach to shunt it somewhere and 661223 was sent to shed. In platform 1 was MZ 441755 with a load 7 set of ZSSK stock, which was being cleaned; we could only assume it was being used to ferry refugees from Gevgelija to Tabanovci, or Greece to Serbia if you prefer it that way?

With plenty of time to kill in Skopje we had loads of time to do breakfast and headed round the corner to a place we’d used before called Lezet; which rustled up a good omelette and plate of mushrooms, washed down with a beer, for MKD700 for the both of us!

While we knew the No.9 bus ran from the bus stop on the main road by the Hotel Centar to Skopje Sever station we opted to walk as we only had the 2 and a half hours to get there. With the aid of ME Maps we managed it, with our big bags, in 1h05m at a very steady pace indeed; the distance walked being 4.9km! We still had over an hour to kill when we got there and were quite surprised to see 661223 head light towards Dorce Petrov about 10 minutes before IR663 1218 Kicevo – Skopje was due into Skopje Sever.

When nothing showed up by 1445, with IR663 being due at 1414, we began to wonder if IR663 had failed and 661223 had been sent to rescue it. A quick chat with the red-cap soon revealed our walk to Skopje Sever had been nothing but a waste of shoe leather as he told me that both IR660 0805 Skopje – Kicevo & IR663 Kicevo – Skopje both didn’t run any more with there now only being one train each way a day! Had we actually cared to look in the window of the red-cap’s office at any point during our fester at Sever we’d have seen a notice telling people that IR660/IR663 had ceased running as long ago as 3rd January; not that I actually noticed it on this occasion when I walked back to tell Aidy the good news, it was until we returned later that afternoon that we actually spotted it!

The No.9 bus it was back to Skopje to view the afternoon rush-hour trains. There was one already waiting at the end of the station approach road when we got there and we were charged MKD25 each for the 20 minute ride back to the Hotel Centar, which is a 5 minute walk from the station. It was the slowest bus journey I’ve ever had, during which we probably never went about 20kmph; it was tedious and hideous at the same time! So much so that we didn’t actually make it back to the station to view the 1522 to Kocani.

Once on the station it seemed to be non-stop action with EMU 412054/054 arriving with R2082 1423 Veles – Skopje and then later did IR631 1640 Skopje – Gevgelija. 441044 was in the station at 1535 to form R2020 1618 Skopje – Tabanovci with just one coach; we’d seen it the train three days previous formed of a DMU! Next in was MZ 442002 with a load 6 set of MZ coaches that headed empty towards Gevgelija at 1550, again assumed to be to ferry refugees through the country. Then came the moment of truth as a 661 appeared in the distance with its one coach to form IC892 1620 Skopje – Hani I Elezit and closely on its heels was another 661 with its one coach to form IR662 1650 Skopje – Kicevo and last but not least DMU 712103/104 arrived with IR642 1250 Bitola – Skopje.

By 1615 the station had no less than three winners sat in ready to depart, 441044 on the Tabanovci, 661235 with IC892 to Hani I Elezit and sat right behind it in the same platform 661234 with IR662 to Kicevo; the dilemma eh? Our move soon became very simple, do 661235 to Skopje Sever for 661234 forward to Dorce Petrov and try and get back to Skopje by bus to hopefully do 441044, assuming it went back, on R2022 1900 Skopje – Tabanovci.

Our first issue to overcome was the fact that we only had a few Denar to our name and not even enough for a bus journey back. Thankfully that issue was solved when the guard on IC892 changed us €5 for MKD300. After watching 661235 depart Skopje Sever we discussed the merits of walking to the shack between Sever and Skopje, Zelezarnica, which the Kicevo stops at but the International train doesn’t. Had we not had big bags with us we could have probably made the 2.5km walk in 30 minutes but decided against even considering it in the end and waited for 661234 to take us forward to Dorce Petrov and the unknown transport arrangements that we may or may not find there to get us back to civilization.

It was with great delight that we found a taxi parked up by a hut adjacent to Dorce Petrov station, about 10m from the platform. The owner of which appeared to be having his dinner but was more than happy to take us directly to Madzari, where we would then have plenty of time to wait for 441044 returning from Tabanovci with R2021 1740 Tabanovci – Skopje. We were a good mile down the main road towards Skopje before we even saw a bus so were quite thankful of our taxi at that point. The journey took about 20 minutes in the rush hour traffic and the meter was at MKD389 when we got to Madzari station. The journey couldn’t have been any more direct as I was following it on ME Maps but unfortunately the MKD389 fare was MKD69 more than we had. Our very friendly taxi driver was more than happy to take what we had though and wouldn’t even take any Euro’s to compensate!

We’d only been on the platform for a few minutes when the red-cap came out to tell us that the next train didn’t stop but when we told him we were waiting for the 1829 departure towards Skopje he was ok with that; it was then that we noticed the train he was talking about approaching. It turned out to be the late running D337 0745 Beograd – Skopje and despite the fact we’d been told that it wasn’t stopping, it did to drop a member of crew off from the front door and of course we wasted no time in getting straight in during the 10 second stop; and having done 441107 into Skopje on D337 we were stood back in the same spot at Madzari, waiting for 441044 to arrive with R2022, 15 minutes later having paid €5 to get back there in a taxi from Skopje!

441044 dropped us into Skopje 3 minutes early with R2022 1740 Tabanovci – Skopje and topped off a decent afternoon, especially after the wasted morning we’d had. A second meal of the day was sought at the very good Restaurant Lezet before we returned to the station to watch the world go by before or overnight to Beograd.

At 2115 MZ 441709 departed Skopje empties towards Gevgelija with the load 7 ZSSK rake and at 2120 MZ 441755 rolled in dragging EMU 412055/056 loaded with refugees all asking which country or place they were in while the train sat in the station for a crew change. Next to arrive was DMU 712107/108 with IR644 1825 Bitola – Skopje, which then formed R2085 2240 Skopje – Veles. It wasn’t until 2245, 31 minutes after it should have departed, that D334 1830 Thessaloniki – Beograd arrived; which was starting at Gevgelija due to the refugee issues and OSE were running a bus from Thessaloniki to connect with the train; we could only assume that the bus connection was the reason for the late running but once 461119 had brought the train to a stand the sleeper attendant told everyone not to board as another coach was being brought out to replace the one on the train. He later told me there was a problem underneath the coach but that was all I could get out of him.

642006 soon appeared from the shed with a coach in tow, it then buffered to the set, detached the demic coach and shunted it to the adjacent platform. It then ran round the coach, taking the replacement coach with it before attaching that to the demic one in the adjacent platform. Finally it ran round again, picked up both coaches and attached the good one to the rear of the train. We attempted to get the sleeper bert to let us into the coach before the shunt to get 642006 in but were denied.

Being first on the sleeper bert directed us to compartment 4, which wasn’t our booked one. In the end it transpired that he assumed we didn’t have reservations and put us in the empty compartment but allowed us to stay there anyway as there were other people in our booked one. D334 eventually departed Skopje at 2320, 66’ late. Randomly as I looked out of the window I noticed 642006 pushing out of the station; having felt a jolt from behind as we set off. Initially I thought it might have been attached to the rear but it wasn’t and eased off towards the platform end as 461119 accelerated away into the night.

We passed 462001/002 heading towards Skopje at Kumanovo. We didn’t even bother attempting bed before the border grips at Tabanovci in Macedonia and Presevo in Serbia; both were pretty straight forward but the Serbs questioned why we’d been to Kosovo and of course got the obvious answer back! Then we were left to get to bed at last, over an hour after we should have been dossed out.


Gen for Thursday 1st October 2015

Kosovo (HK)

2620005 IC891 0710 Prishtinë – Hani I Elezit, TL4102 1050 Hani I Elezit – Fushë Kosovë

2640003 IC760 0532 Pejë – Prishtinë

DMU 5800 004 TL4100 0548 Hani I Elezit – Fushë Kosovë


Macedonia (MZ)

661223 IC891 0900 Hani I Elezit – Skopje, light to Dorce Petrov at approx. 1330 then freight at 1445 Dorce Petrov towards Skopje; seen at Sever

661234 IR662 1650 Skopje – Kicevo (load 1)

661235 IC892 1620 Skopje – Hani I Elezit (load 1)


441044 R2020 1618 Skopje – Tabanovci, R2021 1740 Tabanovci – Skopje, R2033 1900 Skopje – Tabanovci, R2023 2016 Tabanovci – Skopje, R2024 2300 Skopje – Kumanovo (all load 1)

441107 D337 0745 Beograd – Skopje (into Skopje on load 2)

461119 D334 1830 Thessaloniki – Beograd (starting at Gevgelija)

462001/002 seen light through Kumanovo towards Skopje at approx. 2355


Note: 642006 station pilot at Skopje, shunted coach off IC891 to sidings in station and appeared to be shunting refugee stock all day. Was used to shunt demic coach off D334 at Skopje and add a new one that worked! Then randomly pushed D334 through the station at Skopje on departure!


Refugee Trains

441109 2115 Skopje – Gevgelija ecs with load 7 ZSSK rake

441755 On load 7 ZSSK rake at Skopje at 1000, later seen passing through Skopje at 2120 dragging EMU 412055/056 loaded with refugees towards Tabanovci then again approaching Skopje at 2325 dragging the same EMU at 2325

442002 1550 Skopje – Gevgelija ecs with load 6 MZ rake



412053/054 R2082 1423 Veles – Skopje, IR631 1640 Skopje – Gevgelija



712103/104 IR642 1250 Bitola – Skopje

712107/108 IR644 1825 Bitola – Skopje, R2085 2240 Skopje – Veles


The Photos Macedonia Thursday 1st October 2015:


Friday 2nd October 2015 (Never again…….)

It was always going to be a case of trying to find out how late we were when we woke up and I was surprised to figure out that we were only 1h40m late, having seemingly only lost 34’ since entering Serbia; that was set to change though and we staggered into Beograd at alarmingly slow pace, that was even slower than the usual Serbian stagger. Any plans for an early morning bash or leap at Rakovica went out of the window the moment we woke up but when we rolled into Rakovica right behind another train, in the same platform, things started to look up; for a few seconds anyway! By the time we’d got to the door the damn thing had already set off; upon arrival into Beograd we figured the train had been 2900 0305 Nis – Beograd with 441031 running 80’ late itself.

If we thought we’d staggered to Rakovica we were in for a treat once we got the tip to leave; it seemed that there was some sort of farce occurring, which could have resulted in single line working or block working, I couldn’t quite tell but we waited quite a while at Rakovica after 441031 had departed for Beograd. Having passed by Topcider shed, where the 3 Krauss Maffei built V300 locomotives still stand (JZ numbers 761001-003, although they’re not all visible!), we spotted ZS 444015 sat outside the station area, where we slowed down and stopped. The boards on the load 2 set showed that 444015 was working D337 0745 Beograd – Skopje, which at the time we passed it was 2 hours late. We toyed with getting off at Topcider, where our D334 wasn’t supposed to stop, but were very glad we didn’t in the end and headed into Beograd instead.

Arrival into Beograd was 2h34m late at 1016 vice 0742! Breakfast was the first thing on our minds and one of the places on the station rustled up a decent omelette while we figured out what we were going to do. With the refugee scenarios trains heading from Serbia towards Croatia were all cancelled so EN414 1103 Beograd – Buchs wasn’t an option and EC342 1115 Beograd – Budapest is now RA to Stara Pazova so we couldn’t do that either without involving an EMU back and further to that IC546 1200 Beograd – Novi Sad was formed of a nice new shiny EMU; which by the end of the day we’d figured out now worked all the Novi Sad & Sid trains so there are now only the international trains hauled on the Novi Sad line! There were plenty of the new EMU’s about too, all numbered in the 4130xx number series.

Having randomly nipped back into the booking office to check the arrival/departure screens again, to make sure we’d got everything noted, I noticed a word at the side of both 6093 1325 Beograd – Rakovica and 6094 1448 Rakovica – Beograd; the inevitable was confirmed at one of the ticket windows and both trains were cancelled, which resigned us to a very interesting afternoon indeed and having figured out our day was going to be a shit one we started off with a shit move and did EMU 412077/035 out to Rakovica on 2991 1110 Beograd – Jagodina to await the arrival of 2902 0735 Nis – Beograd.

As we departed Topcider it was evident something was very wrong with D337 0745 Beograd – Skopje as 444015 was still sat in exactly the same place and standing alongside, which we hadn’t figured out on the way into Beograd, was 441316 on an engineer’s train, which looked to be a breakdown type train but without a crane. Neither 444015 nor its train appeared to be off the road so we could only assume that there was possibly a serious problem with either the loco or one of the coaches. At this point though the train was now empty and people were walking back towards Topcider station, yet bizarrely not boarding our train. When we returned to Beograd, some 3 hours later, 444015, its stock and the breakdown train had gone and there was a tamper type thing positioned where D337 had been sat which gave the impression that the train could have been off the road or that there’d been an infrastructure issue that required further attention once the train had been moved; either way D337 must have been cancelled as we never saw it run through Rakovica in the 2 and a half hours we were there and 444015 was on shed at Beograd when we got back!

Upon arrival at Rakovica we figured we might be in for a bit of a fester when the red-cap went wondering off down the tracks after our EMU had departed! While waiting though we did see some yellow plant pass through, followed by infrastructure loco 621103; which had been in Rakovica station when we’d arrived on D334 that morning. Neither were given the tip to depart the station confined and both passed red signals at the end of the platform, giving more cause to believe there was an infrastructure failure somewhere that had resulted in block working?

When 2902 0735 Nis – Beograd eventually arrived, a mere 55’ late, it did so with ZS 441751 and one coach. Dossed on the desk in the back cab was a member of train crew, fully stretched out! The crew of 441751 looked a little concerned when there was no red-cap to speak to and just looked around at each other in confusion; the answer to their confusion was to get back in the cab and start smoking until something happened. With smoke emanating from the cab we got into the front vestibule, which was pretty much the same, the bogs also stank and the odor coming from inside the coach was no better; it was loaded with refugees, who all looked like they’d been awake for days, and more importantly smelled like they’d not had a good wash for days! Until something happened we opted to stand on the platform, in relatively fresh air…..

15 minutes after 2902 arrived into Rakovica the red-cap eventually came ambling down the tracks and gestured to the crew by pointing towards Beograd; which seemed to be a reason as to why the train couldn’t continue on its journey. That reason eventually rumbled round the corner, in the shape of ZS 661116 and was duly photographed. The red-cap took offence to this and came up to us, after we’d taken our pictures, to tell us we couldn’t take photographs, so we just got on the train and stood in the coach out of the way; 441751 departed shortly after 661116 had cleared the points at the end of the platform. Despite 6093 1325 Beograd – Rakovica being cancelled, we’d have ended up watching it arrive into Rakovica by the time 2902 left 1h15m late at 1354, if it had have run!

With not much on the options plate when we got back to Beograd we walked the short distance to the railway museum, only to find it closed, and then headed straight back to the station. The “only” option for the afternoon was to do 6096 1615 Beograd – Indija out to Novi Beograd, for either EN415 Buchs – Beograd or IC343 Budapest – Beograd back in; the former was randomly showing as running on the screens and with the latter showing 50’ late we had all our eggs in the one basket when we departed Beograd, which was to hope EN415 was running as IC343 would miss D335 1850 Beograd – Thessaloniki back at Beograd at 50’ late!

Dud ZS 441751, with its one coach, delivered us out to Novi Beograd on 6096; where the epitome of Communism is very evident with the amount of high-rise, non-descript flats adorning the landscape. Further to that the entire 412 EMU fleet that plied the cross city route was covered from top to bottom and front to back in graffiti; the only bits of the units that were spared by the artists were the driver’s windows! While some of the graffiti on the EMU’s was actually quite interesting, it was ridiculous that nothing had been done in an attempt to curb the shocking behavior, which seemed like nothing more than a competition between “Banksy” wannabe’s! Still, in a random way, in the setting that they plied the EMU’s were strangely photogenic in the late afternoon sun before it went down.

When EN415 hadn’t turned up 10 minutes after departure time I walked off the end of the platform to the red-cap’s office. With no English spoke I wrote down the train number with a question mark after it, a few moments later the phone the red-cap used was put on loud speaker and a voice at the other end told me “train is not moving today”; that was the end of that and we were soon headed down to the main road to get a tram back to Beograd. My moves from the previous year provided us with the gen that we’d used the No.3 tram then and no sooner did we get onto the platform did one arrive. The previous year we’d managed to get away without paying but on this occasion we took notice of a woman on the platform who spoke fluent English, and told us that tickets were purchased from the driver if they hadn’t already been done so from a newspaper kiosk or the likes; which there were none of by Novi Beograd station at all.

It was interesting watching the tram driver’s attempts to drive his tram while also trying to issue two foreigner’s their tram tickets. He eventually managed to print us our tickets, which cost RSD150 each, which I think are a lot cheaper when bought before travelling; the woman at the tourist information kiosk at Beograd station had told me that a ticket valid all day is only RSD250 when purchased from a newspaper stand! The journey back to Beograd only took 17 minutes and was probably longer due to the rush-hour traffic. The refugee crisis was very evident round the corner from Beograd station with tent set up across the whole of the main square; the whole area looking like a make-shift camp for those passing through on their way to what they hope will be a better life elsewhere!

When we walked onto the station new EMU 413001 was just arriving into the station with 2209 1637 Sid – Beograd; which had we actually been paying attention to the timetable we had, we could have done into Beograd vice the bloody tram! As we departed on D335 1850 Beograd – Thessaloniki, with ZS 441031, at 1850 though IC343 was nowhere to be seen so we’d effectively played the right move in heading back to Beograd either way; that was until we watched ZS 441748 arrive with 3913 1915 Beograd – Pozarevac that we didn’t have on our timetable! So in theory we could have waited at Novi Beograd to do 444015 in on IC343 then 441748 out to Rakovica instead of 441031.

Had we been very stuck at Novi Beograd we could have actually done 441752 direct to Rakovica, avoiding Beograd, when it returned from Indija with 6095 1729 Indija – Rakovica, which we watched depart with 6098 1913 Rakovica – Golubinci, which again avoided Beograd as it crossed the city; it was 40’ late away from Rakovica with 6098 mind.

We had a choice of two trains back into Beograd from Rakovica and we already knew D335 Skopje – Beograd was well down the pan before we even headed out to Novi Beograd, thanks to the screens in the booking office at Beograd; of course it lost more time and was showing 100 late when we left Beograd. It was a minus 68 off D335 and made with ease. We did have the luxury of a second option back into Beograd as well and 430 0900 Bar – Beograd produced something a little unexpected when it rolled in with ZCG’s 461029 vice a ZS 461 like we’d expected; however the train was then delayed in the platform at Rakovica. We later found out, from a passenger that spoke English that, a girl on board had been taken ill after her blood sugar levels had dropped quite dramatically. People were trying to help out in the second coach and everything seemed a little tense. I got the impression that the train crew wanted the girl off the train so it could continue forward while they waited on the platform, however the girl’s condition looked quite serious when the ambulance crew eventually carried her off the train in what appeared to be an unresponsive slump!

Meanwhile, back in cranking land, ZS 441749 had overtaken the ZCG machine with D336 Skopje – Beograd, running 2h36m late when it departed Rakovica; it was loaded to the hilt with refugees and was probably late as a direct result of said refugees. Bizarrely, despite people rushing from 430 to D335 they were turned away by the train crew and advised not to board by the train crew of 430 and D335 was away within seconds of stopping; there’d been literally no time to board or alight at all! To add insult to injury ZS 461024 working the Bar overnight, 433 2010 Beograd – Bar, made the inbound Bar day train at Rakovica while it sat waiting for the ambulance to arrive; it was only a minus 51! While quite pleased with our bonus Montenegrin loco we were very glad to be heading into Beograd, where 430 arrived 67’ late after its prolonged stay at Rakovica. It had been a day of frustration really and one that wouldn’t have us rushing back to Serbia anytime soon to repeat!

We managed to get ourselves served in the same place we’d used for food earlier and moments late the place was rammed with refugees off the train from Skopje. Every plug socket in the place was soon overloaded with mobile phones being charged and the toilets were like a scene better suited to a lads changing room as they all attempted to get a wash and use the facilities! There seemed to be some commotion when our food came on plates and theirs didn’t; to which the guy serving told everyone that we were their bosses and had to have our food served properly; we just went along with it! One of the refugees, the spokesman for the table next to us, spoke English and even had the cheek to ask the guy serving where his chicken was; and was given a comical answer, which definitely lightened the mood of the place. In a quick witted response the waiter asked him if he wanted his chicken alive or just plain raw and reminded him that it had to be killed and cooked before he should eat it! After the banter I could help but as the guy where they were all attempting to travel to, the response I got was Croatia, followed by the question “is it ok there”? I politely told him it was a nice place and he seemed content with that.

Our overnight out of Serbia had been sat in Beograd station most of the day and D293 2205 Beograd – Sofia was formed of 2 coaches, one ex Hungarian for the seated passengers and a ZS couchette coach at the rear. Despite the couchette coach being quite full we still managed to be the only two people booked in our compartment and the coach attendant confirmed that nobody else would get in en-route. Dud ZS 441708 was provided from the station sidings, where it had sat all day, and at least left on time. Once everyone had settled down beds were made up and we were horizontal by Rakovica; caning in some much needed sleep and hoping we’d been out of Serbia by the time we woke!


Gen for Friday 2nd October 2015

Serbia (ZS)

441031 2900 0305 Nis – Beograd, D335 1850 Beograd – Thessaloniki

441514 D334 1830 (P) Thessaloniki – Beograd (from Tabanovci)

441708 D293 2205 Beograd – Sofia (661154 forward from Nis)

441748 3913 1915 Beograd – Pozarevac (load 1)

441749 D336 0820 Skopje – Beograd (load 2 and 2h36m late)

441751 2902 0735 Nis – Beograd, 2905 1530 Beograd – Nis (both on load 1)

441752 6096 1615 Beograd – Indija, 6095 1729 Indija – Rakovica, 6098 1913 Rakovica – Golubinci

444014 EC342 1115 Beograd – Budapest

444015 D337 0745 Beograd – Skopje (train caped just outside Topcider; reason unknown but suspect infrastructure related)

461024 433 2010 Beograd – Bar

461029 (ZCG) 430 0900 Bar – Beograd


661152 Optima Express at Dimitrovgrad at 0600 03/10, heading to Serbia

661154 D293 2205 Beograd – Sofia (from Nis to Dimitrovgrad)



412077/035 2991 1110 Beograd – Jagodina

4130xx IC546 1200 Beograd – Novi Sad

4130xx 2210 1845 Beograd – Sid

413001 2209 1637 Sid – Beograd

413007 2207 1205 Sid – Beograd, 2208 1555 Beograd – Sid

413009 3412 1825 Beograd – Novi Sad

413011 IC547 1406 Novi Sad – Beograd, IC540 1700 Beograd – Novi Sad

413023 3407 1253 Novi Sad – Beograd, 3410 1525 Beograd – Novi Sad

413025 3409 1521 Novi Sad – Beograd



Cancelled 6093 1325 Beograd – Rakovica, 6094 1448 Rakovica – Beograd

Cancelled EC414 1103 Beograd – Buchs, EC415 xxxx Buchs – Beograd


The Photos Serbia Friday 2nd October 2015:


Saturday 3rd October 2015 (We nearly walked as far as we travelled by train in Sofia!)

Unfortunately we were still in Serbia when I woke up, fortunately though it was a very convenient time to wake for a piss; just as we were rolling to a stand at Nis. I had enough time to get my shoes on, spot 661154 preparing to drop onto the front, go for a piss and get back into bed! The heating in the coach was working overtime too and of course the controller didn’t work so the window had to be left open a little to attempt to cool the compo down; not for any 661 thrash as there wasn’t any!

By Dimitrovgrad it was time to get up and the fact that we were 2h10m late meant the overnight had been quite an acceptable on in that we hadn’t had to endure any border grips while wanting to be asleep. ZS 661152 was sat in the adjacent platform with an Optima Express bound for Serbia and beyond. I chanced a quick photo of 661154 while our passports were being processed and was immediately told to get back on board by the security staff on the platform as were the German tourists that go off for a smoke.

The passport checks were harmless in the end and having watched 44121 back on through the coach partition doors I was surprised to see two engines on the front as we headed towards Bulgaria. Last time we’d done the train in the opposite direction a BDZ Cargo 44 had piloted the 61 to the border but on this occasion both locos were unfortunately passenger ones with 44081 heading the train. The border grip entering Bulgaria was a lot less hassle than the Serbian one with our passports merely being looked at and handed straight back; there was no taking them away for processing unless you weren’t an EU citizen.

After a decent run towards Sofia good old ME Maps showed that we had less km’s to do than minutes needed to make the 1030 Sofia – Varna and sure enough D293 dropped into Sofia a mere 1h45m late; having picked up 25 minutes since exiting Serbia! This allowed us 15 minutes to have a scan round before we needed to be on the 1030 departure; Sofia station had changed massively in the 12 months since we’d been in town for the 2014 PTG Greece tour and I have to say work was coming on to make the station something like you’d expect from a capital city station. Most platforms had been resurfaced and the underpass was well on its way to being completed but the main concourse to the station was now just literally a gaping hole in the whole station building and to get from the main station to the bay platforms a lengthy walk was required outside the station. It was a little dusty in the subway, which currently takes folk on a detour to get out of the station while the main entrance is rebuilt, but there were new-look booking offices both downstairs and upstairs at the front of the station with domestic ticket sales being downstairs and international upstairs at window 15. The only bad thing about the building site that had taken over the station front, was that all the little shops that were in the subway had been completely dismissed with there now only being two shops at the front of the station, full stop.

Mini-tour of the station over and photos snapped of the arrivals/departure screens we were safely on board 2611 1030 Sofia – Varna well before departure time; 44106 was the engine. Despite Aidy having meticulously gone through the BDZ website to produce a simplifier for Sofia it seemed that BDZ had alternative plans to those they produced on the website! Namely running trains on the Plovdiv line, which weren’t shown online and even running trains at different times on the Gorna line as well so our best laid plans had to be carefully recalculated throughout the day by close scrutiny of the screens every time we were at Sofia; which didn’t go as badly as I may have initially thought and having gone back into Sofia with 45159 on 20272 0940 Mezdra – Sofia we were straight back out, just, with 45182 on 480 1155 Sofia – Budapest Keleti. We could have waited the hour at Sofia Sever for 2610 0515 Varna – Sofia but as it was showing 10 minutes late on the screens at Sofia we decided to walk back to Sofia; ME Maps guiding us in the right direction, sort of, with the 2.4km walk taking 35 minutes after a slight detour over the main lines and up the embankment on the other side to get to the correct side of the line to access Sofia station from!

45172 was sat waiting for us at Sofia with 2613 1300 Sofia – Varna and it only just made 2610 0515 Varna – Sofia at Sofia Sever; in fact if I hadn’t shouted to some guy to leave a door open as we arrived we’d have probably missed it and likely ended up walking back to Sofia again! As it happened though we had plenty of time back at Sofia to get ourselves sorted for the back end of our trip and it took a mere few minutes, but for the fact I had to rush over to the bus station for some cash as no cards were accepted, to buy a 5 Day Balkan Flexi Pass (BGN172) from international window 15 in the upstairs part of the booking hall. We were then directed downstairs to sort out our reservations for 2627 2245 Sofia – Varna overnight after the PTG tour arrived back the following Friday and armed with a written note from the woman at the international desk, who spoke English, we initially went to window 13 downstairs but were directed to window 12 and were in possession of reservations for 2627 at the grand cost of just BGN10 for a three berth compartment bed!

It was a busy hour for us in Sofia and after checking in to the Hotel Sylvia to dump our big bags we were back on the platform with 10 minutes to spare for 45177 to take us back out to Sofia Sever on 20273 1420 Sofia – Mezdra; where for the second time in 90 minutes out feet barely touched the ground there when our EMU back was already at the platform end as we came to a stand; it was a little more of a comfortable plus than the previous move had been though.

We were joined by Speedo for our next move, who’d arrived with a few others off a delayed Easyjet flight from Stansted. 361 1515 Sofia – Thessaloniki was headed by 46208 and just before it departed 87012, still in Network Southeast livery, rolled through the station. With the moves being limited in the afternoon we opted to walk from Zaharna Fabrika to Sofia Sever once 46208 had dropped us off. It was a nice afternoon and ME Maps did a bit better on this occasion with no cross railway tactics needing to be executed and the 3.7km walk only took 45 minutes; at quite a steady pace really. Unfortunately 44202, working 481 1910 (P) Budapest Keleti – Sofia, was dud so we could have saved some shoe leather and just walked back to Sofia instead!

Things became a little confusing for the last moves of the evening, thanks to more timetable changes but it actually worked to our advantage when Aidy’s brain kicked into gear to figure out that with 20204 1550 Mezdra – Sofia being retimed earlier and 2612 1115 Varna – Sofia being slightly later it meant we could do 20103 1745 Sofia – Vratsa forward from Sofia Sever to Iliyantsi and with 44094 delivering us to Sofia Sever on 2641 1735 Sofia – Gorna Oryahovista, 45176 was duly done forward to Iliyantsi for Mezdra based EMU 32076/075 back to Sofia Sever and having flagged 46211 heading to Sofia with 30116 1530 Karlovo – Sofia we called it a day after doing 44140 in with 2612 1115 Varna – Sofia.

Attempts to get food were somewhat frustrating with the very good pizza place we’d used before being closed and then, having sat with the menu’s for 5 minutes, at a place where others had already eaten we were told they only had soup left! The result of that was us ending up eating at the bus station; which wasn’t ideal but it filled a hole even if the food had to be out back in the microwave to make it anywhere near hot!

Having been on the go for a few days without a hotel there was no staying out late and after just the one beer it was time to abuse the hotel facilities and get to bed in a bed that wasn’t moving, at a reasonable time! The room we were given was massive and despite being a twin room it actually had three beds, although only two were made up. Even though breakfast was included in the room rate we’d be leaving too early to get any. The facilities were clean, the water was hot and for the price it was decent place. It was a relatively early night; the following morning the main event started, which was PTG’s Southern Green Tour, which of course everyone was thoroughly looking forward to…….


Gen for Saturday 3rd October 2015


44001 360 0655 Thessaloniki – Sofia

44081 D293 2205 (P) Beograd – Sofia (in tandem with 44121 from Dimitrovgrad), 5623 1135 Sofia – Blagoevgrad

44085 5611 1700 Sofia – Kulata

44090 1623 1145 Sofia – Plovdiv

44094 2641 1735 Sofia – Gorna Oryahovista

44096 8601 1035 Sofia – Varna

44106 2611 1030 Sofia – Varna

44121 D293 2205 (P) Beograd – Sofia (in tandem with 44081 from Dimitrovgrad)

44140 2612 1115 Varna – Sofia

44144 50233 1415 Sofia – Dupnitsa

45159 20272 0940 Mezdra – Sofia, 7624 1635 Sofia – Vidin

45172 383 0430 Ruse – Sofia, 2613 1300 Sofia – Varna

45176 20103 1755 Sofia – Vratsa

45177 20273 1420 Sofia – Mezdra

45182 480 1135 Sofia – Budapest Keleti

44191 2610 0515 Varna – Sofia, 2615 1530 Sofia – Varna

45196 382 1845 Sofia – Ruse

46208 361 1515 Sofia – Thessaloniki

46211 3683 1220 Sofia – Karlovo, 30116 1530 Karlovo – Sofia

46242 3602 xxxx Burgas – Sofia



32075/32076 20204 1550 Mezdra – Sofia

Unidentified EMU’s

10205 1030 Dragoman – Sofia

10206 1450 Sofia – Dragoman

10208 1720 Sofia – Dragoman

20102 1412 Mezdra – Sofia

20226 1320 Latatnik – Sofia

50113 1020 Sofia – Blagoevgrad

50212 1335 Pernik – Sofia


The Photos Bulgaria (Sofia) Saturday 3rd October 2015:

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