Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Europe Multi Country April 2015 (Austria, Slovenia & Croatia)

As an introduction what more can I say; this was my honeymoon! During which we planned to visit Austria (Salzburg, Vienna & Graz), Slovenia (Ljubljana, Bled & Postojna) and finish up in Zagreb, Croatia; the latter being a cheaper and better place to fly home from more than anything else. Of course there would be a fair bit of train travel and I was prepared for what we’d need to do during our travels, which would include doing the Postojna caves railway and of course the Borovnica drags to get there, the Citadella from Graz to Zalaegerszeg and return to Pragersko; which is always a way to get from Graz to Ljubljana! There would also be plenty of spinning about in Vienna and Zagreb with a trip on the Autovlak in Slovenia also on the cards while we were in Bled. What an enjoyable trip it turned out to be……

Flights

Booked through British Airways

BA700 0955 Heathrow T3 – Vienna

BA849 1240 Zagreb – Heathrow T5

Total each – £164.11

Hotels

Heathrow – Holiday Inn Heathrow Ariel 118 Bath Road, Hillingdon, UB3 5AJ (£39.99 for a double for 1 night) – We used the free LT bus to get from Heathrow Central bus station to Harlington Corner (No.105, 111 or 140). Check-in wasn’t the greatest experience due to the queues but one into the room everything was fine. Food in the Holiday Inn’s restaurant was good, if not overpriced, and the service was excellent with the staff being very friendly. After our hectic morning, standing room only journey to Heathrow and long check in, to unwind in the comfort of the restaurant with decent food, service and staff was just what we needed.

Salzburg – Ramada Salzburg City Centre 13 Sudtirolerplatz, Elisabeth Vorstadt, Salzburg 5020 (£129 for a double room for two nights) – outside the main entrance of Salzburg Hbf in Sudtirolerplatz, 50m from the station entrance! The staff on the front desk all spoke good English and checked us in quickly. Our room was on the 2nd floor, right in a corner out of the way. It was clean, had decent AC/heating and the only real complaint we had was the fact that we couldn’t empty our sink as the plunger was missing; once emptied it then leaked, so maybe that was why it was left so we couldn’t empty it? There was a second minor complaint in that we had two glasses but no complimentary water; only a sign saying “complimentary” on it, which we were guessing wasn’t for the glasses alone! Still the room was fine and clean and became our base for two days.

Vienna – Hilton Vienna 1 Am Stadtpark, 3 Landstrasse, Vienna 1030 (£241 for a standard double for 2 nights) – just over the road from Wien Mitte railway/Landstrasse metro stations. To say I felt a little out of place at a Hilton is an understatement but it was just as you’d expect from a Hilton, pristine lobby, with good service and spotless rooms. WiFi on this occasion was provided free for our whole stay, two nights, after I joined the Hilton rewards scheme; the offer finishing that very day!

Graz – Ibis Graz 12 Europlatz, Lend, Graz 8020 (£86 for a double for 2 nights) – literally over the road from Graz Hbf and only a minute’s walk as a result. Check-in was easy enough, once the group in front had got out of our way. The room was a decent size and right at the end of a corridor out of the way. As you’d expect with Ibis it was clean and habitable and WiFi was free throughout the hotel. Breakfast was of course extra but we didn’t bother with it and got our own from the Spar at the station instead.

Ljubljana – Best Western Premier Hotel Slon 34 Slovenska Cesta, Ljubljana 1000 – a 10 minute walk from Ljubljana station, out of the entrance, turn right, then left where the road goes under the railway. The hotel is about 5 minute’s walk on the left. We were checked in within moments both times we stayed here and were upgraded to an executive room on our second stay. The breakfast at the Hotel Slon is very extensive and the choice is vast; on our first stay we were away before breakfast but asked for a carry out and two bags were waiting for us at reception as we checked out.

Bled – Hotel Grand Toplice 12 Cesta Svobode, Bled 4260 (£345 for a standard room for 2 nights) – a 5 star hotel at Bled and the Grand Hotel Toplice looked just the job. Yes it was grand and yes we did feel a little out of place at a very plush hotel, that was used by the rich and famous regularly, but we were going to make the most of it. The room was very sizeable and split into a sleeping area and living area, which even had a curtain that could be drawn between the two. Everything we needed was provided, toiletries, WiFi, water and even tea/coffee making facilities which are rare in most European countries. The view from the hotel balcony was as good as it gets on Lake Bled, with Bled Castle perched atop of the hill directly opposite and the lake just sprawling out a mere stone’s throw away. As the afternoon turned out quite nice we wasted no time in snapping away from the balcony. The breakfast room had as good view over the lake as the room balconies and the food was plentiful; including a freshly cooked selection from a menu included in the room rate.

Zagreb – Best Western Premier Hotel Astoria 71 Petrinjska, Zagreb 10000 (£79 for a double for 1 night) – unfortunately on this occasion when we tried to check in at the Best Western Premier Astoria, which is out of Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor station, turn right then first left and along the road on the right hand side, we were denied as the hotel had been full the previous night. We were allowed to leave our bags at the hotel though and were given a ticket to exchange for them when we returned to check in later. The bonus of it being full again though resulted in an upgrade to an executive room, which was a large room with separate seating area, all the facilities, including tea/coffee making facilities and free WiFi.

Train Tickets

Interrail Pass (Global – 10 days in 22) – £306

Booked direct through EU Rail

 

Sunday 29th March 2015 (The morning after the night before…)

Now officially married, the rest of our lives began on this very day; unfortunately the rest of our lives’ started with a hectic morning/afternoon! Everything had to get home from the wedding venue and the Minion cake had to be murdered and put in the freezer for safe keeping until we returned to deal with the body bits! Everything had to be done by 1500 and our taxi even turned up early to take us to the station for the 1546 train to London. We had an 0955 flight the following morning and weren’t going to risk Heathrow off the first train from Doncaster, arriving into Kings Cross at 0729.

The journey to London was simple enough, although when we boarded the 1546 to Kings Cross the guard announced that it wasn’t the 1546 to Kings Cross and that everyone with reservations for the 1546 should return to the platform; she was in a right pickle 2 minutes later when she realised her mistake and was actually trying to tell folks that had reservations on the Hull Trains service, that was late, that they should return to the platform!

Unfortunately we picked a bad time to arrive into London as football fans were teaming out of somewhere and every Piccadilly line tube was wedged to the rafters as it arrived into Kings Cross. Fortunately we managed to board the first one going to Heathrow T123/5 but unfortunately had to stand for the whole 1 hour journey to Heathrow Central.

We’d always used the free 105, 111 or 140 buses to get to the Ibis hotel by getting off at Harlington Corner and walking, only this time we were staying at the Holiday Inn, which is actually adjacent to Harlington Corner; yet they don’t even advertise the free London Transport bus services on their website, only the Hoppa service, which you have to pay about £5 for the privilege of using. We didn’t have to wait long for a No.105 bus to turn up and ended up waiting longer in the queue to check in than the time we spent on the bus getting there! There’d only been 4 people in front of us, who’d arrived seconds before us, but by the time we’d checked in there were a good 10 people waiting! Enjoy the wait, was the thought in my mind as we walked away from reception and up the stairs to our first floor room.

We’d spent the previous night, the night of our wedding, in an executive room at the Holiday Inn in Doncaster, the standard room was a bit of a come down from that, although we didn’t really need all the extras that came with the executive room and the bed in the standard was actually a lot bigger! The best thing about our room at Heathrow was the fact that we couldn’t hear whoever was in the next room having a piss every time they went to the bog in the night!

Food in the Holiday Inn’s restaurant was good, if not overpriced, and the service was excellent with the staff being very friendly. After our hectic morning, standing room only journey to Heathrow and long check in, to unwind in the comfort of the restaurant with decent food, service and staff was just what we needed. We even allowed ourselves to stay up after dark as we weren’t up too early the following morning…..

The Moves

91106 Doncaster Kings Cross 1415 Newcastle – Kings Cross 1Y38

 

Monday 30th March 2015 (I’ve never seen one of those tickets, ever!)

We were up in time for breakfast, which saved us getting some at the airport, and paying for it at that. The same girl that had served us the previous night was still in as good a spirit as she’d been the previous night and breakfast was quite pleasant.

We used the free London Transport bus to get to Central bus station again and walked over to Terminal 3 for our flight. Having already checked in online the previous morning it was straight to security for us but it wasn’t as straightforward as it should have been and I ended up having to take my shoes off, which I then lost for a while, while the woman who took them from me remember if she’d put them back through the scanner and then told me the wrong line to collect them from! I also had to go through the body scanner, which picked up things under my arms and on my legs; quite what it had detected I don’t know but there was no metal in my legs or under my arms when I’d got dressed that morning!

We didn’t have to wait long in the waiting area before our plane should have been allocated a gate, by 10 minutes before departure time, 30 minutes after the gate should have been allocated, I confirmed with a BA desk that the plane to form our 0955 flight to Vienna hadn’t arrived, which was why the gate hadn’t been allocated yet. She told us there was a new departure time of 1022 allocated to our flight but we ended up caught in the morning rush and not getting off the ground until 1055, an hour late! The good news though, was the fact that we had the wind behind us to Vienna so we made up half of the lost time; I’d been watching the screens on the plane and the wind had actually been about a 120mph tail-wind!

When we landed we still had plenty of time to make the 1422 ICE direct from Flughafen Wien to Wien Meidling but had visions of missing it completely when we entered the immigration hall, which was chock-a-block with people and the queues were a bit of a free for all as well. In the end we managed to just make the 1406 City Airport Train (CAT) service to Wien Mitte and opted to play the dumb tourist trick with our Interrail passes on board.

CAT trains run every 30 minutes between the airport and Wien Mitte and the big signs on the door do say CAT tickets only, however I wasn’t quite expecting the response I got from the guard when she asked “what is this, I’ve never seen one of those tickets, ever”, as I presented her with two Interrail tickets! The result was us paying 9 euro’s each for a single to Mitte, which should have been 2 euro’s extra when bought on the train so she did let us off with a little bit, but was having none of the Interrail’s at all. It seemed to two normal’s who’d got normal OBB tickets put up a better fight than me and basically point blank refused to pay for a CAT ticket. Quite how that argument eventually turned out I didn’t hang around to see but did invest in a window label for my troubles as I exited the train!

We were Salzburg bound and I had a plan for how to get there, later that afternoon, so about 90 minutes were spent doing REX trains between Mitte and Rennweg, two of which turned up with EMU’s, before heading over to Wien Meidling and doing one of the two hourly Railjet’s round to Wien Westbahnhof to commence our journey towards Salzburg.

RJ66 1310 Budapest Keleti – Munich Hbf was 1116209 into Westbahnhof, where it dropped onto the set for RJ866 1630 Wien Westbahnhof – Innsbruck with 1116200. The two trains then run combined to Salzburg and split again to head their separate ways. At St Polten 1144288 was sat in the adjacent platform with REX1628 1600 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin which we did out to Prinzersdorf to be greeted with 1142637 heading R2079 1654 Pochlarn – St Polten local. 1016039 was soon along with IC742 1656 Wien Westbahnhof – Salzburg which we did forward to Linz where we gathered supplies for the following day while we waited for RJ760 1730 Wien Westbahnhof – Bregenz, which topped off a decent afternoon with 1116226 heading one set and 1116210 the other, which ran combined to Salzburg where one set is detached. It was a nice empty train too, allowing us to relax for the final leg of our journey to Salzburg.

The hotel of choice in Salzburg was the Ramada, which is outside the main entrance in Sudtirolerplatz, 50m from the station entrance! The staff on the front desk all spoke good English and checked us in quickly. While checking in we asked if there were any decent restaurants in the vicinity and were directed to an Italian, which was only a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, all the others being a good 15 minutes’ walk into town. Our room was on the 2nd floor, right in a corner out of the way. It was clean, had decent AC/heating and the only real complaint we had was the fact that we couldn’t empty our sink as the plunger was missing; once emptied it then leaked, so maybe that was why it was left so we couldn’t empty it? There was a second minor complaint in that we had two glasses but no complimentary water; only a sign saying “complimentary” on it, which we were guessing wasn’t for the glasses alone! Still the room was fine and clean and became our base for the next two days.

Our walk to the suggested Italian restaurant, near to the hotel, turned out to be fruitless and we were back in the hotel reception 15 minutes after setting out advising the receptionist that the place she’d suggested was closed on a Sunday & Monday. We were then directed into town, the only other option basically, and to an Italian called L’Osteria. Of course it had started to rain on the way and it was a 15 minute walk! We found it easy enough though and once inside it was like Salzburg had come alive; with there being more people inside the restaurant than we’d seen on the walk down. Luckily we turned up just as a table became available a d were seated within a few minutes. L’Osteria had English speaking waiters & waitresses and English menus so choosing was easy and I have to say the pizzas were by far the biggest I’ve ever seen served at a restaurant; they must have been a good 14 inches and overhung the plate by at least an inch and a half! I couldn’t finish mine but watched a kid on the table opposite devour a full one to himself while his brother only managed half! There’s no problem leaving any though as its wrapped up for you to take with you if you so wish. The food was good, service decent and the price reasonable and we made a reservation for the following night as we left to walk back to the Ramada in the rain……

The Moves

G-EUYV Heathrow Terminal 3 Vienna 0955 Heathrow – Vienna BA700 British Airways
1016036 Flughafen Wien Wien Mitte CAT 1406 Flughafen Wien – Wien Mitte CAT City Airport Train
1116040 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1256 Znojmo – Payerbach Reichenau R2241
1144107 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1254 Payerbach Reichenau – Wien Floridsdorf R2340
1144083 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1330 Bernhardsthal – Wiener Neustadt R2341
1144116 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1324 Payerbach Reichenau – Bernhardsthal R2342
1116105 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1506 Wien Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt R2343
1144266 Wien Rennweg Wien Meidling 1417 Retz – Payerbach Reichenau R2245
1116209 Wien Meidling St Polten 1310 Budapest Keleti – Munich Hbf RJ66 1116209 paired with 1116200 at Westbahnhof and RJ66/RJ866 run combined to Salzburg
1116200 Wien Westbahnhof St Polten 1630 Wien Westbahnhof – Innsbruck RJ866
1144288 St Polten Prinzersdorf 1600 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin REX1628
1142637 Prinzersdorf St Polten 1654 Pochlarn – St Polten R2079
1016039 St Polten Linz Hbf 1656 Wien Westbahnhof – Salzburg Hbf IC742
1116226 Linz Hbf Salzburg Hbf 1730 Wien Westbahnhof – Bregenz RJ760 OBB Railjet 1116’s 1116226/1116210 in multi
1116210

 

Gen for Monday 30th March 2015

1142637 RE2076 1735 St Polten – Pochlarn

1144255 REX1659 1821 St Valentin – Wien Westbahnhof

1144290 REX1637 1721 St Valentin – Wien Westbahnhof

 

2070022 dragging 1010015 with Majestic Imperator at Linz Hbf

The Photos:

 

Tuesday 31st March 2015 (Salzburg in a day)

While my wife did her thing in the morning I nipped out to see what I could spin in during the morning rush. Which to be honest didn’t seem to materialize. Having watched 1144286 depart Salzburg Hbf with 5887 0716 to Freilassing I then did 2016069 behind it, on REX5889 0616 Braunau am Inn – Freilassing, to Taxham Europark for 1144286 back in on its return to Salzburg Hbf with 5094 0746 Freilassing – Salzburg. The plan was then to head out to Salzburg Sud on IC513 0815 Salzburg – Graz but when I found 1144101 waiting to depart with it on platform 1 I opted to do 1142639 on REX1662 0511 Summerau – Taxham Europark, to Salzburg Aiglhof instead; for 1144286 back in for the second time of the morning, as it returned from Freilassing with 5886 0825 Freilassing – Linz Hbf. Then it was breakfast time!

The choice at breakfast was plentiful and the 6th floor vantage point had decent views over Salzburg and across to the fortress over on the hilltop; unfortunately the hotel’s windows were filthy, there were all sorts of structures in the way and pigeons nesting in the eaves. Other than that the view was great! By the time we headed out to do or touristy bits the weather had improved a little, it had been dark, cold and miserable when I’d been out earlier; now it was just cloudy and cold! Having got our bearings while taking the walk into town the previous night, we headed down towards the river to follow it towards town; from the moment you reach it the fortress is visible, dominating the skyline, right the way down towards the old town.

By midafternoon, feeling rather windswept, we called it a day and headed back to the hotel to get away from it all. I of course then opted to nip out for an afternoon spin about and when I saw the screen at the station, with some very late and even cancelled trains, I knew something was wrong. There were also some OBB staff on the concourse giving out advice, one of whom confirmed to me that there were problems in Germany, specifically near Munich, where the high winds had brought trees down and the same had also occurred near Zell am See. Basically there were no trains via Freilassing to Munich and anything heading via Zell am See was screwed as well. My best laid plans didn’t look like they were going to work as I waited patiently on platform 1 for REX1510 1508 Salzburg – Worgl, which after 5 minutes flashed up on the screen as being 50 minutes late. That seemed to put pay to any bonus move I could do before what I’d actually planned that afternoon so I went downstairs to get a few things from the Spar. When I walked back out I happened to notice people walking down the stairs from platform 1 and when I glanced up at the screen REX1510 was showing only 20 minutes late at that point; quite where the other 30 minutes of lateness had gone I don’t know.

Having fought my way up the stairs I found 1144031 sat waiting to go, literally, the guard was just waiting for the signal to come off before giving the tip. At 16 minutes late the signal came off, the doors were closed and away REX1510 went. It was a plus 17 at Salzburg Sud but I was willing to risk it. Having nearly missed the train myself through mis-information it seemed that quite a few people who’d originally been waiting for REX1510 had not actually boarded it; there’d been at least three people looking out of different doors prior to departure to see where their friends were!

Thankfully the plus 17 made at Salzburg Sud, comfortably. It was a good job it did too as upon arrival at Salzburg Hbf EC216 1145 Graz – Saarbrucken was cancelled and DB 101134 was turned round to form EC115 0619 Munster – Klagenfurt. The latter having been turned round in Germany, at Freilassing, by the look of the screens at Salzburg station. EC216 to Freilassing for EC115 back had been my next planned move! Instead I had to settle for doing one of the 2016 turns to Freilassing and back but strangely not with a 2016; 1116150 was the power for the 1607 Salzburg – Freilassing and 1624 Freilassing – Braunau am Inn, which I did out and back to Freilassing for 1142639 forward to Seerkirchen am Wallersee on REX3031 1643 Salzburg – Linz. While it didn’t seem strange to see 2016069, which I’d had that morning on REX5889, heading light towards Salzburg as 1142639 made its way out of Salzburg, it was very strange what it ultimately ended up on the following morning; bizarrely finding its way onto REX5889 0616 Braunau am Inn – Freilassing, which is what 1116150 should have returned on!

The afternoon Seerkirchen moves worked a treat with 1144019 returning me to Salzburg Hbf on REX3020 1502 Linz – Salzburg for 2016067 back out on the second Braunau turn, REX5825 1731 Salzburg Taxham Europark – Braunau am Inn and finally 1142649 back in, in pouring rain and howling wind, with REX3022 1602 Linz – Salzburg. At that point there weren’t really any other moves to do as everything turned to EMU’s so it was back to the hotel for me.

Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we came to walk into town to make our 7.30pm reservation at L’Osteria. The place wasn’t as full as the previous night but did fill up around us. We did spend longer than we’d anticipated there though so maybe that had something to do with it? The reason being was due to my spaghetti not being cooked properly, and it had to be remade, and not only once! Had my wife not spoke up the third time it would have probably gone back then to but it was marginally better than the previous two attempts and I was hungry so I left it be. The drinks we ordered did turn out to be free in the end, and were knocked off our bill for the trouble; it was a shame really as the food was very tasty, I just didn’t want crunchy spaghetti!

Despite the pretty crappy weather in Salzburg, it hadn’t known whether to be sunny, chuck it down or blow us away, we’d still had an enjoyable day but we felt we’d done all we needed to in Salzburg anyway and were ready to head into Vienna the following morning.

The Moves

2016069 Salzburg Hbf Salzburg Taxham Europark 0616 Braunau am Inn – Freilassing REX5889
1144286 Salzburg Taxham Europark Salzburg Hbf 0746 Freilassing – Salzburg Hbf R5094
1142639 Salzburg Hbf Salzburg Aiglhof 0511 Summerau – Salzburg Taxham Europark REX1662
1144286 Salzburg Aiglhof Salzburg Hbf 0825 Freilassing – Linz Hbf REX5886
1144031 Salzburg Hbf Salzburg Sud 1508 Salzburg Hbf – Worgl REX1510
101134 Salzburg Sud Salzburg Hbf 1145 Graz Hbf – Saabrucken EC216 DB101 – caped Salzburg Hbf, high winds in DB
1116150 Salzburg Hbf Freilassing 1607 Salzburg Hbf – Freilassing REX5891 OBB1116 – vice OBB2016!
1116150 Freilassing Salzburg Hbf 1624 Freilassing – Braunau am Inn REX5892 OBB1116 – vice OBB2016!
1142639 Salzburg Hbf Seerkirchen am Wallersee 1643 Salzburg Hbf – Linz Hbf REX3031
1144019 Seerkirchen am Wallersee Salzburg Hbf 1502 Linz Hbf – Salzburg Hbf REX3020
2016067 Salzburg Hbf Seerkirchen am Wallersee 1731 Salzburg Taxham Eurpark – Braunau am Inn REX5825
1142649 Seerkirchen am Wallersee Salzburg Hbf 1602 Linz Hbf – Salzburg Taxham Europark REX3022

 

Gen for Tuesday 31st March 2015

1116158 IC691 1245 Klagenfurt Hbf – Wien Westbahnhof (from Salzburg Hbf)

1116204/1116249 RJ265 0808 Salzburg Hbf – Wien Westbahnhof

1144019 REX1552 1742 Salzburg Hbf – Saalfelden

1142669 IC691 1245 Klagenfurt Hbf – Wien Westbahnhof (to Salzburg Hbf)

1144058 IC611 1615 Salzburg Hbf – Graz Hbf

1144101 IC513 0815 Salzburg Hbf – Graz Hbf

1144286 5887 0716 Salzburg Hbf – Freilassing

 

2016067 REX5826 1603 Braunau am Inn – Salzburg Taxham Europark

 

DB

101134 EC115 0619 Munster – Klagenfurt Hbf (start Salzburg Hbf due high winds in Germany – formed off EC216 1145 Graz Hbf – Saabrucken which was cancelled at Salzburg Hbf for the same reasons)

The Photos

 

Wednesday 1st April 2015 (Fools in Vienna)

A quick spin out before breakfast, to do pretty much the same move as I’d done the previous morning, didn’t really do me any favours. I was more than surprised when 2016069 turned up with REX5889 0616 Braunau am Inn – Freilassing; I’d been expecting a new 2016, or even 1116150 to return with the set, which was after all its diagram but to find 2016069 on it, having seen it at Salzburg shortly after 1116150 had set off for Braunau the previous evening was very strange and left me trying to understand just how it had got onto the set. Which of course was pointless as I had no clue at all. Disappointed I did it out to Salzburg Taxham Europark anyway for 1144240 back in on REX5094 0746 Freilassing – Salzburg; which I’d seen depart with REX5887 0716 Salzburg – Freilassing. It was then back for breakfast, having figured out from the platform screens which Railjets towards Vienna were double sets!

After a decent breakfast we rolled up at the station for the 0908 Railjet towards Wien but it was almost an hour late on the screens, the high winds seemingly creating havoc in the Innsbruck area overnight. As a result we did the very empty IC549 0912 Salzburg – Wien Westbahnhof to Linz to await Railjet events behind there. As it turned out RJ861/61, 0705 Innsbruck – Wien & 0731 Munich Hbf – Budapest Keleti combined, was a little over an hour late as it headed towards Wien but RJ765 0547 Bregenz – Wien Westbahnhof was almost right time and only a few minutes behind it at St Polten; both were double sets and all four engines, 1116249/224 & 1116245/241, turned out to be new ones so it was a successful morning. The following Railjet service from Salzburg, which we’d been planning to use from Wien Westbahnhof to Meidling, was well down the pan and over an hour late and ultimately RJ63 0934 Munich Hbf – Budapest Keleti and RJ863 0639 Bregenz – Wien Westbahnhof ran into Wien as separate trains.

As a result of RJ63’s lateness we opted to get something to eat at Wien Westbahnhof before heading over to Meidling via the EMU from Hutteldorf and did REX1624 1400 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin out to Hutteldorf with its booked twin sets, formed of consecutively numbered 1144’s 1144260/261. The bonus of that turned out to be us making 1144281 at Hutteldorf, which was late heading into Wien with REX1625 1207 Amstetten No – Wien Westbahnhof, which put us nicely into RJ63 0934 Munich – Budapest, which we’d seen go through Hutteldorf as we’d arrived, with 1116211; as they say, it all turned out nice in the end! Due to the two portions from Bregenz and Munich being late OBB did the right thing and ran them both as independent trains throughout with RJ863 heading into Wien first and RJ63 some half an hour behind it.

Having been delivered to Wien Mitte by 1144200 we checked into the Hilton Mitte, which is just over the road. To say I felt a little out of place at a Hilton is an understatement but it was just as you’d expect from a Hilton, pristine lobby, with good service and spotless rooms. WiFi on this occasion was provided free for our whole stay, two nights, after I joined the Hilton rewards scheme; the offer finishing that very day!

After dropping our bags we didn’t stay too long and headed straight back out to visit Schloss Belvedere, which is a couple of minute’s walk from Quartier Belvedere station. The weather was a bit crappy when we got there but the cloud eventually gave way to glorious sunshine, after a bit of snow!

A late afternoon in the Wien tunnels went absolutely swimmingly with everything making at Rennweg and Mitte as it should do. Some trains were late but when it mattered the opposing train was also late, ensure the moves made; I couldn’t have asked for a better couple of hours nedding about and having covered 14 of the turns through the tunnel I headed back to the hotel to prepare for an evening out.

Having eaten in Vienna before we decided not to go anywhere else as the food had been good at Restaurant Fratelli, which is just round the corner from Stephansdom. The pizza’s we had were as good as they had been on our previous visits and the service was good too, with English speaking waiters. The off-putting moment was when I signed the credit card bill, the waited walked off with it then abruptly turned round half way back to the till and came back with the receipt to ask, in a not very pleasant tone and off-putting manner, if there had been anything wrong with the meal. Apparently as I’d not put a tip on the bill he assumed there was something wrong and challenged me about it; after that there was no way he was getting a tip either and I couldn’t get out quick enough! Europeans should really understand that the British aren’t good tippers and generally always leave cash anyway; if they want to! Despite the minor but annoying incident the food was good, as was the service, but I’d already made my mind up we’d be eating elsewhere the following night.

It had been a long day, with quite a bit of travelling, quite a bit of walking and it was nice to relax with a bit of Hilton luxury when we got back.

The Moves

2016069 Salzburg Hbf Salzburg Taxham Europark 0616 Braunau am Inn – Freilassing REX5889
1144240 Salzburg Taxham Europark Salzburg Hbf 0746 Freilassing – Salzburg Hbf R5094
1116120 Salzburg Hbf Linz Hbf 0912 Salzburg Hbf – Wien Westbahnhof IC549
1116249 Linz Hbf St Polten 0705 Innsbruck – Wien Westbahnhof RJ861 OBB Railjet 1116’s 1116249/1116224 in multi; RJ861/RJ61 run combined Salzburg – Wien West
1116224 0731 Munich Hbf – Budapest Keleti RJ61
1116245 St Polten Wien Westbahnhof 0547 Bregenz – Wien Westbahnhof RJ765 OBB Railjet 1116’s 1116245/1116241 in multi – Via HSL
1116241
1144260 Wien Westbahnhof Hutteldorf 1400 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin RES1624 OBB 1144’s 1144260/1144261 lead and mid train with two sets in multi
1144261
1144281 Hutteldorf Wien Westbahnhof 1207 Amstetten No – Wien Westbahnhof RES1625
1116211 Wien Westbahnhof Wien Meidling 0934 Munich Hbf – Budapest Keleti RJ63 Due to being late RJ63 ran behind RJ863 between Salzburg & Wien West – weather issues in DB
1144200 Wien Meidling Wien Mitte 1324 Payerbach Reichenau – Bernhardsthal R2342
1144201 Wien Mitte Wien Quartier Belvedere 1417 Retz – Payerbach Reichenau R2245
1144115 Wien Quartier Belvedere Wien Mitte 1610 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal R2350
1144041 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1706 Wien Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt R2351
1144276 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1554 Payerbach Reichenau – Retz R2252
1144242 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1617 Retz – Payerbach Reichenau R2253
1116052 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1640 Wiener Neustadt – Breclav R2352
1144200 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1632 Bernhardsthal – Wiener Neustadt R2353
1116124 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1624 Payerbach Reichenau – Retz R2254
1144128 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1748 Wien Floridsdorf – Payerbach Reichenau R2255
1144209 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1710 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal R2354
1144230 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1806 Wien Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt R2355
1144032 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1654 Payerbach Reichenau – Retz R2256
1144079 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1656 Znojmo – Payerbach Reichenau R2257
1144270 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1740 Wiener Neustadt – Wien Floridsdorf R2356

 

Gen for Wednesday 1st April 2015

1116055 IC662 0756 Wien Westbahnhof – Bregenz

1116127 IC646 1356 Wien Westbahnhof – Salzburg Hbf

1116199 IC644 1256 Wien Westbahnhof – Salzburg Hbf

1116208/1116205 RJ49 0502 Innsbruck – Budapest Keleti

1116230 RJ763 0609 Innsbruck – Wien Westbahnhof

1116231/1116228 RJ62 0910 Budapest Keleti – Munich Hbf / RJ862 1230 Wien Westbahnhof – Bregenz

1116232/1116237 RJ564 1130 Wien Westbahnhof – Innsbruck

1142649 5882 0716 Freilassing – Salzburg Hbf, REX3011 0743 Salzburg Hbf – Linz Hbf

1142693 R2028 1418 Wien Westbahnhof – St Polten

1144035 IC642 0812 Salzburg Hbf – Klagenfurt Hbf

1144240 5887 0716 Salzburg Hbf – Freilassing

1144261 R2027 1237 St Polten – Wien Westbahnhof

1144266 IC513 0815 Salzburg Hbf – Linz Hbf

1144268 REX1623 1021 St Valentin – Wien Westbahnhof

 

Thursday 2nd April 2015 (Another day of crap weather in Vienna)

Before breakfast I nipped out to see how many of the remaining diagrams I could cover through the Vienna tunnels that morning; I think there are about 23 in total so I had plenty to go at. With not having figured out what should be where I just played it by sight and in the 90 minutes or so I was out I managed to pick up 4 more of the turns, two of which were the 1116 turns. Having not seen an 1142 on anything the previous night I wasn’t surprised to not find one on this morning either.

Breakfast at the Hilton is something else, it’s served in the restaurant on the ground floor and has so much choice you could really overindulge easily and there was far too much just going to waste, that people had left on their plates having wedged them with anything they could! While the breakfast was buffet style some people came in, sat down and got the waiting staff to bring them what they wanted. The chef on duty made fresh eggs and an assortment of other bits and bobs as people waited and the rest was just a free for all; there was certainly no need to rush, you definitely wouldn’t go hungry and the choice was extraordinary!

With nothing much planned we wanted to return to Schloss Schonbrunn again and had been hoping for some decent weather to do so but were sadly disappointed as it was completely overcast with miserable grey skies! Still we didn’t let the weather beat us and decided to head out there anyway. As we were ready earlier than expected a few bonus moves preceded our afternoon out which included 1142609 from Praterstern to Wien Hbf on REX2319 0906 Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt then a couple of moves from the Hauptbahnhof to Meidling, which included 1116197 & 1116100 on Bratislava turns, CD’s 380008 on D101 0652 Bohumin – Wien Westbahnhof and MAV 470004 on EC142 0526 Debrecen – Wien Westbahnhof; the latter delivering us to its destination.

Our way of getting to Schloss Schonbrunn was to do walk from Wien Penzing station and having done 1144289 out to Hutteldorf on R2020 1118 Wien Westbahnhof – St Polten for 1144285 back to Penzing on R2023 1037 St Polten – Wien Westbahnhof we set about walking, with ME maps showing the way on the phone. You can actually see Schloss Schonbrunn from the train as you pass by Penzing station and it doesn’t look too far, in essence it’s a steady 15 to 20 minute walk.

As the weather wasn’t any better than it had been on our previous visit we didn’t hang around too long and an hour was enough to allow us to amble round the grounds and get the photos we wanted; again with no sunshine around. On the bright side there weren’t too many people around either so photos of the grounds were easy enough to get.

After walking back to Penzing station an out and back move to Tullnerbach-Pressbau was available which revealed 1144275 with R2026 1318 Wien Westbahnhof – St Polten and 1142637 on the return with REX1625 1207 Amstetten – Wien Westbahnhof, which despite being a little late still made IC693 1112 Salzburg – Wien Westbahnhof; already sat in with 1116084. This dropped us into Westbahnhof with a bit of manufactured time to spare and lunch was consumed from the pasta place on the concourse while watching how the other half live! Unfortunately a lot of the seating area, to eat at, was taken by a group of eastern Europeans, as it had been the previous day when we’d eaten there, who’d clearly just arrived into Austria. The difference from the previous day was that what appeared to be a handler was sat with them, dishing out some gen and handing out sim cards to them all; I can only assume they’d be moving on at some point that day to digs and were being told where to get jobs, etc, etc. Meanwhile, after the handler left, they just continued drinking and being generally loud! Not the greatest of atmospheres to be eating around and I have to say I was surprised that the station security staff didn’t move them on.

Fed and watered, back on the station, 1016004 had dropped onto the same set we’d arrived on to form IC692 1456 Wien Westbahnhof – Villach Hbf, which we did out to Hutteldorf to then catch a local Hutteldorf – Bruck a. d. Leitha EMU round to Meidling; we’d been at Westbahnhof at the wrong hour to be able to get an IC or Railjet service round to Meidling. A few moves between Meidling and Hauptbahnhof, the plan being to cover both Railjet services that got two engines in the afternoon, RJ631 1622 Wien Hbf – Villach revealing 1116261/1116248 in multi on the front of the train (it being booked an OBB 1116 to top the train), and RJ538 1314 Villach – Wien Hbf turned up with GySev 1116063 leading and 1116225 on the rear (it being booked a GySev 470 to T&T the train). 1216237 looked the part as it worked through with RJ77 1242 Praha Hl Nadrazi – Graz Hbf and the only thing that was possibly out of the ordinary was 1142673 which worked D459 1641 Wien Hbf – Murzzuschlag. Having had two decent evenings out doing the Wien tunnel spin about I didn’t even temp fate on this evening as there shouldn’t have been much left for me to pick up anyway so it was more or less straight back to the Hilton for an amble towards town to get something to eat.

The Triposo app proved very useful when trying to find somewhere different to eat that night and two of the places we shortlisted were on the way to Stephansdom and ultimately we ended up in a little Italian place called Da Capo, which is very visible on the road it’s on and definitely more sociable and relaxed than it had been at Fratelli’s the previous night. It was a cozy little place with the open plan kitchen visible to all as you wait for your food to be prepared, or even watch it being prepared. The staff were friendly and spoke very good English; it was an all round nice eating experience and relaxing evening to boot, with god food and at a reasonable price as well.

While we’d not really achieved a great deal during the day it had still been quite busy and we knew we’d been on the go all day, unfortunately our evening was completely ruined at the Hilton by some idiot in the room above us. We could hear footsteps and general shuffling about, which sounded as though something was going on in the room above and I rang down to reception to ask if they could get them to stop whatever they were doing; after all it was after 2200! Needless to say they didn’t, even after being asked to do so.

The Moves

1144241 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 0523 Laa Thaya – Flughafen Wien R2403
1116262 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 0527 Payerbach Reichenau – Znojmo R2210
1144242 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 0530 Retz – Payerbach Reichenau R2211
1144041 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 0620 Wiener Neustadt – Wien Floridsdorf R2310
1116195 Wien Mitte Wien Quartier Belvedere 0555 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt R2311
1144079 Wien Quartier Belvedere Wien Mitte 0557 Payerbach Reichenau – Wien Floridsdorf R2212
1144224 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 0630 Bernhardsthal – Payerbach Reichenau R2313
1144276 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 0627 Payerbach Reichenau – Retz R2214
1144115 Wien Mitte Wien Praterstern 0810 Wiener Neustadt – Wien Floridsdorf R2318
1142609 Wien Praterstern Wien Hbf Low Level 0906 Wien Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt R2319
1116197 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 0830 Bratislava Petrzalka – Deutschkrutz REX7608
1116100 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 0828 Deutschkrutz – Bratislava Petrzalka REX7617
380008 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 0652 Bohumin – Wien Westbahnhof D101
1116204 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 0502 Innsbruck – Budapest Keleti RJ49
1144045 Wien Hbf Low Level Wien Meidling 0856 Znojmo – Wien Meidling R2225
470004 Wien Meidling Wien Westbahnhof 0526 Debrecen – Wien Westbahnhof EC142
1144289 Wien Westbahnhof Wien Hutteldorf 1118 Wien Westbahnhof – St Polten R2020
1144285 Wien Hutteldorf Wien Penzing 1037 St Polten – Wien Westbahnhof R2023
1144275 Wien Penzing Tullnerbach Pressbaum 1318 Wien Westbahnhof – St Polten R2026
1142637 Tullnerbach Pressbaum Wien Hutteldorf 1207 Amstetten No – Wien Westbahnhof REX1625
1116084 Wien Hutteldorf Wien Westbahnhof 1112 Salzburg – Wien Westbahnhof IC693
1016004 Wien Westbahnhof Wien Hutteldorf 1456 Wien Westbahnhof – Villach Hbf IC692
4124011 Wien Hutteldorf Wien Meidling 1525 Wien Hutteldorf – Bruck an der Leitha 26053
1116236 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 1325 Graz – Wien Hbf RJ656
1116261 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 1622 Wien Hbf – Villach Hbf RJ631 OBB 1116261 / Railjet 1116248 in multi
1116248
1116229 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 1134 Munich Hbf – Budapest Keleti RJ65
1142673 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 1641 Wien Hbf – Murzzuschlag D459
1116166 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 1528 Deutschkrutz – Bratislava Petrzalka REX7631
1216237 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 1242 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Graz Hbf RJ77
1116063 Wien Meidling Wien Westbahnhof 1314 Villach Hbf – Wien Hbf RJ538 GySev 1116063 lead, OBB Railjet 1116225 rear T&T multi
1116225
1116282 Wien Hbf Low Level Wien Rennweg 1624 Payerbach Reichenau – Retz R2254
1144230 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1710 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal R2354

 

Gen for Thursday 2nd April 2015

1010003 through Wien Meidling approx. 1055 with one coach from the Majestic Imperator set

1116166 REX7619 1051 Wien Meidling – Bratislava Petrzalka

1116174 REX1940 1508 Wien Westbahnhof – Amstetten No

1116236 RJ755 1755 Wien Hbf – Graz Hbf

1144259 R2030 1518 Wien Westbahnhof – St Polten

1144285 REX1626 1500 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin

The Photos

 

Friday 3rd April 2015 (Time to move on)

When we went down to breakfast I couldn’t help but ask at reception what had been going on above us the previous night. It turns out that the guy in the room above had wanted to arrange a few drinks with some of his buddies that evening but there hadn’t been a function room available, as a result he’d decided to use his own room. Despite being told to desist by the hotel staff they continued to do whatever they wanted. My comments to the front desk resulted in a call to said person’s room but he wasn’t in and didn’t answer when someone went up. As a result his card was cancelled so he would have to present himself at the front desk; where he would be receiving a bit of a talking to for basically destroying our karma the previous night.

Prior to all the above I got myself out of bed early to nip over to Wien Franz Josefs to do the morning rush hour. Having ploughed through the diagrams the previous evening to figure out what was available I’d scribbled down a very rough ready-reckoner and figured out that there should be 16 turns to cover, which of course weren’t all available in one peak; covering both the morning and afternoon peaks gave a fighting chance of that, which I wasn’t going to do. There were 8 x 1142 turns and 4 each for 1144 & 1116 and I departed Wien Mitte, with the bonus of 1144073 on the 0520 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal, to see just what I could get in during the inbound rush.

At Handelskai I walked down the stairs to the platforms that serve the Handelskai – Hutteldorf route and didn’t have long to wait for EMU 4024140 to take me the short distance to Heiligenstadt, on the 0628 to Hutteldorf; where I literally stood on the platform freezing cold in the biter morning air! Things didn’t get off to the best start when 21007 rolled in with an EMU vice 1116 but from that point on, thanks to a little lateness things only went uphill. 1144213 starting proceedings off with REX2167 0529 from Sigmundsherberg, which I did all the way to Spittelau for one of only three loco-hauled departures from Franz Josefs that morning back to Heiligenstadt; 1144067 with REX7104 0651 to Krems a. d. Donau.

One of what turned out to be only two 1142’s was just rolling in when I got back, 1142626 heading R2169 0534 from Sigmundsherberg and when this made the EMU on the 0702 ex Franz Josefs at Spittelau I knew I had time to get back to Heiligenstadt for REX7105, the 0601 ex Krems a. d. Donau; which was again just arriving as I was and had 1144203 at its helm. I could then get off again at Spittelau and wait for, what turned out to be, 1144064 behind with REX7107 the 0614 ex Krems a. d. Donau.

1116038 headed up R2102 0727 to Ceske Velenice and put me nicely into the only other 1142 to produce that morning, 1142691, at Spittelau working R2105 0531 ex Gmund No. 24 minutes after my previous departure I was leaving Franz Josefs again, this time with 1144006 on REX7106 0751 to Krems a. d. Donau. This put me into a step off move into Franz Josefs involving 1144043 & 1144205 with REX7153 0644 ex Krems a. d. Donau and R2173 0643 ex Sigmundsherberg respectively. Back at Franz Josefs I was about to call it a day and wait for an EMU back to Heiligenstadt and return to Wien Mitte via the same route I’d come out. Having figured out where the Metro was on my ME map app, basically out of the station front, turn left and about 300m straight ahead on the left, I found myself compelled to do the U4 the three minutes it took to Heiligenstadt to do a second step off move back into Franz Josefs with 1144212 & 1116183 with REX7109 0726 ex Krems a. d. Donau and R2107 0619 ex Ceske Velenice. I then walked back to the Friedensbrucke U4 stop and did the metro back to Landstrasse and walked over the road to the Hilton for breakfast, arriving no later than I would have don had I done the train back vice the metro. Each metro ticket cost €2.20, the latter journey only taking 6 minutes!

Breakfast seemed a little busier than it had been the previous morning at the Hilton yet it was still relaxing to have the space around and not be crammed in; then again I was glad to get out and away from the hustle that seemed to surround a business person’s life style. With a bit of time to kill before we needed to be Graz bound we headed to Stephansdom to have a look round.

At the hotel reception, when we checked out, the guy who’d dealt with our noise issues confirmed that he’d not yet been able to speak with the room’s occupant but that they would make sure he was reprimanded for his noise the previous night. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and were only annoyed that they couldn’t offer us some form of reduced rate as I’d already paid in full. They were willing to offer a free taxi to the airport but that was of course no use as we were heading to Graz by train! Still, it was the thought that counted and as we left the Hilton Vienna I was sure we wouldn’t get the same level of service in the Ibis Graz that night…..

1144037 took us round to Wien Hbf on REX2331 1206 Floridsdorf – Payerbach Reichenau, where a few ned leaps occurred before our planned 1422 Wien Hbf – Villach Railjet, which was booked two locos. Two initial trips to Meidling preceded dinner with 1116148 for 1116113 on REX7614 1130 Bratislava – Deutschkrutz & REX7623 1128 Deutschkrutz – Bratislava respectively; 1116148 seemingly having swapped diagrams from the previous day. Thanks to a bit of lateness with the Praha railjets a bonus move presented itself with 1216’s painted in CD livery; 1216234 with RJ73 0842 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Graz and 1216236 with RJ76 1025 Graz – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi; then dinner was sought downstairs.

A very good Chinese takeaway was located and the food consumed on board RE2518 1321 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hlavni Stanica while waiting for it to depart with 2016007 on the rear. It was ultimately done the short distance to Wien Simmering for a short wait, where 2016014 presented itself with RE2519 1243 Bratislava Hlavni Stanica – Wien Hbf. Back in Wien Hbf 1116233 was sat with RJ657 1355 Wien Hbf – Graz and 1116243 was sat with RJ539 1422 Wien Hbf – Villach; the latter was top & tailed with OB 1116141 on the rear. Having decided to do 1116233 to Meidling I was pleased to find 1116207 just arriving, as we did, with RJ63 0522 Frankfurt Hbf – Budapest Keleti; running a bit late. This extra bonus meant we could get back into Wien Hbf and get ourselves some seats on board RJ539 before it departed.

The Railjet part of RJ539 was pretty wedged yet the conventional stock portion at the rear, which 1116141 was attached to, was pretty empty and made for a nice relaxing journey through the Semmering Pass, where plenty of snow covered the ground and the sun beamed down; it’s well worth a run over this bit of line just for the scenery.

At Bruck an der Mur we got off to do a few moves on the Graz hauled sets, which are replaced by EMU’s over the weekend, so as it was Friday it made sense to do so then! 1144007 was just coming into the statin when we walked down onto the platform, to form 4085 1638 Bruck – Graz and 1144056 arrived shortly afterwards with 4084 1532 Graz – Murzzuschlag, which sits at Bruck for a while to wait connections.

Moves on the Graz – Bruck section are quite good but there are a few tight pluses that need to be made to ensure the next move makes; the good thing about the section is that stations are island platforms so only a few seconds is needed to make the plus! Our plus at Frohlieten was comfortable and 1144109 arrived promptly with 4086 1635 Graz – Bruck. Rather than go for the tight plus at the next shack we opted to get off at Mixnitz and wait. Over the way from the station is the Brietenauerbahn, who operate predominantly freight trains over a narrow gauge electrified railway with heritage locos. On certain weekend during the summer months they do operate passenger services, which I managed to do when they celebrated 100 years of service during 2014. On this occasion there was no life at all by the loco shed, or in the yard, and it seemed that all 4 locos that the Brietenauerbahn owns were tucked up in the loco shed.

Shortly before 4035 1708 Bruck – Graz arrived 1142623, still in old OBB livery, headed through going towards Bruck ecs, then the surprise of the afternoon rolled in as 1142598 & 1142595 plus their sets formed 4035 1708 Bruck – Graz. While the train was booked double sets it was booked for 1144’s so I was quite pleased with what turned up. On arrival at Graz the sets were split with 1142595 forming 4030 1805 Graz – Bruck and 1142598 forming 4090 1835 Graz – Bruck, as booked in the diagrams.

As we sat on 4145 1808 Graz – Spiefeld Strass, with 1144243, I noticed 1501.001 departing with what I later figured out to be GKD train 8427 1804 Graz – Koflach; at that point I hadn’t even realised GKD operated from Graz and ultimately figured out after looking at their timetable that there wasn’t going to be any loco-hauled trains at a weekend! After a short fester at Graz Puntigam 1144125 deposited us back into Graz Hbf on 4148 1739 Spiefeld Strass – Graz.

The Ibis Graz is literally over the road from Graz Hbf and only a minute’s walk as a result. Check-in was easy enough, once the group in front had got out of our way. It appeared they were on some sort of boozy weekend and I’d noticed their room number when they were handed their keys. As we were given a room very close to them I asked to be moved when our key was handed over and the girl at reception fully understood why I’d asked and even joked with us about it; maybe I’d been wrong in my thinking when we’d left the Hilton in Vienna that morning?

The room was a decent size and right at the end of a corridor out of the way. As you’d expect with Ibis it was clean and habitable and WiFi was free throughout the hotel. Breakfast was of course extra but we didn’t bother with it and got our own from the Spar at the station instead.

Having asked the girl at the Ibis reception about decent places to eat in Graz, near to the hotel, we were directed to an Italian restaurant on the station concourse called Don Camillo. It was more of a bar/restaurant type and really a restaurant as such but it did the job; we couldn’t really be bothered to walk into town and back and just wanted something quick anyway. The portions were decent sizes and the pizzas ok, the pasta was nothing special and definitely suited to a fast food type place; it was edible though and the price was reasonable. It did close quite early though, whether that was due to it being a bank holiday weekend I don’t know.

The Moves

1144073 Wien Mitte Wien Handelskai 0520 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal R2305
4024140 Wien Handelskai Heiligenstadt 0628 Wien Handelskai – Wien Hutteldorf 20550 EMU
1144213 Heiligenstadt Spittelau 0529 Sigmundsherberg – Wien Franz Josef’s REX2167
1144067 Spittelau Heiligenstadt 0651 Wien Franz Josef’s – Krems an der Donnau REX7104
1142626 Heiligenstadt Spittelau 0534 Sigmundsherberg – Wien Franz Josef’s REX2169
4020311 Spittelau Heiligenstadt 0702 Wien Franz Josef’s – Tulln Donnau Stadt 21008 EMU
1144203 Heiligenstadt Spittelau 0601 Krems an der Donnau – Wien Franz Josef’s REX7105
1144064 Spittelau Wien Franz Josef’s 0614 Krems an der Donnau – Wien Franz Josef’s REX7107
1116038 Wien Franz Josef’s Spittelau 0727 Wien Franz Josef’s – Ceske Velenice R2102
1142691 Spittelau Wien Franz Josef’s 0531 Gmund No – Wien Franz Josef’s R2105
1144006 Wien Franz Josef’s Heiligenstadt 0751 Wien Franz Josef’s – Krems an der Donnau REX7106
1144043 Heiligenstadt Spittelau 0644 Krems an der Donnau – Wien Franz Josef’s REX7153
1144205 Spittelau Wien Franz Josef’s 0643 Sigmundsherberg – Wien Franz Josef’s REX2173
Metro Friedensbrucke Heiligenstadt U4 Metro Line Northbound Euro 2.30, 3 minutes
1144212 Heiligenstadt Spittelau 0726 Krems an der Donnau – Wien Franz Josef’s REX7109
1116183 Spittelau Wien Franz Josef’s 0619 Ceske Velenice – Wien Franz Josef’s R2107
Metro Friedensbrucke Landstrasse U4 Metro Line Northbound Euro 2.30, 6 minutes
1144037 Wien Mitte Wien Hbf Low Level 1206 Wien Floridsdorf – Payerbach Reichenau R2331
1116148 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 1130 Bratislava Petrzalka – Deutschkrutz REX7614
1116113 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 1128 Deutschkrutz – Bratislava Petrzalka REX7623
1216234 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 0842 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Graz Hbf RJ73
1216236 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 1025 Graz Hbf – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi RJ76
2016007 Wien Hbf Wien Simmering 1321 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica REX2518
2016014 Wien Simmering Wien Hbf 1243 Bratislva Hlavna Stanica REX2519
1116233 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling 1355 Wien Hbf – Graz Hbf RJ657
1116207 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf 0522 Frankfurt Hbf – Budapest Keleti RJ63
1116243 Wien Hbf Bruck an der Mur 1422 Wien Hbf – Villach Hbf RJ539 OBB Railjet 1116243 lead, OBB 1116141 rear, T&T in multi
1116141
1144007 Bruck an der Mur Frohnlieten 1638 Bruck an der Mur – Graz Hbf 4085
1144109 Frohnlieten Mixnitz-Barenschutzklamm 1635 Graz Hbf – Bruck an der Mur 4086
1142598 Mixnitz-Barenschutzklamm Graz Hbf 1708 Bruck an der Mur – Graz Hbf 4035 OBB 1142’s 1142598 + set & 1142595 + set in multi; 598 mid train, 598 rear
1142595
1144243 Graz Hbf Graz Puntigam 1808 Graz Hbf – Spiefeld Strass 4145
1144125 Graz Puntigam Graz Hbf 1739 Spiefeld Strass – Graz Hbf 4148

 

Gen for Friday 3rd April 2015

1116180 REX2234 1244 Wien Meidling – Znojmo

1142595 4090 1835 Graz Hbf – Bruck a. d. Mur

1142598 4030 1805 Graz Hbf – Bruck a. d. Mur

1144056 4084 1532 Graz Hbf – Muzzuschlag

Franz Josefs Turns (by diagram number in the am peak only)

1142 diagrams

1144212 – Day 8, 1144205 – Day 9, 1144067 – Day 10, 1144006 – Day 11, 1144043 – Day 12, 1144064 – Day 13, 1142626 – Day 14, 1144256 – Day 15

1144 diagrams

1144203 – Day 36, 1142691 – Day 37, 1144258 – Day 74, 1144213 – Day76

1116 diagrams

1116183 – Day 53, 1116038 – Day 57 (starting on 2102 ex FJ at 0725, was EMU inbound on 21007)

GKD

1501.001 8427 1804 Graz Hbf – Koflach

CD

380008 EC103 0628 Warsaw Wschodnia – Wien Westbahnhof

The Photos

 

Saturday 4th April 2015 (One train under the hill and another up it…….)

With there not being much on offer train wise in Graz on a weekend I managed to figure out a move to St Michael and return that involved 6 trains, starting on RJ554 0725 Graz Hbf – Wien Hbf, which was headed by Railjet engine 1116250; painted in Polizei livery! The original idea had been to do IC502/512 0745 Graz – Linz/Salzburg to St Michael but then I realised I could do RJ554 to Bruck for EC31 0622 Wien Hbf – Venice to Leoben for IC502/512 forward; the latter going straight round the curve at Bruck and avoiding it completely. When EC31 ended up 10 late I feared I may miss the IC’s at Leoben but EC31, led by 1216006 with Railjet 1116235 in the middle of the train, pulled in alongside IC502/512 at Leoben, which had 1144082 leading the Linz set and 1144066 leading the Salzburg set. The crew were on the platform directing people to the correct set and EC31 departed first anyway so there was no rush.

As I alighted at St Michael it was snowing and bitterly cold for the time of year. There were a couple of 2016s in the adjacent yard preparing to work what appeared to be a load train of logs towards Bruck and the tunnel rescue train was sat in the bay with 2068044 plugged into the shore supply to prevent its batteries going flat. I passed some of the time with a walk to the supermarket in the station car park but ultimately ended up waiting in the cold for DB 101050 to arrive out of the gloom with IC719 0615 Salzburg Hbf – Graz Hbf and as I alighted at Leoben I walked straight into John Sandam with enough luggage to keep him going for the rest of the year; although now he’d retired maybe that was his plan……?

It turned out that Sandam had stayed in the Ibis at Graz the previous night and done IC502/512 out that morning to Leoben and flagged 1216006/1116235 and just waited there for 1116248 coming back with RJ532 0714 Villach Hbf – Wien Hbf, which we both did to Bruck and then Sandam left me be when randomly MAV 470008 turned up with EC151 0755 Wien Hbf – Ljubljana; vice 1144!

Oursightseeing that morning started with a walk into Graz. Below the Schlossberg there is a series of tunnels which were used as shelter during WWII and are now used to operate the “Fairytale Railway” which is basically a train ride for kids through the tunnels and unfortunately offers no insight into the pains and perils faced by those that used it during the war. Tickets cost €8.50 per adult but there are deals for families. When we asked for ours the guys serving actually queried whether we wanted to do the Fairytale Railway as the entrance to the glass lift that takes people up to the clock-tower is through the same entrance!

Departure times are scheduled throughout the day and listed at the ticket office. The train itself is formed of open carriages, more suited to the ghost train ride at the fair, which hold up to four people in each. For those interested there are a few engines but I couldn’t find anything on the one we had that distinguished it from the others; no number or anything! The ride itself takes about 20 minutes and is perfect for children but as the whole narration was in German we had no clue what was actually being said throughout the trip but got the impression that none of it related to the reason the tunnels were there in the first place. It was still a decent little ride but it would be nice if there were adult only rides that explained about the real reason the tunnels were there.

From a railway tunnel under the hill we walked down the road to the station for the Schlossbergbahn, which is where the funicular railway runs up the hill to the Schlossberg itself. Tickets cost €2.10 each for a single journey with slightly better rates for return trips. The cars themselves are nothing more than a glorified glass box but they do offer great views over the city as they ascend; unfortunately the city isn’t that spectacular to look at all.

With an afternoon to kill it would have been rude not to do the complete Graz experience and have a look at the Schloss Eggenberg, which is on the opposite side of town to the Schlossberg but with the Ibis being about equidistant between the two it made things a bit easier. While there are busses and trams to get you to the Schloss Eggenberg it only took us about 15 minutes at a steady pace to walk it; from effectively Graz Hbf.

With a bit of time to kill in the late afternoon we used the Triposo app to try and find somewhere to eat that night in town and coupled with ME maps we managed to put ourselves a shortlist together and set about starting at the one end of town in an attempt to find somewhere open. Unfortunately the Easter holidays scuppered our first and second choices and we ended up at what turned out to be a cracking little place called Mau Shi which is described as an Asian fusion restaurant. The rather odd 1950’s café style appearance shouldn’t put you off sitting down as the food served was absolutely fantastic! The menus are all in German but one of the waitresses translated it for us and we sampled a couple of dishes that turned out to be plentiful and excellent; while the place was relaxing and peaceful at the same time with the food prices being very reasonable as well at less than €10 for a main course.

As we walked back to the hotel we reflected on our time in Austria as we did as not only were we changing cities again the following morning we were moving countries as well and our Austria experience was all but over. Just like our previous trip the weather had let us down a little but if you make the best of it there’s always something to do and we went to bed that night happy that we’d made the best of what we’d been presented with and agreed that despite the poor weather in Salzburg it had been the better of the three cities we’d visited.

The Moves

1116250 Graz Hbf Bruck an der Mur 0725 Graz Hbf – Wien Hbf RJ554
1216006 Bruck an der Mur Leoben 0622 Wien Hbf – Venice St Lucia EC31 OBB 1216006 lead, OBB Railjet 1116235 mid train; in multi
1116235
1144082 Leoben St Michael 0745 Graz Hbf – Linz Hbf IC502 OBB 1144082 lead, OBB 1142066 mid train; in multi. Trains split en-route.
1144066 0745 Graz Hbf – Salzburg Hbf IC512
101050 St Michael Leoben 0615 Salzburg Hbf – Graz Hbf IC719 DB101
1116248 Leoben Bruck an der Mur 0714 Villach Hbf – Wien Hbf RJ532
470008 Bruck an der Mur Graz Hbf 0755 Wien Hbf – Ljubljana EC151 MAV470 vice OBB1144

 

Gen for Saturday 4th April 2015

1142595 4077 0738 Bruck a. d. Mur – Graz Hbf (vice EMU)

1144125 4112 0634 Spiefeld Strass – Graz Hbf

2016062 4108 0519 Bad Radkersberg – Graz Hbf

The Photos

 

Sunday 5th April 2015 (Via Hungary is not the most direct of routes from Graz to Ljubljana)

As luck didn’t have it we woke to glorious sunshine in Graz but unfortunately couldn’t enjoy any of it as we had to leave town! Breakfast was provided by a bakery on the station concourse and devoured before we headed out for our long and unorthodox journey to get to Ljubljana in Slovenia; which would have us briefly enter Hungary!

I wasn’t surprised to see MAV 470008 arrive into Graz with EC151 0755 Wien Hbf – Ljubljana, having had it on the same train the previous day, but had hoped it would get swapped for an 1144; no such luck though. With it being Easter Sunday though the train was relatively empty and we had the whole of the front coach to ourselves for the time we were on the train. At Spiefeld Strass SZ 363005, in a light yellow livery, was soon backing down to take MAV 470008 off the train; it then loose shunted it through the station so the loco could then pan up at the correct end of the station and work under its own power!

There was nothing to note at Maribor at all, and other than a few people drinking coffee at the only place open on the station, the place was deserted. At Pragersko there were only three people got off EC151 and we were two of them and once 363005 had disappeared off the station became even more deserted than Maribor had been. The growl of 664106 could be heard as it sat poised to drop onto the Citadella when it arrived, EC247 1025 Ljubljana – Budapest Deli. In the sidings south of the station were two other 664s; a walk down revealed them to be 664110 & 664101 and 664104 was found in the yard when the Citadella departed, 342022 having given way to 664106 quite efficiently.

There didn’t seem to be many people travelling on Easter Sunday and there was plenty of room on board all the way to Zalaegerszeg. 664106 was removed at Hodos for MAV 431189 to take the reins to Budapest and arrival into Zalaegerszeg was right time. A quick walk outside the station revealed nothing open at all and we soon got bored of walking down the road aimlessly and returned to the station to keep warm in the confines of the station waiting area.

I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on with trains at Zalaegerszeg and had expected 431191 to depart at 1535 with train 9533 but when I didn’t confusion started to set in; this matter was rectified when I found out that the 1535 departure didn’t run and that 431191 was actually waiting with 953 1603 Zalaegerszeg – Budapest Deli, what was more was that 9504 1509 Boba – Zalaegerszeg was late coming in so a nice little move could still be done to Zalasventivan for it back in with what turned out to be 431002!

431279 turned up a little late with EC246 1335 Budapest Deli – Ljubljana, another train that was relatively empty, although it did fill up en-route into Ljubljana. I’d hoped for a different 664 to be sat waiting at Hodos when we arrived and wasn’t disappointed but was when I clapped eyes on 664104, which I’d had on the Borovnica drags the previous summer; still it had been the best 664 I’d had that week and certainly didn’t disappoint again with a very crisp turbo whistle and it was louder than the rest I’d had. Being an Alco man it’s not necessarily my cup of tea but I do appreciate a good loco when I hear one and kept going to the front of the train at station departures to get my fill of thrash. Of the choice at Hodos I was glad we’d got 664104 and not 664105.

As food choices had been very limited during the day we opted to use the restaurant car on board and the woman running it spoke decent English and the menus were also in English as well. Food was freshly cooked and ok for a train cooked meal; as long as it was cooked properly! Unfortunately Danielle’s breaded chicken was still pink in the middle and had to be re-fried, which was literally done by taking the same food off the plate and nuking it to ensure it was definitely cooked! Other than that it filled a hole and it was a good job it had been available at all.

As could be expected 342022 took over from 664104 at Pragersko for the run into Ljubljana and deposited the train there about 20 minutes late. Single line working into Pragersko had resulted in us having to wait for 363013 to arrive with IC502 1725 Ljubljana – Maribor to arrive before we could depart. I suppose we should be thankful as everything that wasn’t loco-hauled on the line was cancelled between certain points during the period the engineering works were taking place; so there were literally only two trains a day running through from Pragersko to Ljubljana!

It was a 10 minute walk from Ljubljana station to the Best Western Premier Hotel Slon, where we were checked in within moments and our large, clean, double room beckoned us in as we opened the door; we were ready for bed by the time we got there and having checked the weather forecast for the next few days we’d decided to get up at stupid o’clock and head to Postojna caves the following morning while the weather wasn’t looking to be that good. The idea being that we were underground when the weather wasn’t good and visiting Ljubljana castle later in the week when it looked to be better.

The Moves

470008 Graz Hbf Spiefeld Strass 0755 Wien Hbf – Ljubljana EC151 MAV 470008 vice OBB 1144 to Spiefeld Strass for SZ 363005 forward
363005 Spiefeld Strass Pragersko
664106 Pragersko Hodos 1025 Ljubljana – Budapest Deli EC247 SZ 664106 to Hodos for MAV 431189 forward
431189 Hodos Zalaegerszeg
431191 Zalaegerszeg Zalasventivan 1603 Zalaegerszeg – Budapest Deli 953
431002 Zalasventivan Zalaegerszeg 1509 Boba – Zalaegerszeg 9504
431279 Zalaegerszeg Hodos 1335 Budapest Deli – Ljubljana EC246 MAV 431279 to Hodos, SZ 664104 Hodos to Pragersko and SZ 342022 forward to Ljubljana
664104 Hodos Pragersko
342022 Pragersko Ljubljana

 

Gen for Sunday 5th April 2015

OBB

1144063 EC158 0725 Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor – Wien Hbf

1216236 RJ76 1025 Graz Hbf – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi

DB

101134 IC719 0615 Salzburg Hbf – Graz Hbf

SZ

363013 IC502 1725 Ljubljana – Maribor

664101, 104, 105, 110 working between Pragersko & Hodos

The Photos

 

Monday 6th April 2015 (Postojna Caves – deep, dark, wet and slippery!)

We’d asked the previous night at the hotel reception if we could have a take-out breakfast with us leaving so early and sure enough there were two bags waiting for us behind reception when we checked out at 0600! The sandwiches looked like they’d seen better days but the fruit, juice and water came in very handy for our morning journey, for which we managed to leave our big bags in a luggage locker; these are situated on platform 1, as you enter the platform through the main entrance just turn left and they’re in the corner at the end.

As luck didn’t have it 342025 was sat waiting with MV481 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka; I’d only had three 342’s on my last trip and 342022, on EC246 the previous day, along with 342025 were two of them! The train was deserted, probably because it was Easter Monday, but very warm; the train heating clearly doing its job, and rightly so as it was only just above freezing outside.

As we arrived into Borovnica the moment of truth came, would it be or wouldn’t it be a 664? I managed to miss the only other engine in the station area as we arrived, a 664 at the Ljubljana end of the yard area, but was quick to spot the correct headlight formation and familiar green of a 664 in the distance; poised to drop down onto the top of 342025. 664119 soon revealed itself and the crew wasted no time in coupling it up. Bellowing up the hill was ok, if you were more suited to being an Eskimo! It was freezing outside and the wind chill didn’t help.

On the way to Rakek we passed one freight, headed by a 664 and at Rakek 664103, 664117 & 664118 were waiting their next turns; there wasn’t a Hercules in sight anywhere, maybe the weekends were when they all got their exams? Last time I’d being in the area it had been the same at a weekend, with everything being 664 and nothing rubbish in sight at all!

Postojna Caves are about 2.5km from Postojna station, we had from 0731 to 1000 to get there for the first tour into the caves. The walk took us less than half an hour in the end, which is basically down the steps to the left outside the station exit, follow the road to the main road, cross it and follow the road that heads off slightly to the left again. Taking any of the right turns will bring you onto Ljubljanska cesta and turning left onto it takes you to the main square in town, by the Kras Hotel. Turn right in front of it and follow the road downhill, this takes you to the caves entrance.

When we arrived just after 0800 the car park was deserted and everything was closed, the ticket office didn’t open until 0930 either, so we wondered round for a while before waiting patiently outside the ticket office, which had a queue at it by the time the doors were opened. While we were waiting, as we watched busloads of tourists turn up, I began to get a little concerned about whether there would be room on the first tour at 1000 and used the free WiFi from one of the restaurants to have a look; it turned out that there were only two places left on the 1000 tour and I set about booking them while I waited. While the WiFi wasn’t the best I managed to get them booked and the PDF booking reference downloaded in about 20 minutes, just as the doors to the ticket office were opened up; at which point I obviously wasn’t so bothered about the mad rush that ensued! I handed the girl behind the counter my phone, with the PDF displayed, she handed me two tickets and told me we needed to be at the cave entrance 15 minutes before the designated tour; simples!

As we hung around outside the cave entrance the crowds began to grow, the majority of which were Chinese tourists, having arrived in their busloads! One guy stood by us joked that there couldn’t have been any Chinese left in China as they were all in Postojna! The strange fact being that they all ended up queuing with us by the English stand, with there being about 5 English folk total! Basically once the initial ticket checks are done you have to stand by a banner with the language on that you speak as the tour guides then take their groups from here, based on the language they’ll obviously be delivering the tour in. To be honest it doesn’t really matter, unless you actually want to hear the tour guide’s spiel, as we ended up so far behind in our group that we missed every speech anyway! Unless you’re literally up the tour guide’s arse you’re not going to hear what they have to say anyway so it’s either spiel or photographs, you’ll struggle to do both without bowling everyone out of the way to get to the front of the group!

Groups are led in separately and the secondary ticket check is done at electronic gates. As you walk through the gates two photographers take your photo, which is displayed on a board at the end of the tour; unless you’re my wife who’s photo was clearly deemed inappropriate as she “scratched” the side of her head with two fingers while walking by!

The tour starts and finishes with a train ride into the heart of the caves, which are a bit of a free for all when you’re directed to them. Seats are on a first come first served basis and once a train is full it’s on its way, the rest of the group then boards the next train and everyone meets up at the start of the tour after alighting. If you’re a crank its simple to get whichever engine you want, just be in the first group through the gates, which looks to be English every time anyway, and hang around until one you want arrives. We saw No’s 1, 2, 5 & 6 while we were waiting and ultimately had to flag the first train to get on the next one, more because we wanted to sit at the front really, and having watched 5 & 6 depart with a private group of Chinese tourists we had No.1 into the depths of the caves.

There’s not a massive amount of clearance at all as the lengthy train twists and turns its way into the heart of the cave system, the damp conditions not helping the little engines keep traction; the crews have to be on the ball and hand sand in front as they go along, the moment traction is lost! While clearance may not be great in some places when the caves open up your eyes don’t know where to look first, it is truly fascinating! Stalagmites, stalactites, cave pools, random rock formations and outcrops and all from the relative comfort of a little train.

Once off the train its about an hour walk round the cave complex competing for space, photographs and room with everyone else there; it’s not a very well guided tour unless you’re in the guides’ pocket! By the time we got to the end of the complex and out to the area where the trains then take you back to the cave entrance most of the participants in our English group had already visited the souvenir shops and were waiting to be allowed down the ramp to the platform where the trains would be waiting to take people back. Once at the end of the tour you can basically wait for whichever train you like to take you back to the cave entrance, the set in when we got down to the platform had No.1 at its helm so I asked if we could wait for the next train, which wasn’t a problem at all and we headed back to the cave entrance with No.2 instead, sat right behind the loco in the front seats. The lack of traction en-route back to the cave entrance seemed to be more apparent, whether No.2 wasn’t as good as No.1 or whether it was a slight gradient back towards the entrance I don’t know but it lost traction on almost every turn and we could hear the grit, that was being thrown onto the railhead, being crushed as we ran over it; it did the trick every time though.

The whole tour from entering the cave to exiting took about 90 minutes and we were sat eating a very good pizza in the pizzeria by the ticket office by midday. The food places, while all linked together, are sectioned into relevant areas based on the food they serve. The pizza’s we had were good, freshly made and a reasonable price to say they were at a large tourist attraction.

The walk back to the station took no more than 30 minutes, even though most of it is uphill on the way back, and we were glad we got there when we did as the sunshine soon gave way to dark cloud and it began to rain. 342025 returned with MV482 1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana, which unlike the outbound train was completely wedged. We ultimately sat in first class as there were hardly any seats but were kicked out by the guard and had to squeeze into a compartment in the end. Thankfully 664120 appeared round the corner at Rakek and dropped on to work through to Borovnica; 664103 was the only other engine there as we departed. Not far outside the station, as we headed down to Borovnica, it began to hammer it down with snow; quite heavily too. It had gone from clear blue skies and glorious sunshine to black skies and driving snow in less than an hour! By the time we reached Borovnica though the snow had stopped and it was just cold and miserable; not very nice weather for the track workers to be out in. they were working towards Borovnica, still installing the foundations for electrification masts and only on the left hand road as we headed to Ljubljana. Progress looked to be very slow going and resulted in everything having to use the opposite road in both directions as their works train, loaded with machinery and equipment, took up the other.

664120 was soon whipped off at Borovnica and with 664117 & 664118 already sat couple to freights, obviously waiting our arrival before they could head up the hill, 664120 looked like the only candidate to work MV483 1510 Ljubljana – Rijeka up to Rakek. As 342025 arrived into Ljubljana we spotted 342023 sat waiting to depart with MV483, before heading over to get our bags from the luggage locker; which cost €3. We could have actually got them into a smaller locker for €2 but hadn’t realised there were any smaller until we collected the bags!

With a planned 1449 arrival into Ljubljana and a planned 1525 departure to Lesce Bled, there wasn’t much time to do anything other than collect the bags and EC210 0900 Vinkovci – Villach Hbf was in the station with plenty of time to spare before departure, headed by pioneer 541, 541001 in all its green splendor. Thankfully it wasn’t a full train and we had plenty of room to ourselves in a compartment for the 48 minute journey to Lesce Bled; where a taxi was waiting to take us to our hotel on the shore of Lake Bled. This was pre-arranged with the hotel and cost €12, which was payable to the driver after we’d arrived at the hotel.

As it was our honeymoon I did splash out a little on a 5 star hotel at Bled and the Grand Hotel Toplice looked just the job. Yes it was grand and yes we did feel a little out of place at a very plush hotel, that was used by the rich and famous regularly, but we were going to make the most of it. The room was very sizeable and split into a sleeping area and living area, which even had a curtain that could be drawn between the two. Everything we needed was provided, toiletries, WiFi, water and even tea/coffee making facilities which are rare in most European countries. The view from the hotel balcony was as good as it gets on Lake Bled, with Bled Castle perched atop of the hill directly opposite and the lake just sprawling out a mere stone’s throw away. As the afternoon turned out quite nice we wasted no time in snapping away from the balcony and taking a short stroll round the Lake’s edge to find somewhere to eat.

Having settled on Chilli Bar & Restaurant we were very pleased with our Mexican choice and ultimately used the place for every meal we had in Bled as the food was both plentiful and good quality and the staff were friendly and sociable too. After a long day though it was nice to relax in the luxury of our hotel room and watch the sun go down behind the mountains with a nice cup of tea in hand. Bled Castle was lit up from the moment it began to get dark and the yellowy-orange glow emitted by it dominated the night skyline opposite our hotel room; it really was a nice place to relax and what a view we had of the outside world.

The Moves

342025 Ljubljna Borovnica 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka MV483 SZ 342025 train engine and dragged dead between Borovnica & Rakek by SZ 664119
664119 Borovnica Rakek
342025 Rakek Postojna
1 Postojna Caves Entrance Platform Tour Starting Platform 1000 Postojna Caves Tour
2 Tour Finishing Plaform Postojna Caves Exit Platform 1000 Postojna Caves Tour
342025 Postojna Rakek 1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana MV482 SZ 342025 train engine and dragged dead between Rakek & Borovnica by SZ 664120
664120 Rakek Borovnica
342025 Borovnica Ljubljana
541001 Ljubljana Lesce Bled 0900 Vinkovci – Villach Hbf EC210 SZ 541

 

Gen for Monday 6th April 2015

Borovnica drag locos

664103, 117, 118, 119 at Rakek after arrival of MV481

664117, 118 at Borovnica with freights after arrival of MV482

Note – only 664’s viewed, no 2016’s etc at all

342023 MV483 1515 Ljubljana – Rijeka (either 664119 or 120 would likely have done the drag ex Borovnica)

The Photos Postojna Caves Railway

The Photos SZ

 

Tuesday 7th April 2015 (Just how long does it take to walk round Lake Bled?)

Just before 10am we set off on what we intended to be a short walk, it ended up being round the whole periphery of Lake Bled! As it was off-season there weren’t too many people around and the pathways pretty much open to meander where we wanted with no obstructions, other than the “Wally Trolley” as Danielle liked to call the toy train rides that ferried people around places; in Bled’s case it took people around the lake at regular times throughout the day. We did come across one obstruction during the course of our walk down the castle side of the lake, in the form of a tree that had been cut down and had fallen across the pathway; blocking it completely. This put pay to the “Wally Trolley” doing its circuitous route too and it had to cut its route short every time, until the tree was cut up and removed from the pathway.

This was the only train related incident of the whole day………..

 

Wednesday 8th April 2015 (Not quite as simple a getaway from Bled as it should be!)

After an earlier breakfast, glaring at the castle as we ate again, I headed out to walk round the lake to Bled Jezero station while Danielle used some of the hotel’s facilities to pass the morning. My walk took about 25 minutes at quite a speedy pace and I passed only one person all the way there! When the driver of a bus, which had SZ on a notice in the front window, uttered something to me in the local tongue I should have known that I was going to end up on the bus! It wasn’t until the DMU arrived from Jesenice though that I was directed to the bus by the station master as he quickly emptied out the train and put everyone onto the bus. He told me, when asked, that the line was closed between Bled Jezero and Bistrica. It was evident why when the road skirted the railway south of Bled when scaffolding was erected on the railway, up against a retaining wall, and men were at work drilling into it! The bus journey only took 10 minutes longer than the train should though and my concerns about missing the 0910 Bohinjska Bistrica – Most Na Soci Autovlak soon went as we pulled up into the station car park at Bohinjska Bistrica with 10 minutes to spare.

While the bus related incident hadn’t been a concern at the beginning of the day it had taken my mind away from the concern that had been on it at the start of the morning, which was whether there’d be a passenger coach on the autovlak or not; it had been seen quite a few times during early 2015 without a coach at all and as this was my first time doing the autovlak I didn’t really know what to expect. Thankfully the first thing I spotted, after the engine of course, was a nice four wheeled coach right behind 644005, with three car transporters behind that. My concerns for the day could then shift back to the bus and how it was going to affect me getting back to Bled and meeting with Danielle later!

The transfer of people from the bus to the waiting DMU was efficient and it was away within minutes. This ultimately delayed the departure of the autovlak by about 7 minutes and when 644005 was given the off I was the only person in the passenger coach and there were only 3 vehicles on the car transporters behind it; one of which was let off at Podbrdo en-route. Between Bohinjska Bistrica & Podbrdo the train is in a tunnel but from Podbrdo to Most Na Soci the line falls down a valley, twisting and turning and passing by the odd village just suspended in the valley, before curving round the spectacular viaduct that leads into Most Na Soci station. I was invited to leave the train in the platform, by the guard in the coach, before it shunted out south and propelled the train into the dock to allow the cars to be let off. This allowed for a few photo opportunities but for the idiot local, who could clearly see I was poised to take photos of the train backing in but still chose to walk out in front of me at the worst possible moment; of course this brought out the best Yorkshire in me, regardless of whether he could understand or not!

Unfortunately the sun is in the wrong place for photos while the train sits in the dock but even though I was on board this time as the train shunted out and back into the platform the guard let me get a photo at the front of the train as 644005 was re-attached to head north. Photos of the train running over the viaduct on departure at this time would be cracking. On board the 1035 Most Na Soci – Bohinjska Bistrica were the loco crew, the guard and me; with three cars up front on the car transporters. While uphill its quite hard to hear the little 644 from so far back, despite it having to work hard, so it was pretty much a morning of no thrash; even though there was plenty! It was a nice morning though and sunny too so it made for a better experience than it would have done if it was pouring it down.

Having run round at Bohinjska Bistrica 644005 would then only run shuttles through the tunnel to Podbrdo for the rest of the day and the 1136 shuttle was pretty much a waste of time with only me as a fare paying passenger and no cars at all. A crew change took place at Podbrdo after arrival the relief crew arriving off a southbound DMU and the existing crew disappearing south on it. As the southbound DMU departed about 7 minutes late I contemplated what was going to happen at Bled Jezero when I got there off the bus. I’d arranged a taxi to take Danielle to the station and for her to get on the same DMU I’d be on towards Jesenice, which would now be a good 15-20 minutes later than booked off Bled Jezero as it would have to cross the southbound DMU before it got to me at Podbrdo and then lose more time during the bus section. The 1303 departure from Bled Jezero was only a plus 20 at Jesenice for EC211 1253 Villach Hbf – Vinkovci, which we needed to be on to Ljubljana. My conscience got the better of me and while I waited at Podbrdo I rang the taxi company up and had a taxi waiting at Bled Jezero for my arrival off the bus.

While the transfer at Bohinjska Bistrica was quick the DMU still departed Bled Jezero 19 minutes late so the taxi move seemed like a good sensible move in the end. As it turned out it was the same taxi that had taken Danielle to Bled Jezero station in the first place and the journey cost €18.30 to Lesce Bled, €2 of that was thanks to us having to wait at the level crossing by Lesce Bled station for a freight to run through! As irony has it 541017 arrived bang on time with EC211 and as we walked through the coach to find an empty compartment I noticed at least two different people that had been on the DMU as it had departed Bled Jezero! Obviously the DMU had made EC211 and probably quite comfortably as one girl had a massive wooden instrument with her that she wouldn’t have been running anywhere fast with.

By the time we got to Ljubljana I was over my needless taxi ching and we headed straight for the Best Western Premier Hotel Slon again and were greeted by an upgrade to an executive room as the hotel was full! What we didn’t realise until later that evening was that had we drawn the curtains we’d have had a bird’s eye view of Ljubljana Castle right from our room. Instead we were quick to dump our bags and nip out for a bit to eat at an Italian place called Allegria near to the hotel, before seizing the opportunity to do Ljubljana Castle that afternoon; which would ultimately allow us to head to Zagreb the following morning instead of in the evening. It would be a win, win situation getting to Zagreb early and a bonus day for us really.

While the weather had taken a turn for the worse in the afternoon it wasn’t long before the sun made a welcome appearance, and remained out for the rest of the afternoon. Everyone’s first impression of Ljubljana is generally when arriving by public transport and mine was of the area surrounding the train station. What I didn’t realise until later on this particular evening was that you can actually see the castle from outside the station, at the Jesenice end of the station front, but the area outside the station isn’t generally very inspiring at all; so my ideas of what Ljubljana would be like were tainted by that impression. They couldn’t have been more wrong!

An afternoon stroll around Ljubljana wouldn’t have been the same without a trip up to the castle though and we used the funicular railway to get up but walked back down. Single tickets on the funicular cost €2.20 each and the journey takes seconds; the city revealing more and more of itself as the funicular car rises away from the city streets. The extent of the climb is clearly visible if you look straight down and realise just how steep the funicular tracks are! As you exit the funicular though it does become a little confusing as to what is where as directions and signage is almost non-existent!

The walk back down to Ljubljana old town was pretty simple, and when we figured out which route we’d actually taken it didn’t take long to get back to the Hotel Slon and plan where we were going to go for food that night. The choice ended up being a Mexican restaurant called Cantina Mexicana, where the food was excellent, portions massive and it had a nice relaxing atmosphere. Having had a couple of good Mexican meals in Bled this place had a lot to live up to and in the end hit it right on the nail! When ordering a hot chocolate most would expect an orthodox cup of milky hot chocolate; add chilli into the mix and you’d expect to be drinking a hot chocolate with a slight chilli tinge to it. The Cantina Mexicana’s idea of hot chocolate was simply just that, it only turned up as melted chocolate in a glass, and the chilli was actually slide chillis mixed into the chocolate!!! Interesting was an understatement but it certainly wasn’t drinkable and had to be eaten with a spoon; what it wasn’t was cold, either temperature wise or spice wise. This was one of the most truly unpredictable things I’ve ever ordered in a restaurant; needless to say something to actually drink had to be ordered after it! While the main course of stick fingers wasn’t unpredictable the size was and we could have got away with one portion between us instead of one each; all in all an excellent meal and all for under £20, including beer and soft drinks!

As we headed back to the hotel we reflected on the whole of what had been a great honeymoon, in theory our trip was over but due to the fact we’d managed to swap things around a bit we would have most of the day in Zagreb the following day, instead of arriving late in the evening; so that was a bonus really.

The Moves

BUS Bled Jezero Bohinjska Bistrica 0820 Jesenice – Nova Gorica 4211 Vice DMU; line closed Bled to Bistricia
644005 Bohinjska Bistrica Most Na Soci 0910 Bohinjska Bistrica – Most Na Soci 853 Autovlak – one 4 wheeler coach + car carriers
644005 Most Na Soci Bohinjska Bistrica 1035 Most Na Soci – Bohinjska Bistricia 854 Autovlak – one 4 wheeler coach + car carriers
644005 Bohinjska Bistrica Podbrdo 1136 Bohinjska Bistrica – Podbrdo 855 Autovlak – one 4 wheeler coach + car carriers
813111 Podbrdo Bohinjska Bistrica 1018 Sezana – Jesenice 4210 DMU 813111/814111 to Bohinjska Bistrica for a bus to Bled Jezero; line closed between the two points
814111
BUS Bohinjska Bistrica Bled Jezero
541017 Lesce Bled Ljubljana 1253 Villach Hbf – Vinkovci EC211 SZ 541

 

Gen for Wednesday 8th April 2015

From the HZ Mapper

DMU’s on the following Varazdin line trains:

Zagreb departures – 3002 0524, 990 0717, 3008 1312, 992 1404, 3016 1923

Zagreb arrivals – 3001 0521, 3007 0939, 3009 1135, 3011 1324, 3017 1831, 995 2022

2044’s

2044004 3003 0341 Varazdin – Zagreb, 3004 0903 Zagreb – Varazdin, 3013 1213 Varazdin – Zagreb, 3010 1524 Zagreb – Varazdin

2044006 3005 0428 Varazdin – Zagreb, 790 1512 Zagreb – Varazdin

2044007 3012 1628 Zagreb – Varazdin

2044008 991 0525 Varazdin – Zagreb, 3006 1120 Zagreb – Varazdin, 3015 1418 Varazdin – Zagreb, 3014 1818 Zagreb – Varazdin

2044019 702 1200 Osijek – Rijeka (to Koprivnica)

 

1141304 2019 1554 Zagreb – Vinkovci

1141309 2016 1100 Vinkovci – Zagreb, 2021 1755 Zagreb – Vinkovci

1141376/1141382 2020 1452 Vinkovci – Zagreb

1141381 702 1200 Osijek – Rijeka (from Koprivnica)

1142005 745 1518 Zagreb – Vinkovci

1142007 2210 1716 Koprivnica – Zagreb

1142009 EN414 1103 Beograd – Buchs

1142010 971 1839 Zagreb – Koprivnica

1142012 2018 1133 Vinkovci – Zagreb, 2023 1905 Zagreb – Slavonski Brod

1142014 746 1200 Vinkovci – Zagreb, 2209 1650 Zagreb – Koprivnica

1142015 211 1253 Villach Hbf – Vinkovci

The Photos