Poland to Ukraine via Belarus September 2019 – In via Grodno & out via Gomel
A simple trip from Warsaw, Poland, to Kyiv, Ukraine via Minsk, Belarus and Kamianets Podilskyi, Ukraine.
W6-1306 1435 Luton – Warsaw
FR3678 1205 Kiev Borispol – Stansted
Warsaw – Central Station Apartment – a simple 5-minute walk from Centralna, is accessed through a gate from the street with a code given by the property owner. Entry to the building is via a coded front door and then entry to the apartment itself is gain after using a further code to unlock the front door. Our apartment was apartment B, with the door being left unlocked and a set of keys were waiting for us on the sideboard. It’s a ground floor, single-room apartment with a bed in the corner and a separate bathroom. There’s no air-con but with the window open it was a nice temperature inside. Everything was clean, the bed, especially the pillows, was comfy and there were more mod cons in the kitchen area than I knew what to do with. It was quiet the whole time we were there and the WiFi worked a treat. All in all, a good place to stay so close to Centralna station and apartments now seem to compete with the bigger chain hotels, especially in Poland.
Minsk – Hotel Minsk – a 15-minute walk from Minsk Pas. Station and looks rather resplendent from outside. Our minds were put slightly at rest about the lack of immigration card to present at Gomel the following day when the girl checking us in gave us both registration cards to present on departure from Belarus. We were given a room on the 6th floor, which was very well presented and had more free toiletries than a pharmacy shelf! The air-con worked well, the bed was soft, but the pillows were shockingly hard, and quite uncomfortable. I couldn’t manage to gain access to the WiFi either. Breakfast was ok but for the flies around the breadbasket.
Kyiv – Ibis Kyiv Station – right outside the station on the railway museum side. Check-in took moments and we were given a quiet room on the 8th floor. It was a typical Ibis style room, with decent air-con and good black-out curtains. Breakfast was ok and we were allowed a late checkout.
Lviv – Taurus Hotel – situated in an off the beaten track part of Lviv, about half way between Lviv station and the old town and with tram stops on the surrounding routes not being that conveniently located it’s a minimum of a 6-7 minute walk regardless of how you choose to get to it; unless you use an Uber, which costs in the region of UAH35-50 depending on type of vehicle. Lviv Tram tickets on the other hand cost UAH5 per single journey. Our room was on the 6th floor, accessed via two different lifts, with a change on the 4th floor and a walk from one side of the hotel to the other required to get to the 6th floor. It was right outside one of the hotel bars which thankfully didn’t seem to be frequented much. The room itself was clean and tidy had good WiFi, great air-con and all the toiletries needed for a short stay. Breakfast was included in our rate and we were given a pack-up on our last day when we departed before breakfast started.
Chernivtsi – Central Magnat Cinema – a 30-minute uphill walk from Chernivtsi station, in a very nice part of town, set back off a fully pedestrian only strip that seems like it’s so far away from Ukraine, it’s quite surreal. It was a good pick from Booking.com and a compromise due to the place I’d previously stayed at, which is closer to the station, being full. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to check in when we arrived, but the hotel staff were happy to store our bags for us until later that afternoon. Check in time is officially 1400 but after a wander around town and a bite to eat at the New York Street Pizza on the main drag, we were allowed into our room at 1300. The grand, but small, lobby gives an impression that isn’t quite met in the hotel rooms. Our mini suite was simply a large room with a double bed and a desk; but it was clean and comfortable with decent WiFi and toiletries to boot.
Kamianets Podilskyi – Kleopatra VIP Hotel – right in the heart of the old town and the guy at the front desk was expecting us when we arrived. There was no messing about with checking in and our keys to our third-floor room were soon in our hands. The room was nothing short of spectacular and huge doesn’t even begin to describe just how big and spacious it was. The massive bed looked quite out of proportion compared to the amount of redundant space there was surrounding it, and yet the room also had wardrobes and a good-sized sofa at its periphery as well, and a separate bathroom with a shower enclosed that would probably make you dinner if you fiddled with the settings. It had more jets than a shower jet making factory and there were enough toiletries to keep you clean for months. To say we were impressed was an understatement.
Poland – Warsaw – Hrodna ticket booked through Polrail Ltd with tickets being posted to a UK address
Belarus – Booked online using the Belarus Railways website
Ukraine – Booked online using the Ukraine Railways website with local tickets being purchased at stations
Tuesday 3rd September 2019 (Doncaster to Warsaw via Luton)
It was another of those bashes that started with a move straight off nights to head to an airport. Kindly, my colleagues overnight sent m home a couple of hours early and the3-hours sleep I had at home made all the difference that morning.
With a taxi booked the previous night, the whole move from my front door to Luton Airport went as smooth as could be expected, with the taxi being early, 1A13 0655 Skipton – Kings Cross being 91122, with loads of room in coach B, giving plenty of time to walk from Kings Cross to St Pancras for the Meridian on the 1105 St Pancras – Nottingham to Luton Airport Parkway; where the was a bus just pulling up outside the station to take us to the airport.
In true low-cost airline style, despite hardly any of the seats being allocated at the time I checked in, we were given seats 15 rows apart. To be fair to Wizz Air though, they were happy enough to change our seats at the airport and gave us two together in row 4; and when we took off the row in front was empty as well! Our boarding cards even updated in the Wizz Air App the moment the guy at the desk changed the allocation. My experience with trying to change seat allocations on the day has so far revealed that only Wizz Air will do it, whereas Ryanair just give a flat no! Wizz have now done it for me 3 times at three different airports.
Despite the flight being called quite early and everyone being at the gate eager to board, it seemed that there was a groundstaff shortage, which resulted in staff having to be drafted in to man our desk to board the flight. Despite the lack of staff, we pushed back only 1 minute late off stand and landed in Warsaw 40 minutes early; contrary to the pilot’s message saying we’d be landing a “few” minutes early.
Its always a bonus landing early and even more of a bonus when you’re on the first bus from the plane to immigration, and even more of a bonus when you pick the right set of doors to stand at, are first out and then first in line to get through immigration. Considering the walk from immigration to Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina station is a good 7-8 minutes, following the green line from outside the exit doors of immigration if you don’t know the way, we’d bought our train tickets from a self-service machine, in English, and had walked to the front of our train with 10 minutes to spare; before the 1808 SKM departure left Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina.
The early arrival, of course, meant a bit more time available to have a look at what was going off at Warszawa Zachodnia & Centralna, and netted a couple of bonus locos that we’d have missed completely had our plane not landed 40’ early.
It was a good day all-round really and even the apartment we’d booked, which was only a 5-minute walk from Warszawa Centralna station, was up to standard. Having used Booking.com to book apartments in Poland a few times now, I was coming around to thinking that they were handier than hotels in many respects; especially those that had washing machines! The Central Station Apartment is a simple 5-minute walk from Centralna, is accessed through a gate from the street with a code given by the property owner. Entry to the building is via a coded front door and then entry to the apartment itself is gain after using a further code to unlock the front door. Our apartment was apartment B, with the door being left unlocked and a set of keys were waiting for us on the sideboard. It’s a ground floor, single-room apartment with a bed in the corner and a separate bathroom. There’s no air-con but with the window open it was a nice temperature inside. Everything was clean, the bed, especially the pillows, was comfy and there were more mod cons in the kitchen area than I knew what to do with. It was quiet the whole time we were there and the WiFi worked a treat. All in all, a good place to stay so close to Centralna station and apartments now seem to compete with the bigger chain hotels, especially in Poland.
After a shop at the Carrefour supermarket in the shopping centre adjacent to Centralna station, we used the Vapiano a few yards up the road from our apartment for food. Having attempted to use a Vapiano once before and then walking out because of the faff factor, I’m now a Vapiano convert. There were English menus available and most of the staff spoke English anyway. The idea of giving you a card when you enter, which you use as a reverse payment card when buying food and drinks, then scan it on your way out to pay the bill is a good idea. The choice of food is excellent and is all cooked fresh at the pizza or pasta counters, in open kitchens, while you wait. I was pleased with what I was served and didn’t need a desert afterwards. Just some good old doss, in a nice soft bed; as I was starting to flag a bit by this point, with coming off nights!
Gen for Tuesday 3rd September 2019
EP07-517 IC65100 1140 Wroclaw Glowny – Olsztyn Glowny
EP07-1020 TLK53106 0718 Gdynia Glowna – Krakow Glowny
370003 EC45 1235 Berlin Gesundbrunnen – Warszawa Wschodnia
Moves for Tuesday 3rd September 2019
|91122||Doncaster||Kings Cross||0655 Skipton – Kings Cross||1A13|
|222008||St Pancras International||Luton Airport Parkway||1105 St Pancras – Nottingham|
|HA-LXJ||Luton||Warsaw Chopin||1435 Luton – Warsaw||W6-1306|
|27WE-005||Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina||Warszawa Zachodnia||1808 Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina – Wieliszew||S99616|
|EP07-517||Warszawa Zachodnia||Warszawa Centralna||1140 Wroclaw Glowny – Olsztyn Glowny||IC65100|
|EP07-1020||Warszawa Centralna||Warszawa Zachodnia||0718 Gdynia Glowna – Krakow Glowny||TLK53106|
|370003||Warszawa Zachodnia||Warszawa Centralna||1235 Berlin Gesundbrunnen – Warszawa Wschodnia||EC45|
Wednesday 4th September 2019 (Warsaw, Poland to Minsk, Belarus via the Grodno border crossing)
As is always the case, these days, with coming off nights, I was wide awake early doors, so took the opportunity to sneak out and cover some of the morning trains through Centralna; and wasn’t disappointed with the outcome, despite having on rely on the GC Transit app for train gen. Having never had one before, managing to ned two PKP Cargo EU07’s in, in the same morning, was a bonus, especially as their workings were quite limited these days in Poland. EU07-065 worked TLK91109 0441 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia while EU07-119 worked TLK91117 0514 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia.
Pleased with my morning outing, it was celebrated with a McDonald’s breakfast, which even offered us a free Bacon & Egg McMuffin during our order, which was never going to be turned down. I have to say though the Polish McD’s serving fries as standard with breakfast is a bit strange, especially when you can order a hash brown as a side-order! Although some ignorant twat nearly squashed my free McMuffin and fries when he decided to sit down, completely unannounced, on the table bit in between the benches on the platform at Centralna. Which quite rightly had my food on it and not my arse and didn’t want his anywhere near it either; the dick!
Our tickets from Warszawa to Grodno were booked in the UK through Polrail Service, on their website. Tickets are posted out and having them in hand before arriving saves at least one hassle of the journey. The through coaches from Krakow Glowny to Grodno are conveyed on TLK31102 0427 Krakow Glowny – Suwalki to Bialystok, which was formed with EU07-038 leading a dead EP07-1012 with the two Grodno coaches right behind the locos. At Bialystok EU07-038 was detached, EP07-1012 panned up and then went forward with the two Grodno coaches as TLK304 1034 Bialystok – Grodno. The front coach of the two was almost empty throughout the journey, with everyone seemingly being reserved in the second coach. At Bialystok we went int the front coach, which had better air-con and was a lot quieter.
Polish immigration was done at Kuznica Bialostocka, and randomly seemed to be done twice. It was harmless though and I even managed to get a few phots of the EP07 during the dwell time and PKP Cargo SM48-006 that was shunting in the adjacent yard. From Kuznica Bialostocka its only a few kilometers to the Border Post, where a couple of Belarussian border police got on and went through to Grodno on the train; checking everyone’s passport before the train was allowed to proceed beyond Bruzgi, a few kilometers into Belarus.
Being in the front coach allowed us to be among the first off the train and right at the front of the immigration queue. As TLK304 arrives into the station at Grodno it pulls up in a gated off area and everyone is funneled into the immigration building at the west end of the station. With only one booth open when we walked in chaos soon ensued when we brought the queue to a standstill for 5 minutes while the guy behind the counter figured out what to do with us.
What should have happened is, we should have been given an immigration card to fill out on the train and then none of the farce would have occurred but when there weren’t even any immigration cards on display when we walked into the immigration building, I assumed they’d give us one at the booth; which is what eventually happened but only after the guy had stamped my visa with an entry stamp and then asked one of his colleagues for assistance. The result of the farce meant we went form being second in line to last and they literally closed up shop after we’d been processed and then sniffed by the calm black Labrador waiting to greet everyone after they’d been processed into the country.
Thankfully, time was on our side and as we’d arrived at 1410 and not 1510 as I suspected we might have, we had plenty of time before the possibility of watching the 1533 departure to Minsk leave and then having to do the 1645 departure and get there over 2h30m later! In the end we were through and into Belarus officially with half an hour to spare; after half an hour of needless stress at an immigration point that is clearly not set-up for foreigners other than Poles. The other issue we now faced, might come the following day when we tried to exit Belarus without an immigration card, which the idiot behind the counter insisted we didn’t need and forced us through after processing us into the country. He’d seemed obsessed with the fact we might have been heading into Russia when processing us in and had to get another of his colleagues to confirm that we weren’t in English, despite me telling him when he asked. Tomorrow was another day though, and despite me asking someone else in the immigration hall about he lack of immigration card, we exited the hall with exactly what we’d entered it with, albeit with a stamp on our transit visa to show where we’d entered Belarus.
EP07-1012 had already shunted its set out and was running-round when we got onto the platform, where a DR1A DMU was waiting to depart with 6708 1501 Hrodna — Uzbieraž and ChME3-3695 & ChME3-6354 were waiting their next shunting duty in the station area, both shut down. Little did we realise that ChME3-6354 would be called into top-link action within the hour and after the DR1A DMU had departed, it revealed red TEP70BS-084 sat behind it with the stock to form our 674B 1533 Grodno – Minsk Pas. Our coach was right behind the loco and we had a compo to ourselves, in a relatively empty coach, all the way to Minsk; despite having to depart Grodno twice!
No sooner had we got ourselves settled, and I’d started to lick the coach window as we departed and headed towards the shed and carriage sidings, did our first attempt at departing Grodno come to an abrupt end; and it went very silent at the head of the train. In true non-UK style though, a bit of Eastern European efficiency had ChME3-6354 onto the back of the train within 15 minutes and we were dragged back into the platform. Meanwhile, we watched a crew get into TEP70K-326 from my window-licking vantage point, while we waited to be rescued, and rather than run ChME3-6354 round to drag the demic away, ChME3-3695 dropped down to take it to shed. Soon afterwards TEP70K-326 dropped on, all the formalities were completed, including the double brake test that they carry out in Belarus, and thankfully we departed only 60’ late in front of both 632B 1633 Grodno – Minsk Pas, which was sat waiting to go with TEP70BS-083, and 634B 1645 Grodno – Kommunary which was sat in the station with no loco. Having only seen TEP70BS-083, TEP70K-326 and the ailing TEP70BS-084 at Grodno, I was sure that we’d now gained the loco that would have worked one of the next two departures and assuming they couldn’t fix TEP70BS-084 on shed, the only other loco there, apart from the ChME3’s was an M62 parked up on shed.
I’d booked us on both 674B at 1533 and 634B at 1645, just in case we’d missed the former with a boarder farce. I wasn’t quite expecting that we might have to do the latter having already departed on the former; but was glad of the option to do so at the time. As it happened the driver caned TEP70K-326 and with prolonged spells of 100kmph running we were only 45’ late into Minsk Pas. and still 1h45m earlier than the next train from Grodno would be and that assuming they’d found an engine for 634B 1645 Grodno – Kommunary as 632B 1633 Grodno – Minsk Pas didn’t arrive Minsk until 2342 after running via Baranovicy to Minsk.
We were staying at the Hotel Minsk, which is a 15-minute walk from Minsk Pas. and looks rather resplendent from outside. Our minds were put slightly at rest about the lack of immigration card to present at Gomel the following day when the girl checking us in gave us both registration cards to present on departure from Belarus. We were given a room on the6th floor, which was very well presented and had more free toiletries than a pharmacy shelf! The air-con worked well, the bed was soft, but the pillows were shockingly hard, and quite uncomfortable. I couldn’t manage to gain access to the WiFi, but Danielle could, and the mini bar served as a fridge to keep our pop cold.
KFC opposite Minsk Pas station sufficed for a late evening meal and thanks to the self-service ordering screens, which had an English option, we were able to order exactly what we wanted, hassle-free; and we got exactly what we asked for. Back at the Hotel Minsk we reveled in our spotless room and took advantage of the relaxing room of an evening. It had been a long day but the following one would be longer….
Gen for Wednesday 4th September 2019
EU07-065 TLK91109 0441 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia
EU07-119 TLK91117 0514 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP07-1026 IC18100 0549 Warszawa Wschodnia – Szczecin Glowny
EP07-1030 TLK13100 0629 Warszawa Wschodnia – Przemysl Glowny
EP07-444 TLK41101 0305 Katowice – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP09-012 IC9111 0635 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia
EU07-038/(EP07-1012 dit) TLK31102 0427 Krakow Glowny – Suwalki
EP07-1012 TLK304 1034 Bialystok – Grodno (formed of front 2 coaches off TLK31102, split off at Bialystok – EU07-038 detached from front of TLK31102 to work the Suwalki portion forward after TLK304 had departed)
EP07-1012 TLK303 1531 Grodno – Bialystok
TEP70BS-084 674B 1533 Grodno – Minsk Pas. (to Grodno CS – fail)
ChME3-6354 drag 674B back to Grodno
TEP70K-0326 674B 1533 Grodno – Minsk Pas. (2nd attempt – 60′ late)
TEP70BS-083 632B 1633 Grodno – Minsk Pas.
TEP70BS-009 087 2038 Minsk Pas. – Riga
Moves for Wednesday 4th September 2019
|EP07-1026||Warszawa Centralna||Warszawa Zachodnia||0549 Warszawa Wschodnia – Szczecin Glowny||IC18100|
|EU07-065||Warszawa Zachodnia||Warszawa Centralna||0441 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia||TLK91109|
|EP07-1030||Warszawa Centralna||Warszawa Zachodnia||0629 Warszawa Wschodnia – Przemysl Glowny||TLK13100|
|EU07-119||Warszawa Zachodnia||Warszawa Centralna||0514 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia||TLK91117|
|EP07-444||Warszawa Centralna||Warszawa Wschodnia||0305 Katowice – Warszawa Wschodnia||TLK41101|
|EU07-038||Warszawa Wschodnia||Bialystok||0427 Krakow Glowny – Suwalki||TLK31102|
|EP07-1012||Bialystok||Bruzgi||1034 Bialystok – Grodno||TLK304|
|TEP70BS-084||Grodno||Grodno Carriage Sidings||1533 Grodno – Minsk Pas.||674B|
|ChME3-6354||Grodno Carriage Sidings||Grodno|
Photos for Wednesday 4th September 2019
Thursday 5th September 2019 (Morning in Minsk then direct to Kyiv via Gomel)
A morning move just had to be done, especially as it was so cheap and all bookable online on the BCh website. I wasn’t expecting much from the bash as recently trains on the newly electrified Minsk – Gomel main line had swapped to electric traction for their journey, although some retained a diesel link despite being under the wires throughout. Everything went smoothly and all three trains I frequented were half empty. BCh ChS4T-601 worked 100V 0744 Minsk Pas – Novooleksiyivka, which I did south to Asipovicy 1 for a short wait and then did BCh ChS4T-602 back north to Puchavicy on 647B 0630 Gomel – Minsk Pas. to wait for TEP70BS-150 behind it with 669B 0421 Gomel – Minsk Pas. which has to be diesel as it runs via Kalinkavicy; on the direct Gomel – Brest diesel line. Back at Minsk, it’s unfortunate that Belarus Railways don’t use ChME3’s for station shunts, which made doing TME3-003 on the booked shunt off 630B Hrodna – Minsk to 094B Minsk – Odesa, a little less interesting. After the through Grodno – Odesa coach was attached to the front of the rake for 094B, I headed straight back to the hotel.
I was back at the Minsk Hotel just in time to grab a spot of breakfast, in a hotel restaurant that had only us in it, and a load of flies buzzing around the bread; randomly, not the exposed cakes on display for all to breath all over! Despite there being a lot on offer, there wasn’t a great deal to choose from; if that makes sense?! You can’t go wrong with a bit of toast though and we were soon on our way out for a quick stroll, with the hotel allowing us to keep our room for an extra hour. And having read the in-room bumph, it confirmed that the Hotel Minsk allows two extra hours for check-out, on request, free.
With our time being somewhat limited in Minsk, before our 11h42m journey to Kyiv in Ukraine, we didn’t have time to explore the city’s every corner so went for a walk down the main drag to Oktoberplatz, and thought we were going to get into bother when getting a photo of Danielle’s “Eddie” the bear on the steps outside the still operating KGB office! It wasn’t until we put Eddie down on the steps that the imposing wooden door opened outwards, with its KGB letters disappearing as it did so, and out came a many dressed in full army uniform. To be fair to him, as soon as he realised what we’d put on the steps, he stood in the shadows, allowed Danielle to get her photo and disappeared back inside the moment we moved away. They were probably checking me out on their facial recognition software the moment we left; and will have then realised they’d followed me in Vitebsk a few years earlier, and that I was a harmless train spotter; Danielle, on the other hand……
It was a pleasant walk in the morning sunshine and a quick sortie into the strangely deserted shopping centre, immediately underneath the square in front of Saint Simon & Helena’s Church, revealed that there wasn’t a supermarket anywhere near the Hotel Minsk and snacks from the kiosks at Minsk Pas. station had to suffice for our journey; after we’d stuffed ourselves at KFC before departure!
Having chosen a through Minsk – Kherson coach to journey to Kyiv in, we were treated to a rather empty coach throughout the journey and had our compartment to ourselves all the way to Kyiv. It was a shame that the old guy in the one behind us was there at all, as he fucking stank; piss, B.O., you name it, he stank of it, the rancid fucker. I felt for the two guys that got on at Gomel, that had to share with him, and he was present all the way to Kyiv, despite having some kind of border farce with his passport on entering Ukraine.
TEP70BS-010 did the honours to Gomel on 094B 1413 Minsk Pas. – Odesa, under the wires throughout, where BCh TME3-020 was waiting in the adjacent platform with a single coach to add to the front of our train and as we passed the depot, having run via the long route into Gomel via Milca & Gomel Cotny, UZ 2TE116-1305b was just coming off shed; which I assumed was to re-engine our train, and I was semi-correct. Once the TEP70 had buggered off and the TME3 had attached the coach to the front of the train, 2M62U-0186b/a dropped onto the train, just as the 2TE116 went running through the station; and sure enough, it dropped on top of the 2M62. I’d recently had an M62 on this very diagram and others had managed to have a full 2TE116 on it shortly afterwards. The loco works into Belarus from Bakhmach Pas on train 100 Novooleksiyivka – Minsk and is usually turned straight round to work back with 094B Minsk – Odesa to Chernihiv before doing the same in reverse. So, I wasn’t sure what had actually worked into Belarus on train 100 but was sure that all three locos on the front of my train were running; and as I scrambled back down the platform to our coach, BCh ChS4T-542 departed with train 100 for Minsk and BCh TEP70-0226 was sat in the adjacent platform waiting to depart with 601 1926 Gomel – Polotsk.
As we eased out of Gomel towards the Belarus border, if I’d seen the post on the CIS IO Group that was posted 24 hours after we arrived, before this point, I’d have started to become a little concerned at this point. Still, I hadn’t, was completely oblivious to the fact that Belarus to Ukraine border crossings had allegedly been closed, and we were processed out of Belarus at Teryukha, with a minimum amount of fuss, other than someone going over our passports with a magnifying glass, literally; which is obviously more than can be said about entering the country the previous day. The border guard processing us out of the country didn’t even glace at our hotel registration documents as he handed them straight back to us, and never asked for an immigration card; so, all was well.
Teryukha is about 15km north of the actual Belarus border but the Ukraine border post is only just over the official border at Hornostaivka, where things were a bit more messy than a usual Ukraine border entry point; possibly because of the aforementioned statement, which obviously wasn’t totally true; if at all? Our bags were thoroughly searched by the customs team before the border guards swept through the train. Interest was taken in the amount of Ukraine entry stamps in my passport, which I counted up to currently be 20, but it was stamped again once everyone had had their glance through it.
We left a few minutes late thanks to stinky bert having some formality issues but he was eventually stamped into Ukraine and off we set towards Chernihiv; where the engine change was that quick that ChS4-209 was already dropping onto the front by the time I’d dodged my way around he crowds while making my way from the back coach of the train. The platform was very busy and it was at this point that I was grateful of my coach choice as everyone was cramming into the Odesa coaches and it seemed that nobody wanted to go to Kherson; which was fine by me and as we set off towards Kyiv, it looked like the 2TE116 & 2M62 off our train had been split in the yard adjacent to the station, so possibly one came south for a freight?
As is always the case, despite being quite tired when we boarded the train, I couldn’t buy a wink’s sleep through to Kyiv, despite the calmness of the coach and how quiet it was. The result of which was us both being quite tired on arrival into /Kyiv but there was one last thing to do before we could head to the hotel, and to be fair, had Danielle not been with me I’d have stayed in our coach until 7am and got off before it departed for Kherson as part of 775 0714 Kyiv Pas. – Kherson; and had a free hotel. Thankfully, ChME3-725 was on the back of the train within minutes and the two through coaches for Kherson were shunted across to Platform 2 to wait the stock arriving from Kharkiv that also gets shunted onto 775 at Kyiv. We were straight off the moment the door was re-opened and were straight over the footbridge to the new Ibis Kyiv Station, which is right outside the station on the railway museum side.
Check-in took moments and we were given a quiet room on the 8th floor. It was a typical Ibis style room, with decent air-con and good black-out curtains. Having got settled straight away, we both randomly struggled to get off to sleep but had to have an alarm set for 9am just so we didn’t waste the day; or miss breakfast completely.
Gen for Thursday 5th September 2019
ChS4T-601 100V 0744 Minsk Pas. – Novooleksiyivka
ChS4T-602 647B 0630 Gomel – Minsk Pas.
TEP70BS-150 669B 0421 Gomel – Minsk Pas.
BChS4-545 607B 1325 Minsk Pas. – Brest Centralna
TEP70BS-106 094Sh 1540 (P) Odesa Holovna – Minsk Pas., 731F 1530 Minsk Pas. – Grodno
TME3-003 shunt thro Grodno – Odesa coach 630B to 094B at Minsk Pas.
Minsk Stabling Point
TEP70BS-172, 113, 145, 107 & ChS4T-555, 602 + 2xRZD ChS4T
TEP70BS-010 094B 1413 Minsk Pas. – Odesa Holovna (to Gomel)
TME3-020 coach #24 to 094B at Gomel
TEP70BS-111 302S 1601 (03/09) Adler – Minsk Pas.
ChS4T-542 100 2138 (P) Novooleksiyivka – Minsk Pas. (from Gomel)
TEP70-0226 601 1926 Gomel – Polotsk
2TE116-1305b/2M62U-0186a 094B 1413 Minsk Pas. – Odesa Holovna (Gomel to Chernihiv)
ChS4-209 094B 1413 Minsk Pas. – Odesa Holovna (from Chernihiv)
ChME3-725 shunt thro Minsk – Kherson portion for 766 off 094B at Kyiv
Moves for Thursday 5th September 2019
|ChS4T-601||Minsk Pas.||Asipovicy 1||0744 Minsk Pas. – Novooleksiyivka||100V|
|ChS4T-602||Asipovicy 1||Puchavicy||0630 Gomel – Minsk Pas.||647B|
|TEP70BS-150||Puchavicy||Minsk Pas.||0421 Gomel – Minsk Pas.||669B|
|TME3-003||Minsk Pas. Track 4||Minsk Pas. Track 13||Shunt thro Grodno coach 630B to 094B at Minsk Pas.|
|TEP70BS-010||Minsk Pas.||Gomel||1413 Minsk Pas. – Odesa Holovna||094B|
Photos for Thursday 5th September 2019 – Railway
Photos for Thursday 5th September 2019 – Minsk
Friday 6th September 2019 (A day in Kyiv then overnight to Uzhhorod)
It was a leisurely start, along with the rest of the occupants of the Ibis Kyiv Station judging by the amount of people in the breakfast room shortly before it closed! There was a better choice than in Minsk the previous morning and after breakfast I nipped over to the station to see if anything untoward was going on in the suburban station.
On my previous trip I dropped on a VL80 dragging an EMU on a Fastiv service and someone had since found that it had become common practice during the summer and had even made made local papers around the region! Disappointment did not reign and sure enough VL80K-433 was sat atop of a demic ER9 EMU when I got there, but quite how demic I’m not sure as the pan was up on the EMU. It was working 6613 1146 Kyiv Pas – Korosten and I had no problem buying a ticket to Kyiv Volynskyi from one of the many ticket booths near the platform entrances. Codes on the tickets are scanned at the electronic gates to gain entry to the platforms, and all are manned. If you can’t be arsed to buy a ticket though you can just walk off the end of platform 1 on the main station, down the side of the suburban station and gain entry to the platforms at the top end; which doesn’t seem to be policed at all. For the sake of UAH8 though, it really wasn’t worth not buying a ticket and I did the same for the return journey at Volynskyi, from one of the booths on the platform ends, and was back in Kyiv half an hour after departing; ready for the afternoon assault of Kyiv.
Unlike on previous visits to Kyiv, where we’ve walked everywhere, we chose to use the Metro to get to Poshtova Plosha with a change of lines en-route and then used the Kyiv Funicular to get up the hill to where St Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery is situated. With no real plan for the afternoon a rather large silver arch sticking out of the adjacent park got our attention, which hadn’t been there during our last visit to Kyiv. Investigation revealed it to be the People’s Friendship Arch and the elevated walkways to it were still being completed when we ambled across to take a closer look. Everything was newly built, but it was worth taking a stroll to investigate.
After which we decided it was time for something to eat and headed back to Kyiv Pas in the same fashion we’d headed out in, with both tickets on the funicular and Metro costing UAH8 each for a single journey. Smartcard machines are being installed at most of the metro stations now and some people even used their mobile phones to scan themselves through the station barriers. Each set of entry gates now only seems to have one barrier equipped to take the tokens bought from the ticket windows, for a single journey; so, you can guess what’s coming next?
Before heading out to eat, a few moves were in order and the green electric at the head of an EMU in the suburban station got my attention straight away; although I did think it was going to be VL80K-433 again, but it wasn’t. This time VL80K-175 was sat atop of an EMU with its pan down, while waiting to depart with 6619 1516 Kyiv Pas – Korosten. On this occasion I joined the effers and walked round the long way to gain access to the platforms mainly es the queues for tickets, both in the booking office and at the windows by the platform entrances, were twenty-deep, and I wasn’t sure I had twenty-deep amount of time to spare before it would depart! The train was rammed anyway, and I was soon heading back into Kyiv on another EMU, with a ticket! A quick move to Darnytsia with ChS4s followed, thanks to the UZ App; and it was disappointing that VL80T-1078 was at the head of 148 1548 Kyiv Pas – Odesa, which now seems to have taken over from VL80T-2027 as the regular loco for the train?
I’d had a decent pizza at Semifreddo, which is out of the Skybus entrance to Kyiv Pas and over the road near the shopping centre. Unfortunately, on this occasion they weren’t serving pizzas until after 1800, despite it being around the time I’d had a pizza on my last visit. That resulted in us leaving and walking to the other side of the station and up the hill to the tried and tested Spaghetti, which did serve us pizza. The longer than expect food jaunt only gave us enough time to return to the hotel, collect our bags from the room and check out. I’d asked for a late check-out before we’d headed out earlier, which was granted until 1800 but was supposed to be charged for at UAH630; I didn’t pay on checking out and haven’t had any additional charges sent through electronically, so maybe they took pity on my Accor membership dropping back down to Blue status, and let me have it for free; as I would have done previously at Silver status?
We were booked in a 1st class compo on 081K 1830 Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod, throughout. The sole purpose of doing the train being to get to Uzhhorod at a reasonable time to do the Uzhhorod Children’s Railway the following day. While the compos are well presented in 1st class, I much prefer the beds in platskart or even Kupe, as they’re wider and more comfortable; and the noise from the bogies in the newer/refurbished coaches is horrendous! The result of which was quite a restless night, with not much sleep gained between us. There was plenty of tea on tap with the hot water boiler at the end of the coach almost constantly on 100 degrees. The compartments either side of us were both empty beyond Vinnytsia as well, which was a bonus as one did have a very small child in it from Kyiv. Despite the noise from below the coach, the inside of it was quiet, apart from noisy bunch getting on at Lviv at stupid o’clock; who did get told by Danielle while I went to collect the loco number; or didn’t as it turned out! The air-con worked well though and the charging sockets in the compo were just what we needed.
Gen for Friday 6th September 2019
ChME3-5504 Kyiv CS
ChME3-5516 ecs ex ????
ChME3T-7320 ecs ex 228 1845 (P) Berdiansk – Kyiv (ChS8-010)
ChME3T-7126 ecs ex 013L 1430 (P) Solotvino – Kyiv
ChME3T-6390 ecs for 101/2 Kyiv – Kherson
ChME3T-7121 ecs for 7/8
VL80K-433 (Drag EMU with pan up) 6613 1146 Kyiv Pas – Korosten
VL80K-175 (Drag EMU) 6619 1516 Kyiv Pas – Korosten
VL80T-1078 (2/1) 148 1548 Kyiv Pas – Odesa
ChS4-108 720 1625 Kyiv Pas – Kharkiv Pas
ChS4-136 084 1632 Kyiv Pas – Mariupol
ChS4-050 743 1707 Darnytsia – Lviv
ChS8-024 (2/1) 081K 1830 Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod (to Lviv)
Moves for Friday 6th September 2019
|ChME3-725||Kyiv Pas Track 1||Kyiv Pas Track 2||Shunt thro portion off 094B at Kyiv Pas|
|VL80K-433 (1)||Kyiv Pas||Kyiv Volynskyi||1146 Kyiv Pas – Korosten||6613|
|ER9M-xxx||Kyiv Volynskyi||Kyiv Pas||0846 Korosten – Kyiv Pas||6618|
|VL80K-175 (1)||Kyiv Pas||Kyiv Volynskyi||1516 Kyiv Pas – Korosten||6619|
|ER9M-xxx||Kyiv Volynskyi||Kyiv Pas. Pivnichna||1558 Kyiv Volynskyi – Hrebinka||6814|
|ChS4-108||Kyiv Pas||Darnytsia||1625 Kyiv Pas – Kharkiv Pas||720|
|ChS4-050||Darnytsia||Kyiv Pas||1707 Darnytsia – Lviv||743|
|ChS8-024 (1)||Kyiv Pas||Lviv||1830 Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod||081K|
Photos for Friday 6th September 2019 – Railway
Photos for Friday 6th September 2019 – Kyiv
Saturday 7th September 2019 (Not covering the Uzhhorod Children’s Railway….)
Despite the false start at Lviv, I had better luck collecting loco numbers at Volovets than I’d had at Lviv! Despite me believing there was a blue liveried VL10 piloting 081K down the hill from Lavochne to Volovets, I was pleasantly surprised when VL11M-135a/b revealed themselves after being detached at Volovets. I’d not seen a blue liveried VL11M before and it looked freshly painted too. What’s more, I did spot blue liveried VL10-1489 piloting a freight later in the afternoon!
At Mukachevo the following VL11M’s were noted on shed, in no particular order, VL11M-144, 122, 010, 141, 119, 129, 121 & 145. Then at Batovo we came across ChME3T-6897 stabled in the platform dragging D1-632 DMU with 6578 1028 Batovo Pas – Koroleve. At the time I was a little disappointed I’d spotted it as the day was already set out but in hindsight, I was so glad I had spotted it as it would prove a useful outlet later in the day.
Upon arrival into Chop, I had to be quick to leg it down the platform to correct my mistake in Lviv earlier; where I’d managed to walk to the correct end of the train to get check the fresh loco, find nothing there, then walked to the opposite end to hear a brake test and by the time I got back down the train the coach attendant was just pulling up the steps to my coach, so I didn’t have time to walk back to the correct end of the coach, for fear of not being able to get back on board! In my defense, it had been stupid o’clock in the morning, but I should have known better!
Still, UZ ChS7-148 was just drawing off the through Kyiv – Kosice coach when I got to the front of the train, and UZ CIS gauge ChME3-4177 was standing in an adjacent platform ready to drop down onto the through coach, which it then dragged through the station and into the open-air gauge changer just north of the station. As I then ambled back down the platform, I was able to take in what was around, and stabled in the adjacent platform were two MAV 418’s either end of three coaches. 418157 was at the north end attached to one coach forming 32512 0835 Zahony – Mukachevo and 418153 was at the south end attached to two coaches forming 32527 1025 Chop – Zahony. By the time I’d walked the length of our 18-coach train, again, VL11M-030b/a had already dropped onto the train; having been sat outside waiting to drop down when we arrived. Every time I’d seen 081K 1830 Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod departing Chop it had been a VL11M and thankfully this occasion was no different as this was the first time I’d be on board it.
081K 1830 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod rolled into its destination a few minutes early and we bode farewell to our coach attendant and set off to look for a left luggage facility within the station building’s confines; which we found signed downstairs and cost UAH22 per piece for the day. There was an airport style, albeit makeshift, luggage gauge to prevent oversized bags being left by the look of it and I was asked to put both our bags onto the raking in the left luggage facility before being handed a token for collection later.
The plan for the day was to visit the Uzhhorod Children’s Railway, which is a 25-minute walk from the station. Out of the station, turn right and follow the main road until it crosses the river. The Children’s Railway is visible on the north bank of the river, which it skirts along, and the train itself can be seen stabled in Molodizhna the station just in front of the disused Synagogue, on the left as you cross the river, with the railway running under the bridge from West to East.
We walked down the trackside towards the Molodizhna station and could see why the line gets flooded regularly as we went, with it being only just above the riverbank. There was no sign of life when we got to the station and the gate down the steps to the station area was closed. TU2-098 was stabled with two coaches and there was no timetable posted anywhere to be seen. Thankfully the gates were left ajar and we were able to walk onto the empty station. When we were greeted by a member of the railway’s staff though, it was the word “broken” in his decent English that confirmed we’d had a wasted trip to Uzhhorod.
My new-found friend explained that TU2-098 had suffered a small generator failure on 25th July and hadn’t turned a wheel since, and since UZ had been to remove the other generator for an ailing TU2 on another system, there was no chance of it turning a wheel for the remainder of the season; and he was sure it would have to go away for maintenance eventually. Despite the fact there were no trains running, it wasn’t a completely wasted trip as I did get shown around the inside of TU2-098, which was pristine in the engine room, which he told me was due to the children that had to pass through it. I was also shown a model of a WWII tank, which he explained was a model of the type that had donated its power unit to TU2-098 after its original 400hp power unit had been removed. The 300hp tank engine was more than enough for what the railway needed, and it worked fine in TU2-098. After my little look around the loco I jumped down from the steps to the platform, and was suitably bollocked for doing so, let me tell you! Still, the guy was well cranked up, spoke great English and clearly knew his stuff about TU2’s and Children’s Railways and my only mistake was not getting his contact details!
With TU2-098 off the table we walked the short distance to the very underwhelming Uzhhorod Castle and were in and out within 15-minutes. So, while waiting for our food to be served at Antresol by Mrs. Greenwich a fresh plan for the afternoon was hatched, our bags were collected back at Uzhhorod station and thanks to the UZ app we were departing on board 003 1320 Uzhhorod – Zaporizhzhia 1 with VL10-1479. There were two options for the afternoon, the first hinged on making a plus a few at Mukachevo onto 108 2116 (P) Odesa Holovna – Uzhhorod, which id also been able to book on the UZ app, and the second would be spending the afternoon in Mukachevo doing the more impressive castle there; which is clearly visible from passing trains atop of its hillside location.
003 1320 Uzhhorod – Zaporizhzhia 1 runs around the Chop avoiding curve and it easily made the small plus onto 108 2116 (P) Odesa Holovna – Uzhhorod at Mukachevo, which wasn’t even in the station when we arrived. So, VL10-1478 led the way south to Batovo and my legs then did the work to Batrad while my big bag stayed at Batovo. I have to say, I wasn’t entirely sure that ChME3-6897 would return with 6585 1400 Koroleve – Batovo Pas. But the UZ local timetable didn’t give any other trains that it could do. So, when it did arrive with said train, there wasn’t anything to be puzzled about and back at Batovo it shunted the DMU into the sidings and ran-round to work back out later; for which there were a couple of options and we weren’t around long enough to see what it did.
The evening’s entertainment was provided while climbing through the stunning scenery towards Volovets, with surprise VL11M-095a/b up front on 081L 1610 Uzhhorod – Kyiv Pas. Even more surprising was the addition of two more VL11M’s at Volovets, which I had to wait until Lavochne to spot. Being in the middle of a 20-coach train isn’t conducive to collecting train numbers when the station stops for attaching and detaching are only 9 minutes long; and the coach attendant wants everyone on board well in advance of the booked departure time. If the locos had numbers on their side’s, I’m sure that with a good zoom lens they could be collected when the train curves around one of the many cracking bends along the route between Volovets and Lavochne but luckily there was nothing stabled alongside at Lavochne when they came off so I was able to collect their numbers as they dropped back into the yard to await their next pilot duty. Along the way we crossed passenger VL10-1489 leading VL11M-153 & VL11M-110 down the hill towards Volovets and I wondered if the VL10 was currently restricted to freight work?
The run through to Lviv, where we’d be based for three nights, was uneventful, if not relaxing in our 1st class compo with tea on tap throughout the journey. On arrival we walked to the Taurus Hotel via the main road route to stop and grab a bite to eat at one of the many fooderies outside the station. Having stayed at the Taurus before, we knew how to get to it but with the trams currently not running to the station front due to a complete remodeling, we walked the whole way, which took about 20 minutes.
The Taurus Hotel is situated in an off the beaten track part of Lviv, about half way between Lviv station and the old town and with tram stops on the surrounding routes not being that conveniently located it’s a minimum of a 6-7 minute walk regardless of how you choose to get to it; unless you use an Uber, which costs in the region of UAH35-50 depending on type of vehicle. Lviv Tram tickets on the other hand cost UAH5 per single journey, UAH15 for a day ticket and UAH40 for a three-day ticket; with the day and three-day tickets being available online at: https://tickets.lvivelectrotrans.com.ua/en and are then shown on demand on your phone.
Our room was on the 6th floor, accessed via two different lifts, with a change on the 4th floor and a walk from one side of the hotel to the other required to get to the 6th floor. It was right outside one of the hotel bars which thankfully didn’t seem to be frequented much. The room itself was clean and tidy had good WiFi, great air-con and all the toiletries needed for a short stay. Breakfast was included in our rate and we were given a pack-up on our last day when we departed before breakfast started.
Gen for Saturday 7th September 2019
ChS7-148 (2/1) 081K 1830 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod (Lviv – Chop)
VL11M-135a/b pilot 081K 1830 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod (Lavochne – Volovets downhill)
ChS7-148 (2/1) drag thro Kyiv – Kosice coach off 081K at Chop
ChME3-4177 drag thro Kyiv – Kosice coach off 081K from outside Chop station to gauge changer (CIS)
VL11M-030b/a 081K 1830 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod (from Chop)
ChME3T-6897 (drag D1-632 DMU) 6578 1028 Batovo Pas – Koroleve, 6585 1400 Koroleve – Batovo Pas
418157 (MAV) 32512 0835 Zahony – Mukachevo
418153 (MAV) 32527 1025 Chop – Zahony & 32521 1620 Mukachevo – Zahony
VL10-1479 (1/2) 003 1320 Uzhhorod – Zaporizhzhia 1 (via Chop Avoider)
VL10-1478 (1/2) 108 2116 (P) Odesa Holovna – Uzhhorod
VL11M-095a/b 081L 1610 Uzhhorod – Kyiv Pas (to Lviv)
VL11M-086a/b/VL11M-046b/a pilot 081L 1610 Uzhhorod – Kyiv Pas (Volovets to Lavochne uphill)
ChS8-xxx (2/1) 081L 1610 Uzhhorod – Kyiv Pas (from Lviv)
ChS2-450, ChS2-583, ChS2-647, VL10-1486
Uzhhorod Children’s Railway
TU2-098 demic since 25th July after a small generator failure, and will not work again during the 2019 season
VL11M’s at Mukachevo
144, 122, 010, 141, 119, 129, 121, 145
Freight VL11M-153, 110, VL10-1489
Moves for Saturday 7th September 2019
|ChS7-148 (1)||Lviv||Chop||1830 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod||081K|
|VL10-1479 (1)||Uzhhorod||Mukachevo||1320 Uzhhorod – Zaporizhzhia 1||003L|
|VL10-1478 (1)||Mukachevo||Batovo||2116 (P) Odesa Holovna – Uzhhorod||108|
|ChME3T-6897||Batrad||Batovo||1400 Koroleve – Batovo Pas||6585|
|VL11M-095a||Batovo||Lviv||1610 Uzhhorod – Kyiv Pas||081L|
Photos for Saturday 7th September 2019 – Railway
Photos for Saturday 7th September 2019 – Uzhhorod
Sunday 8th September 2019 (Day 1 of 2 around Lviv – Lviv Children’s Railway)
An early awakening isn’t so bad when you have a bed to go to on board the train you’re doing, and it’s for more than an hour’s journey! My early morning jaunt would be repeated two days later but this short trip out was a simple out and back move to Khodoriv with UZ 2TE10M-2604a/2TE10M-2750a providing the entertainment on the way out after re-engining 136 1421 (P) Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi at Lviv. As it was still technically nighttime when 136 departed, the coach was still dormant, and I managed to catch up on a bit more sleep; before being woken from a deep sleep by the coach attendant on the approach to Khodoriv. UZ 2M62U-0215b/a didn’t keep me waiting long and delivered me back to Lviv on 606L 0032 Rakhiv – Lviv, just in time to make breakfast back at the Taurus Hotel.
Having bought our 3-day Lviv electrotrans tickets online the previous evening we used the Easyway App to plot a route to get to the Lviv Children’s Railway. The Easyway App, or website if you prefer, allows you to plot a route between any two locations and even allows you to see live maps of public transport routes, where you can see just where the next tram, bus, trolleybus, etc is and even its number! Tram route No.4 got us to the Stryiskyi Park tram stop, from which we walked up the hill to the park itself and the Parkova station of the Lviv Children’s Railway; which Google Maps doesn’t show and neither would they update their maps with the station when I suggested it to them! Randomly, the Sonyachna (Solar) station at the opposite end of the line is shown on Google Maps, but both stations are shown on ME Maps though.
There was some activity when we turned up with a few kids milling about the joint and when the shed doors were opened up, it was a better sign than we’d had at Uzhhorod the previous day. Inside the three-road shed were TU2-087 and TU3-039, which is the only TU3 left in service in Ukraine and only gets used on special occasions. TU2087 was shunted out at 1145, only 15 minutes before the first train, the timetable for which is posted on the ticket office on the station, where the four coaches to form the service are stabled. Departure from Parkova are at 1200, 1230, 1300, 1330, 1500, 1530, 1600 & 1630 and 15 minutes later from Sonyachna, on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Tickets cost UAH14 for and adult and UAH8 for a child. You can travel in whichever coach you want and the 1km (or just under per my GPS) takes around 5 minutes and the loco is quickly run-round at the opposing end of the line to work straight back with the next working. Our return trip was over in a flash and we had the rear coach to ourselves on the return journey.
A venture into Lviv’s old town revealed that it was quite busy and having initially attempted to eat at one of the Celentano chain restaurants, discovering that their pasta selection wasn’t that great had us seeking out an alternative. What had originally been a TikiThai restaurant and recently renamed/rebranded to Famiglia, in a pedestrianized area of the old town, turned out to be a great choice and was somewhere we visited more than once. Not only was the Thai food they served very good, the place was quiet, clean and had Tom & Jerry on the big screens on the walls!
As we’d not stopped since leaving the UK, I left Danielle relaxing at the hotel while I went out on an afternoon jaunt with 2M62U-0208a/b providing an initial ned leap to the opposite side of Lviv on 142 1424 Lviv – Bakhmut. The stop at Pidzamche would normally allow for a direct No.6 Tram back to Lviv station but due to the remodeling the No.6 currently runs along the main road to Skrynia Mall but stops at Primiskyi Vokzal along the way, which is the stop for the local station at Lviv and involves a 5-minute walk along the main drag to Lviv main station.
The afternoon’s main event to Khodoriv was provided by load UZ 2M62-0999a/b on 606K 1546 Lviv – Rakhiv and while waiting for the stock to arrive I noted the following in the station: VL80T-1157 with 042L 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk Holovnyi, VL10-1338 with 089 1600 Lviv – Przemysl &
VL80-1491 with 110 1539 Lviv – Kherson. Having not had a “loud” 2M62 before, and only being a coach from the front on 606K, with opening windows in my non-air-con coach, it made a pleasant surprise; but not as pleasant as the GE’s I’d had the previous month in the Donetsk Region.
I was grateful of the fact the plus 4 onto 133L 1542 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv Pas made at Khodoriv when 2M62U-0088a/0230a rolled in with the train, moments after 606K had arrived from the north and I did the train back to Pidzamche, with VL80T-1869 doing the honours forward from Lviv. During the stop at Lviv I watched a DMU arrived from Rava Ruska with 6003 1653 Rava Ruska – Lviv, which I thought might use the same stock as the mixed trains on the same route do; but was proven wrong on that thought.
After another No.6 Tram ride back from Pidzamche though I found ChME3-6105 with the two coaches to form 964 2055 Lviv – Rava Ruska, which I did out to the first stop of Klepariv Pas. For a short walk to the terminating point of the No.7 Tram at Tatarbunarska Street and did the next one back towards the old town, which ran close by to the Taurus Hotel en-route, a winner all-round.
Food was at the same place we’d eaten earlier in the day at the Famiglia Restaurant and we were the last out by the time we’d finished our second good meal of the day there; and none of the Tom & Jerry episodes showing were repeats!
Gen for Sunday 8th September 2019
2TE10M-2604a/2TE10M-2750a 136 1421 (P) Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi
2M62U-0215b/a 606L 0032 Rakhiv – Lviv
2M62U-0208a/b 142 1424 Lviv – Bakhmut
VL80T-1157 (2/1) 042L 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk Holovnyi (from Lviv)
VL10-1338 (1/2) 089 1600 Lviv – Przemysl
VL80-1491 (1/2) 110 1539 Lviv – Kherson
2M62-0999a/b 606K 1546 Lviv – Rakhiv
2M62U-0088a/0230a 133L 1542 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv Pas (to Lviv)
VL80T-1869 (2/1) 133L 1542 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv Pas (from Lviv)
ChS7-122 (1/2) 017 1320 Uzhhorod – Kharkiv (to Lviv)
ChS8-030 (2/1) 017 1320 Uzhhorod – Kharkiv (from Lviv)
ChME3-6105 964 2055 Lviv – Rava Ruska (Load 2)
ChME3-1325 Lviv station pilot
All LDZ 2M62’s and all “a” end towards the shed
Row 1 – 2M62-1187, 1186, plus 2 others by side of works
Row 2 – 2M62-1208, 1233
Row 3 – 2M62-0928
Row 4 – 2M62-1234, 1005, 1195
Moves for Sunday 8th September 2019
|2TE10M-2750a||Lviv||Khodoriv||1421 (P) Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi||136Sh|
|2M62U-0215b||Khodoriv||Lviv||0032 Rakhiv – Lviv||606L|
|TU2-087||Parkova||Sonyachna||1200 Parkova – Sonyachna||201|
|TU2-087||Sonyachna||Parkova||1215 Sonyachna – Parkova||202|
|2M62U-0208a||Lviv||Pidzamche||1424 Lviv – Bakhmut||142Sh|
|Tram||Pidzamche Vokzal||Primiskyi Vokzal||Lviv Electrotrans Tram – Route #6|
|2M62-0999a||Lviv||Khodoriv||1546 Lviv – Rakhiv||606K|
|2M62U-0088a||Khodoriv||Lviv||1542 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv Pas||133L|
|Tram||Pidzamche Vokzal||Primiskyi Vokzal||Lviv Electrotrans Tram – Route #6|
|ChME3-6105||Lviv||Klepariv Pas||2055 Lviv – Rava Ruska||964|
|Tram||Tatarbunarska Street||Lesi Ukrainky Teatr||Lviv Electrotrans Tram – Route #7|
Photos for Sunday 8th September 2019 – UZ Railway
Photos for Sunday 8th September 2019 – Lviv Children’s Railway
Monday 9th September 2019 (Day 2 of 2 in Lviv – Lychakiv Cemetery)
An early morning reverse move of the previous evening’s bash to Klepariv Pas. For the returning 965 0443 Rava Ruska – Lviv turned out to be a good alarm call when ChME3-184 rocked up with the train, which I have a theory on. I’m guessing that at least the loco, and maybe the stock as well, might interlink with 960 0500 Rava Ruska – Sokal & 961 1324 Sokal – Rava Ruska? Which would be something to possibly discover on a future trip but for now ChME3-184 worked for me and I headed straight back to the hotel for fourty winks and breakfast, before we headed out for the morning.
Lychakiv Cemetery was our destination for the morning and the No.1 Tram runs right by the front gates, taking about 15 minutes to get there from town. Entry into the Lychakiv Cemetery costs UAH40 per adult and there’s a UAH10 fee for using a camera, which isn’t policed I might add. The place is vast and, on a hillside, too. Words don’t really describe the vastness of the place, or how well tended to some of the graves are, despite their apparent age. Some of the oldest graves at Lychakiv Cemetery are almost 300 years old but sadly some of the newest are only weeks old; victims of the current Russia/Ukraine conflict in Donetsk/Crimea. I’m not sure that a cemetery should ever be described as fascinating, but it’s a word I’m going to use to describe Lychakiv Cemetery anyway. Right from the crumbling headstones with barely legible writing on them to the pristine headstones laden with flowers in the newest part of the cemetery; where each soldier’s grave had a wrapped sweet placed on it, which clearly symbolizes something amongst the force’s community?
After a peaceful morning stroll through Lychakiv Cemetery we exited through the local’s entry/exit point, which you can easily exit through but can’t enter at without the code for the gate. It’s only a short walk to the terminating point of the No.1 Tram at Pohulianka, which is visible from the cemetery up above and the tram skirts around the outside of the cemetery on its way back to the main road.
After our visit to Vapiano in Warsaw the other day, we opted to try Vapiano in Ukraine for lunch, and we weren’t disappointed. As you’d expect from a chain, everything was done the same, the way food is ordered, how and where its made and the only difference was that you had to return to the food collection point on spec as they didn’t hand out those useful buzzers to alert you when your order was ready. Either way though, the food was good, and the portions were a decent size and we left satisfied.
For the second afternoon in a row I left Danielle at the hotel relaxing while I nipped out for an afternoon spin. This time 2M62U-0059a/b provided the first run to Pidzamche on 142 1424 Lviv – Bakhmut and when I discovered 2M62-0999a/b dropping onto 606K 1546 Lviv – Rakhiv for the second day in a row, I opted for another run to Pidzamche with VL40U-1457-1 on 110 1539 Lviv – Kherson; after ChME3-1325 had brought the stock in for the former and ChME3-4856 for the latter. When I got back from Pidzamche a second time, I found 2M62-1103a/b on stock in the station, seemingly being prepared for departure. With nothing on the screen though I had to rely on the coach boards to confirm what the train was and when I figured out it was 606K 1546 Lviv – Rakhiv, something had clearly gone awry as 2M62-0999a/b were nowhere to be seen, despite looking like they were about to be attached to the train when I last saw them. With my options still open though, I wasn’t going to smack the gift horse in the mouth, even if it did mean I’d be back later than planned, and having options open with tickets booked for various trains, works well in Ukraine.
Any hopes of making the plus 4 at Khodoriv on this occasion were well and truly out of the window with 606K being an hour late. Much later and I’d have had to flag it at Lviv, or at least only have been able to do it to the first shack for a local back. As it happened, I only had a short wait at Khodoriv for 2M62-1224b/a with 144 1346 Vorokhta – Kyiv Pas. And by the time I’d wondered around the station at Lviv 2M62U-0961b/a had dropped onto the stock to work 749 1407 Kyiv Pas – Ivano Frankivsk forward after ChME3-4856 had shunted through Kyiv – Wien portion off 749 onto the rear of 145 2100 Lviv – Uzhhorod, which had VL10-1483 at the business end. ChS2-606 was also waiting departure with 601 2040 Lviv – Solotvino but more importantly, a loud ChME3-3257 was sat waiting to depart with the two coaches forming 964 2055 Lviv – Rava Ruska. So, a mirror image move of the previous evening sufficed and food again at the Famiglia Restaurant, much to the amusement of the staff, who’d now seen us three times in two days!
Gen for Monday 9th September 2019
ChME3-184 965 0443 Rava Ruska – Lviv
2M62U-0059a/b 142 1424 Lviv – Bakhmut
ChS7-123 (1/2) 042L 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk Holovnyi (to Lviv)
VL80T-1392 (1/2) 042L 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk Holovnyi (from Lviv)
VL40U-1457-1 110 1539 Lviv – Kherson (ChME3-4856 ecs)
2M62-1103a/b 606K 1546 Lviv – Rakhiv (ChME3-1325 ecs – 2M62-0999a/b had originally dropped on to work the train but it departed late after a loco change)
2M62-1224b/a 144 1346 Vorokhta – Kyiv Pas (to Lviv)
ChS8-0xx (2/1) 749 1407 Kyiv Pas – Ivano Frankivsk (to Lviv)
ChME3-4856 shunt thro Wien portion 749 to 145 at Lviv
2M62U-0961b/a 749 1407 Kyiv Pas – Ivano Frankivsk (to Lviv)
ChS2-606 601 2040 Lviv – Solotvino
VL10-1483 (1/2) 145 2100 Lviv – Uzhhorod
ChME3-3257 (loud) 964 2055 Lviv – Rava Ruska (Load 2)
Moves for Monday 9th September 2019
|Tram||Yaroslava Mudroho||Tatarbunarska Street||Lviv Electrotrans Tram – Route #7|
|ChME3-184||Klepariv Pas||Lviv||0443 Rava Ruska – Lviv||965|
|2M62U-0059a||Lviv||Pidzamche||1424 Lviv – Bakhmut||142Sh|
|Tram||Pidzamche Vokzal||Primiskyi Vokzal||Lviv Electrotrans Tram – Route #6|
|VL40U-1457-1||Lviv||Pidzamche||1539 Lviv – Kherson||110L|
|Tram||Pidzamche Vokzal||Primiskyi Vokzal||Lviv Electrotrans Tram – Route #6|
|2M62-1103a||Lviv||Khodoriv||1546 Lviv – Rakhiv||606K|
|2M62-1224b||Khodoriv||Lviv||1346 Vorokhta – Kyiv Pas||144L|
|ChME3-3257||Lviv||Klepariv Pas||2055 Lviv – Rava Ruska||964|
|Tram||Tatarbunarska Street||Lesi Ukrainky Teatr||Lviv Electrotrans Tram – Route #7|
Photos for Monday 9th September 2019 – Railway
Photos for Monday 9th September 2019 – Lviv Lychakiv Cemetery
Tuesday 10th September 2019 (Day 1 of 2 in Chernivtsi)
After a brief respite at the Taurus Hotel we departed in the middle of the night with packed breakfasts in hand and we used Uber to take us to the station, to save walking the deserted streets with our big bags; which only cost UAH50 for a premier car.
The trip plan had been changed shortly before we’d flown out due to me not being able to book us on train 668 1713 Kovel – Chernivtsi from Lutsk, so our night in Kovel and visit to Lutsk Castle the following day had been scrapped, other train tickets were cancelled and an extra day in Lviv was booked instead. Quite what had been the issue with train 668, I’m not sure as while in the country, I’d been able to book tickets on it on the app, and every other southbound train had been available for booking within the correct booking window.
By the time we got onto the platform at Lviv, whatever had worked into Lviv with 668 1713 Kovel – Chernivtsi had been removed and 2TE10M-2770b/a were just dropping on to work forward. I’d seen this train with an M62, a 2M62 (both single and twin) and a 2TE10 twin with an M62 inside it, so it seemed like a transit train for locos returning to Chernivtsi? I wasn’t complaining on this occasion either and we had a compo to ourselves to Khodoriv where we only had a short wait for the random train that was 249 1506 (P) Kyiv Pas. – Chernivtsi, which was only dated to run on 09/09/19 according to the UZ online timetable. That at least provided us with a bed for a few hours, with 2M62-0618a/b providing the traction to Ivano Frankivsk and 2TE10M-2829a/b providing the traction forward to Chernivtsi. We were off at Kolomiya though 2TE10M-2416a/b on 136 1421 (P) Bilhorord-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi, which were in a nice new UZ branded livery and looked very recently outshopped. The paint job didn’t stop them clagging like fuck though!
En-route into Chernivtsi we passed 2M62-1114a (DPL1-001) with 6461 0848 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya and ChME3-2637 with 951 0925 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia on load 2 and at Chernivtsi ChME3T-6352 was the station pilot.
We wasted no time in walking up the steep hill to Chernivtsi’s town and 30 minutes after setting off we reached the Hotel Central Magnat Cinema, which is in a very nice part of town, set back off a fully pedestrian only strip that seems like its so far away from Ukraine, its quite surreal. Nobody looked out of place on “the strip” and the whole area had a very laid-back appeal to it, with the many restaurants and coffee places providing the perfect haven for an afternoon or evening walk around Chernivtsi. In stark contrast, less than half a mile away, towards the station, people hustle for space on trolley buses, where the pavement is crumbling away and fewer and fewer places line the roadside along the way; dwindling down to literally roadside snackeries by the time you reach the station. Its like someone decided that they wanted some sort of “normal” in the heart of Chernivtsi and its laid-back atmosphere rivals that of Lviv, giving Chernivtsi a lot of charm in an otherwise completely off the beaten tourist track place.
The Hotel Central Magnat Cinema was a good pick from Booking.com and a compromise due to the place I’d previously stayed at, which is closer to the station, being full. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to check in when we arrived, but the hotel staff were happy to store our bags for us until later that afternoon. Check in time is officially 1400 but after a wander around town and a bite to eat at the New York Street Pizza on the main drag, we were allowed into our room at 1300. The grand, but small, lobby gives an impression that isn’t quite met in the hotel rooms. Our mini suite was simply a large room with a double bed and a desk; but it was clean and comfortable with decent WiFi and toiletries to boot.
An afternoon walk down the hill to Chernivtsi station revealed ChME3T-6448 bringing the ecs in to allow 2TE10M-2416b/a to return north with 136 1537 Chernivtsi – Bilhorord Dnistrovskyi, which they’d work to Lviv. Their new striking UZ livery would probably have them as current depot pets at Chernivtsi and see them working plenty of trains in the near future. The external paint job did nothing to prevent 2TE10s doing what they do best though, and on departure from Chernivtsi 2TE10M-2416b/a clagged the place out and left their mark in the air well after the last of the 17 coaches had disappeared underneath the footbridge at the north end of the station.
With an evening move on the cards I was in two minds what to do but decided against waiting around at the station for almost 3 hours and didn’t view the dated Varna – Minsk as a result. But we did have a nice afternoon mingling with the locals in the vicinity of the hotel; and spent it watching the world go by from the outside seating area at the very strange Grand Café. There was no English spoken and because o the font on their menus Google couldn’t translate it, but a bit of old school typing to translate got us what we wanted and for half an hour we could have almost forgot we were in Ukraine at all. Unsurprisingly, there were no other foreign tourists to be seen in Chernivtsi, not even Chinese; it was quite refreshing to be mingling with locals and being the only ones that stood out in the crowd.
Having already done 1.5 round trips to the station on foot another round trip beckoned of an evening. The 2.5km walk was a lot easier going downhill than up and there are trolley buses from directly opposite the station that will get you to town for UAH5. Every one I saw was rammed full though.
The early evening revealed the following, ChME3T-6447 with 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets on Load 2, ChME3-2505 with 955 1705 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi on Load 1 + 2 freight wagons, ChME3-3084 with 960 1538 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi on Load 2 and surprise of the day, a loud M62-1260 in a nice blue & yellow livery with 967 1441 Sokriyany – Chernivtsi on Load 2. I did a simple out and back to Chernivtsi Pivdenna on ChME3T-6447 for ChME3-3084 back in, which was on the approach to he station when I arrived. The ticket office for local tickets at Chernivtsi is separate from the main ticket hall and for the cost of a ticket to Chernivtsi Pivdenna it was hardly worth printing it!
After ChME3T-6448 had brought the ecs in for Hrechany based 2M62U-0248b/2M62U-0069b to then work 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas as far as Hrechany, ChME3-2637 arrived with 952 1602 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi on Load 2. I’d not planned on doing any later moves but with a couple of winning ChME3’s knocking about I decided than a late evening move was better than an early morning move the following day, so when ChME3T-6352 dropped onto the 1 coach to form 958 2040 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty, I ended up wit a 4.5km walk back from Chernivtsi Pivnichna to the hotel.
A late evening meal along the lively strip was sought at Bruno Gastropub, which looked the part in the outside seating area, and had English menus but a rather forgetful English speaking waiter; who not only forgot my beer twice, he also forgot to bring out some of our side dishes. The food was decent, but the service put us off going back again. A short walk down the way though, we found a cracking bakery called Mantulky, which had a café type eating area at the back. The choice of stuff was phenomenal, and it all looked very inviting. Needless to say, breakfast was sorted; and it would have been rude not to get ourselves a little desert too. The cherry bakes were nothing short of moreish and it was a good job I wasn’t eating in!
Unfortunately, late at night we had lots of issues with the hot water supply to our hotel room, which seemed to be caused by an air lock, and twice I managed to get into the shower only for the water to eventually run to a stop. After a stomp down to reception and a lot of banging of pipes later, at the third time of asking I managed to get showered properly but by the morning the water had stopped coming out of the taps completely, even he cold didn’t want to play ball!
Gen for Tuesday 10th September 2019
2TE10M-2770b/a 668 1713 (P) Kovel – Chernivtsi
2M62-0618a/b 249 1506 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi (Lviv to Ivano Frankivsk)
2TE10M-2829a/b 249 1506 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi (Ivano Frankivsk to Chernivtsi)
2M62-1103b/a 606 0032 Rakhiv – Lviv
2M62-0952a/b 43 1906 (P) Kyiv Pas – Ivano Frankivsk (from Lviv)
2TE10M-2416a/b 136 1421 (P) Bilhorord-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi (from Lviv), 136 1537 Chernivtsi – Bilhorord Dnistrovskyi (to Lviv) (ChME3T-6448 ecs into Chernivtsi)
2M62-1114a (DPL1-001) 6461 0848 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya
ChME3T-6352 Chernivtsi station pilot pm
ChME3-2637 951 0925 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia (Load 2), 952 1602 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi (Load 2)
ChME3T-6447 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets (Load 2)
ChME3-2505 955 1705 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi (Load 1 + 2 freight wagons)
ChME3-3084 960 1538 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi (Load 2)
M62-1260 967 1441 Sokriyany – Chernivtsi (Load 2)
2M62U-0248b/2M62U-0069b 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas (to Hrechany) (ChME3T-6448 ecs into Chernivtsi)
ChME3T-6352 958 2040 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty (Load 1)
Moves for Tuesday 10th September 2019
|2TE10M-2770b||Lviv||Khodoriv||1713 (P) Kovel – Chernivtsi||668|
|2M62-0618a||Khodoriv||Ivano Frankivsk||1506 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi||249|
|2TE10M-2416a||Kolomiya||Chernivtsi||1421 (P) Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi||136Sh|
|ChME3T-6447||Chernivtsi||Chernivtsi Pivdenna||1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets||961|
|ChME3-3084||Chernivtsi Pivdenna||Chernivtsi||1538 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi||960|
|ChME3T-6352||Chernivtsi||Chernivtsi Pivnichna||2040 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty||958|
Photos for Tuesday 10th September 2019 – Railway
Wednesday 11th September 2019 (Day 2 of 2 in Chernivtsi before heading to Kamianets Podilskyi)
I left the hotel bright and breezy for a morning jaunt towards Nepolokivtsi on the Chernivtsi – Kolomiya line. The girl at reception had been on duty all the previous day and was still on duty when I went to give her the bad news about the water in our room again. At least she understood what I was on about and I’ll give her credit, she did get it sorted again while I was out so Danielle could have a shower.
Chernivtsi station was hive of activity with ChME3T-6352 being in the yard, which I can only assume had worked back in wit 957 0531 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi. ChME3T-6448 was the Chernivtsi station pilot of a morning and after buying a ticket to Nepolokivtsi I waited patiently, and hopefully, for M62-1260 to run through the station and drop onto the 2 coaches to form 968 0830 Chernivtsi – Sokriyany. Which is a train that runs via the same line that 117/118 to/from Kyiv use via Moldova. The difference being that 968/967 have stops within Moldova and undergo border checks on both occasions it enters and exits, in each direction; so, make sure you have enough room for the page full of passport stamps that an out and back on 968/967 will gain you! I was only going over the bridge to Chernivtsi Pivnichna, so wasn’t concerned about such things.
Having done quite a few trips to eastern Europe now, I was surprised to eventually find an M62 that made some noise and Chernivtsi’s M62-1260 was the firs such example I’d seen that made noise, let alone had on a passenger train. As it departed Chernivtsi I just so happened to be looking out of the window on the left hand side, where I was surprised to clap eyes on 2TE10M-2601a heading up the business end of a DR1A DMU rake (with DR1A-890 at the south end); replacing the leading power-car, while waiting to depart with 6461 0848 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya. Every time I’d viewed 6461 before, it had been a DPL1 set with a 2M62 leading and when I saw the DR1A power car at the rear I instantly dismissed it as a train to do for the morning until spotting the 2TE10M on departure. With opening windows on the DMU, I was able to bellow out at 2TE10M-2601a departing Chernivtsi Pivnichna and when it departed Mamayivtsi the skies darkened as it cleared the platform end.
On previous leaps around Chernivtsi I’d bought individual tickets for each journey I’d made but on this occasion, I bought a ticket direct from Chernivtsi to Nepolokivtsi and had no issues stepping back along the way. The morning timetable of north bound local departures is such that each train departs in exactly the order a crank needs them to, allowing you to cover all four departures before they branch off along the way; and when ChME3T-7369 slammed on arriving into Mamayivtsi with 956 0900 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty I got the impression that the driver hadn’t been expecting to stop and pick anyone up with the speed he was trundling through at! ChME3-2637 completed the set at Luzhany when it arrived with 951 0925 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia, after 2TE10M-2416a/b had run through with 136 1421 (P) Bilhorord-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi and had been closely followed by 2M62U-0215b/a with 007 2222 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi.
When 2M62-1113a, under the guise of DPL1-002 but carrying DPL1-0011, turned up at Nepolokivtsi with 6464 0912 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi it topped off a decent morning, which had culminated in me having 5 loco-hauled trains with 4 different classes of loco on 3 different types of stock, all of which had cost just over £1; and I was back into Chernivtsi in time for dinner too! Back at the hotel everything was fully functioning in our room and I’d negotiated a late check out with our departure for Kamianets Podilskyi not being until 1946. Unfortunately, we’d picked the two days to be in Chernivtsi/Kamianets Podilskyi when the daytime locals from Larha to Hrechany don’t run, with them being Tuesday & Wednesday excepted, which meat we couldn’t get there during the day via the Sokriyany local to Larha and then the Hrechany local to Kamianets Podilskyi. Due to the problems we’d experienced with our water supply, the late check out was granted for free, and quite rightly so for the inconvenience. To be fair to the staff, they couldn’t apologize enough.
An early afternoon lunch was sought at the much better Shokoladniy restaurant, which was more of a late breakfast than lunch and we returned there for a decent meal later, after a wander around Chernivtsi to gather supplies for our evening train journey and abusing our late check out at the Central Magnat Cinema; which even still operates as a small cinema and was showing IT 2 during our stay, albeit in Ukrainian.
At Chernivtsi station of an evening the out and back move to Chernivtsi Pivdenna was brought to you by ChME3T-6350 on 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets with Load 2 and ChME3-2505 with 960 1538 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi on Load 2 and ChME3T-6352 was Chernivtsi station pilot of an evening. Everything that had gone out of a morning eventually dribbled back into Chernivtsi with M62-1260 on 967 1441 Sokriyany – Chernivtsi, ChME3T-7369 on 955 1705 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi with Load 1 + 3 freight wagons that were detached by ChME3T-6352 and then hump shunted to their respective roads in the yard, ChME3-2637 then arrived last with 952 1602 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi before ChME3T-6448 brought the empty stock in for Hrechany’s 2M62U-0075a/b to drop onto and then work 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas; our chariot to Kamianets Podilskyi.
Although it wasn’t an overnight journey I did book 1st class berths and it was a nice relaxing jaunt to Kamianets Podilskyi as a result, with tea on tap, courtesy of the boiler at the end of the coach, and snacks from the bakery in Chernivtsi sufficing as a late evening meal. I was a little skeptical about arriving into Kamianets Podilskyi just before midnight but on arrival I found two things at the station that I didn’t expect to. The first being M62-1651 replacing a power car at the opposite end of a DR1A DMU set to power car DR1A-211, which was running, while waiting to depart with 6345/6343 2104 Hrechany – Larha; which went straight into the whirlpool of future moves I had swimming around in my head. The second thing was a car park with about half a dozen taxi’s sitting in it and the one I chose couldn’t have been more honest if he’d tried. His meter worked fine, he took the most direct rote to the hotel and he was about as pleasant as they come. The 3.5km journey from the station to our hotel in the old town cost UAH50, on the meter, and took about 5 minutes, which was way better than having to trudge through deserted streets at midnight in a town you’re not familiar with.
The Hotel Kleopatra is right in the heart of the old town and the guy at the front desk was expecting us when we arrived. There was no messing about with checking in and our keys to our third-floor room were soon in our hands. The room was nothing short of spectacular and huge doesn’t even begin to describe just how big and spacious it was. The massive bed looked quite out of proportion compared to the amount of redundant space there was surrounding it, and yet the room also had wardrobes and a good-sized sofa at its periphery as well, and a separate bathroom with a shower enclosed that would probably make you dinner if you fiddled with the settings. It had more jets that a shower jet making factory and there were enough toiletries to keep you clean for months. To say we were impressed was an understatement.
I didn’t have time to be impressed though as the taxi driver that had brought us to the hotel was waiting outside to take me straight back to the station, for my late-night move. It was just a simple out and back to Dunaivtsi with Hrechany’s 2M62-0963b/a doing the honours on the way out with 770 0100 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas and shed mates 2M62U-0248b/2M62U-0069b doing the honours on the way back with 117 2005 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi. I was very glad to get my head onto a pillow when I got back though and pleased that there were taxis waiting at the station to meet 117 when it arrived. Still, my doss was short-lived as more moves were on the cards early in the morning; or should I say at this point, later in the morning….
Gen for Wednesday 11th September 2019
ChME3T-6448 Chernivtsi station pilot am
ChME3T-6352 957 0531 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi??? (Assumed as in yard at Chernivtsi)
M62-1260 968 0830 Chernivtsi – Sokriyany (Load 2), 967 1441 Sokriyany – Chernivtsi (Load 2)
2TE10M-2601a (drag DMU DR1-890) 6461 0848 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya
ChME3T-7369 956 0900 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty (Load 1), 955 1705 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi (Load 1 + 3 freight wagons)
ChME3-2637 951 0925 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia (Load 2), 952 1602 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi (Load 2)
2M62-1113a (DPL1-002 carrying DPL1-0011) 6464 0912 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi
2TE10M-2416a/b 136 1421 (P) Bilhorord-Dnistrovskyi – Chernivtsi (from Lviv)
2M62U-0215b/a 007 2222 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi (from Lviv)
ChME3T-6352 Chernivtsi station pilot pm
ChME3T-6350 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets (Load 2)
ChME3-2505 960 1538 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi (Load 2)
2M62U-0075a/b 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas (to Hrechany) (ChME3T-6448 ecs into Chernivtsi)
M62-1651/DR1A-211 (T&T both powering?) 6345/6343 2104 Hrechany – Larha
Moves for Wednesday 11th September 2019
|M62-1260||Chernivtsi||Chernivtsi Pivnichna||0830 Chernivtsi – Sokyriani||968|
|2TE10M-2601a||Chernivtsi Pivnichna||Mamayivtsi||0848 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya||6461|
|ChME3T-7369||Mamayivtsi||Luzhany||0900 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty||956|
|ChME3-2637||Luzhany||Nepolokivtsi||0925 Chernivtsi – Vizhnitsia||951|
|2M62-1113a||Nepolokivtsi||Chernivtsi||0912 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi||6464|
|2M62U-0075a||Chernivtsi||Border Post Km61||1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas||118Sh|
|2M62U-0075a||Border Post Km61||Larha|
Photos for Wednesday 11th September 2019 – Railway
Thursday 12th September 2019 (Kamianets Podilskyi Castle)
The hotel got me a taxi back to station, and as expected, M62-1651 arrived with 6346 0539 Larha – Khmelnytskyi, albeit dragging the DMU set with power car DR1A-211 dead inside it. I’d half expected it to come in with the M62 trailing and working in multi with the DMU power car. Had I not spotted the M62 when we’d arrived into Kamianets Podilskyi, I’d have still been in bed at this point, but I wasn’t and was quite pleased with the move when 2M62U-0187a/2M62-1049b rolled into Balyn with 139 2359 (P) Kyiv Pas – Kamianets Podilskyi; which was a bit of a turn up for the books having never seen a 2M62 paired with a 2M62U before, and it would turn out that it wouldn’t be the first time that day either.
After an interesting breakfast back at the Kleopatra Hotel, and by interesting I mean that we were the only people in the huge breakfast room, we had a leisurely morning in our room before agreeing a 1600 check-out with the front desk and then heading out to have a look at Kamianets Podilskyi’s best feature; it’s hilltop castle.
Unlike Chernivtsi, Kamianets Podilskyi did cater for tourists, but only for Ukrainian tourists. We did see one other foreigner during our late morning sojourn, and I have to say that making the effort to fit Kamianets Podilskyi into our itinerary was well worth it; the castle is one of the best I’ve seen and its very photogenic. There are vantage points, if you know where to find them, in the old town and all along the road leading to the castle there are numerous places to stop and admire both the castle itself and the old city walls that are visible along the gorge that separates it from the old town.
Entry into the castle cost a mere UAH40 each and once inside it looked a bit like a building site, which we actually figured out was an excavation site when we realised the digger was filling the excavation sites with the dug out earth. Covered up to one side were two skeletons and exposed in one of the dig sites were a pile of bones, which looked human to me. The castle grounds weren’t very busy, and it was pleasant to amble around them at our pace. There are numerous passageways through the thick castle walls that ae open to the public and most of the castle towers have wooden stairs leading from one level to the other, which aren’t for the faint hearted I might add.
At the rear of the castle, which can be seen clearly from the castle towers, are what appear to have been dwellings once upon a time, which are still in good condition. Access to these is free and if you walk around to the rear of the castle, via this route, there are some different views of the castle; and if you’re feeling really adventurous there’s a large cross visible across the gorge, from which you can take photos of a very different view of the castle. Do enjoy trying to get there though!
Any visit to Kamianets Podilskyi isn’t complete without a visit to the Miniature Castles of Ukraine Museum, which is in the old town ad had views across to the castle from tis back yard. If you’re thinking of going to other castles in Ukraine, it’s well worth a visit so as to see what the castles look like before you decide to go. The miniature of Kamianets Podilskyi castle is done as though its complete and looks slightly different to its current self, which can easily be compared as you have both in the same view when admiring the miniature. Entry to the small site costs UAH50 per adult and its access point isn’t immediately evident from the main road.
I’ve read reviews about Kamianets Podilskyi that say there aren’t many places to eat, which could well be translated to, in the height of summer places are busy and you might have to wait to get a seat? There are quite a few restaurants in the old town, all of which were very quiet. Unfortunately, the first one we tried didn’t have English menus, or a font that we’d be able to translate either, or the second pace we tried only took cash, which they told us after taking our complete order! As a result, we ended up at the New York Street Pizza, which at least had English menus, if not English-speaking staff. We got what we ordered though, and the pizzas were better than they’d been in their other restaurant in Chernivtsi, and I managed to successfully pay by card.
As we had our huge room at the Kleopatra hotel until 1600 we took advantage of it for part of the afternoon before using Google Maps to find ourselves a public transport option to get us to Kamianets Podilskyi station. The #7 bus runs along the main road in the old town every 15 minutes and drops off right outside the station front. Payment is made to the driver on exit from the bus and costs UAH5 per person, per journey, with the journey taking about 10 minutes. Upon arrival I dumped Danielle and used one of the waiting taxis to take me to the station at Km232, south of Kamianets Podilskyi, so I could cover 6352 1556 Larha – Hrechany; which ran on a Thursday! While the taxi driver seemed a little confused at where I wanted to go, despite me showing him on my phone, I made sure I guided him all the way there using google Maps. The 4.5km journey only took 10 minutes and cost UAH75. I only had 10 minutes to wait for M61-1511 to arrive with 6352 1556 Larha – Hrechany, again dragging a DR1A DMU minus a power car. I’d only been away from Kamianets Podilskyi for half an hour by the time I got back and while its not the done thing back home, it was Danielle that pointed out to me the fact that the driver had been into a shop and was clutching a bottle of whiskey in his hand when he came back. The fact that he was stood on he platform chewing the cud to someone at the booked departure time was probably a valid reason for the station red-cap to give him a telling and gesture towards his cab when she wanted rid of the train; especially as she could see what he had in his hand as clearly as anyone else on the platform!
ChME3T-6926 was Kamianets Podilskyi station pilot and when M62-1511 departed it attached to the stock stabled north of the station, drew it through and then set it back into the far platform. 2M62-1049b/2M62U-0187a came off shed shortly afterwards and ran through the yard as though they were going to drop onto the north end of the rake. After 10 minutes of waiting to get a photo, I gave up waiting for them to come back and drop on and when the coaches were opened up, I made way back to the middle of the train to get into our 1st class coach. It was at that point I realised that 2M62-1049b/2M62U-0187a were never coming back and 2M62U-0067a/2M62U-0066a were just coming off shed to work 140 1904 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas instead. We overtook the former pair just north of Kamianets Podilskyi on a freight!
It was a pleasant journey to Hrechany, where the diesel line from Chernivtsi meets the electrified line to Kyiv. The very reason for doing train 140 though is because it continues north on the diesel line via Khmilnyk to Koziatyn 1 and even undergoes an engine change during the extended stop at Hrechany. I was quite surprised about the loco change and hung around by my coach watching proceedings before ultimately having to walk to the front to collect the fresh loco numbers. Now, imagine my confusion had I come across 2M62-1049a/2M62U-0187b at the head of the train, if 2M62-1049b/2M62U-0187a had actually worked train 140 instead of the freight they’d done from Kamianets Podilskyi. I’d have been asking myself some serious questions had I had one pair for the other, which were both the same way around with the 2M62 half at the north end as well! From this I take it that Hrechany depot really don’t care what goes with what as they seem to treat every 2M62 half as a single loco. Without trying to dwell on the fact too long, I scurried back down the length of the platform to make sure I was back on board before the steps were up and door to my coach closed. Bedtime followed shortly after reboarding; after all, it was only just over 6 hours to Kyiv!
Gen for Thursday 12th September 2019
2M62-0963b/a 770 0100 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas
2M62U-0248b/2M62U-0069b 117 2005 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi (from Hrechany)
M62-1651 (drag DMU DR1A-211) 6346 0539 Larha – Khmelnytskyi
2M62U-0187a/2M62-1049b 139 2359 (P) Kyiv Pas – Kamianets Podilskyi (from Hrechany) then light north for a freight at 1820
M62-1511 (Drag DR1A DMU minus a trailer) 6352 1556 Larha – Hrechany
2M62U-0067a/2M62U-0066a 140 1904 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (to Hrechany)
2M62-1049a/2M62U-0187b 140 1904 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (Hrechany to Koziatyn 1)
ChS8-006 (1/2)/(ChS4-146 dit) 140 1904 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (from Koziatyn 1)
ChME3T-6926 ecs for 140 & Kamianets Podilskyi Yard pilot
2M62???? 769 1455 Kyiv Pas – Kamianets Podilskyi (from Hrechany)
M62-xxxx/DR1A-xxx (T&T both running) 6345/6343 2104 Hrechany – Larha (suspect M62-1511)
Moves for Thursday 12th September 2019
|2M62-0963a||Kamianets-Podilskyi||Dunaivtsi||0100 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas||770|
|2M62U-0248b||Dunaivtsi||Kamianets-Podilskyi||2005 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi||117|
|M62-1651||Kamianets Podilskyi||Balyn||0539 Larha – Khmelnytskyi||6346|
|2M62U-0187a||Balyn||Kamianets-Podilskyi||2359 (P) Kyiv Pas – Kamianets Podilskyi||139|
|M62-1511||Km 232||Kamianets Podilskyi||1556 Larha – Hrechany||6352|
|2M62U-0067a||Kamianets-Podilskyi||Hrechany||1904 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas||140K|
Photos for Thursday 12th September 2019 – Railway
Photos for Thursday 12th September 2019 – Kamianets Podilskyi Castle
Photos for Thursday 12th September 2019 – Miniature Castles of Ukraine Museum
Friday 13th September 2019 (Homeward bound)
Arrival into Kyiv Pas was prompt and we were both sock on when the coach attendant hammered on the compartment door at 0420. We were ready to get off by the time we rolled into Kyiv Pas though and if I’d not scurried straight down the platform to collect the engine number, I’d have missed ChS8-006 with ChS4-146 dead inside it. They were already detached by the time I got to the front and were drawing away moments after I’d spotted them both.
Our flight home was at 1205 from Borispol Airport so we bought a ticket for the 0749 Kyiv Pas – Borispol Aeroport train, from the automatic ticket machines on the footbridge over Kyiv Pas station. Credit cards are accepted, and the single fare is UAH80 for an adult. To pass the morning we ended up in the McDonalds on the Ibis side of the station, which had only just opened at 5am when we got there. The McD’s at the main entrance to the station had queues out of the front door!
With only one option for a move, we ended up doing ChS8-019 to Darnytsia on 786 0721 Kyiv Pas – Shostka for shitty single-car DMU 620M-006 forward on 820 0749 Kyiv Pas – Borispol Aeroport; which was wedged to the gunnels. Back at Kyiv Pas, ChS8-006 off our overnight had then bolted itself to the stock to work 766 0714 Kyiv Pas – Kherson and ChME3T-7320 had shunted through Minsk – Kherson portion ex 094 Minsk – Odesa onto 766 Kyiv – Kherson. And that was that, trip over….
After alighting from the train at the brand-new Kyiv Borispol station we ended up having to get a bus to the new Terminal at Borispol, which Ryanair have now started operating from. The shuttle buses are free, were all wedged and there’s nothing but a couple of measly kiosks at the new terminal to buy food or drink from. The while Kiev experience was a bit crap on this occasion, from train to terminal; with McD’s probably being the best part of our day, and that’s saying something!
The flight was ok, for Ryanair, and at least landed on time, allowing us to head straight to the station and make the 1400 to Liverpool Street, which dropped us nicely into 1D19 1503 Kings Cross – Leeds home: with 91110 leading the way. Another successful trip to Ukraine it was, and I was already looking forward to the next; whenever that may end up being…..
Gen for Friday 13th September 2019
ChME3T-7320 shunt thro Minsk – Kherson portion ex 094 Minsk – Odesa onto 766 Kyiv – Kherson at Kyiv Pas.
ChS8-019 (1/2) 786 0721 Kyiv Pas – Shostka
ChS8-006 (1/2) 766 0714 Kyiv Pas – Kherson
Moves for Friday 13th September 2019
|ChS8-006 (1)||Koziatyn 1||Kyiv Pas||1904 (P) Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas||140K|
|ChS8-019 (1)||Kyiv Pas||Darnytsia||0721 Kyiv Pas – Shostka||786|
|620M-006||Darnytsia||Boryspil Aeroport||0749 Kyiv Pas – Boryspil Aeroport||820|
|EI-DAM||Kyiv Boryspil||Stansted||1205 Kyiv Boryspil – Stansted||FR3678|
|379025||Stansted Airport||Tottenham Hale||1400 Stansted Airport – Liverpool Street|
|91110||Kings Cross||Doncaster||1503 Kings Cross – Leeds||1D19|