Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Romania & Moldova – June 2018

Having only ventured into Ukraine for the first time two years ago, I was beginning to get the bug for the place. It’s a country which in cranking terms is about as real as it gets these days, and there’s no sign of things changing anytime soon. So, this trip was planned to take in much of the long-distance diesel stuff that’s on offer, even to the far flung reaches of Ukraine that have only the one service a day, or the one loco-hauled train over the line a day in some cases.

I’d also planned to a few other bits in central Europe during my 3-week trip, with a visit to the Koblenz Railway Museum’s Summerfest, covering the BLS Heritage workings in Switzerland and both the Regiobahn & Reblaus Express Summer 2143 workings being the highlights. However, as June drew closer it became evident that the Koblenz Summerfest was going to be a massive disappointment on the shuttle front and with only 103113 being advertised for train trips, along with 218460/something else on the Museum shuttles, I decided to give it a miss and change my plans completely; to head back into Ukraine early and cover the southwestern diesel lines to Izmail & Berezyne. As I was spending some time with my wife in Poland in the middle of the trip it was simple enough to cape my overnight reservations and just book a flight from Warsaw to Odesa, and what a good move it turned out to be.


Wizz Air
W6-1316 0805 Doncaster – Warsaw Chopin

LOT (Operated by Nordica)
LO767 1105 Warsaw Chopin – Odesa

British Airways
BA883 1430 Kiev Borispol – Heathrow



Warsaw (Poland) – Apartment Next to Central Railway Station – booked through, a 15-minute walk from Warszawa Centralna. A young lad was waiting for us when we arrived and quickly showed us around the apartment before heading off, leaving us to get acquainted with the place.
The main room was massive, the one bedroom wasn’t so, and the kitchen area was 3ft by 3ft, if that. Still, it was a decent place, was very clean and tidy and had everything we needed; apart from a washing machine!

Odesa (Ukraine) – Good Night Hotel – an 8-minute walk from Odesa Holovna station and set in a courtyard away from the main roads surrounding it. The guy at reception spoke fluent English and explained that the hotel was only 18-months old and that they got plenty of foreigners staying.
The rooms at the hotel weren’t huge but they were spotless, had excellent AC, piping hot water, a flat screen TV (which would be good for the first match of the 2018 world Cup in Russia later) and a double bed. The pace looked brand new and long may it stay looking that way.

Chisinau (Moldova) – Hotel Cosmos – visible from Chisinau station, towering up above the streets, in true Russian style. The staff at reception were expecting me and I was quickly processed in and given room #708, which wasn’t even half way up the high-rise that the Cosmos is. While the place is ok, it can give the impression that it’s a little rough around the edges and there are still ring-dial telephones in the rooms! The curtains might as well not be there too as they’re as see-through as the netting behind them, which isn’t great during the Summer months when daylight lasts forever; and of course, I was arriving on the longest day of the year! Other than the fact it retains its Russian ambience, the Cosmos is fine, it has hot water, very good AC in the rooms and the WiFi was brilliant and strong enough to allow me to download stuff to watch on my laptop.

Iasi (Romania) – Hotel Arnia – only a 5-minute walk from Iasi station, out to the man road, turn left and then first right (where the tram lines go), its then straight ahead at the end of the road, the other side of the big hypermarket, which is on the left. Im sure the guy at reception was the same one that had checked me in, off the same late train, last time I’d stayed, and the hotel’s system remembered me so saved the registration farce. I was in my rather excellent room 2 minutes after walking through the door; and it was a shame I’d only be staying for about 6h30m! The same as last time, the room was spotless, very well appointed, modern, spacious, had excellent AC, good WiFi, piping hot water and loads of toiletries were provided.

Chernivtsi (Ukraine) – Magnat Lux Hotel – booked through and is about a 15-minute walk from Chernivtsi station (all uphill) and is close to the Museum of Arts. I was immediately shown to my room, which was right next to the hotel reception and its front door. I asked to change my room and was told it would cost UAH 200 more for a luxury room in the courtyard out back, which was fine, and the room was a lot bigger, had windows, which the ground floor one didn’t, was very spacious and olde worlde and had the biggest wooden telephone I’ve ever seen; putting the ancient ring-dial one in the Cosmos to shame! The AC soon cooled the room down, the WiFi was good and I was quite pleased with the upgrade for a fiver. Still, there was no time to dwell as I had moves to do. So back to the station it was, without any bags at all this time.

Kyiv (Ukraine) – Premier Hotel Lybid – a 10-minute walk from Kyiv-Pas station, with day-rate rooms available for UAH 620. The rooms are their premiere rooms, which have AC, double beds, fridge and good WiFi; I was given one on the 6th floor and even decided to have a go at breakfast, which cost almost half as much as the room. So, in true style, I made sure I got my money’s worth and there was a lot to choose from. It was a very good breakfast selection actually, and the only gripe I had was that the staff were too attentive and kept taking my plate away when I’d not finished.


Train Tickets
Interrail Global Pass (1st Class 15 Days in 1 month)
Reservations for overnight trains done through Rail Canterbury

All booked direct through the Ukraine Railway (UZ) website; except for the following:

Train 52 Warszawa – Lviv booked through Polrail Service online

Train 81 Lviv – Nyiregyhaza booked through Polrail Service online

Train 65 Koziatyn 1 – Chisinau booked through Real Russia via e-mail (after online chat)

All booked in person at a ticket office. No advance ticket purchases possible for Moldova; other than for the Chisinau – Bucuresti (10-days in advance on the CFM website – my bank had other ideas about that one though!)

Train 380 Suceava to Chernivtsi – ticket bought at Suceava station, but they were unable to sell a reservation in the UZ sleeper coaches; I managed to pay for a berth on board though, but I’m pretty sure the money didn’t go to UZ!


Monday 4th June 2018 (Travelling from Doncaster to Poland)

It was 0556 when my friendly taxi driver drew out of my estate and 15 minutes later, dropped me at the airport. The £12.50 taxi journey cost nearly as much as the flight; and now it doesn’t cost me anything to get to London, it would have been cheaper to fly from any London airport and get the train/tube to or from it! Still, I got to spend the night in my own bed, what little of the night I spent in bed, and it’s always a good thing having an airport on your doorstep.

Getting through security was a breeze, with nobody being the queue at all when I arrived, with 1h45m to my 0805 Wizz Air departure to Warsaw. Breakfast was on the table at Wetherspoons 5 minutes after getting through security and I sat thinking to myself as I ate it, that if only all airports were as simple as Doncaster, the pre-flying experience would be a whole lot better. Security to Wetherspoons is 10 yards, the toilets are 10 yards from that and all the gates are 10 yards from Wetherspoons; all-in-all one of the nicer airports to vegetate at. And I’m not saying that just because I’m from Doncaster!

As it was the beginning of the holiday season there were quite a lot of flights on the departure screen, thankfully though, they weren’t close together. Flight Radar confirmed my plane details and that the inbound flight would be landing in Doncaster at 0730; which is exactly what it did, and the plane gen was correct. 20 minutes after it landed boarding commenced and we were off the stand at 0802. It was quite a full flight and I’d opted for a random seat allocation and ended up with a window seat as a result. It wasn’t a problem though as I spent almost all the flight, along with the two passengers in my row, asleep.

Touchdown in Warsaw was 15 minutes early and we were ferried to the terminal by bus. The passport control area was almost full by the time I got to it, but I noticed, to the right-hand side of all the other booths, a booth with only two people at it, which was for “All Passports”. Two minutes later I was into Poland and heading to the exit, having skipped a good 10-minute wait as a result.

On exiting the arrivals hall there are coloured lines on the floor that guide you to various places, the most important of which is the green one, which guides you the 370m to the Lotnisko Chopina train station; and on the way to which there are plenty of cash machines. Interrail tickets aren’t valid on the SKM or KM services in the Warsaw area so I had to splash out PLN 3.40 on a 20-minute single journey ticket to get me into Warsaw. These can be purchased from the red ZTM ticket machines near the platforms and can be paid for in cash or by card, with an English option being available on the screens. Tickets must be validated on board the trains in the yellow machines scattered throughout the trains. I never got gripped to Warszawa Zachodnia, so wasted about 70p on the ticket….

There was an option to do a TLK train from Zachodnia into Centralna, which produced EP09-023 on TLK31102 0906 Krakow Plazsow – Warszawa Wschodnia. There I set about the tasks I’d set myself before leaving the UK and by the time I’d finished I was in possession of money for Ukraine & Romania but not Moldova, had reservations for the two TLK trains I’d be doing later and had been to the supermarket in the adjacent shopping centre to stock up.

Back on the station EP07-1034 was the only thing that produced that enticed me on board and only just in time as it dropped me at Zachodnia for my booked TLK82104 0722 Szczecin Glowny – Lublin; which arrived with bright orange EP08-001 and it looked cracking in the glorious sunshine. Most trains I’d seen during the early afternoon had included various declassified 1st class coaches and this one was no exception, with the two declassified coaches at the front being emptier than the actual 1st class, I sat up front instead; and had a compo to myself.

I’d never done the Lublin diesels before so was heading out to have a go while I had some decent validity. It was a scorching hot day and with no AC, even with the windows open, it was hot on board the train; and the open windows didn’t help my hayfever either! At Lukow, EP08-001 gave way to SU160-001 for the run to Lublin and due to engineering works all trains were terminating at Lublin. As TLK82104 was late, I was expecting a TLK to arrive into Lukow before we departed but it didn’t and when we arrived into Radzyn Podlaski without any sign of it, I changed my plan and got off for it. Doing it back into Lukow and back out again to Radzyn Podlaski would get all three of the PKP IC diesel turns in a lot quicker than my plan on paper did; however, when SU160-001 disappeared off into the distance I realised the error of my ways!

The TLK, which I can’t remember the number of wasn’t shown on the screens and when I checked the timetable I figured out why I’d planned my bash the way I had, to get all three locos in; the mystery TLK was a Fridays only train, and of course, it wasn’t a Friday! That left me with a 1h40m fester in the 30-degree heat, in the middle of nowhere. Luckily there was a shelter, which allowed me t hide from the sun and the only thing to break to fester were PKP Cargo ST48-xxx/SM42-1204; which arrived light from the Lukow direction and sat at the top end of the station.

A random check of the screens showed that TLK25101 1645 Lublin – Bydgoszcz Glowna was running late, although not quite late enough for me to safely make it at Parczew, but when SU160-004 arrived with TLK82100 0659 Szczecin Glowny – Lublin I did it forward anyway; figuring that the single line would either be my saving grace or screw me! Luckily for me it was the former and I was in my booked seat in the half 1st half 2nd class coach, of the load 4 rake that formed TLK25101; with SU160-007 leading the way.

It was bloody hot on board and my eyes were streaming, I don’t know which was the lesser of the two evils, the streaming eyes and running nose, or sitting in a puddle of my own sweat and dripping with it! Thankfully the 40-odd minutes at Lukow, for the loco change, gave a bit of respite and at least the sun was going down. EP08-001 was stabled over the back of the station and Lotos E64CT-008 (160415) was sat in the station with a freight, with EU07-0306, after being prepared, eventually replacing SU160-007 for the run onwards from Lukow.

At Warszawa Wschodnia EU07-060 was in the adjacent platform waiting to depart with IC12104 2019 Warszawa Wschodnia – Kielce, so I was off and into another declassified 1st class coach at the front of its rake; this one with excellent AC, which was very welcome after the run from Parczew. There was no rest back at Centralna either when EP07-1034 turned up straight away with IC4129 1514 Bielsko Biala Glowna – Warszawa Wschodnia, which dropped me into the returning EP07-450 with IC11110 1923 Biala Podlaska – Warszawa Zachodnia; which had followed me to Lukow on its way out.

With time to kill before my overnight into the Ukraine, I stocked up with more goodies from the supermarket, as I wouldn’t arrive into Lviv until 1330 the following afternoon, and headed off to the Mamma Mia Pizzeria, which is 24-hours, and had a decent meal before returning to the station for my train and collecting my big bag from a locker that I’d deposited it in earlier in the day. What I didn’t realise until the following day was that the bill I’d paid wasn’t mine as I’d had pasta and a beer and the bill I’d paid was for pizza and a coke! Maybe I’d have time to rectify that when I returned to Warsaw the following week.

Green liveried EP07-442 was sat in at Centralna when I got back and got me to Wschodnia for my overnight, TLK53170 1837 Gdynia Glowna – Krakow Plazsow, which would then shunt to TLK63170 2218 Wroclaw Glowny – Przemsyl Glowny at Krakow Plazsow, before finally forming train 52 0823 Przemsyl Glowny – Lviv to its destination. Unfortunately, EP09-018 was the nag for TLK53170 but with the PKP sleeper behind the loco, it would be easy for spotting locos during the night. The attendant showed me to my berth and confirms that the lower & middle berths would be occupied from Tarnow; at 0447 in the morning! Despite the early alarm clock, what it did mean was that I could use the compo sink to have a full derance and get myself refreshed before anyone else joined me; and I was melting in the compo, so had to open the window to let a breeze in; and some pollen unfortunately.

As the sink was low down it made the bath in the sink quite easy and I was fully refreshed before clambering into bed and even had a clean set of clothes lined up for the morning. I was lucky in the fact that I’d be joining my wife the following week and we had an apartment booked in Warsaw that would allow me to do some washing. There wasn’t much room in the upper berth but there was enough room for a little ‘un!


Gen for Monday 4th June 2018

EP09-023 TLK31102 0906 Krakow Plazsow – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP07-375 TLK28100 0855 Lublin – Szczecin Glowny
EP09-041 EIC1328 1234 Warszawa Wschodnia – Krakow Plazsow
EP07-537 TLK99113 1306 Warszawa Zachodnia – Bialystok
EP09-036 EC112 1319 Warszawa Wschodnia – Praha Hl Nadrazi
EU07-511 408 0930 (P) Nice Ville – Moskva Belorusskaia
EP07-1034 TLK28104 1055 Lublin – Szczecin Glowny
EP07-450 IC11101 1421 Warszawa Zachodnia – Biala Podlaska, IC11110 1923 Biala Podlaska – Warszawa Zachodnia
EP08-001 TLK82104 0722 Szczecin Glowny – Lublin (to Lukow)
SU160-001 TLK82104 0722 Szczecin Glowny – Lublin (from Lukow)
EP07-380 IC127 1423 Brest Centralna – Warszawa Zachodnia
SU160-004 TLK82100 0659 Szczecin Glowny – Lublin (from Lukow)
SU160-007 TLK25101 1645 Lublin – Bydgoszcz Glowna (to Lukow)
EU07-306 TLK25101 1645 Lublin – Bydgoszcz Glowna (to Lukow)
EU07-060 IC12104 2019 Warszawa Wschodnia – Kielce
EP09-038 EIC3123 1757 Krakow Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP07-1053 IC4129 1514 Bielsko Biala Glowna – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP09-006 TLK13106 1747 Bialystok – Krakow Glowny
EP07-442 TLK61100 1747 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP09-018 TLK53172 1837 Gdynia Glowny – Krakow Plazsow


Moves for Monday 4th June 2018

HA-LXJ Doncaster Warsaw Chopin W6-1316 0805 Doncaster – Warsaw Chopin
27WE-002 Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina Warszawa Zachodnia S99606 1124 Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina – Wieliszow
EP09-023 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Centralna TLK31102 0906 Krakow Plaszow – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP07-1034 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia TLK28104 1055 Lublin – Szczecin Glowny
EP08-001 Warszawa Zachodnia Lukow TLK82104 0722 Szczecin Glowny – Lublin
SU160-001 Lukow Radzyn Podlaski
SU160-004 Radzyn Podlaski Parczew TLK82100 0659 Szczecin Glowny – Lublin
SU160-007 Parczew Lukow TLK25101 1645 Lublin – Bydgoszcz Glowna
EU07-306 Lukow Warszawa Wschodnia
EU07-060 Warszawa Wschodnia Warszawa Centralna IC12104 2019 Warszawa Wschodnia – Kielce
EP07-1054 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Wschodnia IC4129 1514 Bielsko Biala Glowna – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP07-450 Warszawa Wschodnia Warszawa Centralna IC11110 1923 Biala Podlaska – Warszawa Zachodnia
EP07-442 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Wschodnia TLK61110 1747 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP09-018 Warszawa Wschodnia Krakow Plaszow TLK53170 1837 Gdynia Glowny – Krakow Plaszow


Photos for Monday 4th June 2018 


Tuesday 5th June 2018 (Arrival into Lviv and then overnight to Vorokhta via Ternopil)

I had my alarm set for the shenanigans at Krakow Plazsow but didn’t need it. I presumed that the prolonged stop, at around the time we should have been at Krakow Glowny, was that very stop, but we were stood a couple of kilometers outside the station and ended up late as a result. It was a short station stop at Glowny and then we were on to Plazsow, where SM42-3004 & SM42-3005 were both shunting stock. Once EP09-018 was removed, SM42-3005 dropped onto our stock and shunted the Lviv sleeper coach from TLK53170 to TLK63170, which was hiding over the other side of the station, behind some stock. Then EP07-1027 dropped onto the rake to work TLK63170 forward and EU07-324 dropped onto the Jaslo portion of TLK53170 to work forward as TLK30175 0344 Krakow Plazsow – Jaslo. TLK63170 departed Plazsow about 15’ late as a result of the prolonged stop outside Glowny.

I heard the new occupants of the compo come in at about 5am and the next thing I knew we were arriving into Przemysl Glowny. EP07-1027 quickly shunted off the PKP sleeper for Lviv (ex TLK53170) and deposited it in a different platform, then EU07-013 shunted off the UZ sleeper coach for Lviv (ex TLK63170) and doped it onto the rear. Train 52 0823 Przemysl Glowny – Lviv was then formed of PKP IC EP07-1027 and both a single PKP & UZ sleeper coach for the run forward to Lviv.

I dozed until we set off then it was time for border control. Polish border staff boarded the train at Medyka and were on and off in a breeze. The train then ran forward to the Ukraine boarder and picked up some Ukrainian border staff, who took our passports and processed them before the train was shunted into the gauge changing facility at Mostyska 2. VL10-1313 greeted us at Mostyska as it departed with 36 1826 Odesa Holovna – Przemsyl Glowny and when we came to a stand, somewhere in the yard, ChME3-416 ran by and attached to the rear (Przemsyl end). Once EP07-1027 was removed, the ChME3 propelled the two coaches into the gauge changer and the guys got cracking.

The whole gauge changing affair seemed to be over in no time and the team sat around in the sun while waiting to piece the two coaches back together. ChME3T-7411 attached to the Lviv end (opposite end to ChME3-416) and after piecing the two coaches back together, it then shunted the train into Mostyska 2 station where customs checks were carried out. The ChME3 ran back through the station so it doesn’t matter which coach you’re in of the two, the loco runs by the train on both the standard gauge and the CIS gauge. I was advised by the train staff not to get off with my camera when I attempted to get a photo of the ChME3 in Mostyska 2 station; so, I just waited it out with the rest of the train.

The short run through to Lviv passed in no time, with the journey being timed 1h07m from Mostyska 2 to Lviv; and the VL80, with as many coaches in tow as it had power units, dropped into platform 1 at spot on 1330. Then I had shit to get done and relied on my pre-written list to remind me of what I needed to do.

Firstly, I queued at the International ticket window in the main booking hall for 15 minutes. I was quite surprised at how busy it was, with the queue never relenting during the time I was in it. I needed an internal ticket for train 061 Moskva – Mykolaiv on 20th June, which for some reason was locked from sale on the UZ website and unfortunately for me the girl at the counter couldn’t get the system to let her in and reserve me a spot on the train either. With priority one down the pan, priority two was attempted, which was a through ticket on board train 013 from Uzhhorod to Kosice on 5th July, which was part of a shorter trip commencing a week after this one finished; unfortunately, that too was a no go, but I was hoping that was due to the advance booking period. Thirdly, and finally, I attempted to get a ticket for the through coach of train 380 Bucuresti Nord – Kyiv, from Suceava Nord to Chernivtsi; which I also failed to secure, with the girl telling me to try and get bit in Chernivtsi. Unfortunately, that was going to be difficult as the first time I arrived at Chernivtsi on this trip would be off that very train; so, I was going to have to leave that one for Romania. I did achieve something at the ticket window, other than letting people jump the queue as they needed to get for their train, and I walked away with all 6 of the tickets I needed to exchange at a UZ booking office duly printed; but 1 out of 4 tasks completed wasn’t a great ratio!

With an hour to kill, I dumped my bag at the left-luggage facility on the concourse level, which there are two separate places to do so, and headed out to a Vodafone store I’d found on google maps before I’d headed out from the UK; and was very pleased to find an English-speaking guy in the shop. I walked out with a sim that I paid UAH 90 for, which had unlimited data and unlimited calls and texts within Ukraine. The package lasted for a month but if the sim is topped up the same rules apply for the next month from the date of top-up. This would allow me t top the sim up before I left Kiev on the28th June and it would then be valid when I re-entered Ukraine by foot at Solotvino on 4th July. The top-up amount required was a very random UAH 19 to keep the sim active. The guy in the shop put it into my phone for me, did whatever he needed to register it and I was using the 4G before I walked out of the shop.

ChME3’s 1325, 4856, 5289 & 6105 were knocking around in the station and of the bunch ChME3-4856 sounded the part and was clearly unsilenced. When VL10-1491 arrived with 42 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk, it was quickly removed for VL40U’s 1158-2 & 1391-2 to be added to the same end to work the train forward. Since my last visit to Lviv some trains had been given stops at Pidzamche, which while its an 11-minute run, its only on the other side of town and the railway does a big loop to reach it. Train 42 was one such train and I wasn’t given any stress from the coach attendant when I boarded for the short distance.

VL80K-105 was berthed at the east end of Pidzamche station with a string of wagons, meaning platform 1 couldn’t be used and once VL80K-433 had trundled through, VL40U-1378-1 arrived a few minutes early with 111 2009 (P) Kharkiv – Lviv; and I was at completely the wrong end of the 19-coach train. There was no way I was legging it to the rear of the train to get into my booked coach No.1, so into No.17 I clambered. The coach attendant did have a glare but was soon shrugging his shoulders as the train pulled away.

Back at Lviv the afternoon took a strange turn, but one that worked in my favour as I’d had reservations on other trains initially but had decided to change my plan for the day but keep the tickets, just in case; and just in case was coming in to play at this point. 2M62-940b/2M62-1014b were just dropping on to the stock to work 142 1620 Lviv -Kyiv Pass but 606 1545 Lviv – Rakhiv hadn’t departed for some reason and with a winning pair of 2M62’s I wasn’t complaining, and plan “A” was back on the agenda; so, off to Khodoriv I went. Where I wasn’t quite understanding what was going on when there was another train arriving into the adjacent platform as we arrived. Thankfully I realised, before it was too late, that said train was 133/134 (which keeps changing number from one to the other en-route) 1458 Ivano Frankivsk was the train in question; which I also had a reservation for, from plan “Z”, and the attendant was very welcoming when I scurried up to her. 2M62-1149b had been the front unit but I’d not been able to get the rear unit, which was also a “B” unit, so that would have to wait until Lviv.

Doing this move actually put be back on plan and rather than doing 144 Vorokhta – Kyiv from Khodoriv to Ternopil for a small plus onto my overnight, I was going to end up doing he same on 133/134 instead and at last had time to nip down and get my bag from the left luggage during the loco change. At Lviv the inside loco revealed itself as 2M62-1232b and no sooner had I spotted them did I realise that the two trains hiding behind 133/134 were 112 1740 Lviv – Kharkiv & 258 1750 Lviv – Odesa; which had both been part of my plan “B”, before plan “A” had come back into play. I wasn’t holding up much hope of making either as I darted downstairs to get my big bag from the left luggage but with both stood side-by-side in platform 3, I was going to make one, if not the other. I needn’t have rushed in the end but by the time I got to the door of my booked coach on train 112, I was feeling it in the afternoon heat and sweat was pouring off me!

I didn’t find out what the late running was all about, but it could well have been storm related as we’d passed through a torrential downpour on the approach to Lviv on train 133/134 so maybe the signaling had been knocked out or some localized flooding had held things up? Either way, whatever had caused it gave me a three-move step-back from Lviv to Ternopil and all three trans were in Lviv station as the first drew away; VL40U-1457 doing the honours to Krasne with 112, VL80T-1157 then taking me forward to Zlochiv with 258 and finally VL80T-1392 completing the trio after replacing the 2M62 at Lviv on 133/134. And even though the last leg was a short journey, I managed to get the attendant to make me the two cups of tea that I’d randomly booked with the ticket. I don’t normally bother with the tea & bedding option on short journeys but its worth adding the bedding and 2 teas for the longer journeys as its loads cheaper than buying them on board at a later point. What you’ve ordered is clearly marked on your ticket, in Ukrainian, but the staff know that when you ask for your bedding or drinks that you’ve already paid; and I’ve had no issues yet.

As 133/134 is very slackly timed, it had picked up almost all its time by Ternopil and as it began to get dark, it also began to cool down; the rain shower that followed cleared the air too, which was good for my itching eyes. There are a few places outside the station to grab something to eat and I found a decent pizza place about 100m up the road directly opposite the station. Within the station building I managed to find 3 charging sockets, which I was in desperate need of, but one didn’t work and the other two were being used; so, I had no choice but to use my portable charger to charge my phone and the laptop would have to wait.

ChS4-108 was into Ternopil a tad early with 357 1434 Kyiv Pas. – Rakhiv, where the train sat for over an hour and eventually departed 20’ late; pretty much due to incompetence. The leading portion of the train, on arrival, is for Ternopil only and was eventually split from the main train after ChS4-108 was removed, only 5 minutes before booked departure time and 40 minutes after it had arrived, by a ChME3. I couldn’t be arsed to walk all the way down the 19-coach train to see which ChME3 it was, but I can tell you it was a rather meaty one! 5 minutes after departure time the din of 2TE10’s could be heard in the distance and then appeared 2TE10M-3210a/b, which were duly bolted to the front of the train.

357’s departure was about 20’ late from Ternopil and having asked the attendant, while the train was stood waiting in the platform for bedding, I was able to clamber straight into my berth. It’s amazing what Google Translate can do for you these days! It was a very quiet train, but also a very warm one and with he windows open I had a feeling the 2TE10’s might keep me awake; but I didn’t hear a thing until the following morning! The train heads west during the night and is the only train t cover the route from Ternopil, via Stefaneshty, to Kolomiya. Unfortunately, the eastbound train misses the westbound at Ternopil by less than an hour!


Gen for Tuesday 5th June 2018

SM42-3005 shunt Lviv portion TLK53172 to TLK63170 at Krakow Plazsow
EP07-1027 TLK63170 2218 (P) Wroclaw Glowny – Przemysl Glowny, 51 0823 Przemysl Glowny – Lviv (to Mostyska 2)
EU07-324 TLK30175 0344 Krakow Plazsow – Jaslo
EU07-013 shunt Wroclaw portion TLK63170 to 51 at Przemysl Glowny
ChME3-416 51 from SG into gauge changer
ChME3T-7411 52 from gauge changer to CIS gauge
VL10-1313 36 1826 Odesa Holovna – Przemsyl Glowny, (light back to Mostyska 2), 51 0823 51 0823 Przemysl Glowny – Lviv (from Mostyska 2)
VL40-1391-2 120 1407 Lviv – Zap 1
ChME3-1325, ChME3-4856, ChME3-5289, ChME3-6105 station pilots at Lviv
VL10-1491 42 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk (to Lviv)
VL40U-1158-2/VL40U-1391-2 42 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk (from Lviv)
VL40U-1378-1 111 2009 (P) Kharkiv – Lviv
2M62U-0058b/2M62U-0058a 606 1545 Lviv – Rakhiv
2M62-940b/2M62-1014b 142 1620 Lviv – Kyiv Pas.
2M62-1149b/2M62-1232b 134 1458 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv (to Lviv)
VL80T-1392 134 1458 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv (from Lviv)
VL40U-1457-2 112 1740 Lviv – Kharkiv
VL80T-1157 258 1750 Lviv – Odesa Holovna
ChS4-108 357 1434 Kyiv Pas. – Rakhiv (to Ternopil)
2TE10M-3210a/b 357 1434 Kyiv Pas. – Rakhiv (from Ternopil to Kolomiya)
ChS4-183 144 1350 Voroktha – Kyiv Pas.


Moves for Tuesday 5th June 2018 

SM42-3005 Krakow Plaszow Platform 2 Krakow Plaszow Platform 1 Shunt Lviv through coach from TLK53170 to TLK63170
EP07-1027 Krakow Plaszow Przemysl Glowny TLK63170 2218 (04/06) Wroclaw Glowny – Przemysl Glowny
EP07-1027 Przemysl Glowny Platform ? Przemysl Glowny Platform ? Shunt Lviv through coach from Gdynia to adjacent platform
EP07-1027 Przemysl Glowny Medyka 052L 0823 Przemysl Glowny – Lviv
EP07-1027 Medyka Mostyska 2
ChME3-416 Mostyska 2 Mostyska 2 Guage Changer
ChME3T-7411 Mostyska 2 Guage Changer Mostyska 2
VL10-1313(1) Mostystka 2 Lviv
VL40U-1158-2 Lviv Pidzamche 042L 1236 Truskavets – Dnipropetrovsk
VL40U-1378-1 Pidzamche Lviv 111O 2009 (04/06) Kharkiv Pas. – Lviv
2M62U-0058b Lviv Khodoriv 606K 1545 Lviv – Rakhiv
2M62-1149b Khodoriv Lviv 133L 1458 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv
VL40U-1457-2 Lviv Krasne Pas. 112L 1740 Lviv – Kharkiv Pas.
VL80T-1157(1) Krasne Pas. Zlochiv 258L 1750 Lviv – Odesa Holovna
VL80T-1392(1) Zlochiv Ternopil 133L 1458 Ivano Frankivsk – Mykolaiv
2TE10M-3210a Ternopil Kolomiya 357K 1434 Kyiv Pas. – Rakhiv


Photos for Tuesday 5th June 2018  


Wednesday 6th June 2018 (Ivano Frankivsk area then overnight to Vynoradiv-Zakapatskyi)

I’d slept solid all night and woke with a bolt at 0555. It was one of those where the hell are we moments, and have I slept through the alarm? The view out of my window, as we rolled to a stand, revealed that we were at Kolomiya, so all was good. In the adjacent platform was 668 1714 (P) Kovel – Chernivtsi with M62-1603 leading a 2TE10M twin set, which I couldn’t identify and as I started waking down the platform to investigate the train departed; with all three locos powering away.

Meanwhile, while I wasn’t paying attention to my own train, I turned around to head back down the platform and noticed that the locos had been removed from train 357. By the time I got to the front 2TE10M-3208a/b were just dropping onto the train and ‘3210 was nowhere to be seen. So, pleased with the morning loco swap, I clambered back on board and decided that I was getting off at Yaremche for a 4h39m fester for the next train towards Vorokhta. The other option was to get off at Kolomiya and do train 702 Chernivtsi – Lviv to Ivano Frankivsk for the same train; however, with train 702 being a DMU, there was no chance as there was no benefit whatsoever in doing it; especially with a new 2TE10 at the helm.

From Kolomiya there is a direct line to Yaremche and train 357 is the only express to cover it, the alternative route from Kolomiya is north to Ivano Frankivsk and then southwest back to Yaremche, which involves the other two parts of the Kolomiya – Ivano Frankivsk – Yaremche triangle. It’s not fast track but although a stagger, the scenery gets better the further towards Rakhiv you get.

It was a cool morning as I confused the coach attendant by getting off at Yaremche, with a ticket valid t Rakhiv. The reason for this is because I’d originally gone for the DMU move to Ivano Frankivsk but when I changed my mind I just bought another ticket for the same train, randomly in the same coach with the same berth, but it wouldn’t let me do a Kolomiya to Yaremche so I just booked to Rakhiv instead; which probably didn’t cost that much more anyway.

First impressions of Yaremche, as I walked down the platform were that it was going to be a long fester, as nothing was open. The platforms were being extended at the Rakhiv end and when I got to the front of the train to get a photo the driver was just piping up a hosepipe to the leading unit of the pair. 20 minutes it took to fill it and it seemed evident why it needed water as a whole lot seemed to be pissing out of the opposite side to that which was being filled and the tracks were soaked after 357 departed; leaving me to find something to do for the next 4 hours.

There wasn’t a charging socket in the station building and with nowhere open to get anything to eat or drink, I was quite pleased that I’d saved two cheese & salami sarnies; the ingredients for which I’d bought in Poland and put them all together while festering around at the Polish/Ukrainian border the previous day. They were a bit dry but filled a hole. When I went into my bag to get a drink of water, I found that it had been leaking; thankfully only into the Tesco carrier bag that it was inside.

During the 4h39m fester there were no freight trains passing through Yaremche but there was an option to do one of the local trains. 6441 0810 Kolomiya – Rakhiv was off Yaremche at 0936 and I was planning on doing it to the next shack and walking back. ME Maps told me the 4km walk would take about an hour, and it wasn’t like I didn’t have time to kill. When half of 2M62-1001 turned up with 6441 though, I didn’t need to bother as I’d had both halves of 2M62-1001 at Kovel a couple of years previous. However, this particular half looked to have been recently painted and didn’t have a DPL number on it. The two halves I’d had in Kovel had been numbered DPL005 & DPL006. Not to worry though, the mystery would be resolved an hour later when the other half of2M62-1001 arrived into Yaremche with 6405 0825 Ivano Frankivsk – Yaremche, which did still have DPL006 on the front of the loco too. It wasn’t evident by glaring through the cab window but when the driver figured out I was after something, writing down “2M62-1001 A or B” on a piece of paper got me the answer “A”; thus, meaning that the half with no DPL number was 2M62-1001B.

Unfortunately, the sarnies had worked their way through before I boarded another train, so I had to pay UAH 3 to utilize the facilities near the station. It was a BYO bog-roll affair and the bogs were squat only, with massive gaps between the doors, allowing anyone that entered to watch you having a shit; if they so wished of course! Still, needs must, and I wasn’t worrying about being caught out afterwards.

At last, the sun put in an appearance, so I walked down to the footbridge at the north end of the station to photograph 143 2019 (P) Kyiv Pas. – Vorokhta arriving, which would be the locos and set for my train 144 1350 Vorokhta – Kyiv Pas. later. I could hear 2TE10M-2421a plus friend coming for quite a while and they looked good in the sun as they went by. It’s impossible to get the inside loco of a 2TE10 pair as they run by you and if you’re on the wrong side when looking for it while its stood in a station, it’s still difficult as the numbers are so close to the stock. The leading loco of the twins was an “A” unit and the inside was a “B” unit, so I assumed they were a proper pair; which I confirmed at Vorokhta later.

2TE10M-2650a/b were along with 026 1826 Odesa – Rakhiv 40 minutes after 2TE10M—2421a/b had departed with 143. Then it was non-stop action for a bit. I did these forward to Tatariv, for a short wait for 2TE10M-2655b/2834a forward to Vorokhta on 015 Kharkiv – Rakhiv behind. On arrival, into what I expected to be a decent sized station, which wasn’t, 2TE10M-2421a/b were just running around their set to work back with 144 1350 Vorokhta – Kyiv Pas. With just over an hour to kill I went in search of a supermarket to gather some goods for the following day but failed. So, I ended up in a nice wooden restaurant just outside the station, where nobody spoke English but at least the menu was in a font that Google Translate could deal with; and a rather strange beef stroganoff was served up. While strange and not what I was expecting of a stroganoff, it was decent and didn’t touch the sides. The cold beer did wash it down nicely though.

I was in coach 4 on board train 144, which was right behind the locos. Thankfully, some of the windows on board were already open to prevent the train becoming a greenhouse in the afternoon sunshine. With my bed made up, I slept most of the way to Ivano Frankivsk, the beer, coupled with the fact I was flagging a bit anyway, seemingly wiped me out. It was one of those sleeps where I kept waking myself up with a little snore, and I only snore after having beer and when I’m knackered; so, both combined must have made for an interesting journey for those I was sharing the compo with.

144 was due into Ivano Frankivsk at 1618 and away at 1701 and I was surprised when we arrived at 1600, 18’ early. ChME3-6040 was just running through the station as we arrived ad ultimately dropped three extra coaches onto the front of the train once 2TE10M-2421b/a had been removed; which was done even before the coach had emptied out! In the adjacent platform was the T&T DMU rake with 2M62-1051a at one end and 2M62-1051b at the other. This seems to be a consistent rake as its been reported by many folks over the last few years; it doesn’t have a DPL number though but at least the 2M62’s have their “A” or “B” designation clearly marked on them.

I used the hour as a gift to head out of the station and find a supermarket to get the goods I couldn’t in Vorokhta earlier. This time I was more successful in my quest and spotted quite a few people from the train wondering around the shops outside the station too. Unlike Ternopil the previous night, Ivano Frankivsk were quite efficient as executing their tasks, with two separate 2M62 unit dropping onto the train 30 minutes before the booked departure time. Neither 2M62 unit had an “A” or “B” designation on the outside but the leading unit, 2M62-1076, had its number and “B” designation written inside the cab in marker pen; which was just about readable from platform level. The inside unit, 2M62-1247, had a much bigger, printed number, in the cab, which was clearly visible from platform level; confirming the unit to be the “A” unit.

The train was quite full as the 2M62 units eased us away from Ivano Frankivsk, but it was spot on time and stayed spot on time all the way to Lviv. On the way we passed a couple of express trains with 2M62’s but the most noteworthy thing we passed was a single 2M62 unit dragging a DMU about an hour out Lviv, it was heading towards Khodoriv.

At Lviv I had 55 minutes to play with and was going to have a go at getting the ticket I needed for the cross-border train into Slovakia, but this time I was going to attempt getting it from Lviv to Kosice instead of Uzhhorod to Kosice. Either way, the queue at the international ticket window was 5-deep, and with the same girl serving; so, I hot-footed it to the Budzinni food place outside the station, where a good pizza was quickly rustled up and devoured and I was back at the station with 15 minutes to spare before the 2040 departure of train 601 Lviv – Solotvino 1.

VL10-1493 was at the head of the train and I was only a few coaches from the front. I knew it was going to be one of those journeys when I found myself right in the thick of a gypsy family, who were scattered between compos. Unfortunately, the annoying youngster of the clan stayed in my compo, with his equally annoying mother; who had a 20-minute phone conversation, after I’d just managed to drop off to sleep at half past bloody eleven! When I got off at 0552 the following morning I’d already decided that considerate Shovell wasn’t in the building and I’d make as much noise as I liked but that idea backfired!


Gen for Wednesday 6th June 2018

2TE10M-3208a/b 357 1434 Kyiv Pas – Rakhiv (from Kolomiya)
M62-1603/2TE10Mx2 units 668 1713 (P) Kovel – Chernivtsi
2M62-1001b 6441 0810 Kolomiya – Rakhiv (no DPL markings but used to be DPL1-006)
2M62-1001a (DPL1-005) 6405 0825 Ivano Frankivsk – Yaremche, 64xx 1215 Yaremche – Ivano Frankivsk, 6415 1714 Ivano Frankivsk – Khodoriv
2TE10M-2421a/b 143 2019 (P) Kyiv Pas – Voroktha, 144 1350 Voroktha – Kyiv Pas (to Ivano Frankivsk)
2TE10M-2650a/b 026 1826 (P) Odesa Holovna – Rakhiv
2TE10M-2655b/2834a 015 1843 (P) Kharkiv – Rakhiv
2M62-1051a/b (T&T) 6434 1728 Ivano Frankivsk – Kolomiya
ChME3-6040 shunt Ivano Frankivsk portion to 144 at Ivano Frankivsk
2M62-1076b/2M62-1247a 144 1350 Voroktha – Kyiv Pas (Ivano Frankivsk – Lviv)
VL10-1493 601 2040 Lviv – Solotvino 1 (to Chop)
VL11M-060a/b 829L 1644 Lviv – Uzhhorod (dragging an EMU)


Moves for Wednesday 6th June 2018 

2TE10M-3208a Kolomiya Yaremche 357K 1434 (05/06) Kyiv Pas. – Rakhiv
2TE10M-2650a Yaremche Tatariv 026O 1826 (05/06) Odesa Holovna – Rakhiv
2TE10M-2655b Tatariv Voroktha 016Sh 1843 (05/06) Kharkiv – Rakhiv
2TE10M-2421b Voroktha Ivano Frankivsk 144L 1350 Voroktha – Kyiv Pas.
2M62-1076b Ivano Frankivsk Lviv 144L 1350 Voroktha – Kyiv Pas.
VL10-1493(2) Lviv Chop 601L 2040 Lviv – Solotvino 1


Photos for Wednesday 6th June 2018 


Thursday 7th June 2018 (Vynoradiv-Zakapatskyi – Khmilnyk NG branch then overnight to Lviv)

It was 0415 when I first heard the family talking amongst themselves and assumed that they’d be getting off, but I was so wrong, and talk amongst themselves they did, until I rose from my pit at 0530. They’d been sat lined along the berth opposite for 1h15m and yet the annoying fuckers got off at the same station as me; and had cost me a good 2 hours sleep in all, with the previous night included. I was knackered when I clambered down from the train at Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi. A quick dash to the front revealed Korlove based M62-1103 at the head of the train, in all its green splendor.

The objection of the day, and the reason for getting off train 601 early doors, was to do the NG branch line from Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi to Khmilnyk, which used to be a decent sized NG section, with branches starting at both Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi & Berehove and meeting at Khmilnyk, before heading on to Irshava and Kushnytsia. Reports had suggested the previous Summer that this final NG section from Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi to Khmilnyk would cease operations completely at the timetable change in December 2017 and only be available for “special” trains when required. When I found the trains in on the UZ online timetable section, I was quite surprised as I hadn’t originally planned to cover he section, but it just so happened that I was in the right place on the right day, with trains only running on Mondays, Thursdays & Sundays; and I was heading to Solotvino on a Thursday. It didn’t take me long to realise that I could do train 601 to Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi, do the branch train to Khmilnyk and back and then do the newly introduced train 013 Kyiv – Solotvino forward to destination; it was rather a nice move, even if I do say so myself.

The NG tracks are situated right outside the front of the main station building, there are no platforms, just three tracks that include a head-shunt and run-round loop. People were already setting up their stalls for market day and investigations of the tracks revealed crushed plants all along them, confirming that something had run on them recently. The train time posted in the booking office were completely different to those I’d gleaned from the UZ website but the woman behind the counter confirmed, when I bought my UAH 8 ticket, that the times I had were correct and gestured that I ignore those in her booking hall.

There was a small café open on the station but other that there was nowhere to get anything to eat or drink, so the snacks I’d bought in Ivano Frankivsk came in handy for breakfast; and I just sat around watching Lada after Lada pull up and people setting up stall in the best available spot when they got there.

With a little time to kill I wondered to the west end of the station area t see where the train would arrive from and found a tunnel of trees and grass, just the other side of the car park. While I waited in said tunnel of trees, I soon got the impression that the market stall holders used the area as a toilet; and not the men I might add! I was also bitten by mosquitoes a couple of times while I waited and was very glad to hear the whistle of a loco as the front of TU2-034 appeared at the end of the tree tunnel and then rocked its way through the undergrowth, taking half of it with it as it did so. The driver blew the loco’s horn, not the whistle, as I stood between the tracks taking photos of it on the approach. There wasn’t much room to stand safely away from the approaching train but there was a small enclave just by me, which I stepped into to let the train by and then followed it to the station.

The loco was immediately shut down on arrival and people were still setting their stalls up when it arrived, many of which were encroaching onto the tracks; which I’m sure was a usual affair and the locals knew the drill. Only when I was sure of the fact that the train was running did I buy my ticket and then clambered aboard the two-coach train to wait for the loco to run-round. This was done at 0805 for an 0820 departure and all the locals definitely did know the drill as the moment the loco was started a clear path down the run-round loop was made for the loco to pass. With 6 passengers on board the train was ready for the off but at 0828, 8 minutes after the booked departure time, the TU2 was shut down again and staff were clambering in ad out of the cab to figure out what was wrong with it. I got the impression it was a brake fault and when it was fired back into life at 0838 I could see my plus 20’ for train 013 back at Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi going down the pan. At which point I’d have to rely on doing a DMU to Teresva for it coming back instead. We departed 20’ late and with only a 10-minute turnaround at Khmilnyk there wasn’t much scope for picking up time.

Once through the tree tunnel, it was a continuous potter through open countryside, at a steady 15kmph. The track condition seemed shot to shit but there were a patrol gang out and about on a trolley, so it did get a bit of TLC. There are three intermediate stations along the line and the majority of people only use the one before Khmilnyk, with the other two just picking up the odd person and their bike. The old toilets in the coaches have been converted to house people’s bike and even have signs on the doors; which nobody pays a blind bit of notice to and just wedges them in the doorways instead. Tickets can be bought on the train from the guard, at no extra cost, with only Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi having a booking office anyway.

It was a pleasant potter, rocking through the countryside but I was already ready for heading back before we got to Khmilnyk. There’s no thrash, it was warm and my hayfever was taking a battering; despite me taking my meds earlier. On the approach to Khmilnyk the line from Berehove comes in from the left and had evidence of use on the railheads, although I suspect this was only from shunting the coaches away when the service had finished. There’s a small station building at Khmilnyk, with its own points setting person, which was a woman, who assisted in running the TU2 around. The whole station area is green with grass but for a small well-trodden footpath down one side of the tracks ad an area when the loco clearly sits, judging by the oil on the tracks. On the back line were a load of demic coaches, which would never see use again and would probably rot away where they sat, yet the two coaches in use were in decent nick both internally and externally.

After an efficient run-round we were ready to go just 17’ late but the 2nd man had to go and fetch a bucket of water for the loco first, so we departed 20’ late; on a plus 20’ back at Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi. The train was wedged with marketgoers at the first shack out of Khmilnyk and by the time we reached Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi there were people standing. Not wanting to miss my train, I manufactured myself to the doorway, which would allow me free flight straight to the main station on arrival, and it was a good job I did as no sooner had my feet touched the ground did M62-1391 come trundling into the station with 013 1642 (P) Kyiv Pas. – Solotvino 1. I thought I’d recognized the number too, when I read on the side of the loco that it was based at Kovel; it was one I’d had on a local train in the Kovel area on my first trip to Ukraine.

I was a little confused when boarding as there were way too many people clambering into the coach than there were berths for. Then I figured out that the gypsy community were using the train to get home and the coach attendant just let them; so, it much be a regular thing. Thankfully they all got off at the next stop and the coach was relatively empty and very peaceful after that. The journey passed by very quickly as I got talking to an English teach from near Kyiv, who wanted to practice her English on a “proper” English person! She explained to me that the courses they spoke seemed quite indifferent and didn’t have great structure to them but that all children today in the Ukraine are taught English at school; so, she couldn’t understand why hardly anyone I’d spoken to didn’t speak English at all. She was very surprised that I preferred to travel in the open Platskart coaches as opposed to in a compartment, with more comfort as she put it. My philosophy on that one is that generally the open platskart coaches are used by families or couples travelling together and its very rare to get a rowdy bunch spoiling the coach’s karma. Plus, its easier to get about the coaches without disturbing anyone and your bags are safe in the compartment under your seat; while you’re laid on your berth, nobody can lift the lid to steal them, and I’m not convinced anything like that happens in Ukraine on board trains anyway. It was a pleasant afternoon chewing the cud and we were arriving into Solotvino before we knew it. I managed to get the woman to explain to the coach attendant that I was returning on the same train, in the same coach and in the same berth; so, my berth and bedding were left out for when I returned from lunch.

After bidding the woman and her two children farewell, I got s couple of photos of M62-1391 before it was run-round and by the time I got to the opposite end of the station, M62-1103 was just being dropped onto the stock for 601 1746 Solotvino 1 – Lviv. Google maps directed me to a nearby restaurant called Selin, where a very good pizza was served and washed down with a good ruby beer. The restaurant was airconditioned, had good WiFi and allowed me to charge both of my phones while I ate. All in all, a good choice, and all for about £3.50!

Back at Solotvino 1 station M62-1391 wasn’t started until 20-minutes prior to departure and was then shunted onto the train once the station staff had shifted the red stop-board from in front of the stock. My bedding was still in my berth, exactly as I’d left it and there were only 3 people in my coach when train 013 departed. I left my ticket on the table at the side of me and must have dozed off as it was gone when I next looked. It was another of those afternoon dozes, where I kept waking mid-snore or gargle, but thankfully there weren’t any people around to witness it; I blame the gypsies for keeping me awake and the afternoon beer again!

The downfall of my set was that not only were all the windows in my coach nailed shut, but there weren’t any curtains too, so I couldn’t block the sunlight out or get a breeze in! An afternoon of melting into my berth ensued but it didn’t stop me making use of the two-tea policy that I’d booked with my ticket.

My pillow was drenched in sweat when I woke up, or was it dribble? Or both!? The only way to get any form of respite from the sweatbox coach was while standing having a piss in the bog, which did have an open window. It had been hammering down outside and the air was very refreshing but standing in the bog for 5 minutes to cool down was a compete waste of time as no sooner had I walked back to my berth, did sweat start to engulf my body again.

I’d been in two minds as to whether to just get off at Batovo and wait the 2h23m for 601, following behind from Solotvino. In the end I stayed on to Chop and was rewarded with VL10-1482 back to Batovo on 107 1936 Uzhhorod – Odesa; having passed VL10-1493, which I’d had down from Lviv the previous night, on 046 Uzhhorod – Lysychansk.

At Batovo ChME3-5612 was just about to head off to Korelovo with a trip freight, which I figured out when one of the train crew off train 107 shouted across; which I assumed was him asking the driver if he was going to Korelovo and based on his nodded response I drew my conclusion. ChME3-3072 was also present and shunting in the yard behind the station; having turned up from the Chop direction shortly after I’d arrived, loaded with railway staff; or I assumed that they were all staff!

My plan was to board 601 1746 Solotvino 1 – Lviv at Batovo and do the train through to Lviv but when train 829L 1644 Lviv – Uzhhorod turned up with VL11M-060a/b dragging an EMU I went into flap mode. I was right outside the ticket hall but there was nobody manning the window to sell tickets. The coaches on the EMU were numbered ad only select doors were opened to allow people off the train. Randomly though, none of the doors in my vicinity were being manned so I snook on while nobody was looking and with the train being almost empty it was easy to blend into the scenery. Had I been challenged I was going to just flash my Batovo – Lviv ticket and play the stupid foreigner card but nobody came through the train, let alone asked me for a ticket. I’d been hoping that I’d come across a unit drag during the day on the Solotvino line, but everything had been solid DMU, so to fall into an EMU drag was quite an unexpected bonus for the day.

As expected, M62-1103 arrived into Chop with train 601, albeit 15’ late, and VL10-1486 replaced it for the run to Lviv. The 15’ late arrival wasn’t a good start to the journey as I was on a plus 51’ at Lviv for train 081 2102 Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod to Nyiregyhaza in Hungary; so, miss that, and my move was in tatters! Upon boarding train 601, I found my berth No.17 occupied by two guys playing cards with their friends opposite them. The attendant did clear them off my bed, but I figured that as they’d had a drink and were clearly not ready for bed, that moving berths was the better option. One of the guys had the side-upper berth opposite the compo so I made that berth up, stowed my bags on the upper luggage rack, where the bedding was usually stored, and got myself horizontal. To be fair to the guys playing cards, they weren’t any bother at all and did try to be as quiet as possible while finishing off their beer and their card game.


Gen for Thursday 7th June 2018

M62-1103 601 2040 (P) Lviv – Solotvino 1 (from Chop), 601 1746 Solotvino 1 – Lviv (to Chop)
TU2-034 6603
M62-1391 013K 1642 (P) Kyiv Pas – Solotvino 1 (from Chop), 013L 1627 Solotvino 1 – Kyiv Pas (to Chop)
VL10-1487 045 xxxx Uzhhorod – Lysychansk
VL10-1482 107 1936 Uzhhorod – Odesa
VL10-1486 601 1746 Solotvino 1 – Lviv (from Chop)
VL11M-066b/a 829L 1644 Lviv – Uzhhorod (dragging EMU)


Moves for Thursday 7th June 2018 

M62-1103 Chop Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi 601L 2040 (06/06) Lviv – Solotvino 1
TU2-034 Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi Khmilnyk 6604 0820 Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi – Khmilnyk
TU2-034 Khmilnyk Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi 6605 0950 Khmilnyk – Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi
M62-1391 Vynohradiv-Zakarpatskyi Solotvino 1 013K 1642 (06/06) Kyiv Pas. – Solotvino 1
M62-1391 Solotvino 1 Chop 013L 1627 Solotvino 1 – Kyiv Pas.
VL10-1482(1) Chop Batovo 107L 1936 Uzhhorod – Odesa Holovna
VL11M-060a Batovo Chop 829L 1644 Lviv – Uzhhorod
VL10-1486(1) Chop Lviv 601Sh 1746 Solotvino 1 – Lviv


Photos for Thursday 7th June 2018 


Friday 8th June 2018 (Daytime traveling from Lviv, via the Chop border crossing, into Hungary)

I woke up at 0515, with people walking down the coach as though they’d just got on ad sure enough, we then departed Sambir; which we were due to depart at 0440. At 35’ late I could live with the plus 16’ that my connection had turned into at Lviv, but we staggered away from Sambir and proceeded to potter for a good 10km. While trying to put the possible fiasco out of my mind, I did attempt to see when the next train from Lviv to Chop was, just in case I did miss train 081; but the data wasn’t strong enough for me to get onto the UZ website. On the approach to Liubin-Velykyi we were almost 30’ late but the 30 second station stop had us away 27’ late. I used Google Translate to tell the coach attendant what train I needed to catch from Lviv, and showed her my ticket, but both her and the other staff member she spoke to could only shrug their shoulders and pretty much gesture that I may make it, or I may not. I’ll give the attendant her due though, she found someone that spoke English in the coach and get her to explain to me what I should do if I did miss my train; which I got the impression she was quite confident I was going to. By this time though, we were only 5km from Lviv and with 20 minutes to play with and I was poised at the doors ready to make a dash for it if need be.

As we rounded the corner into Lviv there were only two trains in the station, what turned out to be 143 2019 (P) Kyiv Pas – Vorokhta with 2M62-1247a/2M62-1076b at the helm in one platform, and in the adjacent one was my train 081 2102 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod with ChS7-126 at its helm. And I thought I had limited time on arrival at Lviv, but then I discovered people scurrying by me in the subway and then found them clambering into train 143 as I got onto the platform; which was due away 1 minute after we arrived!

I made the mistake of walking to the wrong end of my train, before having to walk 19 coaches to the very front coach, behind the loco; which is where “the” through coach from Lviv to Budapest Nyugati was. It was a three-tier sleeper coach and everyone in the coach had a compartment to themselves on departure from Lviv. I wasted no time, after departure, in getting myself cleaned from head to toe in the compo sink. My bedding came with two towels, which was handy, and 30-minutes int the journey I actually felt human again, with all the accumulated sweat and rancidity having been washed down the tiny plughole along the way. I even found it in myself to get a shave and in doing so discovered two nice mosquito bites after the beard had gone; which will have been from my time stood in the tree tunnel at Vynohradiv the previous morning, no doubt.

It was nice to relax in my own compo, with a cup of UZ’s own brand black tea. Breakfast turned out to be bananas and nutrigrains, thanks to the lack of time in Lviv to get anything but one of the bananas had been squashed and had juiced itself in my bag; luckily my Tesco carrier bag came to the rescue, but it was beyond salvage this time! The cheese I’d bought at Ivano Frankivsk looked like it had been sweating more than me since I’d bought it, so I thought it best to release it from its sweaty haven and make some sarnies up. These were then put back into the bread bag, nice and neatly of course, the cheese juice from the packets was then deposited down the sink, which had taken a hammering since I’d got on, and the remaining cheese was polished off as the remainder of breakfast; mmmm!

At Lavochne, 2h30m into the journey, the line becomes very scenic and snakes through a nice hill section down to Volovets. All trains, apart from EMU’s by the look of it, are banked or piloted. VL11M-153b/a was added to train 081 ad piloted ChS7-126 down the hill. Adjacent to us at Lavochne was a lengthy freight with VL11M’s 110, 086 & 113 waiting to follow us down. Along the route we passed a freight coming in the opposite direction with T&T VL11M’s and a couple of sets of pilot locos were running back up the hill for their next assignment. The most noteworthy thing we passed was VL11M-064a/b, just outside Lavochne with one coach, which had people on board.

There was quite a bit of construction work going on in the hill section, with a new alignment having replaced a section that was worryingly close to a cliff edge; while the tracks on the old alignment had been lifted, all the OHL poles and wires remained in situ. There was at least one old abandoned tunnel bore, which suggested that the line used to be a single line section in the past. It looked like it had been abandoned years ago but was open at both ends. VL11M-153 was efficiently detached at Volovets and train 081 continued on its merry way towards Chop, arriving into Batovo spot on time at 1144, just 14 hours after I’d left the place the previous night. How ironic would it have been if I’d missed my train in Lviv, having been at the very place it passes through, 14 hours before it would arrive there!

At Chop, I didn’t know what to expect, other than from what recent trip reports had suggested. The gauge changing facility is an outside affair, much the same as the one at Ungheni in Moldova, and is situated just north of the station, on the right-hand side. Passports were immediately taken for processing when train 081 drew to a stand at Chop. ChS7-126 and the through coach for Hungary were immediately detached, the ChS7 then drew the coach clear of the train and points at the platform end. This then allowed ChME3-2222, which had been waiting in the adjacent platform on arrival, to drop onto the north end of the coach and drag it back through the station, before then propelling it into the gauge changer; where the very noisy staff set about jacking the coach up and removing the CIS gauge bogies. VL11M-065b/a were later seen heading around the corner, towards Uzhhorod, with 081, having taken over from ChS7-126 for the last leg of the journey.

The whole gauge changing process took no more than 45 minutes, from the coach being propelled in, to it being lowered onto SG bogies. There wasn’t much to do while we then festered in the gauge changer for something to eventually drag us out. There were no other passenger trains in and out of Chop during the fester, other than the international train from Zahony. On Chop shed, I counted no less that 14 different ChME3’s and 6 different M62/2M62 independent units; most of which looked demic but looks can be deceiving of course.

Departure time for IC33 1410 Chop – Budapest Nyugati had come and gone before our coach was shunted out of the gauge changer. ChME3-5212, which we passed on the outskirts of Chop doing some shunting, eventually propelled two coaches into the gauge changer. These were the through coach for Lviv off IC34 Budapest Nyugati – Chop and the day coach for the Chop – Zahony circuit. After depositing the through coach, the ChME3 then dropped the day coach on top of our coach and drew the two into the station. The ChME3 was then removed and the MAV loco dropped onto the train. Passports were returned to us at this point and as I’d officially departed Ukraine, I couldn’t get off to spot the MAV loco, but I could see a reflection of it in the glass of the holding area, which all the passengers from Chop to Hungary were just being let out of; to board the leading coach of the train. I’d been hoping for some kind of shunt loco but all I could make out from the reflection was that it was MAV red and I couldn’t see the actual profile of it. What I could tell though, was that it didn’t sound like an M41, not a loud one anyway.

Despite the late start from Chop, and the stagger over the border to Zahony, there was never going to be a late departure from Zahony for IC33. The passport grp at Zahony was pretty efficient too and once done, I asked one of the border guys if I could get off, for a drink of course, but really to get the loco number that had just worked IC33 into Zahony. I was very aware of the limited time I had to do it as I felt the jolt as the loco buffered up to be detached. Yet despite being told by one guy I could get off, as I attempted to do so, another border guy told me I couldn’t and proceeded to demand my passport and then put it through the scanner; again! At which point 418120 ran by the train from the Chop end of the station. Confusion then reigned on my part.

The confusion about the additional passport grip was as the guy who’d told me I could get off turned out to be a customs guy and not a border security guy. My confusion about what was going on with locos was then soon answered. Having opened the flip-in window in my compo, stuck my phone out and took a photo, it revealed the M41 waiting at the side of the train as an M62 drew clear of it! Having never had an M62 in Hungary, I was quite taken by surprise at seemingly getting one in the most unexpected of places and when it was too late, the border guy popped his head into my compo and told me I could now get off; cheers then, dickhead!

Thankfully the M62 came back through the station and went onto the shed at the Chop end of the station, where there were rafts of other M62s all stabled up, doing nowt. So, when 628519 had been removed, 418120 was dropped onto the train, to do the stock shunt, which I’d completely forgotten about and I only just made it back onto the train before the coach ada pulled the steps up. I had discovered 431065 at the helm of 6203 1403 Zahony – Budapest Nyugati and 480001 at the helm of the MAV rake for IC33 in the meantime and once the through coach was dropped onto the rear of IC33 I asked for my ticket back off the coach ada, who didn’t understand what was going on as I had a ticket for Debrecen, had already told he I was getting off at Nyiregyhaza and was now telling her I wanted to get off at Zahony. She looked all confused as I clambered down the steps and walked down the platform to board 6203; with her watching m all the way; bless her.

I did 431065, which departed 15’ late, to Kisvarda. I was going to do it all the way to Nyiregyhaza as it got there before IC33 but with the late running and the fact it was all shacks, I decided to hedge my bets that IC33 would overtake it and get there first; and 480001 was new too, so if I was going to miss my plus 5’ at Nyiregyhaza, I might as well get something out of it. I was right, IC33 did overtake 6203 and was spot on time into Nyiregyhaza. 431204 was sat over the way with IC656 1526 Nyiregyhaza – Budapest Keleti and 431346 had just arrived with a local from Szerencs, which 431352 immediately dropped onto the opposite end of to work R5145 1538 Nyiregyhaza – Szerencs.

In the confines of the 1st class on IC656, I spent the journey using Vonatinfo to figure out what was going on with the diesel turns on the Satoraljaujhely branch. What I discovered was that the line was shut from Sarospatak to Satoraljaujhely, with a bus replacement. I’d also discovered earlier, while festering in Chop gauge changer that some trains had been almost 2 hours late down the line, so there’d been an almighty farce somewhere. Satoraljaujhely line aside, I also discovered that from the early evening there were no trains between Szerencs and Nyiregyhaza, with buses replacing all trains there too. So, with the trains not running to Satoraljaujhely the loco diagrams were to pot and this was further complicated by the late running; so, it would be one of those suck I and see afternoons.

418152 was sat waiting to depart with R5226 1614 Szerencs – Sarospatak, when 431204 rolled into Szerencs with IC656; so that was a good start. Getting off at Mezozombor, I knew that 431352 was heading towards me with R5145 1538 Nyiregyhaza – Szerencs and that 418165 was following it with S521 1604 Sarospatak – Budapest Keleti. What Vonatinfo did reveal was that SS26 1330 Budapest – Keleti – Sarospatak hadn’t departed Budapest and I suspected it would start at Miskolc; although my suspicions of a right time departure were somewhat wrong! Due to the very fluid situation though, I opted to do 431352 back to Szerencs, watch 431165 leave, instead of doing it towards Miskolc for S526 back, and then di 431348 back to Mezozombor; which had kindly come from Nyiregyhaza on the rear of R5415 and duly formed R5136 1716 Szerencs – Nyiregyhaza straight back; after 431352 and it’s push-pull set had been removed from the consist and shunted to the yard. This was probably to do with the line closure later that evening, and getting all the sets in the right place?

At Mezozombor, for the second time, 418334 arrived with R5223 1704 Sarospatak – Szerencs, before 431215 did so with R5113 1640 Nyiregyhaza – Miskolc, which was a bonus, and with S526 now having an expected late departure time from Miskolc a nice 4-loco ned move produced with 418334 to Szerencs, 431215 forward to Taktaharkany for 418307 to Taktaszada on S526 then 431105 to Szerencs on R5116 1745 Miskolc – Szerencs; which was the first of the evening trains to or from Nyiregyhaza to be pined due to the engineering works. During the little bash I was even able to get some shots of M61-020 at Szerencs, before it headed off; later to be found stabled at Miskolc, south of the station.

If I thought my late afternoon bash was going well, I was about to get a kick up the arse and enter flap mode on the approach to Szerencs when I clapped eyes on an M62 in the station. 628328 had been stabled in the station sidings earlier but there was an M41 where it had been and R5203 1804 Sarospatak – Fuzesabony was due away at any moment and should probably have gone already; hence he flap. Sure enough, the M62 was attached to R5203 and 418152 was sat on the naught step, where the M62 had been earlier. I wasn’t concerned with the why’s and wherefores and more with making the train. The station red-cap was just handing over something to the driver and as 431105 drew to a stand in the adjacent platform she raised her arm to give the drive the plunge off! I already had my door open and was on the platform before the train stopped moving, and thanks to a country without central door locking I was able to scramble aboard, with the train starting to move as I rammed the door open; amid much protest from the red-cap; which I duly took notice o and got back off again while the train picked up speed…… Like fuck I did! I wasn’t going back to Szerencs that evening, so I couldn’t have cared any less as she gestured at me as the coach I’d clambered into rolled by her.

So, having not had an M62 in Hungary, I’d managed two in a day, so I was quite pleased, even if they are a bit shit in the thrash stakes. There was no rest for the wicked at Miskolc either as I legged it through the subway to make 431048, which I’d spotted as we’d arrived, it turned out to be a terminating train though and by the time I’d got back underneath he M62 was just disappearing off into the distance and431108 dropped onto the train for the run forward to Fuzesabony, which I did through to Nyekladhaza for 431052 back on a late running S528 1600 Budapest Keleti – Sarospatak, which gave way to 418165 at Miskolc; so forward to Hernadnemeti-Bocs it was, for 431370 back to Miskolc on R5123B 1945 Szerencs – Miskolc, another of the Nyiregyhaza starters that had been started elsewhere due to the engineering works.

My afternoon/evening was all but over in Hungary and I was soon to be Slovakia bound. Not only was I glad of the rest, but my fingers were glad they didn’t have to write down any more long Hungarian station names; it had been a bloody nightmare keeping up with the move writing, let alone trying to figure out how to spell whatever I was writing down! 431214 did the honours on IC186 1830 Budapest Keleti – Kosice, one of the two through IC’s a day from Budapest to Kosice via Hidasnemeti, which was replaced at Hidasnemeti by ZSSK 362001 for the run over the border. The loco and MAV set then formed Os8786 2231 Kosice – Lipany forward from Kosice; with the on-train window labels showing the train as a through Budapest – Kosice – Lipany train anyway.

It as a nice relaxing run in an empty 1st class compo to Kosice, during which I couldn’t be arsed with getting my train shit up to date, so spent the journey watching The 100, which I’d started watching in India in March and had got quite into. The journey all ended too soon though and I was back into ned mode the moment we arrived into Kosice, with 362011 enticing me aboard as it waited to depart with EN442 1946 Humenne – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi. Thanks to the real-time info on the very good CG Transit app, I knew there was a choice of late runners back from Kysak. The first to turn up was IC525 1743 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Kosice with 350015, which I did back for my overnight forward to Bratislava; although not the one I expected to be on!

When I’d planned this trip, I’d tasked Rail Canterbury with the required reservations for the Interrail part of the trp. I’d asked for a berth on R800 2127 Presov – Bratislava Nove Mesto but had been told that the train was seating only and was offered R17614 2154 Humenne – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica instead, departing at 2325 vice the 2220 of R800. When I got back to Kosice, R800 was still sat waiting to depart, minus a loco at that point. A walk down the train revealed not only couchettes but also two sleeper coaches on the train; so, Rail Canterbury were wrong. The train wasn’t full either, even in the seating coaches. When one of the coach attendants approached me to ask if I was ok, I took the opportunity to ask why the train was late; and in fluent English I got the answer “locomotive problems”. I then got talking to the attendant and told her about my initial desire to have travelled with R800 and what Rail Canterbury had said, to which she told me that there’d always been sleeper coaches on the train. When I jokingly asked if I could travel with her, I expected a flat no, but she asked to see my ticket. When she realised I was on an Interrail, and had paid for a berth reservation, albeit on another train, she was more than happy to give me a berth; and the bonus of it was that I got a cabin to myself. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and while we’d been sorting my cabin out, I felt the jolt of the loco backing on, so all was good. The reason I’d wanted to do R800 in the first place was because it went via the diesel route to Zvolen and not the electric route via Zilina that R17614 did. With 757010 bolted to the front, R800 departed about 30’ late and I was in bed moments after departure; reveling in the relative comfort of my personal cabin. And for only €12.50 for the berth, it was a bargain too!


Gen for Friday 8th June 2018 

2M62-1247a/2M62-1076b 143 2019 (P) Kyiv Pas – Voroktha
ChS7-126 081K 2102 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod (to Chop)
VL11M-153b/a pilot 081K Lavochne to Volovets
VL11M-065b/a 081K 2102 (P) Kyiv Pas – Uzhhorod (from Chop)
VL11M-064a/b arr Lavochne at 0925 with 1 coach
14xChME3 & 6xM62 on Chop Shed
ChS7-126 drag Budapest coach off 081K at Chop
ChME3-2222 drag Budapest coach through Chop station then propel to gauge changer
ChME3-5212 drag Budapest coach out of gauge changer

628109 IC33 1410 Chop – Budapest Nyugati (to Zahony)
418120 shunt thro coach to MAV portion of IC33 at Zahony
480001 IC33 1410 Chop – Budapest Nyugati (from Zahony)
431065 6203 1403 Zahony – Budapest Nyugati
431204 IC656 1526 Nyiregyhaza – Budapest Keleti
431352 R5145 1538 Nyiregyhaza – Szerencs (431346 dor)
418152 R5226 11614 Szerencs – Sarospatak
431296 R5124 1535 Miskolc Tiszai – Nyiregyhaza
418165 S521 1604 Sarospatak – Budapest Keleti, S528 1600 Budapest Keleti – Sarospatak (from Miskolc)
431346 R5136 1716 Szerencs – Nyiregyhaza
418307 S526 1330 Budapest Keleti – Sarospatak (start Miskolc)
431215 R5113 1640 Nyiregyhaza – Miskolc Tiszai
418334 R5223 1704 Sarospatak – Szerencs, R5218 1814 Szerencs – Sarospatak
431105 R5116 1735 Miskolc Tiszai – Szerencs
418152 R5203 1804 Sarospatak – Fuzesabony (to Szerencs)
628328 R5203 1804 Sarospatak – Fuzesabony (Szerencs to Miskolc)
431108 R5203 1804 Sarospatak – Fuzesabony (from Miskolc)
431052 S528 1600 Budapest Keleti – Sarospatak (to Miskolc)
431370 R5123B 1945 Szerencs – Miskolc Tiszai
431214 IC186 1830 Budapest Keleti – Kosice (to Hidasnemeti)

362001 IC186 1830 Budapest Keleti – Kosice (from Hidasnemeti), Os8786 2231 Kosice – Lipany
362011 EN442 1946 Humenne – Praha Hl Nadrazi
350015 IC525 1743 Bratislava Hl St – Kosice
110010 & 721110 Kosice station pilots
757010 R800 2127 Presov – Bratislava Nove Mesto (to Zvolen)


Moves for Friday 8th June 2018 

ChS7-126(1) Lviv Chop 081K 2102 (07/06) Kyiv Pas. – Uzhhorod
VL11M-153b Lavochne Volovets
ChS7-126(1) Chop Platform 1 West of Chop Platform 1 Shunt Budapest coach off 081
ChME3-2222 West of Chop Platform 1 Chop Gauge Changer CIS gauge Through Kyiv – Budapest coach shunt at Chop
ChME3-5212 Chop Gauge Changer SG Chop Platform 1 Through Kyiv – Budapest coach shunt at Chop
628109 Chop Zahony IC33 1410 Chop – Budapest Nyugati
418120 Zahony Platform ? Zahony Plat ? IC33 Shunt thro Kyiv – Budapest coach onto MAV portion of IC33
431065 Zahony Kisvarda S6203 1403 Zahony – Budapest Nyugati
480001 Kisvarda Nyiregyhaza IC33 1410 Chop – Budapest Nyugati
431204 Nyiregyhaza Szerencs IC656 1526 Nyiregyhaza – Budapest Keleti
418152 Szerencs Mezozombor R5226 1614 Szerencs – Sarospatak
431352 Mezozombor Szerencs R5145 1538 Nyiregyhaza – Szerencs
431346 Szerencs Mezozombor R5136 1716 Szerencs – Nyiregyhaza
418334 Mezozombor Szerencs R5223 1704 Sarospatak – Szerencs
431215 Szerencs Taktaharkany R5113 1640 Nyiregyhaza – Miskolc-Tiszai
418307 Taktaharkany Taktaszada S526 1330 Budapest Keleti – Sarospatak (Start Miskolc)
431105 Taktaszada Szerencs R5116 1735 Kiskolc-Tiszai – Nyiregyhaza (Pine Szerencs)
628328 Szerencs Miskolc-Tiszai R5203 1804 Sarospatak – Füzesabony
431108 Miskolc-Tiszai Nyekladhaza
431052 Nyekladhaza Miskolc-Tiszai S528 1600 Budapest Keleti – Sarospatak
418165 Miskolc-Tiszai Hernadnemeti-Bocs
431370 Hernadnemeti-Bocs Miskolc-Tiszai R5123B 1945 Szerencs – Miskolc-Tiszai
431214 Miskolc-Tiszai Hidasnemeti IC186 1830 Budapest Keleti – Kosice Osobna Stanica
362001 Hidasnemeti Kosice Osobna Stanica
362011 Kosice Osobna Stanica Kysak EN442 1946 Humenne – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi
350015 Kysak Kosice Osobna Stanica IC525 1743 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Kosice Osobna Stanica
757010 Kosice Osobna Stanica Zvolen Osobna Stanica R800 2127 Presov – Bratislava Nove Mesto


Photos for Friday 8th June 2018 


Saturday 9th June 2018 (Austria covering 2143’s on the Nostalgie & Reblaus Expresses before overnight into Switzerland)

While I didn’t have a massive amount of sleep overnight, I was refreshed when I got off at Bratislava Vinohrady. Where I discovered that 757010 had given way to 362010 in the middle of the night. 240073 was following right behind R800, with Os2004 0430 Nove Zamky – Kuty and as soon as that had arrived into Bratislava Hlavna Stanica, 350006 followed it in with the overnight I should have been on, R17614 2154 (P) Humenne – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica. There was a nice quick out and back from Hlavna Stanica to Vinohrady available before my train to Wien, which produced 240070 on Os3005 0609 Bratislava HS – Leopoldov for 240145 on REX1872 0518 Nove Zamky – Bratislava HS; which dropped me nicely into the adjacent platform from OBB’s 2016099, waiting to depart with REX2507 0638 Bratislava HS – Wien Hbf.

The object of the way, when I got to Wien, was to dump the big bag in the left luggage lockers near platforms 1&2, then cover the Nostalgie Express from Wien Praterstern at 0914. Unfortunately, without various bus moves and fucking about, there’s no way of doing the Nostalgie Express to Ernstbrunn and then getting to either Retz or Drosendorf for the afternoon Reblaus Express, departing Retz at 1325. Both trains are advertised as using 2143’s and having never had a “loud” one, I was intrigued to hear what all the fuss was about; but first I had some time to kill in Wien.

It was as though the power controllers at OBB had a list of what I’d had as it was an hour of stepping from one to the other, starting with 1144090 ex Wien Hbf on EC151 0758 Wien Hbf – Ljubljana ad finishing with 1144250 delivering me to Wien Praterstern on R2316 0811 Wiener Neustadt – Floridsdorf. Where there was quite a few waiting on the platform for Nostalgie Expresses 0914 departure to Ernstbrunn. There were also quite a few at the platform ends waiting to photograph the train arriving and it wasn’t long before 2143056 was rounding the corner with 6 heritage coaches in tow. It was a scrum to get on, while the normals found their reserved seats, and I eventually managed to get myself a bay in the second coach, where all the windows in the coach were already down as it was a hot morning.

On departure from Praterstern the driver wasn’t holding back and was straight to full power from a standing start. I was expecting the little thing to sound like the only decent 2095 I’ve had, which was meaty and had quite a growl to it; but sadly, I was disappointed. There was a bit of meat to the noise coming out of the stack but there was a lot of rasping too, which took away any of the decent sound that may have been there. Alas, I’d sampled a “loud” 2143 and with they hype that surrounds them and a lot of other diesels in Europe, I expected a lot more from it, but just like everything else around Europe it wasn’t acoustically pleasing at all. So, thus far, the only non-Alco that has pleased my ears in Europe has been 2095015 on the Mariazellerbahn.

I was only on board for half an hour, to Korneuburg, and paid €5 for the privilege. When 2143056 departed Korneuburg the driver caned it again and it was entertaining, but just not my thing. Unfortunately, the move to get from Korneuburg to Retz was a bit crap due to it being a weekend and I did 1116119 back to Rennweg, on R2225 0855 Znojmo – Wien Meidling, to pass the time until the next hauled service to Retz, which is R2232 1044 Wien Meidling – Znojmo; which produced 1144204. The train wasn’t well used all the way to Retz and went over the border to the Czech Republic almost empty.

At Retz there’s a nice bar/restaurant on the station and that’s about your lot. The Retz “Wally Trolley”, or road train to normal folk, stops right outside the station and I got the impression that it was free. And no, I didn’t have a go. As expected, 2143070 arrived with 6 green coaches, which formed the Reblaus Express. The stock on the Reblaus Express, operated by Novog, was a lot better internally than that on the Nostalgie Express, mainly as the seats were upholstered. It wasn’t a scrum to get on the train and I ended up with my own personal coach on the outbound run to Drosendorf. The front coach was out of use though, so I had to make do with the second coach. The staff on board were all friendly and the bar staff kept coming through to take any orders, with menus placed on the seats in every bay. Some spoke English, some didn’t but it was easy to buy my ticket from the guard, which cost €19. The ticket is actually a tageskarte (day ticket) so at €19 for the day its not bad value. The line to Drosendorf is very scenic and climbs quite steeply away from Retz, in fact it climbs quite a lot of the way to Drosendorf but the little 2143 copes fine with the gradients. Again, there was no holding back with the power handle, and on a more steeply graded line 2143070 should have been better than 2143056 had been but it didn’t make a lot of noise at all, let alone a pleasing noise. So, having now had 2 non-silenced 2143’s, I can safely say I’m not impressed at all. While it won’t stop me doing other 2143’s in the future, it will be more for the journey experience than the thrash; as there isn’t any.

It was a scorching hot journey and with the windows open my eyes were beginning to suffer on the outward journey. At Drosendorf there is nothing at all, other than the station building, which is similar at every station long the route. There were no problems walking around the track at Drosendorf to get photos but at Retz the train runs into a mainline platform. I spent most of the return journey napping, after a cold beer on the train, in an effort not to put my head out of the window and irritate the hayfever any more than was necessary. I was glad to get off and into a nice air-conditioned train at Retz though, where the same applies to the outward move to get to Retz, to get back from it, to pass the time you can go further away first; in fact, into a different country before heading back to Wien.

1144097 led the way into the Czech Republic with R2238 1445 Wien Meidling – Znojmo, where it festered for 20 minutes before returning with R2257 1655 Znojmo – Wien Meidling. The view from the train as curves around into Znojmo is fantastic and Znojmo looks like a nice place to spend a day, although it looks like one where your legs will be tired at the end of it; as it seems quite hilly! As with the outbound train from Wien earlier, the return back into Wien was quite empty, for the majority of the journey, then in Wien things got a bit busy with everyone either heading home, or out for the evening.

I had plenty of time to kill before I headed to Switzerland at 2325 and needless to say, found plenty to do thanks to the OBB power controllers. With the first loco on the agenda being 1144013, which I’d seen earlier but couldn’t do. Fortunately, the diagrams held up and it produced, by diagram, on R2254 1844 Wien Meidling – Retz. It then became an 1116 evening with 1116102 starting proceedings on NJ233 1910 Wien Hbf Autoreiszuge – Milano Centrale, leading to 1116187 with IC725 1540 Steinach Irding – Wien Hbf then 1116275 with R2363 1827 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt, another which had stuck to diagram, and finally 1116131 with R2360 1911 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal; before a bit of respite from 1116’s ensued.

2016013 was REX2532 2016 Wien Hbf – Bratislava HS and ELL’s 193221 was Regiojet’s RJ1037 1621 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Wien Hbf and the attention then turned back to 1116’s, which just kept on coming. With 1116253 working NJ490 2027 Wien Hbf Autoreiszuge –Hamburg Altona, and even a couple of Railjet 1116’s got my attention, namely 1116220 on RJ1261 1908 Salzburg Hbf – Flughafen Wien and 1116231 on RJ1044 2233 Flughafen Wien – Wien Hbf; which was a nice little move to the airport and back before 1116255 on EN462 2040 Budapest Keleti – München Hbf. By which time I was ready or my bed ad after a brief visit to the 1st class lounge, I was clambering into my berth. There were only two of us in the three-tier compo and the guy in with me decided to take the upper berth instead of the middle and the middle was put up, out of the way. While I wanted to sleep straight through to Buchs, I had to set the alarm to do the 3am wander around Salzburg Hbf to find out what would be shunting our Zurich portion to form EN466 forward to Zurich.


Gen for Saturday 9th June 2018

362010 R800 2127 Presov – Bratislava Nove Mesto (from Zvolen)
240073 Os2004 0430 Nove Zamky – Kuty
350006 R17614 2154 (P) Humenne – Bratislava Hl St (from Kosice)
362005 R831 0601 Bratislava Hl St – Banska Bystrica
383107 R601 0603 Bratislava Hl St – Kosice
240070 Os3005 0609 Bratislava Hl St – Leopoldov
361108 REX1721 0633 Bratislava Hl St – Prievidza
2016099 REX2502 0516 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hl St, REX2507 0638 Bratislava Hl St – Wien Hbf, REX250x 0816 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hl St
240145 REX1872 0518 Nove Zamky – Bratislava Hl St

1144090 EC151 0758 Wien Hbf – Ljubljana, EC150 1600 Ljubljana – Wien Hbf
1116103 R2315 0627 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt
1144046 R2212 0655 Payerbach-Reichenau – Floridsdorf
1144263 R2319 0733 Bernhardsthal – Wiener Neustadt
1144097 R2214 0729 Payerbach-Reichenau – Retz, R2238 1445 Wien Meidling – Znojmo, R2257 Znojmo – Wien Meidling
1144250 R2316 0811 Wiener Neustadt – Floridsdorf
2143056 EZ7490 0914 Wien Praterstern – Ernstbrunn
1116119 R2225 0855 Znojmo – Wien Meidling
1116275 R2320 0911 Wiener Neustadt – Breclav
1144091 R2322 0855 Payerbach-Reichenau – Floridsdorf
1116137 R2327 1039 Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt
1144204 R2222 1044 Wien Meidling – Znojmo
1116060 xx07 Wien Mitte – Flughafen Wien (CAT)
2143070 16572 1325 Retz – Drosendorf, 16573 1455 Drosendorf – Retz (Reblaus Express)
1144013 R2254 1844 Wien Meidling – Retz
1144248 R2359 Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt
1116102 NJ233 1910 Wien Hbf Auto – Milano Centrale
1116234 RJ762 1903 Flughafen Wien – Innsbruck Hbf
1116187 IC725 1540 Stainach Irding – Wien Hbf
1116275 R2363 1827 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt
1116131 R2360 1911 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal
2016013 REX2532 2016 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hl St
193221 RJ1037 1621 Praha Hl Nadrazi – Wien Hbf
1116253 NJ490 2027 Wien Hbf Auto – Hamburg Altona
1144246 R2264 2114 Wien Meidling – Floridsdorf
1116069 NJ237 2127 Wien Hbf – Venezia Santa Lucia
1116220 RJ1261 1908 Salzburg Hbf – Flughafen Wien
1116231 RJ1044 2233 Flughafen Wien – Wien Hbf
1116053 NJ246 2242 Wien Hbf Auto – Bregenz
1216238 RJ375 1851 Praha Hl Nadrazi – Wien Hbf
1116255 EN462 2040 Budapest Keleti – München Hbf


Moves for Saturday 9th June 2018 

362010 Zvolen Osobna Stanica Bratislava Vinohrady R800 2127 (08/06) Presov – Bratislava Nove Mesto
240073 Bratislava Vinohrady Bratislava Hlavna Stanica Os2004 0430 Nove Zamky – Kuty
240070 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica Bratislava Vinohrady Os3005 0609 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Leopoldov
240145 Bratislava Vinohrady Bratislava Hlavna Stanica REX1872 0518 Nove Zamky – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica
2016099 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica Marchegg REX2507 0638 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Wien Hbf
2016099 Marchegg Wien Hbf
1144090 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling EC151 0758 Wien Hbf – Ljubljana
1116103 Wien Meidling Wien Liesing R2315 0627 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt
1144046 Wien Liesing Wien Praterstern R2212 0655 Payerbach Reichenau – Wien Floridsdorf
1144263 Wien Praterstern Wien Mitte R2319 0733 Bernhardsthal – Wiener Neustadt
1144250 Wien Mitte Wien Praterstern R2316 0811 Wiener Neustadt – Wien Floridsdorf
2143056 Wien Praterstern Korneuburg EZ7490 0914 Wien Praterstern – Ernstbrunn
1116119 Korneuburg Wien Rennweg R2225 0855 Znojmo – Wien Meidling
1144091 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte R2322 0855 Payerbach Reichenau – Wien Floridsdorf
1144204 Wien Mitte Retz R2222 1044 Wien Meidling – Znojmo
2143070 Retz Drosendorf R16972 1325 Retz – Drosendorf
2143070 Drosendorf Retz R16973 1455 Drosendorf – Retz
1144097 Retz Znojmo R2238 1445 Wien Meidling – Znojmo
1144097 Znojmo Wien Hbf Low Level R2257 1655 Znojmo – Wien Meidling
1144013 Wien Hbf Low Level Wien Rennweg R2254 1844 Wien Meidling – Retz
1144248 Wien Rennweg Wien Hbf Low Level R2359 1839 Wien Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt
1116102 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling NJ233 1910 Wien Hbf (Autoreisezuganlage) – Milano Centrale
1116187 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf IC725 1540 Stainach Irdning – Wien Hbf
1116275 Wien Hbf Low Level Wien Quartier Belvedere R2363 1827 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt
1116131 Wien Quartier Belvedere Wien Hbf Low Level R2360 1911 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal
2016013 Wien Hbf Wien Simmering REX2532 2016 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica
193221 Wien Simmering Wien Hbf RJ1037 1621 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Wien Hbf
1116253 Wien Hbf Wien Meidling NJ490 2027 Wien Hbf (Autoreisezuganlage) – Hamburg Altona
1144246 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf Low Level R2264 2114 Wien Meidling – Wien Floridsdorf
1116220 Wien Hbf Flughafen Wien RJ1261 1908 Salzburg Hbf – Flughafen Wien
1116231 Flughafen Wien Wien Hbf RJ1044 2233 Flughafen Wien – Wien Hbf
1116255 Wien Hbf Salzburg Hbf EN462 2040 Budapest Keleti – Munchen Hbf


Photos for Saturday 9th June 2018 


Sunday 10th June 2018 (Switzerland covering the BLS Car Trains and BLS heritage train Brig to Bern)

Surprisingly, I was awake before my alarm rudely awoke me at stupid o’clock and by the time I’d got my clothes on, quietly, and been to the bog, EN462 was just rolling into Salzburg Hbf. It always amazes me that Salzburg Hbf is as busy as it is with stock shunts of a night time, yet it still has an air of calm about the place and everything is shunted like clockwork; although a month earlier a bit of heavy shunting resulted in two trainloads of people being thrown out of bed and two coaches being bent! Thankfully there were no fatalities.

I was quite surprised to find OBB diesel shunter 2068-047 dropping onto my MAV Zurich portion, which it then proceeded to shunt over to the waiting OBB Nightjet Zurich portion that runs Wien Hbf – Salzburg Hbf in the consist of NJ237 2127 Wien Hbf – Venezia Santa Lucia. I found 1116069 still attached to the front of the OBB Zurich portion, which it then worked forward as EN466 0230 Salzburg Hbf – Zurich Hbf. I was back in bed before we departed Salzburg, with the alarm set to wake me just before Buchs to see what had piloted the train from Innsbruck.

Again though, I needn’t have bothered with the alarm as the people milling around in the corridor woke me on the approach to Buchs and as it was a nice morning I even took my camera with me when I went to spot engines. I’d been threatening to get some photos of the locos on EN466 at Buchs for years but just never bothered; but the sun shone down nicely as 1116133/1116069 were removed from one end of the train, and SBB’s 11131 added to the other. I never tire of the views from EN466 as it snakes its way around the lake from Sargans towards Zurich and it was an excellent morning for licking windows to take it all in! Even if my compo sharing buddy up top was still dossed out. He wasn’t even interested when he stirred, and I told him his breakfast was on the bunk below; he just turned over and said there were still 20 minutes until Zurich, what a guy!

My only plan for the day, on arrival into Zurich Hbf, was to be at Brig for 1458 when the BLS historic train would work the first of its four Sunday outings this year, hopefully utilizing BLS Ae6/8 #205; as advertised. It worked Burgdorf – Brig – Burgdorf via Bern, Belp & Kandersteg but the outward departed too early for me to make off my arriving overnight, so I’d have to make do with only doing the return. First things first though, and that was dumping my big bag in a locker for the day. These can be found on the level below the main concourse and are signposted down the stairs anyway. As I was putting my stuff into a locker, an American girl came to one nearby and was seemingly pressing the return coin button in a bid to get the locker to open. When I queried what she was doing, she told me she couldn’t seem to get it to open. After I’d queried if she had the right locker or not, I then asked her where the key to open it was; to which she told me she didn’t have a key! She then produced a photo of the locker on her phone, which is how she knew which one to go back to, and then noticed the key still in the lock. There was definitely no key in the lock at this point and the locker was locked, so draw your own conclusion to the outcome of events. I sent her up to the booking office to try and resolve her predicament, which would obviously either involve her getting her stuff back or resulted in her stupidity allowing someone else a free locker, complete with the added bonus of a bag of goodies inside. What I will say is that once you’ve put your money into the coin slot, you have to turn the key to lock the door, which then releases into your possession, so you can get back into it later. If using a lower locker, the key isn’t visible as it’s below a lip, so she can be forgiven for not seeing it in the first instance, but who walks away from a locker without first checking its locked, and then making sure they know how to get back into it; especially after putting CHF6 into the slot? I was in possession of my key when I walked away…

Having done so well with the BLS Kandersteg – Goppenstein car trains the last time I was in the country, I wasn’t holding up much hope of them producing anything for me but decided to take a punt anyway and if it was all dud then I’d return to Bern and see what was working the BLS Re465 tuns to La Chaux-de-Fonds, before heading for Brig. The big screen on the main concourse was advertising a load of extra trains to Bern, this time for a Women’s Run, not a football match as it had been 2 weeks previous. Unfortunately, there was no load 13 set with a pair of Re4/4 waiting to go and the first of the two extras I could do, which were even in Hafas this week, EXT30810 0850 Zurich Hbf – Bern, was 460006 on a double deck set. This would then likely explain the fact that some of the Zurich Hbf – Luzern’s were pairs of Re450’s and indicated as Erszat Zug’s on the big screen. Thankfully the second of the three extras, EXT30712 0921 Zurich Hbf – Bern, was Re4/4 11114 on a push-pull set; so that was my train to Bern sorted, and it was non-stop and ran via the high speed from Olten to Bern.

With half an hour o kill at Zurich I spent most of it downstairs in a vain attempt to find my last Re450 but had no such luck, although I was surprised at how many were knocking about for a Sunday morning. The run to Bern was excellent, in an empty 1st class coach, non-stop and with opening windows to boot. BLS 465006 was sat in the sidings at Bern, probably for the 1053 Bern – La Chaux-de-Fonds and I wasn’t there long before 460045 arrived to take me forward to Spiez with IC1065 0931 Basel SBB – Interlaken Ost.

Stabled outside Spiez was BLS Re4/4 420501 on a set and in the station area were the following:
193490, 465001, 485014, 485018 & 175, 188, 176 & 178.
When I departed for Kandersteg on the EMU the following were noted on Spiez Shed:
195, 171, 182, 192 & 196.
The unfortunate result of my spottings at Spiez had revealed two of the four BLS Re425’s that I needed, so it really was going to be fair game when I got to Kandersteg, although there were the two turns on the Brig – Iselle cars to go at as well if there wasn’t anything for me at Kandersteg.

As always is the case, I viewed first, before wasting money on a bike hire, for potentially nothing, and I wasn’t viewing for long when 179 came into play, with 193 having been the first one I’d clapped eyes on. 189 was in the sidings by the station as spare loco too. So, with at least the one in play I got a bike sorted at the station and was able to make use of the half-day rule, which had to have the bike back at the office by no later than 1330 and saved me CHF8 on the hire as a result. By the time I’d got over to the boarding point for the car trains, 179’s train was loading up but still had 2 to view anyway, so knew I’d be able to get 179 in.

It’s pretty efficient how things work, with a train being loaded and as the next set arrives, it’s packed up and sent on its merry was as it comes to a stand, with the service operating every 15 minutes on a Sunday and requiring 4 sets to so it; which makes it the best day to do the trains. There is also a fifth diagram that kicks out at 1358 in the afternoon, making the frequency even more often for those returning home on a Sunday afternoon/evening. I was pretty chuffed when 172 came trundling in as 179’s train was being packed up for the off and couldn’t have asked for a better morning, having spotted my other two winners at Spiez earlier. And that was it, I was allowed straight onto the set once the cars were off and had the company of two motorcyclists during the journey through to Goppenstein, where I was poised to get off and do the cross-platform leap to 179’s set; which is possible at Goppenstein as the DVT’s are in the platforms and you don’t have to ride down the length of the train to get on or off. The doors were still open on the DVT on 179’s set and while the shunter was opening the car transporter vehicles up to allow people to drive off 172’s set, I rode straight across from one set to the other and tied my bike up straight away. I was already sat down when the shunter shut the DVT door and nobody was any the wiser.

What a bonus day it was turning out to be and all for CHF27 so far. Ada at Kandersteg was a little surprised to find me handing my bike back after less than an hour but with no other reason o keep it, having spotted 177 as the fourth loco on the circuit, I could make my way to Brig, safely knowing that the Iselle car train wouldn’t be new engines and I could relax for the afternoon. While sat with my shoes off and feet up, in 1st class, I’d filled the last line of my Interrail diary out on departure from Zurich that morning and had filled it in as a Zurich – Brig despite breaking the journey twice. When I was gripped the guard looked at both the front and back of my Interrail ticket, realised I’d still got 5 days left on it and had nowhere else to write my journeys down. When she handed it back she commented, in English, that “they don’t give you much space to write on these tickets do they”! She was right but luckily, I did have the foresight to rip some additional diary pages out of the Interrail leaflets that come with the passes, but they were loose pages and were just going to be a farce; I could sense it!

The view from the Lötschberg pass, as the trains from Kandersteg drop down above Visp, to wards Brig, is fantastic and both the main line towards Sion can be seen, as well as the MGB line from Visp towards Brig. The vantage points above the MGB shed on the approach to Brig allows you to see everything that’s stabled on it and pretty much see what you won’t be having, especially on a Sunday. Deh4/4I #21 was sat outside the shed and two HGe4/4II’s were sat with sets, that I couldn’t be bothered to get the numbers of. At Brig, I found MGB Deh4/4I #53 in Brig Bahnhofplatz waiting to depart with 339 1229 Fiesch – Zermatt and heading the other way was an EMU on 538 1308 Visp – Andermatt. Deh4/4II #91 later turned up with 541 1137 Andermatt – Visp while HGe4/4II #108 was waiting to depart with GEX906 1410 Brig – St Moritz “Glacier Express” and HGe4/4II #107 seemed t be being used as a way of ferrying things from the shed to the Glacier Express, judging by the boxes that were being taken out of the cab and across to the train.

Despite not needing to bother, I still walked over to Brig Autoquai to see what was on the morning Brig – Iselle car train turn, which turned up with BLS Re425 170. Once the driver had opened the train up, so cars could drive off, he then detached 170 and took it to shed. The Iselle car trains are booked a loco swap for the 1428 Brig – Iselle and that’s exactly what happened as 191 was bolted to the car transporters for the afternoon jaunt, leaving 170 to sit on shed with 174 for the afternoon. Green SBB Re4/4II 11161 was sat with a set in the yard at Brig, probably for the Sion – Geneve Aeroport commuter the following morning and 11198 was bolted to a push-pull set, probably for one of the Domodossola turns? What I wasn’t seeing at all though, was a glimpse of BLS’s Ae6/8 #205, or the heritage stock for the extra train to Burgdorf; however, the train was in Hafas and on the screens at the station.

While I was milling around on platform 8, which was the advertised platform for EXT30166 1458 Brig – Burgdorf, I noticed a few young lads with cameras out and then randomly bumped into Tohm & Marta, who’d made the journey across from Vevey to have a ride out on a Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t get poised for a photo for love nor money and no matter where I positioned myself the loco seemed to be playing hide and seek with me. First it ran from the yard to the shed and back towards the yard, which I was behind a building for. Then when I positioned myself on the opposite platform for it arriving, it ran through the back of the yard to the west of the station and ten propelled the stock in, leaving me looking like a lemon! The stock was load 5 pristine pullman coaches, all kitted out with free bottled drinks on the table and vouchers for more from Coop. There was plenty of room in the front coach and all the windows were down as it was a scorching hot afternoon. When the 1939 built Ae6/8 got the show on the road, there was no holding back with it, or pottering about, it was treated just like a loco should be and given the beans from the off; and it performed faultlessly all the way to Bern. The train is booked via Belp from Thun, which was something I hadn’t realised and is quite rare for loco-hauled trains, so that was another bonus for the day. With the train being run for normal ticket holders, without any extra surcharge, what more could be asked of BLS too!

I’d decided that of an evening I was going to try and get to Rotkreuz for the returning Bellinzona – Zurich tourist weekend train off the Gotthard pass. To do that I had two options, a dead onto the 1700 and go via Luzern, loco-hauled all the way, or a plus 4’ onto the 1704 via Olten and then EMU’s from Olten via a change at Aarau. I missed the dead though and had to run like buggery under the subway o make the plus 4’, which ten departed 4’ late anyway! At Olten though, I noticed that IR2894 was showing 10’ late on the SBB app so I decided that risking the minus 2’ at Rotkreuz was acceptable and went via Luzern instead with 460024 on IR2481 1717 Basel SBB – Luzern, for 460039 to Rotkreuz on IR2670 1835 Luzern – Zurich Hbf; which made easily at Rotkreuz.

Re4/4II 11181 was the nag on IR2894 1618 Bellinzona – Zurich Hbf and was surprisingly only load 4, but included two fresh-air coaches, one of which I had to myself for the non-stop journey via Muri, Brugg & Baden to Zurich. What a top day it had turned out to be, mostly travelling on trains with open-air windows too; it was like Summer Saturdays of old, albeit without there being any NB out of course.

At Zurich Hbf, I did the only thing that I could think if that might get me a winner in, and headed downstairs to the depths of platforms 41-44, and my quest to find 450044 resumed. It was as busy downstairs as it was on a normal weekday rush hour, the only difference being was that there were no triple sets of Re450’s out but there were still plenty to go at, nonetheless. The monotony was broken momentarily when a bunch of police and security staff came bundling through the crowd, clearly looking for someone. Of course, I had visions of them looking for some half-cooked, dodgy looking wide boy, who was clearly up to something no good. But no, I found them further down the platform with a twenty-something good looking girl slumped on the floor against the wall, in front of her was a shopping bag and lined on the platform were a load of pop bottles. I’m guessing that the two female offices crouched down talking to her were trying to get her to admit to stealing what was lined up in front of her. Unfortunately, that was the only entertainment for the evening and there was no sign of 450044 ad by 8 o’clock I gave it up as a bad job and went for something to eat before my very long journey to Warsaw, to meet my wife, commenced.

After my food, I collected my bag from my locker, which I did have the key for, and headed up to the concourse to wait it out for an hour; and fuck me if 450044 was sat on the blocks, with its tail-lights glaring me in the face. It was only working IR2679 2035 Zurich Hbf – Luzern and was in a pair with 450001, which I had to get at Thalwil as I only had 2 minutes to make a decision as to what to do; and that was spent on the SBB app making sure there was a train back from Thalwil to make my overnight. Randomly, the train bac into Zurich Hbf, IR2676 2010 Luzern – Zurich Hbf, was 450078/450070 and when I got back the stock for EN467 2140 Zurich Hbf – Salzburg Hbf was already in and Re4/4II 11131, the same one I’d had into Zurich that morning, was just dropping down onto it. With the same loco, and the same berth in the same coach and the same coach attendant, that I’d had in on EN466 that morning, 11131 eased the train away, spot on time. There were only two of us in the compo again as well but this time I was with an Englishman from Gloucester, who now lived in Hungary and was married to a MAV guard!

After chewing the cud for a bit my compo buddy got himself dossed out, but I waited up till Buchs to see what OBB would present for EN467 forward from there. Once I’d discovered 1016024/1116069 being bolted to the opposite end of the train, it was bedtime for me too and the next thing I knew was when the coach attendant was knocking on the berth door at St. Polten!


Gen for Sunday 10th June 2018

2068047 shunt Zurich portion EN462 to EN466 at Salzburg Hbf
1116069 EN466 0230 Salzburg Hbf – Zurich Hbf (to Buchs)
1116133 pilot EN466 Innsbruck to Buchs

11131 EN466 0230 Salzburg Hbf – Zurich Hbf (from Buchs)
11109 IC282 0835 Zurich Hbf – Stuttgart Hbf
460006 EXT30810 0850 Zurich Hbf – Bern
11114 EXT30712 0921 Zurich Hbf – Bern
11127 IR2260 0742 St Gallen – Basel SBB (to Zurich)
450078/450074 IR2633 0904 Zurich Hbf – Luzern
460109/460053 IC712 0825 St Gallen – Lausanne
460045 IC1065 0931 Basel SBB – Interlaken Ost
460104 IC978 1600 Interlaken Ost – Basel SBB
460024 IR2481 1717 Basel SBB – Luzern
460039 IR2670 1835 Luzern – Zurich Hbf
11181 IR2894 1618 Bellinzona – Zurich Hbf
450001/450044 IR2679 2035 Zurich Hbf – Luzern
450078/450070 IR2676 2010 Luzern – Zurich Hbf
11131 EN467 2140 Zurich Hbf – Salzburg Hbf (to Buchs)
1116069 EN467 2140 Zurich Hbf – Salzburg Hbf (Buchs – Salzburg)
1016024 pilot EN467 Buchs to Innsbruck Hbf

465006 RE3918 1053 Bern – La Chaux-de-Fonds
420501 at Spiez on a set
193490, 465001, 175, 188, 176, 178, 485014, 485018 @ Spiez 11am
195, 171, 182, 192, 196 on Spiez Shed
Kandersteg Cars
189 spare at Kandersteg all day
179 1150
172 1205
177 1220
193 1235
174 on Brig Shed
170 Brig – Iselle Cars to 1336 ex Iselle
191 Brig – Iselle Cars from 1428 ex Brig
205 EXT30166 1458 Brig – Burgdorf (BLS Heritage)

EMU 538 1308 Visp – Andermatt
53 339 1229 Fiesch – Zermatt
91 541 1137 Andermatt – Visp
108 GEX906 1410 Brig – St Moritz


Moves for Sunday 10th June 2018 

2068047 Salzburg Hbf Platform ? Salzburg Hbf Platform ? Shunt Zurch portion EN462 to EN466
1116069 Salzburg Hbf Buchs EN466 2127 (26/05) Wien Hbf – Zurich Hbf
1116133 Innsbruck Hbf Buchs
11131 Buchs Zurch Hbf
11114 Zurich Hbf Bern EXT30712 0921 Zurich Hbf – Bern (Extrazug)
460045 Bern Spiez IC1065 0931 Basel SBB – Interlaken Ost
535105 Spiez Kandersteg RE4267 1112 Spiez – Brig
172 Kandersteg Car Terminal Göppenstein Car Terminal 27323 1205 Kandersteg – Göppenstein (Car Transporter Train)
179 Göppenstein Car Terminal Kandersteg Car Terminal 27124 1221 Göppenstein – Kandersteg (Car Transporter Train)
535117 Kandersteg Brig RE4269 1212 Spiez – Domodossola
205 Brig Bern EXT30166 1458 Brig – Burgdorf
460104 Bern Olten IC978 1600 Interlaken Ost – Basel SBB
460024 Olten Luzern IR2481 1717 Basel SBB – Luzern
460039 Luzern Rotkreuz IR2670 1835 Luzern – Zurich Hbf
11181 Rotkreuz Zurich Hbf IR2894 1618 Bellinzona – Zurich Hbf
450001 Zurich Hbf Thalwil IR2679 2035 Zurich Hbf – Luzern
450078 Thalwil Zurich Hbf IR2676 2010 Luzern – Zurich Hbf
11131 Zurich Hbf Buchs EN467 2140 Zurich Hbf – Wien Hbf
1016024 Buchs Innsbruck Hbf
1116069 Buchs Salzburg Hbf


Photos for Sunday 10th June 2018  


Monday 11th June 2018 (A long, boring journey from Wien to Warszawa for some recreational time)

After being woke by the coach attendant at St. Polten, breakfast was polished off. As my train forward from Wien Hbf to Warszawa wasn’t until 0810 I opted to get off at Wien Meidling and see what was on offer on the morning locals; and I didn’t have to wait long. No sooner had I discovered 1116041 at the head of what was now EN463 2311 (P) München Hbf – Budapest Keleti, then 1144057 turned up wit R2308 0616 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal, which I did into Wien Hbf to allow me to view the 0716 Wien Hbf – Bratislava.

2016034 on REX2506 0716 Wien Hbf – Bratislava was a bonus but 2016100 back from Simmering on REX2507 0638 Bratislava – Wien Hbf was even more of a bonus; and that concluded my morning bash in Wien, as I went in search of the platform that EC104 0810 Wien Hbf – Gdynia Glowna would be departing from. When I discovered a formation board for it too, it showed that there was only 2nd class coaches and no 1st, so I went to the booking office to make a reservation and find out. Despite the formation screen showing coach 352 as being 2nd class, it was indeed 1st class and I paid CHF3.50 for a reservation in it; so, it bloody wanted to be 1st class!

CD 380007 brought the load 5 rake of stock in for EC104 and coach 352, right behind the loco, was indeed a 1st class coach. My compo had last minute reservation on the slips in the seat numbers and I ended up being the only person in it all the way to Katowice. The PA was making an annoying beeping nose throughout the 1st class coach but when the guard came around to do tickets, he basically told me there was nothing he could do as it was a Polish coach; so, I thanked him for his help and put my Ipod on to drown out the noise.

I was meeting Danielle at Warszawa Centralna and she departed Doncaster airport on her Wizz Air flight at 0805 UK time, an hour after I left Wien Hbf and had just entered the Czech Republic at Breclav. By the time she landed it Warsaw, I was at Bohumin, with 380007 about to be replaced by PKP EP09-043 for the run forward to Gdynia. So, while she’d done Doncaster to Warsaw I’d travelled through the Czech Republic from Breclav to Bohumin. Unfortunately, and despite the train having been bowling along nicely, it seemed that the timings were way too tight. The result of a couple of slow sections in Poland and an extended 17-minute stop in Katowice resulted in it being nearly an hour late by Warsaw. It was starting to get a bit hot in the compo too and the air-con didn’t seem to be able to cope with the warm climate; yet on other Polish coaches recently, I’ve been overwhelmed by the cold air and my eyes had been streaming when I’d got off. At 1600, almost 8 hours after boarding, I set foot onto the platform at Warszawa Centralna; having been on board EC104 for longer than I’d been on my overnight from Zurich to Wien the night before!

Danielle was sat waiting for me in Starbucks and once I dragged her away from the little boy who’d befriended her, we headed out of the station and got lost trying to find a way to cross the main road directly outside Centralna station. As a result, we ended up taking about 25 minutes to walk to the “Apartment by Central Station”, which I’d booked through, and the young lad waiting for us when we arrived looked relieved to see us. I’d agreed at 1530 arrival time ad he’d rang when I’d been on the train too, bless him. He quickly showed us around the apartment before heading off, leaving us to get acquainted with the place.

The main room was massive, the one bedroom wasn’t so, and the kitchen area was 3ft by 3ft, if that. Still, it was a decent place, was very clean and tidy and had everything we needed; apart from a washing machine! So, I set about washing my clothes in the shower before we headed out and only found the shower gel they had, in the bathroom cabinet, after I’d used their hand soap to do it all! At leas there were hangers in the wardrobe to hang everything up with.

Food for the evening was sought at a nice little Indian restaurant called Rasoi, which was only a5-minute walk from the apartment, towards Centralna shack. It was a very small establishment, with room for only 16 people max, and it would be very cozy at capacity. The food was excellent though, fresh, piping hot and very tasty, which is sometimes hard to find in commercial Indian restaurant back home in the UK. It seemed that Rasoi was run by a family though and the food was cooked properly as opposed to batch cooked. We were both absolutely stuffed when we got back to the apartment and had to veg out for a bit to let the wedge affect ware off! At least we didn’t have to be up early the following day, so we chilled for a bit before bed; without a TV in the apartment to train our eyes on.


Gen for Monday 11th June 2018

1116041 EN463 2311 (P) München Hbf – Budapest Keleti (from Salzburg Hbf)
1144057 R2308 0616 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal
2016034 REX2506 0716 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hl St
2016100 REX2507 0638 Bratislava Hl St – Wien Hbf
380007 EC104 0810 Wien Hbf – Gdynia Glowna (to Bohumin)

EP09-043 EC104 0810 Wien Hbf – Gdynia Glowna (from Bohumin)
EP07-1029 TLK61102 1046 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia


Moves for Monday 11th June 2018 

1116041 Salzburg Hbf Wien Meidling EN463 2311 (10/06) Munchen Hbf – Budapest Keleti
1144057 Wien Meidling Wien Hbf Low Level R2308 0616 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal
2016034 Wien Hbf Wien Simmering REX2506 0716 Wien Hbf – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica
2016100 Wien Simmering Wien Hbf REX2507 0638 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Wien Hbf
380007 Wien Hbf Staatsgrenze EC104 0810 Wien Hbf – Gdynia Glowna
380007 Staatsgrenze Bohumin
EP09-043 Bohumin Petrovice u Karvine
EP09-043 Petrovice u Karvine Warszawa Centralna


Photos for Monday 11th June 2018 


Tuesday 12th June 2018 (A visit to Warsaw Zoo and the Crazy Star Villa (as featured in the Zookeeper’s Wife))

After not getting up too early, I was pleased to find all the clothes I’d washed the previous night were dry and packed them all away for their next stint in the Ukraine. With no deadline, other than we had to be at the Crazy Star Villa in Warsaw Zoo by 1400, we set off to the Zoo late morning and went a rather unconventional way to get there, by using the airport shuttle services out to Warszawa Praga and then a local towards the terminus station of Warszawa Gdanska, to Warszawa Zoo; which is half way between the two. Of course, the lure of the red pen was too great to turn down EP07-370 from Centralna to Wschodnia on TLK11107 0900 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia. As there was no incentive for the grippers to grip though, we had no issues with the 24h Zone 1 ticket we’d bought, which isn’t valid on and PKP IC service.

At Warszawa Praga DB Vectron 170037 was stood spare in the yard and Freightliner’s 66602 was loading a train in what looked like an aggregate siding further along the yard. We didn’t have to wait long for our next EMU to arrive and both trains we’d used, when valid that is, were SKM services.


After our trip around the Zoo I got to grips with what needed to be done. I’d been looking at the KM 170 diagrams before I’d set off on this trip and noticed on the GC Transit app that none of the trains that used to start at Zachodnia and head out towards Dzialdowo and Chiechenow now went into Warszawa Gdanska instead and I was quite confident that the early afternoon would reveal a few of the 170’s; and I wasn’t wrong. 170004 was first up with Os51608 1315 Chiechenow – Warszawa Gdanska, which we did up the road, where 170003 was sat with the set to form Os15427 1541 Warszawa Gdanska – Dzialdowo. After getting a bit to eat from one of the bakeries in the underpass we did 170003 out to Warszawa Pludy and low and behold, 170001 was the next train back towards the city, with Os19215 1529 Modlin – Warszawa Gdanska. We stepped off this at Warszawa Praga, where DB’s 170037 was still stabled and Freightliner’s 66602 was now screwed down in the sidings with its train, waited 5 minutes and did an EMU back to Centralna on an Airport train.

I couldn’t resist the lure of 170005 at Centralna, which arrived as we did, with Os19231 1622 Zachodnia – Lukow, which put us straight into EP09-001 at Wschodnia, which had been hiding behind something else when we’d passed through, with EIC1324 1639 Wschodnia – Krakow Glowny. After escorting Danielle back to the apartment, I made use of the day tickets we had and went back out to bash a few TLK/IC’s, safe in the knowledge that I had boxes left on my Interrail pass if anything kicked off; which of course it didn’t. I was kept busy between Centralna and Zachodnia and when KM’s 170007 dropped into Zachodnia with Os93862 1658 Zydardow – Siedlce, I couldn’t believe the luck I’d had with them at this point I’d had 5 new during the day and had only had 4 of them previously. And bugger me if 170002 wasn’t just rolling into Centralna when we go there, with Os19498 1724 Wschodnia – Kutno; which made it 6 of 6 for the day and completed the set of 10; quite uncanny really! I thought that new PKP IC Newag “Griffin” 170074 (which is classified with too many letters and numbers to bother trying to understand and write down as it means fuck all) was going to be the end of it when I got back to Centralna on EIC6100 1434 Wroclaw Glowny – Wschodnia but PKP just kept throwing them at me and two more trips to Zachodnia ensued after that and I finished later than planned with EU07A-001 on TLK35104 1125 Przemysl Glowny – Gdynia Glowna. Then it was time for food.

We discovered an excellent Thai restaurant, San Thai, in the posher part of the city and to be honest we looked a little out of place, but our money was as good as everyone else’s. One of the staff members was great and spoke good English, the other was an utterly miserable cow, who shouldn’t have been working in such an establishment with a screwed-up face giving the impression she didn’t want to be there! The food was excellent, and the portions weren’t too big either, which allowed you to savour the food and have room for a starter, and/or desert; we did both and walked back to the apartment feeling like we’d eaten some good food and weren’t stuffed to the gunnels like we had been after the Indian the previous night.

Some of my t-shorts had been soaking all day as when they’d dried the still stank of sweat under the armpits. The soaking had done the trick though and they were hung out to dry before we went to bed.


Gen for Tuesday 12th June 2018 

EP07-370 IR11107 0900 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia
170004 Os51608 1315 Ciechanow – Warszawa Gdanska
170003 Os15427 1541 Warszawa Gdanska – Dzialdowo
170001 Os19215 1529 Modlin – Warszawa Gdanska
170005 Os19231 1622 Warszawa Zachodnia – Lukow
EP09-001 EIC1324 1639 Warszawa Wschodnia – Krakow Glowny
EP07-1055/EP07-376 TLK18102 1704 Warszawa Wschodnia – Pila Glowna
EP07-388 TLK19154 1709 Warszawa Wschodnia – Lodz Fabryczna
EP08-013 TLK81106 1033 Szczecin Glowny – Suwalki
EP07-1028 EIC110 1719 Warszawa Wschodnia – Ostrava-Svinov
170007 Os93862 1658 Zyrardow – Siedlce
170002 Os19498 1724 Warszawa Wschodnia – Kutno
EP07-1042 TLK11103 1753 Warszawa Zachodnia – Terespol
EP09-041 TLK53100 0744 Gdynia Glowna – Krakow Plazsow
EP09-042 IC65100 1140 Wroclaw Glowny – Olsztyn Glowny
170074 EIC6100 1432 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia
EU07-325 TLK81108 1032 Kolobrzeg – Lodz Fabryczna
EP07-1053 TLK61102 1046 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP07-1023 TLK15104 1814 Warszawa Wschodnia – Bydgoszcz Glowna
EU07-304 TLK35104 1125 Przemysl Glowny – Gdynia Glowna


Moves for Tuesday 12th June 2018 

EP07-370 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Wschodnia IR11107 0900 Lodz Fabryczna – Warszawa Wschodnia
27WE-005 Warszawa Wschodnia Warszawa Praga S99632 1019 Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina – Legionowo Piaski
27WE-011 Warszawa Praga Warszawa Zoo 1052 Legionowo Piaski – Warszawa Gdanska
170004 Warszawa Zoo Warszawa Gdanska Os51608 1315 Chiechanow – Warszawa Gdanska
170003 Warszawa Gdanska Warszawa Pludy Os15427 1541 Warszawa Gdanska – Dzialdowo
170001 Warszawa Pludy Warszawa Praga Os19215 1529 Modlin – Warszawa Gdanska
27WE-001 Warszawa Praga Warszawa Centralna S99412 1559 Wieliszew – Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina
170005 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Wschodnia Os19231 1622 Warszawa Zachodnia – Luckow
EP09-001 Warszawa Wschodnia Warszawa Centralna EIC1324 1639 Warszawa Wschodnia – Krakow Glowny
EP07-388 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia TLK19154 1709 Warszawa Wschodnia – Lodz Fabryczna
EP08-013 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Centralna TLK81106 1033 Szczecin Glowny – Suwalki
EP07-1028 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia EIC110 1719 Warszawa Wschodnia – Ostrava Sinov
170007 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Centralna Os93862 1658 Zyrardow – Siedlce
170002 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia Os19498 1724 Warszawa Wschodnia – Kutno
170074 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Centralna EIC6100 1434 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia
EU07-325 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia TLK81108 1032 Kolobrzeg – Lodz Fabryczna
EP07-1053 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Centralna TLK61102 1046 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia
EP07-1023 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia TLK15104 1814 Warszawa Wschodnia – Bydgoszcz Glowna
EU07-304 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Centralna TLK35104 1125 Przemysl Glowny – Gdynia Glowna


Photos for Tuesday 12th June 2018  


Wednesday 13th June 2018 (A trip out to Torun to visit the Zywe Muzeum Piernika – Gingerbread Museum)

When we’d visited Torun 2 years ago, Danielle had wanted to visit the living gingerbread museum (Zywe Muzeum Piernika) then. The problem being was that we were on tight timescale and the gingerbread museum sells out of a daily basis, so just turning up on the day isn’t advisable. I’d booked out tickets on the museum’s website, which cost PLN17 each. I also booked us first class tickets on the PKP IC website to get to Torun and back, which cost PLN71 each, each way.

Our train to Torun wasn’t until 0830 and we had a leisurely get-up at 7 o’clock as a result. We had every intention of using the bakery on the corner, by our apartment, for breakfast but despite it opening at 0730, there was nothing on the shelves at all at 0745 when we walked by. So, the Golden Arches at Centralna it was, which now had very handy self-service screens that could be used in English as well; making life loads easier for “Johnny foreigner” to get what he wanted from McD’s in a foreign country. And you get two hash browns with breakfast, not one like you do in the UK.

McD’s was all munched down on the platform and when EP07-201 arrived with TLK11102 0513 Terespol – Warszawa Zachodnia, it was done down the road and we boarded our TLK28102 0523 Lublin – Kolobrzeg at Zachodnia instead of Centralna; with EU07-040 at the helm. Our 1st class compo already had three people in it, but our seats were still free, and it was a pleasant 3-hour journey to Torun, with no rowdiness, no window riots and nobody snoring either, it was just an all-round nice journey.


After a less than strenuous afternoon at the Gingerbread Museum, surrounded by almost 100 kids, we hunted down somehwere to eat and settled on a Pizza place called Brando’s Music. The owner had just finished his own pizza when we approached an enticed us to sit outside with his fluent English. None of the menus were in English but its hard to fail at an Italian as everything is essentially in Italian. The pizza was worth the wait and was cheap as well, and swilled down with a decent draught beer. As time allowed, it was half the distance from where we were to Torun Miasto station than it was to Torun Glowny, so we walked the 1.5km to Miasto and did EP07-412 to Torun Glowny on TLK16105 0930 Bialystok – Wroclaw Glowny; to save on the shoe leather.

EU07-380 turned up, spot on time, with TLK82102 1138 Kolobrzeg – Lublin, which is the opposing working of the train we’d done out to Torun earlier. There were two people in our compo and the four of us occupied it all the way to Warszawa without interruption from anyone else along the way. The compo at the end of the coach had a guy and his dog in it and the dog didn’t seem to take kindly to people opening the door, judging by its barking! I’d have growled at the little fucker if it had started on me, I hate dogs, especially those that think they own the place. As with the morning, a sneaky ned leap finished the day as we did Newag “Griffin” 170075 in from Zachodnia to Centralna on EIC6120 1641 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia.

Despite our best efforts on day one, we hadn’t been ale to find a way out of Centralna station, that led directly to the opposite side of the main road outside. Having found it the previous night, by accident, we had a quick exit from the station and ended up at the Indian again. This time we shared a starter, a rice, a naan and a main course; having leant from our Thai experience the night before. And we left satisfied, not stuffed and the food had been very good too.

Back at the apartment we had the grand task of packing, before leaving Poland the following morning. Thankfully Danielle’s bag had enough room to take home a load of crap from the first week of my trip, that I wouldn’t need at all for the following two weeks, which made my bag a bit more manageable; it included a raft of window labels from various countries and the bash book too. It seemed like it was over before it had started, but with Danielle starting a new job she hadn’t been able to get the leave she’d wanted, which meant out time together on this trip would be limited to only a few days. Ready for the off, we had everything pack before bedtime and we’d both checked in for our respective flights.


Gen for Wednesday 13th June 2018 

EP07-201 TLK11102 0513 Terespol – Warszawa Zachodnia
EU07-040 TLK28102 0523 Lublin – Kolobrzeg
EP07-412 TLK16105 0930 Bialystok – Wroclaw Glowny
EU07-380 TLK82102 1138 Kolobrzeg – Lublin
170075 EIC6120 1641 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia


Moves for Wednesday 13th June 2018 

EP07-201 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia TLK11102 0513 Terespol – Warszawa Zachodnia
EU07-040 Warszawa Zachodnia Torun Glowny TLK28102 0523 Lublin – Kolobrzeg
EP07-412 Torun Miasto Torun Glowny TLK16105 0930 Bialystok – Wroclaw Glowny
EU07-380 Torun Glowny Warszawa Zachodnia TLK82102 1138 Kolobrzeg – Lublin
170075 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Centralna EIC6120 1641 Wroclaw Glowny – Warszawa Wschodnia


Photos for Wednesday 13th June 2018 


Thursday 14th June 2018 (Flying back to Ukraine for another two-week stint)

This morning was much the same as the previous morning, but for the fact we had to post the key on the way out of the apartment and we had our big bags with us. McD’s was the same and the ned leap to Zachodnia was the same, albeit on the train we’d done to Torun the previous morning; TLK28102 0523 Lublin – Kolobrzeg, with EP07-1055. Then it was a pair of SKM EN76’s to the airport.

Chopin Airport is easy enough to navigate your way around and my LOT flight, operated by Nordica, had the gate number on the boarding pass when I’d checked in the previous day. As it happened, my flight to Odesa, Ukraine, was only a few yards away from the gate where Danielle’s Wizz Air flight to Luton would depart from an hour after mine; so, we could chew the cud until my flight boarded. When it was announced, the staff pounced on the majority of wheel-along cases and apologized to people as they tagged them for the hold. As the plane was a “small” plane there wasn’t enough room on board. As I was waved through onto the plane, with my big rucksack still with me, I waved Danielle off to her gate and soon realised why bags were being tagged for the hold. My rucksack barely fit in the overhead bins itself and had to go in sideways on at that. It was only a two-plus-two layout and was full. The crew were all speaking English and it soon made sense why, when I asked one of the cabin crew. Nordica is a LOT subsidiary based in Estonia and both the plane and crew were Estonian; with the plane having arrived into Warsaw from Tallinn. As none of the crew could speak Polish or Ukrainian, they simply spoke English instead; and most people on board responded to it as well.

It was a good 1h35m flight and we were on the ground in Odesa early. Odesa airport isn’t up to much and we had to follow a car to our parking position. Scattered about the place as planes for what looks like emergency services practice sessions and there are quite a few stored to one side of the airport, with the engines covered over. It was a bus from the tarmac to the terminal building and I was lucky enough to be one of the first in the queue for the foreigners at passport control.

Once through and out into the wide world of Odesa there were plenty of taxi drivers trying to get my attention and “give me good price into Odesa”. I dissed them all as I walked out of the terminal building, turned right and headed for the trolleybus stop, where the No.14 trolleybus would take me directly to Odesa Holovna station. I’d found a link online which mapped the operating trolleybuses on their respective routes and gave a realtime view of where they were, along with their numbers; for the trolleybus bashers out there! One was just leaving while I was getting off the plane and with the service interval being every 40 minutes during the day, it worked out well for me. The cost of a ticket is UAH 3 and its payable to the driver. I paid when I got on but watched everyone else pay as they got off, not when the got on! Nobody got a ticket though, so I wonder how much got pocketed by the driver?

The journey took about 30 minutes and the trolleybus drops off right in front of Odesa Holovna station. I’d recently changed my bash plan, as a result of trains coming on sale that hadn’t been a week previous, so had to nip into the station to get a couple of tickets printed as the two I’d booked didn’t have e-tickets and I had to exchange the printed tickets for proper tickets at the booking office. One of the tickets I’d only booked the previous evening and didn’t have a printed version either; which wasn’t an issue as most of the people in the queue at ticket window No.9 were showing the teller their phone with the reference number on it anyway. I queued for about 10 minutes, handed a printed exchange voucher over and held my phone up against the window. Both tickets were printed and handed across to me within seconds; but the exchange receipt was kept behind the counter this time; unlike at Lviv.

When I went onto the platform to explore, a ChS4 was just departing with 094 1531 Odesa – Minsk and ChS4-156 was being prepared for departure with 024 1542 Odesa – Moskva Kievskaia. VL80S-660 was sat spare in the station and there was a VL60 parked just outside the station. It was a scorching hot afternoon and I was in no mood for hanging around, so after getting a few photos I headed out to the Good Night Hotel, which is about an 8-minute walk from Odesa Holovna station and set in a courtyard away from the main roads surrounding it. The guy at reception spoke fluent English and explained that the hotel was only 18-months old and that they got plenty of foreigners staying. He also explained to me what the symbol on the Ukraine flag meant. It’s made up of 4 letters, of the Ukrainian word for Freedom, and merged together they give the symbol its symmetrical appearance. ВОПЯ (VOLR in the English alphabet). That was my input for the day and it was quite interesting to know.

The rooms at the hotel weren’t huge but they were spotless, had excellent AC, piping hot water, a flat screen TV (which would be good for the first match of the 2018 world Cup in Russia later) and a double bed. The pace looked brand new and long may it stay looking that way. I didn’t hang around for long and found a place called Pizza City on ME Maps, which was a straight mile, 20-minute walk, from the hotel. There was also a supermarket over the road from the hotel, so I could grab some snacks for the following two days when I got back.

Pizza City served up a good pizza and they had English menus and English-speaking waiters. A nice refreshing Weiss beer washed it all down before I headed back to the hotel, via the supermarket to stock up on bread, cheese, bananas, pop and a few other bits. Back at the hotel, Russia had just kicked off against Saudi Arabia and during the match I charged everything, connected everything to the internet, updated apps and synced everything I could. Having put all my clothes in the sink to soak at the start of the match, using the hotel’s shower gel to wash them, I took them out and wrung them out at halftime, before hanging everything up to dry. Russia won the match 4-0 and at the end of it I was a bit skeptical as to whether my clothes would be dry at 4am for me to out them back on, so I gave them a helping hand with the hairdryer; which the receptionist told me I wouldn’t need when he showed me to my room!

With everything charged, synced and packed away for the morning, I was in bed by 2200, with an 0446 departure from Odesa beckoning the following morning.


Gen for Thursday 14th June 2018

EP07-1052 TLK28102 0523 Lublin – Kolobrzeg
EN76-018/EN76-010 Os93618 0816 Modlin – Lotnisko
ChS4-xxx 094 1531 Odesa Holovna – Minsk Pas
ChS4-156 024 1542 Odesa Holovna – Moskva Kievskaia


Moves for Thursday 14th June 2018 

EP07-1052 Warszawa Centralna Warszawa Zachodnia TLK28102 0523 Lublin – Kolobrzeg
EN76-018 Warszawa Zachodnia Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina Os93618 0816 Modlin – Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina
ES-ACK Warsaw Odesa LO767 1120 Warsaw – Odesa


Photos for Thursday 14th June 2018 


Friday 15th June 2018 (A double trip to Izmail)

When the alarm went of at 0355 I couldn’t figure out why the bedroom lights wouldn’t turn on, then I realised my phone wasn’t fully charged and that nothing else electrical in the room worked either. So, whether an energy saving initiative by the hotel or a power cut, I ended up having to use the torch on my phone to do everything I needed before checking out. The corridor and reception were in darkness too and the receptionist was asleep on the sofa in the hallway. I let her stay horizontal and left the key on the desk, unlocked the door and let myself out. The front gate wasn’t locked, thankfully.

The streets were deserted as I walked to the station and train 145 1740 (P) Kyiv Pas – Izmail was already in when I got there, with ChS4-111 having already been detached and I found VL80S-2394 leading VL40U-1028-1 at the front of the train. As luck didn’t have it, coach 15 was the front coach from Odesa and I was in coach 1; right at the fucking back! My bed was made up well before the departure time and I soon got horizontal; and was asleep when I felt the lurch of the train setting off for Izmail.

It was after 8 o’clock when I came around and I was amazed that the girl in the berth opposite, who also got on at Odesa, dossed out right until the outskirts of Izmail at 11 o’clock! A 20-minute stop at Artsyz allowed me to stretch my legs and walk down the front to see what had taken over from Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky. When I got to the front I was shouted at by a security guard and then all became clear as two police officers were marching a man in handcuffs to the front coach, which was a military/prison coach judging by those occupying it. Once the prisoner was on board everyone was allowed to move freely, and I discovered 2TE116-521a/2TE116-731a at the head of the train, ChME3-2635 was coupled to a rake of wagons in the yard and ChME3-4987 was being prepared in the yard. There was no sign of the single coach that would form the Berezyne local though. Maybe that’s what ChME3-4987 was being prepared for?

The line to Izmail doesn’t have much in the way of scenery and its mostly grassland on either side of the train. Train 146 arrived promptly into Izmail though and 1057 on the dot. It was a good job I got the loco numbers at Artsyz as the prisoner was being escorted off the train at Izmail and nobody was allowed near the front of the train; and the locos were removed before the prisoner! There were things moving in the yard adjacent to the two platforms that Izmail had; for its one train a day! There’s a footbridge at the north end of the station, so I went to stand on it for a bit. 2TE116-532b plus a mate were waiting to depart north with a freight and I was surprised to get a few photos of ChME3’s 3442/3772 in multi as they shunted out a loaded freight and disappeared off into the distance; assumingly to allow it to be offloaded.

After an hour or so I walked up the main drag, about 1.5km according to ME Maps, and came across Parmezan Restaurant, exactly where the map said it would be. I’d checked out its menu on the way and it looked like a good place to eat at. While the waitresses didn’t speak English, they did have an English menu and Google translate helped where needed. They also charged my phone behind their counter while I was dining. A very good beef stroganoff was served up, followed by a freshly prepared tiramisu and accompanied by two nice and refreshing freshly puled apple juices. It was well worth the UAH 374 I paid, which is about £10 give or take; and probably quite dear by Ukrainian standards but the food was excellent.

As I walked back to the station, with my phone fully charged, I could hear a bit of whistling going on in the station area and headed for the footbridge to see what was going on. In bout 45-minutes, I was treated to ChME3-1025 coming into the yard with a single wagon, ChME3’s 3772/3442 returning with the empty set they’d taken out for offloading earlier and then ChME3’s 3111/3997 departing with another loaded set for emptying. And, sat on top of the set for 146 1725 Izmail – Kyiv Pas were 2TE116-846a/2TE116-645b. I don’t know if there’s a shed at Izmail, or if the pair I’d had down had gone back on a freight while I’d been having dinner; but I was grateful of the loco swap either way.

I spent a bit of time in the station waiting area catching up on some typing, before heading out to the shop over the road to get some cold pop and an ice-cream before the train. The doors were opened for boarding at about 1650 and as suspected it was roasting on board but at least my coach had some opening windows, even if my berth had a curtain that didn’t want to stay up! Having veged outside the train until departure, the next 3 hours were like being in a sauna; it was a fucking sweatbox, with no respite and even the opening widows did nothing to cool the coach down. It was utterly, utterly fucking crap; but I had to just revel in it and sit about in my own sweat. Thankfully the towel that came with the bedding came in handy, but it was like wiping my head and neck with a damp cloth eventually; but at least the sweat was cool!

I was so, so pleased to be getting off at Kulevcha and even the woman in the side-berth opposite me was telling me to dampen the towel and wrap it around my neck, like she’d done with hers. I had a ticket on 146 through to Rodzilna 1, which was booked when 285/286 Bilhorod – Izmail – Bilhorod didn’t seem to be on sale or were fully booked. I’d hand written Kulevcha, and the arrival time on my ticket for the coach attendant, and he remembered too. When I got down into the undergrowth at Kulevcha I could see the platform and station building up the tracks. There was a freight pulling up on the opposite road as we arrived and other than the station building, there wasn’t a great deal else to Kulevcha. It was one of those places you got off and really hoped that the train you’d got off for was running.

I only had about 30-minutes to wait until 285 2034 Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi – Izmail was being announced. Train 285/6 used to start and terminate at Odesa and were the trains that had the Berezyne portion on originally, before 145/146 Kyiv – Izmail – Kyiv became popular and at the last timetable change 285/286 were truncated to start at Bilhorod instead and the Berezyne portion would only run at weekends and be attached to trains 145/146 instead and run during the day instead of overnight; the downfall of that being that the train sat at Berezyne for 6 hours and not 1 hour! Just to make it even more confusing, 285/286 were conveyed on 135/135 Chernivtsi – Bilhorod – Chernivtsi, t/from Odesa only and the coaches sit at Bilhorod for 10 hours in either direction. It just doesn’t make sense.

When train 285 came around the corner into Kulevcha it took me a moment to process what I was seeing. I was concentrating so hard on being able to get the loco numbers and figure out if my coach was at the front or rear, that I’d not even contemplated the fact that the train could be a sort rake; and in it rolled with Odesa based ChME3-6117 and two coaches and stopped right in front of me. For a one-horse town, the train almost emptied out at Kulevcha. Everyone on board was in the same age group from teens up to early twenties, so I’m guessing the train was a means to get students home on a Friday night and back to university/college on a Sunday night?

I ended up with a compo to myself for the 3-hour run back to Izmail and thankfully the window was open. The draught from it was quite harsh at speed though and I had to put it up a little; but at least I wasn’t melting like I had been on the previous train. I did notice, after my bedding was handed out, that I was in fact the only person who had bedding in the coach. Some had their own blankets or sheets, but I was the only one using UZ issued bedding. I guess a sign of the age-group on the train?

Unfortunately, ChME3-6117 wasn’t a loud one, which was typical when I had a window that I could get my head out of; although I did want to be horizontal at that point. Train 285 was already 5’ late into Kulevcha ad it lost a bit more time en-route to Izmail, arriving about 12’ late; which I assumed was down to the ChME3 being the traction for the train. The staff wasted no time in detaching the loco at Izmail ad it was bolted back to the opposite end of the train within 10 minutes. During that 10 minutes I got told off by a shunter for photting ChME3’s in the yard but nobody batted an eyelid when I filled my boots with photos of ChME3-6117 in the well-lit station area.

I was in the “other” coach for the return journey and was surprised at how many people were using the train. Every lower berth was full on departure from Izmail and again I seemed to be the only person on board using railway issued bedding. Departure time for train 286 is 0104 and it was bang on 0104 when we departed, and that was me pretty much dead all the way to Bilhorod.


Gen for Friday 15th June 2018

ChS4-111 146 1740 (P) Kyiv Pas – Izmail (to Odesa)
VL40U-1028-1/VL80S-2394 146 1740 (P) Kyiv Pas – Izmail (Odesa to Bilhorod)
2TE116-521a/2TE116-706a 146 1740 (P) Kyiv Pas – Izmail (from Bilhorod)
ChME3-4987 & ChME3-2635 at Artsyz
ChME3-3442/3772 & ChME3-3111/3997 shuttling sets at Izmail for offloading
ChME3-1025 Izmail yard pilot
2TE116-532b/2TE116-645b 145 1725 Izmail – Kyiv Pas ChME3-6117 285 2034 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky – Izmail


Moves for Friday 15th June 2018 

VL40U-1028-1 Odesa Holovna Bilhorod Dnistrovsky 145K 1740 (14/06) Kyiv Pas. – Izmail
2TE116-521a Bilhorod Dnistrovsky Izmail
2TE116-532b Izmail Kulevcha 146Sh 1725 Izmail – Kyiv Pas.
ChME3-6117 Kulevcha Izmail 285Sh 2034 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky – Izmail


Photos for Friday 15th June 2018 


Saturday 16th June 2018 (A day trundling along the Berezyne branch, with a 6-hour fester to boot!)

I woke with a start at around 0445, I don’t know why as the coach attendants make sure you’re up for your stop anyway; and I was getting off where the train terminated. Like train 285, train 286 reached its destination about 10’ late, at 0504 vice 0454. All the normals immediately went to the ticket office to get tickets for train 6342 0517 Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi – Odesa Holovna EMU. When I realised I could do the EMU forward to Buhas, thanks to some intermediate station times being listed on the departure board, I went to get myself a ticket, once the queue had died down. Then, while waiting on the platform, it dawned on me that the loco I was staring at was ChME3-6132 and not ChME3-6117; which train 285 had definitely set off from Izmail with; which was a bonus for the morning. A loco change in the night could explain the late arrival into Bilhorod I guess but with ‘6117 being an Odesa loco it was strange that it would get swapped out; and I can only assume it was at Artysz.

The 0517 EMU to Odesa was well frequented, not wedged, but well frequented for that time of a morning. It did the job of delivering me to Buhas and as I already had a ticket for train 145 from Rozdilna 1, I had no issues getting on it when VL40U-1412-2 rolled in about 10’ late with it. At Bilhorod, the two coaches off the Izmail overnight had been shunted to the sidings by the station and by the time I got to the front of the train the VL40 was already off and away. 2TE116-731a/2TE116-1152a were soon dropping down and they’d had a quick turnaround at Bilhorod as they’d come off a freight just as we’d arrived from Izmail and I assumed they’d run to shed for fuel?

I spent the hour and a half or so, during the run to Artysz, horizontal and when we arrived, we stopped dead with ChME3-6117 right outside my window in the yard. I wasn’t quite understanding what was going on when ChME3-4987 attached to my Berezyne coach, at the rear of train 145 to Izmail and drew the coach clear of the train, especially as I was sure Berezyne was the opposite direction to that which the ChME3 had attached. All soon made sense when the main train departed for Izmail and ChME3-2767 dropped onto the opposite end of the coach. Once it was attached and brake tested, ChME3-4987 was detached and stood behind the coach waiting or the one-coach train that was 687 0925 Artysz – Berezyne to depart.

The run long the branch, which used to run beyond Berezyne to Basarabeasca in Moldova, was quite fast to the first station, then it was a totter all the way to Berezyne; with the loco crew having to operate all the level crossings en-route. To my horror, we arrived into Berezyne 10’ early at 1054, which meant I’d got 6h10m to kill before the train returned to Artysz at 1704. I’d already looked on both Google Maps and ME Maps and the whole town couldn’t have been more that 1km square! To waste some time, I got some photos of the loc running around its coach and then headed off towards, well, somewhere…..

I soon found the main street, on which was a convenience store and a bus stop. Most of the other people from the train were waiting at the bus stop, on either side of the road, but nobody got on a bus; mostly because one didn’t turn up, and there were no timetables posted for any either. Everyone waiting was whisked away in a car they’d flagged down, most in Ladas! With nothing else better to do, I stood by the roadside and updated Goggle’s Map of Berezyne, sending them the details of the shop and the bus stop; and I even added a few photos of each too. At an hour into the 6-hour fester, it was time for dinner, so I headed back to the station and made up some cheese and crisp butties with the bits n bobs I’d bought in Odesa two days previous.

Dinner over, and still with 4h30m to go, I had no option but to have a look at the shop, which is right outside the station but seemed to advertise the fact it sold beer. And bugger me if it wasn’t a convenience store with two draught beers on the counter; 500ml of which was UAH12, a massive 30p a pint; well almost a pint anyway. The store ada was happy to sell me some beer and I sat in the outside area, all by my lonesome. It wasn’t a hot day and it was overcast. The breeze was nice but there was a storm brewing in the distance as all I could hear as I sat and rank my beer was birds tweeting and thunder. There wasn’t a single bit of road noise, or even people noise, it was possibly one of the most tranquil, yet strange, settings I’d ever had the pleasure of festering in. So much so, that I didn’t bother getting all my crap up to date and just sat and savoured the atmosphere.

During the next 4 hours, only 4 people visited the shop, two of those had a quick beer and one looked to be the woman’s son. It eventually started to hammer it down and I was thankful of my haven as there was no shelter at all at the station, other than the manky old station bogs; which looked quite nice on the outside! When others started to turn up for the train at around 1630, and the rain had eased a little, I walked the 20 yards back to the station and sheltered under a tree while the loco crew struggled to get the ChME3 going. I’d noticed a load of sting being tied to things earlier and it wouldn’t start unless one of the crew was fiddling with something in the engine room; and even then, it didn’t always stay running and needed a bit of coaxing.

The coach attendants opened up the train at 1640 and there was a made rush to get out of the rain. The train was quite well frequented on the journey back to Artysz, which was a journey I knew very little about as having spent £1.50 on beer in Berezyne, I well and truly slept it off back to Artysz.

On arrival into Artysz, ChME3-2635 was quickly dropped onto the opposite end of the stock, which then allowed ChME3-2767 to disappear off into the Artysz ether. ChME3-6117 was stood at the top end of the yard and 2TE10M-2832a/b arrived with a freight while we were waiting to be shunted out; which was at around 1900. I wasn’t able to spot he locos on the arriving 146 1725 Izmail – Kyiv so had the pleasure of a long walk from coach 0 to coach 13 to spot them, once we’d been shunted onto the rear of the train. I was pleased with 2TE116-691b/a, at last a pair that were meant to be together. As I walked back to my coach at the rear of the train, I bought a couple of hot doughy type things from an ada on the platform; whom I’d bought some from the previous day. They went down a treat after more cheese and crisp butties for tea!

At Bilhorod I stretched my legs and again walked from the back of the train to see what would replace the 2TE116, which I needn’t have bothered doing as I’d walk by the loco on the buffer stops at Odesa when I went back to the Hotel Good Night for a well-deserved night in a non-moving bed and a well needed hot shower! I had plenty of things that needed charging too! Either way, it was the same VL40U I’d leapt out on the EMU for earlier hat morning, VL40U-1412-2.

At Odesa, with the time nearing midnight, I wasted no time at the station and headed straight for the hotel. The gate to the courtyard was open and there was someone at the reception as well. I had told the guy, when I’d checked in two days previous, what train I’d be arriving back on and he confirmed it wouldn’t be a problem; and it wasn’t. I was even given the same room that I’d had the previous time and with everything on charge, I was in bed by 0030; and without an alarm set.


Gen for Saturday 16th June 2018

ChME3-6117 286 0104 Izmail – Bilhorod Dnistrovsky (to Artysz)
ChME3-6132 286 0104 Izmail – Bilhorod Dnistrovsky (from Artysz)
ER9E-653 6342 0517 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky – Odesa Holovna
ChME3-2048 at Bilhorod Dnistrovsky
VL40U-1412-2 146 1740 (P) Kyiv Pas – Izmail (Odesa to Bilhorod)
2TE116-731a/2TE116-1152a 146 1740 (P) Kyiv Pas – Izmail (from Bilhorod)
ChME3-4897 shunt Berezyne coach off rear of 146 at Artysz
ChME3-2767 687 0925 Artysz – Berezyne, 688 1704 Berezyne – Artysz
ChME3-2635 shunt Berezyne coach onto rear of 145 at Artysz
2TE116-691b/a 145 1725 Izmail – Kyiv Pas (to Bilhorod)
VL40U-1412-2 145 1725 Izmail – Kyiv Pas (Bilhorod to Odesa)


Moves for Saturday 16th June 2018 

ChME3-6117 Izmail Artysz 286Sh 0104 Izmail – Bilhorod Dnistrovsky
ChME3-6132 Artysz Bilhorod Dnistrovsky
ER9E-653 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky Buhas 6342 0517 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky – Odesa Holovna
VL40U-1412-2 Buhas Bilhorod Dnistrovsky 145K 1740 (15/06) Kyiv Pas. – Izmail
2TE116-731a Bilhorod Dnistrovsky Artysz
ChME3-4897 Artysz Shunt Artysz Shunt Draw through Kyiv – Berezyne coach off 145 at Artysz
ChME3-2767 Artysz Berezyne 687O 0925 Artysz – Berezyne
ChME3-2767 Berezyne Artysz 688Sh 1704 Berezyne – Artysz
ChME3-2635 Artysz Shunt Artysz Shunt Shunt through Berezyne – Kyiv coach 688 to 145 at Artysz
2TE116-691b Artysz Bilhorod Dnistrovsky 146Sh 1725 Izmail – Kyiv Pas.
VL40U-1412-2 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky Odesa Holovna


Photos for Saturday 16th June 2018  


Sunday 17th June 2018 (A morning in Odesa before a trundle to Fedorivka via Mykolaiv & Kherson)

I had absolutely no intention of getting out of bed before I needed to and the hotel, and shower that came with it, were just what the doctor ordered after two days of train tramping in sweltering conditions, and a fair bit of festering to boot. Until the Koblenz Railway museum had disappointed me on a large scale, I would have been flying with Wizz Air from Dortmund to Kiev and then doing train 084 1626 Kiev – Mariupol to the edge of Donetsk. When I changed my plan to fly to Odesa and do Izmail & Berezyne instead of the Koblenz disappointment, during the planning of the few days I noticed that I could do train 318 1428 Odesa – Zaporizhzhia 1 from Odesa to Fedorivka and continue on with my booked plan; having covered a whole load of diesel track across southern Ukraine, which isn’t regularly covered by people. The only problem with the whole plan being that train 318 arrived into Fedorivka at 0336 Monday morning but randomly, train 084 from Kyiv, while it undergoes a loco change at Fedorivka from electric to diesel, the bloody thing doesn’t have a booked passenger stop there! Neither does train 104 Kyiv – Mariupol behind it. The 2018 WTT for UZ confirmed a stop and the booked loco change for both 084 & 104 at Fedorivka but the timings were slightly out and based on the Dec 2017 timetable change. By my calculations though, with 084 being at Molochansk at 0512, I was working on the basis that it would be at Fedorivka at around 0415. I made my plan, had my tickets and was going to make my bed that afternoon, lay in it and suffer the consequences; if indeed there were any!

Meanwhile, after a very relaxing morning, I walked to Pizza City again and stuffed myself on Pizza before heading over to the unknown in the east of the country. The walk there and back warranted another shower before I headed to the station for my train. While it wasn’t scorching hot, with the sun blazing down, like it had been on previous days, it was overcast and muggy, like it had been in Berezyne the previous afternoon. As luck didn’t have it, I’d had all morning doing nothing and the moment I walk out of the hotel door, the first of the afternoon’s three 2018 World Cup matches was about to kick off; the outcomes of which were not what people would have expected, with Germany getting beat by Mexico and Argentina drawing with Iceland, after Messi had a penalty saved! I miss all the fun….

Still, my fun-packed afternoon kicked off with VL80S-660 heading up 318 1428 Odesa – Zaporizhzhia 1 as far as Kolosivka, where Mykolaiv based 2TE10UT-0077a/b took over as the train headed for Kherson, via Mykolaiv. I was in the middle of the train and in a coach that was relatively empty until Kherson, which allowed me to at least sit in a lower berth as I could only get and upper side berth as I booked the train so late. Being in the middle has its merits but it is still a pain walking down half of a lengthy train to spot locos, let alone a full train to do so.

Train 318 is booked the same locos from Kolosivka to Kherson, for a diesel to diesel swap there; both 2TE10’s according to the WTT. Having had previous at Mykolaiv with unadvertised loco changes, I stood on the platform just to make sure. The last time I’d not paid attention there the TEP70 was removed and replaced by a 2TE10 and I was in coach 19 at the rear of the train when I realised, when coming into the station I was getting off at; it was not a run, well actually more like bumble, down the platform that I wanted to ever repeat! I wasn’t paying attention on this occasion either, when the brakes hissed. But a glance down the platform was enough to confirm that the locos had been detached, based on the fact that they weren’t there anymore! So, it was a walk down half of the train to see what was going to replace them. Thankfully it wasn’t a TEP70 but 2TE10UT-0033a/b.

Pleased with the bonus twin-set, cheese butties were made up for tea and by the time I’d finished gaining random looks from the normals on the train, we were on the approach to Kherson; the journey time between Mykolaiv & Kherson only being just over an hour. There was another 30-minute stop at Kherson and I used the opportunity to nip outside the station to get some bits to complement my cheese butties; and fuck me, if when I got back on the platform, the locos were being removed from the train. I guess it was the booked loco change point anyway, but quite why an additional swap took place at Mykolaiv is anyone’s guess. Although it is the loco’s home base, so maybe to get locos in and out for exam and/or fuel? I wasn’t complaining though and train 318 was tuning into a bit of a railtour, although that would be it for loco changes while I was on board but 2TE10UT-0074a/b were welcome on the train; the hoards that had joined at Kherson, while I’d been off doing my thing, weren’t. The lower berth below me had been made up by the time I got back on board and that was my cue to get upstairs, get the iPod out and drown out the coach noise for a bit with a bit of Armin Van Buren in the mix!

Thankfully all the opening windows in the coach had kept it air-cooled throughout the journey, but only when it was on the move. The problem with the opening windows is that they open at the level of the upper berths and is your berth is facing travel, at speed you get blasted by the incoming breeze and its impossible to sleep; and quite cool at speed if the air outside has cooled down. Thankfully I didn’t have that dilemma on this particular night and was able to turn Armin off, when he’d finished, stick my bag up on the rack above my berth, replace the earphones with earplugs, turn over and get dossed out straight away.


Gen for Sunday 17th June 2018

VL80S-660 318 1428 Odesa Holovna – Zaporizhzhia 1 (to Kolosivka)
2TE10UT-0077a/b 318 1428 Odesa Holovna – Zaporizhzhia 1 (Kolosivka to Mykolaiv)
2TE10UT-0033a/b 318 1428 Odesa Holovna – Zaporizhzhia 1 (Mykolaiv to Kherson)
2TE10UT-0074b/a 318 1428 Odesa Holovna – Zaporizhzhia 1 (Kherson to Fedorivka)


Moves for Sunday 17th June 2018 

VL80S-660(1) Odesa Holovna Kolosivka 318Sh 1428 Odesa Holovna – Zaporizhzhia 1
2TE10UT-0077a Kolosivka Mykolaiv
2TE10UT-0033a Mykolaiv Kherson
2TE10UT-0074a Kherson Fedorivka


Monday 18th June 2018 (A day trip to Mariupol in the war-torn Donetsk region of Ukraine)

Even though my alarm was set, the coach attendant woke me up well in advance of Fedorivka, 2 minutes before my 0300 alarm would have probably woken the whole coach! Even though it wasn’t yet 4am when I stepped onto the platform at Fedorivka, it was quite warm, yet fresh. While wasn’t paying attention, well actually because I forgot the number because I didn’t write it down quickly enough, a ChS7 took over train 318 for the run to Zaporizhzhia. I was probably more preoccupied with figuring out where train 084 Kyiv – Mariupol would go in the station and wondering how I’d get onto the train if the doors weren’t opened in any of the coaches, let alone try and explain why I was trying to board a train at a location it didn’t have a passenger stop and with a ticket valid from Kyiv! It was right about this moment that the whole idea of this move seemed a bit stupid; as they always do until everything is ok once you’re on board.

Things got off to a good start when at least the train rolled up, around when I expected it to. With my mind pre-occupied with other things though, the ChS2 that brought it in escaped my mind almost as quickly as the train went by me. Your mind turns into a sieve as you get older and my transition had started in the last couple of years, I was staring to forget numbers as soon as I’d seen them, yet I could still tell you what I had years ago and what it led to! Getting old is rubbish! Anyway, back to the task at hand, I was in coach No.10 of what turned out to be 18, another middle of the train journey. There was a good sign, in that the very front door of the front coach was open with the attendant stood in it, as the train rolled into the platform. Surprisingly, there were quite a few coaches opened up, mainly for people to get off and have a smoke; my coach wasn’t one of them though but the one next to it was.

Having pre-empted some questions regarding my ticket and why I was attempting to board train 084 where I shouldn’t, I’d already pre-typed a couple of things into Google Translate to show the staff if they started querying things. I had my ticket for train 318 handy as well and had decided on the story of my flight to Kyiv being cancelled and this was the only suitable alternative. The attendant was quite taken aback when I approached her with a ticket in the first place but once she’d read it, she pointed to the next coach while shrugging her shoulders and taking at me. When I told her I only spoke English that ended the gibbering and she beckoned me to follow her; then led me through her coach connecting door to my coach No.10, where thankfully the coach attendant was up and about. She basically handed me over and did one, when the attendant in my coach looked at the ticket and processed it, she just showed me the berth number, handed me some bedding and pointed down the coach. I guessed that the other attendant had told her I was a stupid tourist, hence the lack of questioning. I wasn’t bothered what she’d told her either way, I was on board and that’s what mattered; albeit without having collected the loco numbers of the forwarding 2TE116, but that was a minor problem, for now. I had some sleep to catch up on, and thankfully in a lower berth.

I gave up on sleep at 0630, gathered up my bedding and when handing it back managed to get myself a cuppa before I got off some 20-minutes later. The countryside outside looked very different to the Ukraine I’d been travelling through so far, in that it was just countryside, but it was golden countryside. The morning sunshine was lighting up the way nicely and when I set foot down onto the trackside at Kamysh-Zoria, I had a lengthy bimble to do to collect the loco numbers. As the train was so long, only about 6 of the 18 coaches fit into the platform, so it was a free-for-all onto the trackside for those alighting elsewhere. Thankfully for me, the member of staff wandering down to the locos to give the crew their orders was slower than me. Typically, 2TE10’s and 2TE116’s are so close to the stock that if you’re on the wrong side of the train you can’t actually see the loco number, only the class. Thankfully the unit against the stock still had a side number and the pair turned out to be 2TE116-1538b/a; and I even plucked up the courage to sneak a photo while nobody seemed to be looking.

Kamysh-Zoria has a small yard adjacent to the station and during the 1h45m I was there, there were 4 freights use it. As there were a couple of army guys on the platform, and I’d noticed one in the cab of the rear loco of a pair in the yard as we’d arrived too, I decided against photos. Although I wasn’t yet in the Donetsk region, I wanted to actually make it there and not have my day cut short while trying to explain what I was doing to someone that didn’t understand the hobby. It would have been a glorious shot of 2TE116-1306a/b arriving into Kamysh-Zoria with 104 1855 (P) Kyiv Pas – Mariupol, but it wasn’t to be. Yet again I was in the middle of the train but at least I was back to my preferred berth No.17 on this train and had it made up in no time, in an attempt to recover a little more sleep.

The run to Volnovakha was going so well, until about 6km’s out. The result of the stop was that we arrived into Volnovakha when we were due away, so the 20 minutes I’d had to investigate proceedings became the time it took to take the 2TE116 off one end and attach the VL8 to the other. Thankfully VL8M-1614 had been sat outside the station ready to drop straight on once we’d come to a stand, so there wasn’t much investigation to do. While I stood on the platform I noticed a couple of police officers approach a guy from my coach and start quizzing him, which was my cue to make myself scarce as I didn’t want to be taking part in any police interrogation, especially as I was close to my destination. Most other people had cleared the platform too, having been gathered together by the taxi touts who’d be taking them forward by road to Donetsk; which is what everyone was touting on the platform.

Volnovakha is in the Donetsk region and trains used to head north from there, deep into the region. Trains coming off the diesel line from Fedorivka undergo a loco change during the reversal at Volnovaka, with everything then being worked into Mariupol by a 1960’s built VL8; one of the attractions of doing Mariupol as it’s the only place you’re guaranteed to get one on passenger. During the journey to Mariupol we passed two separate VL8’s heading light towards Volnovaka and a further two on freight trains heading the same way. At road crossings and railway bridges there was an army presence, with bollards blocking the roads in most cases. To reach Mariupol, on the Black Sea coast, trains have to skirt through the massive industrial area of Sartana, where VL8M-790 was sat waiting with a freight and ChME3T-7366 was shunting in one of the yards. There were also a couple of industrial, Russian built, TEM type diesels in use in the industrial complexes but the walls prevented any numbers being spotted.

On arrival into Mariupol, the first thing I noticed was just how laid back the atmosphere was, despite the military and police presence at the station exits; although it was only a couple at each exit and nothing overboard at all. Still, this reminded me of where I was and while I did manage a sneaky photo of VL8M-1614, it was only a going away shot, so as not to draw any attention of the crew on board. VL8M-1484 had backed onto the stock I’d just arrived on, by the time I’d walked back down the platform and the stock for me train back out of Mariupol was shunted onto the waiting VL8M792/VL8M-1610, by ChME3-2820 (I think). There was an EMU stabled in the bay platform with Volnovaka as its destination, which seems to indicate that the local trains that had been worked by VL8’s until recently, were now back in the hands of EMU’s; and there was a freshly posted timetable for the service in the booking hall.

With less than an hour in Mariupol I headed outside the station to get some bits for the train and failed miserably to return with anything other than an ice-cream! There are a few places but none that were selling anything of substance; although I could have got myself a frozen chicken if I’d wanted one!

With yet another mid-train coach, I settled in for the 3-hour journey back towards the west, and my brief jaunt into the Donetsk region would be over within 6 hours. It would have been a cracking photo of the pair ofVL8’s heading my 069 1250 Mariupol – Lviv, with VL8M-1484 stood at the side with 103 1450 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas; but I sensibly walked away before the draw of the photo outweighed the reasons not to take it! At Volnovaka though it was a little more low-key at either end of the train and while I didn’t manage a great photo of a VL8, at least I got one of the front of VL8M-1610 as it was being removed from the train. Having walked the 18 coaches to the opposite end of the train, I found 2TE116-1516b/a and took a quick photo of them in glorious sunshine on the phone. One of the crew in the cab was looking right at me when I did it, so I didn’t get the big camera out until I was further back down the platform, sheltered from everyone by a cabin and taking a going away shot.

On the way back to the train, I found a small store on the platform, which saved the day as far as food was concerned as I was beginning to think I might have to ration out what I had in my bag, to make it stretch till the following morning! Back on the train there was a red-face guy sat in the berth opposite me, with his shirt already off and he’d clearly fallen asleep with his head resting on his chest. When he woke he immediately stood up, shook my hand and gibbered something in Ukrainian at me. It didn’t seem to bother him that I couldn’t understand, or only spoke English but thankfully he didn’t bother me again. When his bedding was handed out, it was clear from his attempts to make it up, that he was drunk. It was even clearer when he took his jeans off and tried to hang them through the towel holder; I so wished I’d videoed it on my phone! Thankfully he then dossed out, but he couldn’t even do that right and having fallen out of his berth onto the floor, all he could manage to do was put his head back on the pillow and fell back to sleep with his knees on the floor, arm resting on the table and head on the pillow. Thankfully, I was getting off moments after this and even the two olds sat in the side berths opposite couldn’t help but laugh as I took a photo of the state.

On the journey to Rozivka, I passed what I thought was a ChME3 with one coach. Having taken a photo of the local train departures at Volnovakha, I figured out that it was 6956 xxxx Kamysh-Zoria – Volnovakha and then realised that it returned as 6957 1850 Volnovakha – Kamysh-Zoria, arriving at 2115; right in the middle of my 4-hour fester there; or not, as it was going to be now! During my 1h50m at Rozivka I spent it in the shade of some trees on the platform, where a nice breeze cooled the day down while I waited. There was nothing outside the station at all so I spent the time being brave and photographed two freights while I was there and then blue 2TE116-1073a/b arriving with 103 1450 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas; and I dread to thing what the coach attendant though when she saw me boarding her coach for the second time that day, and only with a ticket to the next shack!

At Kamysh-Zoria I found a local store a short walk from the station and even managed to get some cheese to complement the cheese bread I had for tea. Having done the town though, I waited till it cooled down a little and then started to walk the 3km to the shack at Km340. It was a shack as well and the amble took about 45 minutes in the end. I was going to attempt to get a taxi to take me back to Rozivka but Kamysh-Zoria is another one-horse town with two bus-stops and I didn’t see a bus at all; so, the walk to Km340 had to suffice. I heard a couple of freights pass while I was walking down the road, but nothing passed through while I was waiting. I’d set my stall out, so that if nothing had turned up by 2115, I would be briskly walking back to Kamysh-Zoria for my 2202 train. Thankfully, ChME3-1928 turned up out of the evening gloom, with its one coach, and the gripper on the door seemed a little surprised to see me; so much so, that I think she’d cashed up and didn’t even bother asking me for a ticket!

Unfortunately, ‘1928 was an unsilenced ChME3 but for the 3km totter down around the corner, and the fact it was only load 1, the Czech machine wasn’t tested at all, let alone put in any more than half power. Immediately on arrival into Kamysh-Zoria, where I was one of two people that alighted from the train, ChME3-3170 was buffered up to the back of the coach while ChME3-1928 was detached and then ran into the headshunt beyond the platform end. ‘3170 then propelled the coach onto the road adjacent to ‘1928 and then went back into the yard to assume its shunting duties. Meanwhile, ‘1928 then dropped back onto the opposite end of the coach and was shut down; assumingly in readiness for the early morning departure back to Volnovakha?

I celebrated my “loud” ChME3 with stale bread, which had come from Odesa and the cheese slices that I’d bought from the store earlier. I was even kind enough to share my cheese with one of the station cats, which wasn’t a pest and just sat expectant while I put my sarnies together hobo style. By the time the cat and I had finished off the cheese people had started drifting into the station for train 083 1847 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas, which promptly turned up with 2TE116-855a/b. I was in the same coach, and exactly the same berth, as I had been when I’d done 084 Kyiv – Mariupol to Kamysh-Zoria earlier that morning; and as I walked down the coach to my berth, I couldn’t help but wonder what the same coach attendant from the morning was thinking when she opened her coach door to be greeted with my smiling face, 15 hours after letting me out of the same door going in the opposite direction? God only knows what she thought though, when I got of at Molochansk at 2343, after I’d presented her with a Rozivka to Zaporizhzhia 1 ticket when I got on! The reason for that was simple though, the online system wouldn’t sell me a Kamysh-Zoria to Molochansk for train 103, or a Kamysh-Zoria to Zaporizhzhia 1 for that matter; yet it would sell me a Rozivka to Zaporizhzhia 1, which is what I bought. Strangely, when doing long-distance trains, the fares for short journeys are quite expensive in comparison to a long-distance journey on the same train, so the Rozivka to Zaporizhzhia 1 ticket, for my Kamysh-Zoria to Molochansk journey only cost a tiny bit more than it would have been, had I got a ticket for the journey I actually wanted to make.

Molochansk was a decent place to wait for 45 minutes as the clock ticketed through midnight as I waited. There were a few others around when 2TE116-743b/a arrived with 070 0120 (P) Lviv – Mariupol; which I was only on board for 14 minutes. I’d only been able to buy a 2nd class ticket on train 070 as well so by the time I’d go into my compo, disturbed the two people asleep in it and sat down, it was time to stand back up and head to the door to get off. Despite being confused by my antics, even the coach attendant gave me my ticket straight back when she realised I was only got to the next shack.

I only had 54 minutes to wait at Velykyi Tomak for 096 2008 (P) Mariupol – Bakhmut, which is advertised to Artemivsk 2 on the schedule on UZ’s website; so, whether the two are the same pace and one is the old name and the other the new name, I don’t know. What I do know though, is that Mariupol to Artemivsk-2 is roughly 80km direct. Both are in the Donetsk region but to get from one to the other by train, the train has to head west to Fedorivka, then north to Zaporizhzhia and onwards to Kharkiv, before heading back south and into the Donetsk region from the north; completing the journey in a mere 18h23m, a journey which could probably be done by road in a little over an hour, albeit, maybe not at night these days?

I was quite pleased when 2TE116-1306a/b rolled into Velykyi Tomak with train 096 as that competed the day’s bash, where every 2TE116 had been a complete set of corresponding locos and every pair on every train had been different throughout the day; during which I’d been able to identify 14 different pairs, of which 8 of them had been complete locos with corresponding A & B units. I was glad to get into my bed, after all it was approaching 2am when I did so. For he second journey in a row I’d only been able to get a berth in 2nd class too, so I reveled in my relative luxury, even though I do much prefer the 3rd class open platskart coaches. I find them less stuffy and claustrophobic and the ambience is a lot nicer. Yeah you get the odd train where there a group of me that have had a beer, but its not like back at home where they’re causing trouble. They still doss out when the rest of the coach does and the women they’re with generally keep them in tow. You know, this is a country where beer is cheaper than water, they can handle it, unlike us puffy western Europeans!


Gen for Monday 18th June 2018

ChS7-xxx 084 1626 (P) Kyiv Pas – Mariupol (into Fedorivka)
2TE116-1538b/a 084 1626 (P) Kyiv Pas – Mariupol (from Fedorivka)
2TE116-1207a/b 104 1855 (P) Kyiv Pas – Mariupol (Fedorivka to Volnovakha)
VL8M-1614 104 1855 (P) Kyiv Pas – Mariupol (from Volnovakha)
ChME3-6124 shunting at Volnovakha
VL8M-767 at Volnovakha
VL8M-792/VL8M-1610 069 1250 Mariupol – Lviv (to Volnovakha)
2TE116-1516b/a 069 1250 Mariupol – Lviv (Volnovakha to Fedorivka)
VL8M-1484 103 1450 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas (to Volnovakha)
2TE116-1063a/b 103 1450 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas (Volnovakha to Fedorivka)
ChME3-1928 6957 1850 Volnovakha – Kamysh-Zoria (ChME3-3170 shunted coach away)
2TE116-855a/b 083 1847 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas (Volnovakha to Fedorivka)
2TE116-743b/a 070 0120 Lviv – Mariupol (Fedorivka to Volnovakha)
2TE116-1306a/b 096 2008 Mariupol – Bakhmut (Volnovakha to Fedorivka)

2TE116s seen on the Fedorivka to Volnovakha line

2 separate VL8 light towards Volnovakha and 2 others on freights (seen from 104)

VL8-790 freight at Sartana
ChME3T-7366 at Sartana shunting
ChME3-2820 (I think) station pilot at Mariupol
EMU at Mariupol, assumed to be same one that departed Volnovakha when 104 arrived there
VL8M-607, VL8M-977 & VL8M-750 at Volnovakha during 069’s layover 1423-1443
ChME3-3170 yard pilot at Kamysh-Zoria


Moves for Monday 18th June 2018 

2TE116-1538b Fedorivka Kamysh Zoria 084K 1626 (17/06) Kyiv Pas. – Mariupol
2TE116-1207a Kamysh Zoria Volnovakha 104K 1855 (17/06) Kyiv Pas. – Mariupol
VL8-1614(1) Volnovakha Mariupol
VL8-792(1) Mariupol Volnovakha 070D 1250 Mariupol – Lviv
2TE116-1516b Volnovakha Rozivka
2TE116-1063a Rozivka Kamysh Zoria 104D 1450 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas.
Walk Kamysh Zoria Km340 3km, 45 minutes
ChME3-1928 Km340 Kamysh Zoria 6957 1850 Volnovakha – Kamysh Zoria
2TE116-855a Kamysh Zoria Molochansk 084D 1847 Mariupol – Kyiv Pas.


Photos for Monday 18th June 2018 


Tuesday 19th June 2018 (Daytime from Kharkiv to Konotop to then heading overnight to Dolynska)

When I surfaced, I found a plug socket in the coach corridor and as I plugged it in, I assumed that the Ukrainian voice from the next compo was telling me that it didn’t work, as it didn’t. When I told her I only spoke English though, another voice from the same compo replied “so do I”! It wasn’t a familiar voice, but it turned out to be a familiar person; and the notebook on the table gave his game away anyway! It was Clive Haines, who’d only been in Mariupol the previous day when I had, although he’d had a longer stay and had been for a look around the town too. He’d been planning on doing the VL8’s on the Mariupol – Volnovakha locals but confirmed that the EMU I had seen, was indeed one of the ones drafted in to cover the locals from very recently.

It turned out that we were both booked on the same train forward from Kharkiv as well, albeit not in the same coach, or class, but only a coach apart. Clive was heading to Kyiv on train 046 Lysychansk – Uzhhorod while I was heading to Bakhmach. So, after spotting ChS7-315 at the head of 096, which we assumed had worked the train from Fedorivka, to kill the 3-hour fester in Kharkiv Clive introduced me to a coffee place near the station, where between us we charged 4 phones, 2 power banks and a laptop during our stay, and abused the very good WiFi too. Before heading back to the station, we used a rather cramped supermarket to stock up on snacks for the train, although I stocked up on enough train food to last me a couple of days as I wasn’t sure what I might find during my solid three days of travel.

TEP70-0046/TEP70-0055 were just dropping onto train 046 0625 Lysychansk – Uzhhorod when we got back to the station, so we missed the VL82 that had worked the train into Kharkiv. I can only assume that VL82-077, which was stood at the side of train 046 when it departed, had brought it in and was waiting to get onto shed. On departure from Kharkiv Clive and I parted company, he to his 2nd class compo in the adjacent to coach to my 3rd class platskart coach; which I have to say was a pretty rancid affair in the afternoon heat. There was no airflow through it whatsoever during the journey and I was getting increasingly concerned, as I sweated into my clothes, what I was going to do for the next three days as I was on trains solidly until I got to Chisinau in Moldova!

Sat melting into your bedding is not a good feeling at any time, doing it on a train where there’s no airflow at all as your clothes gradually become damp with all the perspiration is just not how I envisaged this trip would be. Me and the two guys in my compo eventually managed to get the window down, which felt like it was still sealed with sealant from the winter period. Once we got the damn thing down though, it didn’t want to stay down but a bit of improvisation sorted the job; and the Pepsi bottle I’d just finished held firm until I got off the train, at least. Unfortunately, as I was travelling with my back to the direction of travel, the breeze from the window didn’t make a great deal of difference but it was definitely better than no air at all. At one point, before we got the window down, I was on the verge of taking my shirt off; just like all the Ukrainian men do on board trains anyway.

I had a brief conversation with Clive on the platform at Sumy, where the leading loco, TEP70-0046, was removed from the train to let ‘0055 go forward alone. Train 046 is timed to stand at Sumy for 10 minutes, so taking a loco off seems to be the booked move in the 10-minute wait. At Vorozbha TEP70-0055 was replaced by ChS4-204, which would work train 046 through to Kyiv and convey Clive to his hotel. I was envious of the fact he had a hotel the night when I bode him farewell before the train departed Vorozbha. I did bellow at him as the train departed Bakhmach Pas, which was where my night would be going down the road of plan B as I hadn’t been ale to get tickets for the key train that was plan A!

Originally my plan on tis night had been to do train 061 Moskva – Mykolaiv from Tereshchenska to Dolynska for the opposing working of train 062 Mykolaiv – Moskva back to Cherkasy. This pair of trains run from Bakhmach Pas via Hrebrinka & Cherkasy to IT Shevchenka and allegedly have a diesel to diesel loco change at Hrebinka as well. I’m always on the ball with booking my UZ tickets online and a couple of months beforehand I go through the process of figuring out what the advance booking period is on the UZ ticket booking website and then make a note on my trip plan as to what date I should attempt to make my own booking. While this isn’t 100% accurate, it is a good guide and I’ve not managed to bowl myself out by the forward thinking yet. However, when it came to time to try and book tickets for 061 and 062, one was on the money and the other I couldn’t book for love now money! For some reason, I could book 062 from Dolynska to Cherkasy but I couldn’t book 061 from anywhere to anywhere, on any date after the 18th June. Confused with the whole affair, I continued booking my trip as I’d planned, expecting tickets for 061 to have been held back for some reason and that they’d come on sale eventually; well they didn’t! I did task Real Russia with trying to get me the tickets, which they could do but their extortionate price of £147, for a fare that would be in the region of £7 on the UZ website, put pay to me being able to get the ticket resourced before I departed the UK. With no alternative but to have a back-up planned, I found a direct train on the UZ booking system from Konotop to Dolynska and Mykolaiv, while doing random searches to try and booked train 061. This alternative through train was actually through coaches off 775 2108 Kharkiv – Kyiv which were then shunted to 766 0742 Kyiv – Kherson at Kyiv. Needless to say, it was electric throughout to Dolynska, but it got me back on plan, and even allowed me to do the train forward to Kazanka for 062 Mykolaiv – Moskva coming the other way. When I got to Ukraine at the start of the trip, I presented the girl at the international ticket window at Lviv station with a list of trains I wanted to book and tagged 061 from Tereshchenska to Dolynska onto the list. She couldn’t get the system to spit me out a ticket either and at that point I really had been beaten by UZ but couldn’t understand why. The only reason I could think of was possibly something to do with the World Cup starting in Russia and bookings for the train being blocked as a result. It was the only train out of Moscow that I couldn’t book an internal ticket on as randomly, to prevent a lengthy fester at Konotop, I managed to get a Tereshchenska to Konotop ticket on train 073 Moskva – Lviv; which is 23 minutes in front of train 061 from Tereshchenska! Ultimately, I watched 061 arrive into Konotop that night and depart with ChS4-210 and passed it again the following day with a TEP70 at its helm, between Dolynska and Kazanka.

So, back to Bakhmach Pas, where my evening of spinning about on electrics, to while away the time, was about to commence. That was until I clapped eyes on a ChME3 dropping onto a dead DMU in the back platform. As I walked up to investigate, I realised that the DMU had people on it and others were boarding as I watched ChME3-1990 being tied on to the front of the DMU. The power of technology soon had me digging out the gen on the UZ regional trains website and the gen told me that the train was 6503 2028 Bakhmach Pas – Snovsk, which was a line heading north towards the Belarus border. There was no return working later that night, so I then found myself consulting ME Maps to figure out how ling it would take me to walk back from the first station, which was at the Km3.0. It showed a walk of about 45 minutes for the little over 3km road route and as I now had until 2220 to get back to Bakhmach Pas, to put me back on track with the late evening bash, I strapped myself in for the ride.

I didn’t bother walking all the way to the booking office to get a ticket and just chung out on the train for the UAH6 (14p) fare. It was a shame the driver was a windbag and the track speed heading out of Bakhmach was crap as ChME3-1990 was another unsilenced one and it was on a decent load while dragging DMU DR1A-153. I could hear it spluttering off into the distance as I began my walk back to Bakhmach Pas, with my phone charging at the same time as it had died just before we got there! Thankfully, it had cooled down rapidly once the sun had gone down, which isn’t to say it actually was cool, it just wasn’t 30 degrees with a blazing hot sun shining down. As I was already about a rancid as I could get, a 3km walk with both of my bags probably wasn’t going to make a shite of difference anyway; and to boot, ChS4-069 which had departed Bakhmach Pas with 777 1842 Shotska – Kyiv Pas, was dud anyway!

I was ready for 5 minutes sitting down when I got back to Bakhmach Pas station and had about 45 minutes to chill before VL40U-1384-1 arrived with 658 1950 Chernihiv – Konotop, formed of only two coaches. These coaches would be shunted onto train 6 Kyiv – Moskva at Konotop but as the next stop after Konotop was in Russia, I hadn’t been able to book the ticket to beyond Konotop to guarantee getting the sunt loco in and then getting off afterwards, having never had any intention of going beyond Konotop. As I was right at the back of the coach, at the opposite end to the coach attendant, I figured playing dumb might have its merits and I just stayed in my berth on arrival at Konotop. It was dark outside, and I couldn’t see the station very well, so who was I to know I was where I wanted to go, eh? I was soon where I wanted to be when the stock started moving backwards and was then propelled onto the rear of train 6 in the adjacent platform. When I felt the clunk of us hitting the other stock, I tried to put on my best panicked face as I went to the vestibule where the attendant was talking to the shunter. Of course, words were said in Ukrainian that I didn’t understand and while she was shaking her head in disgust, she lowered the steps for me and beckoned that I should get off. Thankfully the ChME3 was only just being detached when I got to it and thanks to the poor station lighting I had to strain my eyes, while only feet from it, to read the number; ChME3-2489.

That little escapade over, I found ChS4-044 at the head of train 6 and ChS4-122 was soon following it in with 074 1003 Lviv – Moskva, which I did forward to Krolivets for a 13-minute wait for ChS4-198 forward to Tereshchenska on 784 2058 Kyiv Pas – Shotska. Tereshchenska, by the way, is another station that is called something completely different in the UZ train schedules its mentioned on, yet when doing a search of trains from A to B its listed as Tereshchenska. On all the schedules its listed as Voronizhska.

I didn’t have long to wait at Tereshchenska before ChS4-149 was rolling in with 073 Moskva – Lviv and 15 minutes after that dropped me at Konotop, ChS4-210 rolled in with 061 Moskva – Mykolaiv. There were plenty of people boarding and alighting from the train at Konotop too; just I wasn’t one of them! The taillights of 061 had barely left the platform end when ChS4-187 arrived with my 775 2108 Kharkiv – Kyiv Pas. It was formed mostly of seating coaches with the two through coaches for Kherson behind the loco. My coach No.28 was eerily silent when I clambered aboard, and I had to make my berth up in darkness. Thankfully I didn’t disturb anyone and was very grateful at being able to get my head down, it was approaching 3am by the time I did so after all. I was even more grateful that the coach wasn’t like an oven and that he window was open in my compo area; I did feel like a train tramp though and could smell my own feet when I took my shoes off. I had visions of waking in the middle of the night with flies buzzing around me……


Gen for Tuesday 19th June 2018

ChS7-315 096 2008 Mariupol – Bakhmut (from Fedorivka)
ChME3-3462 shunt loco at Zap 1
VL8M-459 & VL8M-1021 on freight through Zap 1
TEP70-0055 046 0625 Lysychansk – Uzhhorod (Kharkiv to Vorozbha)
TEP70-0046 pilot 046 Kharkiv – Sumy
TEP70-101 load 3 Sumy local 1753 Sumy – Pushkarne?
ChS4-204 046 0625 Lysychansk – Uzhhorod (from Vorozbha)
ChME3-1990 6503 2028 Bakhmach Pas – Snovsk (dragging DMU DR1A-153) to Km3.0
ChS4-069 777 1842 Shotska – Kyiv Pas
VL40U-1384-1 658 1950 Chernihiv – Konotop
ChME3-2489 shunt 658 to 6 at Konotop
M62-1591 on an engineer’s train at Konotop
ChS4-044 6 xxxx Kyiv Pas – Moskva Kievskaya
ChS4-122 074 1003 Lviv – Moskva Kievskaya
ChS4-198 784 2058 Kyiv Pas – Shotska


Moves for Tuesday 19th June 2018 

2TE116-743b Molochansk Velykyi Tomak 2 070L 0120 (18/06) Lviv – Mariupol
2TE116-1306a Velykyi Tomak 2 Fedorivka 096D 2008 (18/06) Mariupol – Bakhmut
ChS7-315(1) Fedorivka Kharkiv Pas.
TEP70-0046 Kharkiv Pas. Sumy 046D 0625 Lysychansk – Uzhhorod
TEP70-0055 Vorozbha Pas.
ChS4-204 Vorozbha Pas. Bakhmach Pas.
ChME3-1990 Bakhmach Pas. Km 3.0 6503 2028 Bakhmach Pas. – Snovsk
Walk Km 3.0 Bakhmach Pas. 3.5km, 45 minutes
VL40U-1384-1 Bakhmach Pas. Konotop 658K 1950 Chernihiv – Konotop
ChME3-2489 Konotop Shunt Konotop Shunt Shunt through Moskva coaches 658 to 6 at Konotop
ChS4-122 Konotop Krolivets 074L 1003 Lviv – Moskva Kievskaya


Photos for Tuesday 19th June 2018 


Wednesday 20th June 2018 (Kyiv to Kazanka via the electrified route then across to Cherkasy via IT Shevchenka, before overnighting via Khrystynivka to Zhmerynka)

Train 775 coming to an abrupt stand at Kyiv is the only thing that woke me on the short journey to the Ukrainian capital. Once the electric was off the train, ChME3T-7341 shunted our portion into an adjacent platform and left us there, before I assumed it shunted the rest of the stock off 775 to the carriage sidings. Curious but also sleepy, I dozed in my berth until I felt a jolt an hour later. This jolt came with added stock and I wrongly assumed that it was the rest of the stock to form 766 0742 Kyiv Pas – Kherson; until we were dragged out of the station and then propelled onto some more stock, which was actually the seating coaches of 766 to Kherson. It turned out that the additional coaches that ChME3T-7320 had shunted us with were portion coaches to Kherson, off 096 Minsk – Kyiv Pas; so technically, train 766 was made up of three portions the Kyiv day-seating coaches, the Kharkiv portion off train 775 and the Minsk portion off train 096. Still knackered from my late night, I was sock on again before train 766 departed Kyiv and was only woken by the giggling girls in my compo area, who were doing breakfast not long after departure from Kyiv judging by the time. As booked though, when I decided to get out of my slumber, at nearly 10am, they were all dossed back in their pits!

Once the sun came out for the morning, that was it, the greenhouse effect in the coach started. Enough was enough though and I decided I was going to have a full derance in one of the bogs. Choosing the cleaner, and thankfully more spacious of the two, I was able to get stripped off, have a full body wash and use the towel provided with bedding to get dry with. The clean clothes made all the difference and when I got back to my berth, I couldn’t smell myself for the first time in 24-hours! The wash didn’t stop the sweating though and my clean clothes were soon feeling the effect of what travelling on Ukrainian trains did to you during the summer months. If I laid still in my berth, exerting no energy other than the beating of my heart, I swear I was almost sweat free at one point. I think it was the energy used when blinking that brought the sweating back on, or it could have been the stupid twat of a girl in the upper bunk opposite who couldn’t deal with the constant draft from the open window. Needless to say, it didn’t stay closed for long.

Train 766 is right away Kyiv to Dolynska ad I was glad to get off for a wander around when we arrived into Dolynska. It was a scorching hot early afternoon though and hiding from the sun was the number one priority while walking about the place. As ChS8-027 was being detached, I could see the back end of a single 2TE10 unit waiting up ahead; but that’s not what dropped onto 766. Out of nowhere came 2TE10UT-0064a/b in a nice deep shade of blue. They were soon whisking train 766, and its restless occupants, towards Mykolaiv & Kherson.

I didn’t have long to wait at Kazanka before 2TE10UT-0072a/b were bearing down with 062 1108 Mykolaiv – Moskva, which conveys a portion from Kherson also. During the loco swap at Dolynska I managed to get myself some food, cold pop and a half-thawed ice cream, which I didn’t know what t make of. It would have been straight in the bin in India but for some reason, I slurped it all down and then considered the possible consequences; which thankfully never came!

ChS4-082 led the way from Dolynska to Znamianka, where VL80T-1445 dropped onto the other end for the run to IT Shevchenka. This reversal meant that I would inherit the draught from the open window in out compo and it was like inheriting gold! I’d not been so cool and dry on a train in Ukraine for ages. The sun had to make an appearance on my side of the train and spoil things, but I still reveled in the draught while I had it!

At IT Shevchenka the VL80 was off the train before I’d ambled the length of it. TEP70-164 was bearing down on the stock by the time I got there and after a quick photo I ambled back 12 coaches to where my berth was. As it was only a 35-minute run to Cherkasy I gathered my bedding up after re-boarding and prepared for getting off at Cherkasy. As we approached the station at Cherkasy, ChME3-5048 was waiting outside with the stock for 095 1927 Cherkasy – Lviv and once the DMU forming 6071 1847 Cherksay – IT Shevchenka departed, on one engine only, the ChME3 brought the stock into the platform that train 062 had vacated. IT Shevchenka based 2TE10UT-0069b/a then dropped onto the load 15 rake to work it.

Once on board, I had a quick look at the UZ WTT to see what should work train 095 Cherkasy – Lviv and was surprised to find that the IT Shevchenka 2TE10 should give way to a Khrystynivka based 2TE10 at IT Shevchenka, which would then, in theory, be replaced at it’s home depot by another Khrystynivka based 2TE10 for the run onwards to Vapniarka, where a VL40 would then work the train forward to Zhmerynka and then finally a Lviv based VL40 or VL80 would work the train through to destination. Quite a railtour was train 095!

The first part held up and sure enough Khrystynivka based 2TE10UT-0062a/b pair were waiting outside IT Shevchenka as their classmates rolled in with the train. Of course, what this newfound knowledge meant, was that I wasn’t getting much sleep of a night as the loco change at Khrystynivka was at 2357; and I was getting off at 0420! However, what this newfound knowledge did do was get me another 2TE10 out of the equation, that I wouldn’t have otherwise known had worked the train; and having managed to stay awake until midnight, keeping myself busy, I was treated to 2TE10UT-0061a/b forward from Khrystynivka. They say knowledge is power, on this occasion though, knowledge was red pen! I was asleep before the train departed Khrystynivka, safe in the knowledge that after the next loco change, it would still be on the train when I got off at Zhmerynka.


Gen for Wednesday 20th June 2018

ChS4-149 073 1559 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Lviv
ChS4-210 061X 1533 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Mykolaiv
ChS4-187 775 2108 (P) Kharkiv Pas – Kyiv Pas
ChME3T-7341 shunt Kherson portion off 775 at Kyiv
ChME3T-7320 shunt Kherson portion from 775 onto rear of 766 at Kyiv
ChS8-027 (2/1) 766 0742 Kyiv Pas – Kherson (to Dolynska)
2TE10UT-0064a/b 766 0742 Kyiv Pas – Kherson (from Dolynska)
TEP70-xxx 061X 1533 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Mykolaiv (from Dolynska)
2TE10UT-0072b/a 062Sh 1108 Mykolaiv – Moskva Kievskaya (into Dolynska)
ChS4-082 062Sh 1108 Mykolaiv – Moskva Kievskaya (Dolynska to Znamianka)
VL80T-1445 062Sh 1108 Mykolaiv – Moskva Kievskaya (Znamianka to IT Shevchenko)
TEP70-164 062Sh 1108 Mykolaiv – Moskva Kievskaya (from IT Shevchenko)
ChME3-5048 & TEM7-0043 shunting at Cherkasy
2TE10UT-0069b/a 095 1927 Cherkasy – Lviv (to IT Shevchenka)
2TE10UT-0062a/b 095 1927 Cherkasy – Lviv (IT Shevchenka to Khrystynivka)
2TE10UT-0061a/b 095 1927 Cherkasy – Lviv (Khrystynivka to Vapniarka)


Moves for Wednesday 20th June 2018 

ChS4-198 Krolivets Tereshchenska 784Sh 2058 (19/06) Kyiv Pas. – Shotska
ChS4-149 Tereshchenska Konotop 073A 1559 (19/06) Moskva Kievskaya – Lviv
ChS4-187 Konotop Kyiv Pas. 775K 2108 (19/06) Kharkiv Pas. – Kyiv Pas.
ChME3T-7341 Kyiv Pas. Shunt Kyiv Pas. Shunt Shunt through Kharkiv – Kherson coach off 775 at Kyiv Pas.
ChME3T-7320 Kyiv Pas. Shunt Kyiv Pas. Shunt Shunt through Kharkiv – Kherson coach onto 766 at Kyiv Pas.
ChS8-027(1) Kyiv Pas. Dolynska 766L 0742 Kyiv Pas. – Kherson
2TE10UT-0064a Dolynska Kazanka
2TE10UT-0072b Kazanka Dolynska 062Sh 1108 Mykolaiv – Moskva Kievskaya
ChS4-082 Dolynska Znamianka
VL80T-1445(1) Znamianka Im. Terasa Shevchenko
TEP70-164 Im. Terasa Shevchenko Cherkasy
2TE10UT-0069b Cherkasy Im. Terasa Shevchenko 095Sh 1927 Cherkasy – Lviv
2TE10UT-0062a Im. Terasa Shevchenko Khrystynivka
2TE10UT-0061a Khrystynivka Vapniarka


Photos for Wednesday 20th June 2018 


Thursday 21st June 2018 (Koziatyn to Chisinau, Moldova, via Transnistria)

I was woken from my slumber by the coach attendant presenting me with my ticket at 0405. A bit bleary-eyed, I got my bedding tidied up, handed it back to the attendant and got my bags out ready to get off. Train 095 rolled into Zhmerynka at bang on 0420 and thankfully I only had a couple of coaches to walk to spot VL40U-1414-1 at the head of it; which was replaced by VL40U-1139-2 for the run to Lviv. In the adjacent platform was 134 Mykolaiv – Ivano Frankivsk, with VL80T-1392 seemingly having difficulty trying to couple to the stock. It took at least 4 attempts to get the loco coupled, and that was while I was watching, it was already buffered to the train when I arrived. All was eventually well though and the VL80 departed towards Lviv with no issues.

When train 758 0206 Mohyliv Podilskyi – Zhmerynka arrived with 2TE116-775b at its helm, my cunning plan came into play. I was booked on what is technically train 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas from Zhmerynka to Koziatyn 1 but when I’d realised that train 758 was portion shunted onto 770 at Zhmerynka I bought myself a ticket on 758 from the last station before Zhmerynka, Bar, which cost literally the same as the ticket would have from Zhmerynka and gained me a hunt in the process. I wasn’t sure if I was going to arrive in time to manage t get on the shunt before it happened as my 095 was due in at 0420 and 758 is due in at 0424, but when I spotted ChME3T-6397 waiting outside the station as I arrived on 095, I knew we were in first. While the 2TE116 was being removed from 758, the attendant was happy to let me onto the train to get my bonus ChME3 in for the morning. The stock was drawn out of the station to await train 770 arriving from Kamianets Podilskyi; which I can only assume did so with ChS4-108 when it ran by us when coming off the train. Our stock was then propelled onto what would become the rear of the train from Zhmerynka and ChS8-076 was added to the opposite end of the train to complete the set. Unfortunately, both trains are formed of seating coaches only and they were well frequented, mostly with students by the look of it but some business types got on at both Zhmerynka and Vinnytsia; where I got off to continue with my ned moves for the morning, before I headed to Moldova.

A train I knew only too well was next on the agenda and ChS4-048 took me forward to Koziatyn 1 with 146 1725 Izmail – Kyiv Pas. Koziatyn 1 station is a v-shaped station but randomly has a curve off one side of the V to enable trains to use both sides of the station when going to/from Kyiv. There’s also a north ed curve that avoids the station completely, I only saw freight using it during the short time I was on the platform. ChS8-003 was my next conveyance with a rather empty 282 1439 (P) Henichensk – Khemelhytsky and having stepped back off that onto 111 2009 (P) Kharkiv – Lviv with ChS4-105, I arrived into Zhmerynka 6h07m after I’d done so for the first time that day, with ChS4-141 leading the way on 065 1631 Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau.

The train was greeted by that many hawkers at the doors that I could barely get off to go and watch the loco swap taking place. They were selling anything from fresh fruit in ready to eat plastic containers, to smoked fish that were marauded around the place hanging on sticks. There was the in-between stuff too, cakes, pastries and biscuits, all of which had been home-cooked, which got my vote and UAH20 got me a couple of very nice cherry filled pastries, which thankfully didn’t have cherries with the pips still in, unlike some I bought the other day. ChME3T-6397 was back to its mundane shunting in the yard and VL40U-1025-2 eventually turned up and was bolted to the stock for the run t Kuchurgan. From Zhmerynka train 065 runs non-stop, other than for the loco change from electric to diesel at Kuchurgan on the Ukraine/Moldova border, to Tiraspol in the disputed territory of Transnistria, Moldova. Where no passport stamp would be gained on entry into Moldova because of the Moldovan government obviously not recognizing Transnistria as a stand-alone entity. Because of this, those entering Moldova though Transnistria have to register their arrival within 72-hours of doing so and be able to present their travel documents to prove where they entered. The process, so I’ve read, is simple and painless, but necessary all the same; to avoid any conflict or hassle when trying to exit Moldova, especially if then exiting by land.

I was quite pleased when I watched train 065 Moskva – Chisinau roll into Vinnytsia with RZD (Russian Railways) stock. I’d been expecting the worst for the 10-hour journey to Chisinau on Moldovan stock but the RDZ stock was refurbished, had electronic displays for the coach numbers and destination, along with further electronic displays inside for toilets, date & time and even speed the train was travelling at. The toilets were clean and had proper vacuum flushes, the coach was air-cooled and not roasting hot. The window blinds worked properly, the mattresses for the bedding were new and of a good quality and the bedding was big enough to fit over it and cover it completely. The only issue I had at all with the train was the fact that there were kids fucking about in the next compo; who thankfully didn’t prevent me catching up on a bit of sleep. The biggest bonus of all was the addition of pug sockets under the tables during refurbishment and during the journey to the Moldovan border I charged my phone, power bank, iPod and laptop.

We only stopped once en-route from Zhmerynka to Kuchurgan, which seemed to be a booked service stop as all the rubbish from on board was dumped on the platform and there were plenty of sellers offering stuff there too. The 6-hour journey from Zhmerynka was one of the most peaceful and relaxed I’ve done in Ukraine, while no sweating my arse off! My coach was well frequented but there was no rowdiness and at least the kids kept themselves out of my way while I watched copious amounts of episodes of The 100, thanks to the power sockets in the coach!

On arrival into Kuchurgan, 2TE10UT-0059b/a were sat in the adjacent platform to the train, on the right-hand side in direction of travel, and were soon started and plonked onto the train after the VL40 was removed. By which time, the Ukrainian customs staff had done a sweep through the train and they were followed by the border security; which was as painless and hassle free as a border crossing comes. We departed Kuchurgan at 1629, with it not being a booked stop I don’t know if that was right time or not as the WTT times are a lot earlier before the May 2018 timetable change. On departure the coach attendant came through handing out everyone’s tickets, including mine. It made sense why at Tiraspol, when the whole coach virtually emptied. And while sat minding my own business, waiting for departure time to come around, the coach attendant came buy and bellowed at me “Tiraspol, Tiraspol”, pointing outside as she did so. It then made sense why she’d given me my ticket back after Kuchurgan and once I’d pointed out that I was going to Chisinau, her panic was over, and she left me be!

At Bender-2 I was surprised at how relaxed things were, having just transited through Transnistria. The river that separates Transnistria from Moldova, at Bender, has a fantastic fortress on its banks, clearly visible from the right-hand side of the train as it approaches the river bridge. The best overall views of it seem t be from the Transnistrian side of the river, so I’m guessing it could be an issue getting from one side of the river to the other just for photos?

Despite being one of the first off the train at Bender-2, I still wasn’t quick enough to get to the front of it before the 2TE10M was removed. Up ahead the ChME3 to work the last leg of train 065’s journey was waiting to drop on; which revealed itself as ChME3-4917. There were no problems taking photos at Bender-2, not even with the police stood around watching me! Departure time soon came around and the short run into Chisinau was over quickly enough. Chisinau loco depot is visible on the right as you run into Chisinau station, there were quite a few dumped locos, including some centre units of 3TE10’s, ChME3-625 and a couple of M62’s. The only serviceable locos on shed looked to be ChME3-4507 & ChME3-4952.

I was staying at the Cosmos Hotel, which is visible from Chisinau station, towering up above the streets, in true Russian style. The staff at reception were expecting me and I was quickly processed in and given room #708, which wasn’t even half way up the high-rise that the Cosmos is. While the place is ok, it can give the impression that it’s a little rough around the edges and there are still ring-dial telephones in the rooms! The curtains might as well not be there too as they’re as see-through as the netting behind them, which isn’t great during the Summer months when daylight lasts forever; and of course, I was arriving on the longest day of the year! Other than the fact it retains its Russian ambience, the Cosmos is fine, it has hot water, very good AC in the rooms and the WiFi was brilliant and strong enough to allow me to download more episodes of The 100 on my laptop.

I had things to do, having not seen a hotel room for 5 nights! Priority number 1 was to get some clothes washed, which was easier said than done without a plug for the sink or shower, but it got done. Priority number 2 was to get some proper food down me and that was sought next. Having been to Andy’s Pizza in Chisinau before, I knew that the food there was good and took a stroll up there, feeling all clean and fresh after a shower. Andy’s still doesn’t have English menu’s but Google Translate did the trick; and to be fair, every dish on the menu has a good accompanying picture, so pointing would work. Priority number 3 was to get myself some train tickets for the journeys I needed to make both within Moldova and my cross-border ticket to Iasi in Romania, which my bank had so kindly prevented me from booking online, three times!

I got to the station just as train 341 2119 Chisinau – Moskva was about to depart and was very quickly regretting not getting there earlier when I found 3TE10M-1260a/3TE10M-1249b leading the train, with 2TE10L-1250a tucked inside with its cab against the stock, shut down. With my foray into Moldova having been to try and find a 2TE10L on passenger, my mind was trying to process what was going on and I eventually settled on thinking that the pair of 3TE10’s were heading to Ungheni to work a freight and that the reason the 2TE10L was the way round it was, was so that it could be run straight round to work the train north of Ungheni. I’d already had an overnight bash planned out for this particular night but had decided against it when I realised that having just entered Moldova through Transnistria that I might have issues doing an overnight bash to Mohyliv-Podilskyi, in Ukraine, and back.

Train 341 left on time and I went into the ticket office to get the tickets I needed, with everything already pre-written on a piece of paper, to preempt the language barrier issue; and the paper was needed. I was only able to buy internal Moldovan tickets though as the International ticket window had closed at 2000 and was only open from 0800 to 2000; so quite what people wanting to go to Moscow or St Petersburg on spec would do, I don’t know as there were three international departures on this particular night after 2000.

Back at the hotel, I had a ponder, and came to the conclusion that I probably wasn’t ever going to return to Moldova, so it was now or never for the possibility of a 2TE10L. So, back to the station I went, where I bought a ticket from Chisinau to Dondusheni on train 061 2245 Chisinau – St Petersburg and another ticket from Dondusheni to Ocnita for train 048 2119 Chisinau – Moskva; which I figured out was overtaken by train 061 north of Felesti. So, my quest was on and I boarded train 061, once 3TE10M-1247a had dropped onto the train. While the overnight ahead wasn’t actually that bad, not going into Ukraine for train 341 coming back to Chisinau made the fester at Ocnita a nice round 6 hours!


Gen for Thursday 21st June 2018 

VL40U-1414-1 095 1927 (P) Cherkasy – Lviv (Vapniarka to Zhmerynka)
VL40U-1139-2 095 1927 (P) Cherkasy – Lviv (from Zhmerynka)
VL80T-1392 133/134 Mykolaiv – Ivano Frankivsk
2TE116-775b 758 0206 Mohyliv Podilskyi – Zhmerynka
ChME3T-6397 shunt 758 to 770 at Zhmerynka
ChS4-108 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (to Zhmerynka)
ChS8-076 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (from Zhmerynka)
ChS4-048 146 1725 (P) Izmail – Kyiv Pas
ChS8-003 282 1439 (P) Henichesk – Khemelhytsky
ChS4-110 111 2009 (P) Kharkiv Pas – Lviv
ChS4-105 073 1559 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Lviv
ChS4-141 065 1631 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau (to Zhmerynka)
VL40U-1025-2 065 1631 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau (Zhmerynka to Kuchurgan)
2TE10UT-0059b/a 065 1631 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau (Kuchurgan to Bender 2)

Moldova (CFM)
ChME3-4917 065 1631 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau (Bender 2 to Chisinau)
ChME3T-6779 at Bulboaca
3TE10M-1260a/1249b (2TE10L-1250b dit) 341 2119 Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya (to Ocnita – 2TE10L removed at Ungheni?)
3TE10M-1247a 61 2245 Chisinau – St Petersburg (to Mohyliv Podilskyi)
3TE10M-1215?, ChME3-4507, ChME3-4167 on Chisinau shed with ChME3-625 dumped outside the shed confines


Moves for Thursday 21st June 2018 

VL40U-1414-1 Vapniarka Zhmerynka 095Sh 1927 (20/06) Cherkasy – Lviv
ChME3-6397 Zhmerynka Shunt Zhmerynka Shunt Shunt coaches ex 758 to 770 at Zhmerynka
ChS8-076(2) Zhmerynka Vinnytsia 770K 0054 Kamianets Podylskyi – Kyiv Pas.
ChS4-048 Vinnytsia Koziatyn 1 146Sh 1725 (20/06) Izmail – Kyiv Pas.
ChS8-003(2) Koziatyn 1 Kalynivka 1 282K 1439 (20/06) Henichesk – Khemelhytsky
ChS4-110 Kalynivka 1 Vinnytsia 111O 2009 (20/06) Kharkiv Pas. – Lviv
ChS4-141 Vinnytsia Zhmerynka 065M 1631 (20/06) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau
VL40U-1025-2 Zhmerynka Kuchurgan
2TE10UT-0059b Kuchurgan Bender 2
ChME3-4917 Bender 2 Chisinau
3TE10M-1247a Chisinau Dondusheni 061ShCh 2245 Chisinau – St Petersburg


Photos for Thursday 21st June 2018  


Friday 22nd June 2018 (Not doing what I should have & getting bowled in the process)

I slept almost solidly to Dondusheni, and the attendant made sure I was awake to get off. Thankfully it was only a 37-minute wait from train 061 departing at 0408 to train 341 arriving at 0445. Initially, I wasn’t very grateful when 3TE10M-1249b/3TE10M-1260a came bowling into Dondusheni with 341. But on reflection, during the short journey to Ocnita, the night hadn’t been a complete waste of time as every loco I’d had, I’d needed, but it proved how sometimes our minds get set on one thing happening and then totally the opposite happens. So, seemingly the 2TE10L was the way round it was so it wouldn’t have to be turned at Ungheni to work whatever it had gone there for, back towards Chisinau?

With time to kill, I watched the 3TE10’s run-round their train and depart for the Ukraine and 25 minutes later 3TE10M-1247a did the same with train 061. Before wasting some time wondering around a town that hadn’t yet woken up I managed to fall asleep on a bench for a bit, while I was trying to figure out what to do. As expected, there’s not much to do in Ocnita and everything that I might want to use seemed to only open at 10am, not long before the train arrived. One thing I was forgetting about was some validity to get back to Chisinau with, and as I’d already bought a ticket for train 341 from Ungheni to Chisinau, I only bought one from Ocnita to Ungheni. I had toyed with the idea of presenting the ticket ada with my already purchased ticket to see if I could get the same berth from Ocnita, but I was still bleary eyed and didn’t have the will to start a discussion that none of us could fully understand. I did however, end up with a ticket in the same coach and even the same compo, but the opposite lower berth to that which I had from Ungheni. I did come to the conclusion that it seemed all internal tickets were issued for coach 6 and the lowest number berth available.

Catching up with my move writing, which was somewhat behind and I’d have been fucked if I’d have lost my phone, and other associated crap, soon had the sun up in the sky and it was a hot day by 8am and I suddenly went from wanting tea to feeling the need for an ice cream; so off I went in search of one. I wasn’t disappointed and the fester at Ocnita seemed to go a lot quicker than the equivalent one at Berezyne had done the previous week.

It wasn’t surprising when 3TE10M-1249b/3TE10M-1260a came trundling into Ocnita with 341 1045 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau, ran-round and then worked the train forward. I also wasn’t surprised to fin that the coach attendants had set up camp in the compo I’d been reserved in, in coach 6. The whole coach was busy, so I waked through the partition to coach 7, where there were only 3 people, and set up my own camp there; in a compo that had an opening window, so I could feel the breeze.

Despite it being a very hot day, I was suitably impressed by how cool it was in my chosen coach. The lack of bodies probably helped and the fact that all the windows that could be opened, were open. The coach attendant had done a good job, he just needed to tell whoever was doing running repairs with a drill and hammer, to desist! Once the drilling had stopped, I dozed pretty much all the way to Ungheni, where a wander around revealed a line of ChME3’s on the shed and a Desiro waiting to depart with R1063 1614 Ungheni – Iasi; as so booked these days. As we departed Ungheni I spotted a further 3 ChME3’s on the running shed but couldn’t see their numbers as I’d not been paying attention when it mattered.

At Sipoteni, train 341 is timed to stand for 9 minutes to wait for 105b 1656 Chisinau – Bucuresti Nord coming off the single line; and stand it did to wait for ChME3-4167 to come off the single line with 105b, which wasn’t a surprise as all recent reports had this train being worked by ChME3’s. Which reminded me as it passed, that I must get my ticket into Romania when I got back to Chisinau; it hadn’t even dawned on me to do it in Ocnita. Thankfully, back in Chisinau the International window was still manned and I was then baffled by the amount of ticket writing that went on to issue me a ticket from Chisinau to Iasi, which then had a printed ticket stapled into the small booklet as well; which would have sufficed on its own. I got the impression it was all a bit Indian and there was some job creation going on; and no way on this planet was there a need for both a domestic and an international ticket window at Chisinau, during my time there, I never saw it more than 1-deep!

Back at the Cosmos, all the washing I’d done was dry as a bone and I tidied it all away before heading up to Andy’s Pizza for round two of the trip; they do serve very good pizzas though ad no doubt my love for pizza will eventually make me as round as one! As I wasn’t as rushed as the previous night, I was back at the Cosmos with plenty of time to spare to not have to rush back to the station to view train 341 2119 Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya.

On arrival at the station I thought the devil was playing tricks with me as throbbing away at the front of the train, all on its lonesome, as only 2TE10L-1250b; it was like it was April-fucking-fool’s day or something; and I was the fool! And to be fair, I was a fool, but what the hell, you’ve got to be in it to win it and I didn’t win it the previous night, so attempt number two it was. One ticket to Ungheni later ad I was on board. I hoped the Cosmos didn’t mind the fact that I’d left my computer, camera battery and power bank on charge. I guess it was the least they could do as it would be the second time I’d been in Chisinau, the second time I’d booked to stay at the Cosmos and the second time I’d not slept in the room I’d paid for!

This time, thankfully, the 2TE10L was caned in and at Ungheni I did have a plan. On my previous trip to Moldova I’d been looking at staying in Ungheni anyway as more moves are available if you do. That was until the Bucuresti – Chisinau – Bucuresti trains got cut back to twice a week from daily, which made Ungheni not such a position of strength as a result. Now, with it running daily again, doing 341 to Ungheni gets you there at 2355 and 106b Bucuresti – Chisinau departs Ungheni at 0716; or there’s the option of doing train 061 St Petersburg – Chisinau from Beresti at 0701, on the days that it runs. About 5 minutes’ walk from Ungheni station is the Hotel Vila Verde and little did they realise they’d be getting a strange foreigner turning up at midnight! To be fair to the guy at reception, who spoke little English, he understood what I wanted and showed me to a room quite quickly. As I was leaving a mere 6h30m later, I insisted on paying before I went to bed and he was happy with that. The room was very tidy and made the Cosmos look like a shit-hole in comparison. There was AC, a decent TV, hot water and pristine bedding, it was like the room had never been used before. The bed sure looked like it had been used once I pulled it to pieces, so I could clamber into it. I fucking hate places that tuck all the bedding in under the mattress, so it’s like being on the Krypton Factor trying to get into the damn thing! Yeah, it looks great and they get 10/10 for presentation but it’s a bloody nuisance; please stop doing it! And for some reason, I lay awake for about half an hour that night, when all my body was telling me was that it wanted to go to sleep; the brain obviously had other ideas….


Gen for Friday 22nd June 2018

3TE10M-1260a/1249b 341 2119 (P) Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya (from Ocnita), 341 1045 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau (Mohyliv Podilskyi to Chisinau)
ChME3-4167 105 1656 Chisinau – Ungheni (to Bucuresti as 401)
2TE10L-1250a/b 341 2119 Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya

Desiro R1063 1614 Ungheni – Iasi


Moves for Friday 22nd June 2018 

3TE10M-1260a Dondusheni Ocnita 341B 2119 (21/06) Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya
3TE10M-1249b Ocnita Chisinau 341F 1045 (21/06) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau
2TE10L-1250b Chisinau Ungheni 341B 2119 Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya


Saturday 23rd June 2018 (Attempting to do what I should have and heading into Romania at the end of the day)

It wasn’t a welcome alarm when it went off at 0630 but I was up and out, straight away. The happy ada at the ticket window at Ungheni was soon handing me a ticket to Chisinau and it looked as though the set had just been shunted in from the gauge changer to the platform as I got there, as a ChME3 was disappearing around the back of the shed. As I suspected it would be, ChME3-4167 dropped onto the train and I was very pleased to find that I’d managed to get myself a ticket in 2nd class and had a compo to myself all the way to Chisinau, which could only mean one thing. The door was closed once the coach attendant had been and I was horizontal all the way to the outskirts of Chisinau and felt fully refreshed and raring to go when I got off.

There was a load-2 rake stabled over the back of the station, which I assumed was probably off the Basarabeasca train, which now ran once a week again; 1855 Chisinau – Basarabeasca on a Friday and 0203 Basarabeasca – Chisinau on a Saturday. ChME3-3872 seemed to be the station pilot for the morning and was soon dropping onto the opposite end of the Bucuresti rake to shunt it away; meanwhile 3TE10M-1042b disappeared off towards the shed pretty quickly.

With 2h18m to spare before I would be departing Chisinau for the final time, I used the time wisely. Firstly, I attempted breakfast at the Cosmos, which I remembered being given a voucher for, which was utterly ridiculous and about as dire a breakfast as I’ve seen; so, a cup of tea sufficed. Next, I made use of the showering facilities I had and got myself all nice and clean before I left for the day and got myself all nice and unclean again! Finally, I stocked up on stuff at the hypermarket over the road. Then I was on my way out, wondering as I checked out if any of the staff had ever realised that I’d not stayed in my room on either night.

It was a nice warm day, and one worthy of having to carry two bags about with me in the hot afternoon sunshine; but as I didn’t have a choice, I got on with it, knowing I was going to be looking like a train tramp by the end of the day. Randomly, 3TE10M-1042b was already sat in the station area when ChME3-3872 brought the stock in for train 47 1147 Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya; and was dropping onto the train by the time I got onto the footbridge to get some photos. The whole footbridge was being used by local sellers as a place to spread out their goods for others to peruse as they went by, but I managed to find a gap in the clothes hanging up to get my photos nonetheless.

I waited until the last minute to join train 47, knowing that when I did I would have the pick of the berths to veg in as the train was non-stop to Beresti, where I’d be getting off. My coach wasn’t full at all and I hid myself down at the bottom end of the coach, where there was an opening window and nobody else. Surprisingly, again, the coach was quite cool with the breeze from my window and unlike the trains in Ukraine, I didn’t find myself melting into the seats as the journey went on. In fact, it was quite a pleasant journey to Beresti, which I spent the majority of horizontal, trying not to exert any energy; and thus, preventing the inevitable sweating.

The only thing about this otherwise decent out and back move, is that train 047 uses the Ungheni avoiding line and stops at Beresti instead. Once upon a time, when the avoiding curve was first built, DMU’s were used to connect in and out of trains at Beresti, to get folks to/from Ungheni. Unfortunately, these are now nothing but a faded memory but the fact they used t exist can still be seen on the departures board at Ungheni station. The reality is now, that it’s a 3.5km walk between Beresti and Ungheni, which starts with having to walk back down the length of the yard at Beresti to cross the whole yard, before doubling back on yourself to get to the road that leads out of the place. In a straight line the distance is cut back by a good half a km and when I started to cross the yard, I noticed a guy going diagonally over it, in the opposite direction to where the exit road it. A scan on the map showed that there were roads in the direction he was heading but it all looked fenced off from where I was standing. Still, in for a pound, in for a penny, and I was soon following him, as was some old bert who’d asked a shunter how to get out of the place on his way across the yard.

It was an easy enough walk to get to somewhere that would allow an exit from railway premises and half way to that point ChME3-5740 went by with one wagon; which were both sat in Ungheni station when I got there. Before getting to the footpath that would lead me to normality and away from the railway, albeit randomly by following a footpath along a railway spur, I came across the remains of a steam loco. It was behind a high wall, with no access to it and I couldn’t see a number on it. It looked like it had been adapted to static industrial use as the chimney was about 15ft tall. If you walk diagonally across the yard at Beresti, towards the direction the train arrived from, and follow the boundary fence you’ll eventually come to this steam loco. The spur that bares right, around the side of the compound its in, is the one that leads to a main road to get you on track towards Ungheni.

I was in need of something cool by the time I got to the garage on the main road and spent my few remaining Moldovan Lei on an ice cream, leaving me with just 4 Lei left from the 600 I’d withdrawn on arrival. From the garage it’s a straight walk all the way to Ungheni town centre and thankfully almost all of the footpath on the way is lined with trees, which gave a much-needed shade from the sun. With two bags in tow though, I was feeling the heat by the time I got to the Ungheni branch of Andy’s Pizza and the AC it provided was very, very welcome; as was the cold beer! It looked like I’d stumbled in on some sort of either training day, or staff trial day judging by the on-hands training that was being given by the guy at the bar. The past I had was excellent though and it was well worth the stop along the way. Had I obviously realised were I’d have been staying the previous night, I could have brought my big bag with me if it hadn’t had been so last minute, then picked it up as I walked by on my way to the station from Andy’s Pizza! Never mind eh, Doh!

With a bit of time to spare before 341 1045 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau arrived, I went for a nosey at the line of ChME3’s and discovered them to be ChME3-4764, 4718, 4513 & 4515. Nobody batted an eyelid when I walked off the end of the platform and down the track towards them. The only thing making a fuss about the situation was a bloody dog that wouldn’t stop barking at me during my photo taking session. Thankfully, nobody cared and left me to my own devices. When walking back onto the station, I did so on the shaded side of the station building, only to be bollocked by the border security as the Desiro forming R1063 1614 Ungheni – Iasi was being bordered and everyone on it had been processed out of Moldova; so, I could see his point!

I hid from the border security staff’s view on the footbridge and got a decent photo of 3TE10M-1103a arriving with train 341 and the loco was off the train before I’d even got off the footbridge! Investigation revealed that coach 6 was the one with most people in again, so I walked through it to co ach 7 again and found only one person in there this time; so, took up residence at the opposite end of the coach to him. As all the coach attendants were chewing the cud in the shade, I boarded the coach without having to show a ticket and never got asked for one on the way to Sipoteni. This resulted in me having to drag the coach attendant out of his cabin to let me out at Sipoteni, as he wasn’t expecting anyone getting off. Thankfully, the plus 9 made easily from 341 to 105b at Sipoteni and ChME3-4952 was soon along to take me back to Ungheni for the third time of the day; only this time I wouldn’t be getting off the train there. My remaining time in Moldova was limited by this point and the attendant on the train seemed a bit confused as to why I was only going to Iasi and not Bucuresti. The train didn’t seem well-used, as I had a compo to myself in 2nd class and none of the others were occupied either, yet the restaurant car sounded like it was being used regularly; although it could have been staff making the racket I guess?

As we ran into Ungheni, ChME3-3067 (or it actually could have been 3167, I’m not so sure) was ready t come off the shed to shunt the train into the gauge changer. I was otherwise pre-occupied with Moldovan customs staff, who wanted to look through my bags, when the ChME3 ran by us. As a result I can neither confirm, nor deny, that the number of it was ‘3067 or ‘3167 as I couldn’t see it when it shunted the train into the gauge changer, despite it splitting the train in two and positioning the portions side-by-side, and wen it ran back through the CIS gauge side of the station, it was behind the station building and I only go a glimpse of it; never mind time to focus on a number, which it seems the serviceable Ungheni based ChME3’s don’t have on their cab-side’s.

The changing of the wheelsets was very efficient, and it was interesting peering on, as the staff went about what seemed to be a very routine process. Once the coaches were jacked up, the rear most bogie of the set was pushed clear, attached to the BG bogies that were waiting to replace them and then the lot were dragged through the road by a pulley. The CIS gauge bogies were attached to the front of the convoy as the pulley dragged them through and the BG bogies were detached, while still in motion, and pushed into position. I almost missed ChME3-4169 running by the yard while all that was going on, which pieced the sets back together once the coaches were lowered onto the BG bogies and then shunted the set into the BG side of the station.

Unfortunately, it seems that the regular loco for the Ungheni – Iasi trains is a GM these days and GM 64-1192 had arrived with IR1064 1809 Iasi – Ungheni, while our train had been in the gauge changer. The one CFR coach it arrived with was shunted onto the front of what now became train 401 2045 Ungheni – Bucuresti Nord, our passports were handed back and train 401 departed on time at 2045. It’s only just over 1km to the Romanian border shack of Ungheni Prut and we were soon stationary again for the Romanians to do their thing. They did it in style too and managed to delay the train by 30 minutes in the process. In fact, they took almost as long to do their customs and passport checks as the Moldovans did in doing theirs and changing the wheels on the train at the same time; cretins! It’s safe to say that I didn’t appreciate the delay and my sighing and random mutterings got the attention of the coach attendant when he walked by my compo, who acknowledged my frustration.

At least when handing back passports, the guy tried to be quick about it, but we were 30’ late as we trundled into Romania and picked no time up by Iasi. I was on a tight turnaround for the following morning as it was, with an 0610 departure to Suceava. Arriving into Iasi at 2245 did me no favours but as the only ticket window that was open was the International one, I attempted to get myself a ticket for the following day’s border crossing move; from Suceava to Chernivtsi. The guy at the window spoke decent English and was very apologetic when he told me he couldn’t get the machine to issue a ticket and told me there were not tickets. I was wary of the queue building up behind me by this point and with imminent departures, I called it a night and headed straight to the Hotel Arnia; which I’d used before in Iasi.

Its only a 5-minute walk from Iasi station to the Hotel Arnia, out to the man road, turn left and then first right (where the tram lines go), its then straight ahead at the end of the road, the other side of the big hypermarket, which is on the left. Im sure the guy at reception was the same one that had checked me in, off the same late train, last time I’d stayed, and the hotel’s system remembered me so saved the registration farce. I was in my rather excellent room 2 minutes after waling through the door; and it was a shame I’d only be staying for about 6h30m! The same as last time, the room was spotless, very well appointed, modern, spacious, had excellent AC, good WiFi, piping hot water and loads of toiletries were provided. Which I could have really done with when doing my washing in Chisinau! Once everything was plugged in and charging, that was me in bed; wishing I didn’t have to set an alarm.


Gen for Saturday 23rd June 2018 

ChME3-4167 106 0716 Ungheni – Chisinau (ex Bucuresti as 402)
ChME3-3872 Chisinau station pilot
ChME3-4507 at Chisinau shunting a fire damaged DMU onto shed
3TE10M-1042b 47 1145 Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya
ChME3-5740 trip freight Beresti to Ungheni (1 wagon)
ChME3-4764, 4718, 4513, 4515 & ChME3-4169 on Ungheni Shed
3TE10M-1103a 341 1045 (P) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau
ChME3-4952 105 1656 Chisinau – Ungheni
ChME3-3067 or 3167 into gauge changer
ChME3-4169 out of gauge changer

64-1192 (CFR) IR1064 1809 Iasi – Ungheni, 401 2045 Ungheni – Bucuresti Nord
Desiro R1063 1614 Ungheni – Iasi
64-0900 IR1668 2308 Iasi – Bucuresti Nord
64-1324 R6315 1847 Tecuci – Iasi


Moves for Saturday 23rd June 2018 

ChME3-4167 Ungheni Chisinau 106B 0716 Ungheni – Chisinau
3TE10M-1042b Chisinau Beresti 047ShCh 1147 Chisinau – Moskva Kievskaya
Walk Beresti Ungheni 4.5km, 1 hour
3TE10M-1103a Ungheni Sipoteni 341F 1045 (22/06) Moskva Kievskaya – Chisinau
ChME3-4952 Sipoteni Ungheni 105B 1656 Chisinau – Ungheni
ChME3-3067 Ungheni CIS Gauge Ungheni Gauge Changer Shunt through CFM coahces ex 105b to gauge changer
ChME3-4169 Ungheni Gauge Changer Ungheni Standard Gauge Shunt through CFM coaches for 401 from gauge changer
64-1192 Ungheni Iasi 401 2045 Ungheni – Bucuresti Nord


Moves for Saturday 23rd June 2018  


Sunday 24th June 2018 (Half a day in Romania before heading back into Ukraine at Vadul Siret)

While it had been 6 hours sine I’d set my alarm, when it went off it seemed like it had only been 6 minutes and I really didn’t want to get up. A quick shower woke me a little and I was soon trudging down the stairs to head back to Iasi station. There was a note on the reception counter saying “back in 5 minutes” so it was a good job I’d insisted on paying the night before, otherwise it could have been interesting when I’d left without paying.

The same guy was still on at Kasa #1 when I went to buy my ticket for IR1833 0610 Iasi – Cluj Napoca, to Suceava. It cost just under RON 20 and the guy even told me which platform to head to as the Suceava direction Iasi starters go from the bay platforms, which are to the north of the station on the right. As I walked onto the platform GM 64-0981 was just about to depart with IR1660 0600 Iasi – Bucuresti Nord and GM 64-1227 arrived with IR1667 2255 Bucuresti Nord – Iasi. CFR electric 41-0747 had just dropped onto the short rake that formed my IR1833 and I was soon in my reserved seat, pushing out a few Z’s.

By the time I got off at Suceava, 2 hours later, the train was wedged and there were plenty more waiting to get on at Suceava too. In the platform at the side of IR1833 was 461102 and one coach forming R5735 0828 Suceava – Cacica. I’d not factored it into my plans as it is usually a unit but I’d noticed the most recent CFR diagrams that it had been reported as hauled recently. The only thing on my mind was getting to the International ticket window at Suceava and getting my ticket to Chernivtsi sorted.

It was a great start to my quest when I found that the only window not open was window number 4, yep, the International window! So, having queued at another window, I was told, after the woman at the window had told me she couldn’t issue International tickets, in Romanian but I got the gist, that the International ticket machines were broken; brilliant! I was then told to buy my ticket on the train, which initially I told her wasn’t a great idea, until she shrugged her shoulders at me and then I went into rant mode and eventually stormed off to find someone that could speak English. That person turned out to be the station red-cap, who was stood at his office door, when I found it. He confirmed that the International ticket machines weren’t working and that they couldn’t access the system to be able to issue tickets and also confirmed that I’d be able to buy a ticket to Chernivtsi from the staff on board the train. After a bit of a conversation with him about the fact I wanted to be in the Ukrainian coach, which he didn’t even realise was conveyed on the train, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to buy a ticket to Vadul Siret, get off the train there and then watch the UZ coach get shunted in and out of the gauge changer and then buy an internal UZ ticket for train 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi; which the UZ coach from Romania is then attached to. This not only meant missing the two locos that would do the shunts to/from the gauge changer but also having to sit in the CFR seating coach to Vadul Siret and the UZ wooden-bench seats on train 960 from Vadul Siret; as opposed to being in a compo, stretched out and relaxing instead!

So, without much choice, I went back to the same ticket window to buy my ticket to Vadul Siret. The woman behind the counter waved at me and pointed to another window further along the booking hall. She actually came out of her kiosk and beckoned me down to window No.5, where the woman there spoke better English. While I’d been speaking to the red-cap, the booking office staff had clearly been speaking amongst themselves and I was soon issued with a Suceava to Chernivtsi ticket, which cost RON 24.37. I was aware that to get into the UZ coach that I’d need a reservation to go with it, which the staff were adamant they couldn’t issue, allegedly due to the fact that the train had already departed Bucuresti; which is bollocks! As is always the same with things that people don’t know how to do, especially in this part of the world, its easier to fuck people off and just shrug your shoulders; which had already happened once. So, just to piss her off, I bought a ticket to Suceava Nord and then asked for once back as well, after she’d issued it. If looks could kill……

So, set but not set, I still managed to make R5735 with 461102 and that started off a morning of spinning about in the Suceava area before I headed off to Chernivtsi; which at least I now had a ticket for, if nothing else. It was quite a good morning’s nedding too with the Cacica being a bonus and dropping me into 477538 at Suceava Nord on IR1752 0844 Suceava Nord – Bucuresti Nord. Adjacent to it at Suceava Nord was 40-0174 with R5602 0906 Suceava Nord – Iasi, which I got off for at Suceava and did forward to Veresti; after confusing the hell out of the booking office staff when nipping in to get a Suceava to Veresti ticket!

The two moves of the morning that mattered followed and I was pleased to find a very battered 62-0539 leading R5564 0843 Botosani – Suceava Nord, with Caterpillar 82-0615 idling on the rear. R5564 is formed of two sets of stock and their respective locos at either end, luckily, they were the right way around for me. At Suceava we pulled in alongside 60-1730, which was sat waiting with the two coaches that formed IR1384 1050 Suceava – Vadul Siret. On departure from Suceava I was one of two passengers on board! I did think, when I got off at Suceava Nord, that I could have been making a mistake with 82-0615 being in the mix; which could easily work IR380 Bucuresti Nord – Vadul Siret forward from Suceava Nord later. Two more electric moves later though, and 82-0615 presented itself as the nag for R5664 1254 Suceava Nord – Botosani; and that dropped me into moment of truth time at Suceava.

When 41-0761 arrived with IR380 0615 Bucuresti Nord – Vadul Siret, it was load 4, three CFR coaches and the UZ coach tagged on the rear. I was stood way to far down the platform, anticipating where the UZ coach might stop, but it did me a favour as I scurried up the platform. I got to the open door on the UZ coach just as everyone had finished getting off and presented myself and my ticket to the coach attendant while I was half way up the steps into the coach. I’d already typed out a couple of things in Google Translate to show the attendant, preempting the fact that there would be no English spoken on her part. I was right, but she read what I showed her on my telephone, which was basically few lines explaining that the ticket machines were broken at Suceava and I was told to see her about a reservation for her coach. Things got off to a good start when the door was closed behind me and the train started moving, however she took me to her compartment, went through the stash of tickets she had, found one that was a reservation and pointed out the word reservation to me. Which was when I showed her the next message on my phone, which was a translation asking if I could buy the reservation from her. Just when the one-sided conversation seemed to be going nowhere, a woman down the corridor got involved, who spoke great English. She understood my predicament, but I got the impression that the crew seemed to think I was stupid paying so much for a reservation, when I didn’t need one. Once I’d pointed out that I wanted a comfortable journey and not one in hard seats, where I kept having to get on and off trains, things seemed to take a turn and we then discussed how much for a reservation. I suggested Ukrainian currency to make it easier and settled on UAH 400, which is almost about right for the equivalent of what the reservation should cost in Romanian. I was then shown to an empty cabin, given bedding and left to my own devices. Needless to say, I wasn’t issued with a ticket ad the UAH 400 went straight in her top pocket; literally! I wasn’t complaining though, the task was complete, and I could now relax in comfort for the 6-hour journey, not to mention be able to cane the gauge conversion shunt locos in. It took almost to Suceava Nord to get things sorted and when we got there the coach doors weren’t opened at all, which meant I didn’t see that 62-0539 was the forward loco, until we got to Vadul Siret. I’d also forgotten what the electric loco had been when the train had arrived into Suceava too. For some reason I thought it was 41-0769, and the rather handy fleet list confirmed that it was a Suceava one; so, I was ok with it, until we ran by the shed and the driver was just getting out of 41-0761; which he’d clearly just shunted to shed!

Just as I’d nodded off, in my nicely made up bed, the hammering on the door for passport control at Pascani came. 60-1730 was in the adjacent platform with IR381 Vadul Siret – Bucuesrti Nord when we arrived, and it departed first. The border grip was harmless, and we were soon trundling over the border to Vadul Siret in Ukraine, where passports were taken immediately on arrival and nobody was allowed off until they’d been processed. I got a bit of a grilling from the border security as I’d been in and out of Ukraine twice in the last two weeks, but they were only doing their job and it wasn’t an issue. At least they were pleasant about it.

When we’d run into Vadul Siret, ChME3-1813 was waiting over the back of the yard and by the time we’d got into the station it was already on the move; and soon bolted to the rear of our coach; which was then drawn out of the station and then propelled back through and directly into the gauge changer. Unlike the previous evening at Ungheni, the staff at Vadul Siret used the overhead crane for maneuvering the bogies about but it was still done efficiently, if not noisily. Once the change was complete and we were back on the ground, ChME3T-6447 could be heard approaching the coach from the opposite end to that which ChME3-1813 had been attached to. A quick walk to the vestibule revealed the number and I was then back in my cabin relaxing again. Previous reports have said that the coach is shunted out of the gauge changer and into the yard, where the loco off 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi, which the coach is conveyed to Chernivtsi on, then comes and collects it. In this case, ChME3T-6447 sat with the coach until ChME3-2505 ran by with train 960; and then propelled our coach onto the rear of the train that had just arrived, while ChME3-2505 ran-round and attached to our coach, which made it load three for the journey to Chernivtsi, with our coach behind the loco.

Very frustratingly, it soon became clear that ChME3-2505 was unsilenced and was very meaty. With all the windows open down the corridor in my coach too, it was screaming out to have the power handle put to notch-8, but sadly it wasn’t to be, and it never got above half power all the way to Chernivtsi. Of all the ChME3’s I’ve had, ‘2505 sounded by far the best and it was tedious listening to it being notched up by only one or two notches, knowing it would have been bloody excellent if the driver had ragged it about a bit. What a bloody annoying journey it was, and I was glad to be approaching Chernivtsi in the end, just to end the frustration.

At Chernivtsi Pivdenna ChME3-6350 was sat with 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets and as we arrived into Chernivtsi ChME3-2628 was just arriving into the adjacent platform with 952 1625 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi; where it was all go! ChME3T-6448 was shunting in the yard and ChME3T-6352 was dropped straight onto the back of our load-3 rake on arrival. This then shunted all three coaches out of the platforms, dropped the through Bucuresti – Kyiv coach onto the rear of 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv, which was in platform 1, and then shunted the two coaches back to whence they’d came from. In all the confusion a few normals got caught up in the rush of Chernivtsi and had already boarded one of the two passenger coaches that they thought would form their evening commuter home. Noticing this, I made myself one of these passengers and when the train started moving two women started to panic and headed for the open door; they were gestured at by one of the shunters to stay where they are, and they got off while the through coach was being attached to train 118; as did I.

Hrechany locos 2M62-0077/b were at the head of train 118 and once I’d spotted it I head out of the station and up the hill to my hotel. The problem with Chernivtsi is that its uphill from the station to anywhere in the town and it’s a steep uphill too. With two bags in tow and the nice evening heat, it was a sweaty affair by the time I got to the Hotel Magnat Lux and the lady at reception must have thought I looked like a treat off the streets with the sweat pouring down my forehead!

The Magnat Lux was booked through and is about a 15-minute walk from Chernivtsi station and is close to the Museum of Arts. I was immediately shown to my room, which was right next to the hotel reception and its front door. I asked to change my room and was told it would cost UAH 200 more for a luxury room in the courtyard out back, which was fine, and the room was a lot bigger, had windows, which the ground floor one didn’t, was very spacious and olde worlde and had the biggest wooden telephone I’ve ever seen; putting the ancient ring-dial one in the Cosmos to shame! The AC soon cooled the room down, the WiFi was good and I was quite pleased with the upgrade for a fiver. Still, there was no time to dwell as I had moves to do. So back to the station it was, without any bags at all this time.

There are four local departures from Chernivtsi between 2040 & 2110, three of which go north, and one goes south. When I got back to the station, ChME3-2505 was already attached to the two coaches for 963 2047 Chernivtsi – Vadul Siret and ChME3-2652 was just dropping onto its two coaches to form 952 2040 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia. Up at the north end of the station were an M62 and a 2TE10, just disappearing around the corner. When they reemerged, I figured that they were the traction for 668 2025 Chernivtsi – Kovel and headed down to see what was going on. In my wisdom, I’d booked a ticket on 668 to Sniatyn, just in case; and the just in case was a good call when I found 2TE10M-2608a/b & M62-1603 at the head of the train, all switched on. So, with there being some bonus locos on 668, I decided to diss the local moves and hope that the same set of locos that worked them in the evening, all came out to play again the following morning. So, it was 668 to Sniatyn for a plus 29’ onto 6470 2036 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi, which turned up with 2M62-1114b, in the guise of DPL1-004; which was way better than a DMU.

Back in Chernivtsi I had just enough time to get to New York Street Pizza, which is a bit further up the main drag from the Magnat Lux, and was treated to a great Spag Bol. They had English menus and staff that spoke a little English too, although the girl serving me wen to get someone else as she clearly couldn’t understand my Yorkshire! After food, I was straight to be at the hotel, alarm set for 0530!


Gen for Sunday 24th June 2018 

64-0981 IR1660 0600 Iasi – Bucuresti Nord
64-1227 IR1667 2255 (P) Bucuresti Nord – Iasi
41-0747 IR1833 0610 Iasi – Timisoara Nord
40-0650 IR1838 1736 (P) Timisoara Nord – Iasi
461102 R5735 0828 Suceava – Cacica, R5734 0950 Cacica – Suceava
477538 IR1752 0844 Suceava Nord – Bucuresti Nord
40-0174 R5602 0906 Suceava Nord – Iasi
40-0228 R5603 0640 Iasi – Suceava Nord, R5608 1406 Suceava Nord – Iasi
62-0539 (82-0615 idle on rear) R5564 0843 Botosani – Suceava Nord
60-1370 RE384 1050 Suceava – Vadul Siret
40-0899 R5606 1210 Suceava Nord – Iasi
40-0699 IR1754 1230 Suceava – Bucuresti Nord
40-0717 R5443 0933 Bacau – Suceava Nord
82-0615 R5664 1254 Suceava Nord – Botosani
41-0924 IR1831 0556 Galati – Cluj Napoca
41-0761 INT380 0615 Bucuresti Nord – Vadul Siret (to Suceava Nord)
60-1318 IR380 0615 Bucuresti Nord – Vadul Siret (from Suceava Nord)
80-0326 Suceava Nord pilot

ChME3-1813 shunt through Bucuresti – Kyiv coach ex IR380 to gauge changer
ChME3T-6447 shunt through Bucuresti – Kyiv coach from gauge changer to 960
ChME3-2505 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi, 963 2047 Chernivtsi – Vadul Siret
ChME3-6352 shunt through Bucuresti – Kyiv coach from 960 to 118 at Chernivtsi
ChME3T-6350 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets
2M62-0077b/a 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas
2TE10M-2608a/b/M62-1603 668 2025 Chernivtsi – Kovel
ChME3-2628 967 1441 Sokyriany – Chernivtsi, 958 2110 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty
ChME3-2652 952 1625 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi, 953 2040 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia
2TE10M-2827a 966 2055 Chernivtsi – Larga
2M62-1114b (DPL-004) 6470 2036 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi


Moves for Sunday 24th June 2018 

41-0747 Iasi Suceava IR1833 0610 Iasi – Timisoara Nord
461102 Suceava Suceava Nord R5735 0828 Suceava – Cacica
477538 Suceava Nord Suceava IR1752 0844 Suceava Nord – Bucuresti Nord
40-0174 Suceava Veresti R5602 0906 Suceava Nord – Iasi
62-0539 Veresti Suceava R5564 0843 Botosani – Suceava Nord
60-1370 Suceava Suceava Nord IR1384 1050 Suceava – Vadul Siret
40-0899 Suceava Nord Suceava R5606 1210 Suceava Nord – Iasi
40-0717 Suceava Suceava Nord R5443 0933 Bacau – Suceava Nord
82-0615 Suceava Nord Suceava R5664 1254 Suceava Nord – Botosani
41-0761 Suceava Suceava Nord IR380 0615 Bucuresti Nord – Vadul Siret
60-1318 Suceava Nord Vadul Siret
ChME3-1813 Vadul Siret Standard Gauge Gauge Changer Shunt thro Bucuresti – Kyiv coach ex IR380 to gauge changer
ChME3T-6447 Gauge Changer Vadul Siret CIS Gauge Shunt thro Bucuresti – Kyiv coach for 960 ex gauge changer
ChME3-2505 Vadul Siret Chernivtsi 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi
ChME3-6352 Chernivtsi Shunt Chernivtsi Shunt Shunt thro Bucuresti – Kyiv coach 960 to 118 at Chernivtsi
2TE10M-2608a Chernivtsi Sniatyn 668Sh 2025 Chernivtsi – Kovel
2M62-1114b Sniatyn Chernivtsi 6470 2036 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi


Photos for Sunday 24th June 2018 


Monday 25th June 2018 (A day in Chernivtsi before heading to Kyiv overnight)

I felt strangely fresh as I got in the shower and had woken a couple of minutes before the alarm had woken me. When I opened the room door I had a rethink of my attire for the day; it was bloody cold outside! I quickly put my big-boy pants on and got my jacket out of the bottom of my bag; which hadn’t seen the light of day since I’d left the UK! Both were needed, until the sun came up and started to warm the air through, even then it was cool in the shadows. It seemed that the UK had taken the hot weather I’d been used to as it baked in near 30-degree heat, while I had to make do with the low 20’s at best.

The plan of action was a reverse of what I’d done the previous night but with the added bonus of having to do 702 0607 Chernivtsi – Lviv to Sniatyn, which is a nice shiny DMU; and randomly ThX! I’d already booked the tickets for the move online again and after the previous night’s bonus, I decided that I had to be in it to win it. I was only on the DMU for 34 minutes and it served its purpose. I could have got up and done 2M62-1114b out on the 0452 departure but thought that was a bit stupid. On the way out, we passed ChME3-2628 at Chernivtsi Pivnichna (North) with 957 0435 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi, ChME3-2652 at Mamayevtsi with 954 0354 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi and DPL1-0021 at Zavallya with 6462 0510 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi, which would find itself being caned in later in the morning.

It was a shorter fester at Sniatyn than the previous night, where I was actually starting to feel a bit of warmth from the sun, only 21 minutes; and I was glad to find 2M62U-0074a/2M62U-0076b roll in with 668 Kovel – Chernivtsi. With the day starting off quite well, who was I to prevent it from continuing so and after buying a ticket out to Chernivtsi Pivnichna, for UAH 8, I boarded the two-coach train that was 968 0830 Chernivtsi – Sokriyany; with 2TE10M-2827a at its helm. With DPL1-021 being in the mix there’s a nice morning step-up move out to Nepolokivtsi, involving 4 hauled trains. 968 was the first and they all departed Chernivtsi between 0830 & 0907. There’s a catch with them though, as if they come out in the wrong order the 4 step-backs don’t work as the trains all turn off the main line at different points; so be wary.

At Chernivtsi Pivnichna there isn’t anywhere to buy tickets, so I boarded DPL1-0021 (2M62-1114a clearly visible in the cab, in two different places) when it arrived and got off at Mamayevtsi while the ticket girl was still working her way through the train. Next up was ChME3T-6350 with 956 0852 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty, a mixed train formed of 1 coach and 10 wagons, so I’ll let it off for being a little late. I was gripped almost immediately after boarding on this train but wasn’t given a ticket so assumed that the UAH 5 went straight into the coach attendant’s beer fund for later! The last of the morning’s outbound departures came into Mamayevtsi with ChME3-2652 leading 951 0907 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia, another mixed train formed of 2 coaches and 9 wagons. Again, I was gripped straight away on this train but this time of was given a ticket for the UAH 9 I handed over the to the coach attendant. This dropped me into Nepolokivtsi just as 2TE10M-2601b/a were approaching with 135 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky – Chernivtsi. When the train drew to a stand, I noticed a door open not far away, so I went to investigate. Unfortunately, my luck had run out and there was no way the stern-faced attendant was letting me on, even when I suggested paying him. It didn’t stand for long and was soon heading off to Chernivtsi. So, and I sat in the sun waiting for the last train of the morning to take me back to Chernivtsi. I bought a ticket for 6464 0907 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi, which cost UAH 11, so I wondered whether buying a ticket directly out to Nepolokivtsi would have caused any consternation with using it on four different trains to make the journey? It would have saved me UAH 12 in the process and I hadn’t paid for one of the interim journeys either!

So, having done four trains on the way out to Neokoros’s, 2M62-1114b (DPL-004) whisked me back into Chernivtsi; having clearly worked 6469 0452 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya and then come straight back with 6464. Of the5 journeys I made, I bought tickets in advance for two of them and didn’t get gripped on either journey. Of the three journeys I didn’t buy advance tickets for I effed one, paid into the coach attendants beer fund on another and actually bought a ticket on board for the other. The morning cost me a grand total of UAH 34, which is about 99p! Now I had to figure out what to do with my afternoon as the train service is sparse, to say the least, in Chernivtsi of an afternoon.

I was lucky enough to be in Chernivtsi when there were two train running in the late afternoon so had the option of either doing 136 1537 Chernivtsi – Bilhorod Dnistrovsky to Sniatyn and then finding my way back to Nepolokivtsi in the 2h10m I’d have before 952 1625 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi arrived there. It was a shame that 952 departed Vyzhnytsia only 9 minutes after 136 arrived Sniatyn, otherwise it would have been a nice move to find some transport to get to Vyzhnytsia to do it all the way back in. Still, it wasn’t to be and with ChME3-2628 knocking around at Chernivtsi I wanted to be back in town to view 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets, just in case; which 952 would miss. So, option two, and my favoured one anyway, was getting some road transport out to Vadul Siret and doing 452 1845 (P) Varna – Minsk back to Chernivtsi; which had the back-up move of doing 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi in behind it if it was down the pan.

As there is a through Varna to Kyiv coach on train 452 I’d hoped that the UZ booking office at Chernivtsi would have been able to issue a ticket for it, as I suspected (and was later confirmed correct) that the rest of the train was formed of BCh (Belarus) stock and I might have issued doing a short journey? I needn’t have been concerned though as the staff were able to issue me a ticket, only 2nd class available, for the Vadul Siret to Chernivtsi journey; and did look a bit puzzled when I asked for it. All I needed to do now was get to Vadul Siret, which both Google & ME Maps reckoned on about a 30-minute journey time by road.

With time to kill I headed back to the hotel, sorted my crap out and checked out. Ada at the front desk confirmed she would be able to arrange me a taxi to Vadul Siret and was happy for me to leave my back while I went for something to eat. New York Street Pizza it was, where my bolognaise pizza didn’t turn up quite how I expected; with there being no bolognaise sauce and big chunks of meat on it instead. It was quite tasty though, as was the tiramisu afterwards.

To make sure I got to Vadul Siret in good time, I was back at the hotel for 1400 and the taxi was ordered straight away. Train 452 was off Vadul Siret at 1532 and the journey took 35 minutes, with me being on the platform there well before 1500. I wasn’t quite expecting 2TE10M-2601a/b to be sat in the station there and once ChME3T-6447 had shunted the train from the gauge changer into the station, the 2TE10 dropped onto the front; so, what had worked 136 1537 Chernivtsi – Bilhorod Dnistrovsky, I was left wondering?

The Kyiv coach is the rear most coach of the train and it was quite well utilized, although I did have a compo to myself for the short journey to Chernivtsi, where we arrived 18’ early, giving the people on board over an hour to stretch their legs. Surprisingly the 2TE10 was removed from the train and headed off to shed. While it did so, I dumped my bag in the left-luggage room on platform 1, which is open from 0800-2010 daily. I then had a walk to try and find somewhere to photograph the train as it departed. There’s a footbridge, visible from the station, so I headed towards it and was quite surprised when 2TE10M-2601a came trundling back from the shed on its own and dropped onto train 452 to work it forward solo. Both units had been working at Vadul Siret, so I’ve no idea what the issue was, if indeed there was one at all? I can say it clagged well on departure from Chernivtsi though.

ChME3-6352 and ChME3-6448 were clearly the yard pilots again, ‘6352 being the freight yard-goat and ‘6448 being the carriage yard-goat. When I got back to the platforms, ChME3T-6447 was just arriving into the yard with a freight, having obviously followed train 452 from Vadul Siret, after having shunted the train out of the gauge changer. With an hour to kill I decided to bite the bullet and headed up the hill to the Chelsea Pub, which does have a load of beers on tap and has a very British theme inside. It was a bit posh inside too and the beer I had cost UAH 20. It seemed that the Ukrainians were reluctant to put the Russia v Uruguay game on the TV too, even though Russia were 2-0 down at that point (and lost the game); so, I had to make do with watching Egypt v Saudi Arabia, which was actually a decent match to watch.

Back at the shack, I was very pleased to find ChME3-2628 at the head of 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets, so it was that out to Chernivtsi Pivdenna (South), for ChME3-2505 back into Chernivtsi with 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi. Both ‘2505 & ‘2628 are unsilenced and could have done with being on the two mixed trains that morning to give them a good thrashing but it wasn’t to be. Pleased with my time in Chernivtsi, it was time to leave when I got back and the stock for 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv was already in platform 1. 2M62U-068b/2M62U-067a were late dropping onto the train and were the same pair that I’d watched disappear to shed in the morning, having arrived off the opposing working just before I’d arrived on 668 Kovel – Chernivtsi.

It was going to be a long night for me as I’d stupidly, in hindsight, booked on 117 to Kamianets Podilskyi only. I’d then be doing 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv forward to destination, which while it reaped the possible reward of other locos, it had the downfall of being a seating only train; although, with how had my berth on train 117 was, the seating was only marginally worse in the end. I did get a bit of sleep to Kamianets Podilskyi and made sure the same 2M62’s were at the head of the train before it departed, after they’d run-round at Hrechany.

2M62U-0077a/b worked 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv as far as Hrechany. I was one of the lucky ones in the coach that had two seats to myself on departure from Kamianets Podilskyi and plonked my bags on the other one to keep it that way. I was quite pleased at how comfy the seats were as I dossed out on departure from Kamianets Podilskyi.


Gen for Monday 25th June 2018

2M62U-0067b/2M62U-0068b 117 2005 (P) Kyiv Pas – Chernivtsi, 118 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas (to Hrechany)
2M62U-0074a/2M62U-0076b 668 1713 (P) Kovel – Chernivtsi
ChME3-2628 957 0435 Stefaneshty – Chernivtsi, 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets
ChME3-2652 954 0354 Vyzhnytsia – Chernivtsi, 951 0907 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia (2 coaches 9 wagons)
ChME3T-6448 Chernivtsi station pilot
ChME3-6352 Chernivtsi station yard pilot
2TE10M-2827a 968 0830 Chernivtsi – Sokyriany
2M62-1114a (DPL1-0021) 6461 0840 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya
ChME3T-6350 956 0852 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty (1 coach 10 wagons)
2M62-1114b (DPL-004) 6464 0907 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi
2TE10M-2601a/b 136 1421 Bilhorod Dnistrovsky – Chernivtsi, 452 1845 (P) Varna – Minsk Pas (to Chernivtsi)
2TE10M-2601a 452 1845 (P) Varna – Minsk Pas (from Chernivtsi)
ChME3T-6447 shunt 452 from gauge changer at Vadul Siret then followed 452 to Chernivtsi with a freight
ChME3-2505 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi


Moves for Monday 25th June 2018 

DMU Chernivtsi Sniatyn 702D 0607 Chernivtsi – Lviv
2M62U-0074a Sniatyn Chernivtsi 668K 1713 (24/06) Kovel – Chernivtsi
2TE10M-2827a Chernivtsi Chernivtsi Pivnichna 968 0830 Chernivtsi – Sokyriany
2M62-1114a Chernivtsi Pivnichna Mamayivtsi 6461 0840 Chernivtsi – Kolomiya
ChME3T-6350 Mamayivtsi Luzhany 956 0852 Chernivtsi – Stefaneshty
ChME3-2652 Luzhany Nepolokivtsi 951 0907 Chernivtsi – Vyzhnytsia
2M62-1114b Nepolokivtsi Chernivtsi 6464 0907 Kolomiya – Chernivtsi
Taxi Chernivtsi Vadul Siret
2TE10M-2601a Vadul Siret Chernivtsi 452B 1845 (24/06) Varna – Minsk Pas.
ChME3-2628 Chernivtsi Chernivtsi Pivdenny 961 1835 Chernivtsi – Storozhynets
ChME3-2505 Chernivtsi Pivdenny Chernivtsi 960 1600 Storozhynets – Chernivtsi
2M62U-0068b Chernivtsi Kamianets Podilskyi 118L 1946 Chernivtsi – Kyiv Pas.


Photos for Monday 25th June 2018 


Tuesday 26th June 2018 (A day in Kyiv before heading to Kremenchuk via the electric route and back overnight via the diesel route to Bakhmach)

Unfortunately, my karma was disturbed at Zhmerynka when I woke to a face peering at me, which I assumed was asking me to move my bags off the seat. After doing so I had a wonder outside, having forgotten that when I’d been waiting at Zhmerynka for the same train the previous week, that it was a different loco that dropped onto the other end of the train to work to Kyiv. ChS4-211 was just drawing off the train when I walked down and as there was no Mohyliv Podilskyi portion on this morning, there was no ChME3 portion shunt. ChS8-025 was already attached to the opposite end of the train by the time I walked down the train and I was soon back on board, eye mask on and earplugs back in.

779 arrived promptly into Kyiv Pas and I headed straight out of the station and walked the short distance to the Premier Hotel Lybid, where they do day-rate rooms for UAH 620. The rooms are their premiere rooms, which have AC, double beds, fridge and good WiFi; I was given one on the 6th floor and even decided to have a go at breakfast, which cost almost half as much as the room. So, in true style, I made sure I got my money’s worth and there was a lot to choose from. It was a very good breakfast selection actually, the only gripe I had was that the staff were too attentive and kept taking my plate away when I’d not finished.

I did nothing all day but veg in my hotel room, lapping up the AC and the luxury that the room afforded and by the time I had to leave I was clean, shaven, had caught up on all my crap, charged all my stuff and even checked in for my flight home the following day. As has been the case throughout this trip tough, I had to leave the hotel just as the first World Cup matches of the day were about to kick off. When I left the Lybid, I handed the room key to the same girl who’d checked me in, who had done a 7-hour shift at the front desk while I’d done a 7-hour shift doing fuck all!

I used the Spaghetti restaurant for dinner, which is opposite the nearby Ibis Hotel. I was the only person there, but my pizza was good, and I can now recommend the homemade lemonade. By the time I’d walked to the station in the afternoon sunshine, I was beginning t wonder why I’d even bothered having a shower and changing my clothes. The station was busy, and it was like being at Waterloo in the rush-hour trying to navigate around people who were just staring blankly at the departure screens. My train, 792 1748 Kyiv Pas – Kremenchuk, which also conveyed a portion for Kropyvnytskyi that would be split off at Znamianka and run forward as train 790, was on platform 8. The Kremenchuk portion is formed of seating coaches, except for a 2nd class coach, which I was booked in.

ChS4-106/ChS4-047 were only dropped onto the train 5 minutes before departure. My compo was full on departure and it was soon clear, when the coach attendant handed out the bedding, that the two people that had the upper berths had no intention of stretching out and wanted to just sit all the way to Kremenchuk. I had to shift one guy off my lower berth, so I could sit down myself and then I got talking to the woman who had the berth above me. She spoke fluent English, spent much of her time doing translator contract work and was the first Ukrainian that I’d met who’d actually travelled around a bit; albeit, most of her travels were for work.

We spent pretty much the whole 5-hour journey chewing the cud about a whole host of things, including Ukrainian politics, travelling on trains, the merits of being able to speak English and how it was currently taught in Ukraine. The most memorable part of the conversation though, was after she’d returned from the toilet on the approach to Kremenchuk. She told me that she’d had a Japanese student with her a couple of years ago, who couldn’t understand why all the toilet seats were up in the women’s toilets across the country, which she explained to her that women in Ukraine don’t use the toilet seats, they just hover; and she was now intrigued to know if women in Western Europe used the seats. Very random, I know, but not something I could answer of course! Finally, as we were travelling over a lengthy metal bridge on the approach to Kremenchuk she told me that the bridge was in bad shape and in desperate need of repairs. Ever time it came around to local elections the candidates used the bridge as a levy to gain votes by promising to lobby to get the money to do the necessary repairs; which hadn’t happened yet!

On arrival at Kremenchuk I bode Helena farewell, who was met off the train by her mother. In the adjacent platform TEP150-003 was just being detached from two coaches, which had arrived as 6667 2023 Khorol – Kremenchuk, based on the labels in the windows. A ChME3 was knocking around the station area and shunted the stock for my 670 0015 Kremenchuk – Bakhmach in, coupled to the stock for 791 0007 Kremenchuk – Kyiv Pas, which was the stock off the train I’d done down to Kremenchuk. The sets were split and drawn apart to clear the crossing and ChS4-106/ChS4-047 were dropped onto 791. Meanwhile, a very loud VL80K-091 had arrived with one coach in tow at around 2300 but I couldn’t figure out what it was as the last train to arrive for the night had been the TEP150 and it couldn’t have been the previous train running late, it was coming from the wrong direction.

It wasn’t until 0010 that TEP70-0077 dropped onto the stock for 670 but the train still departed right time. It was formed of 5 coaches, the front three for Bakhmach on 670 and the rear two for Hadiach, which would be split off at Lokhvytsia at stupid o’clock in the morning. The mattresses on board 670 left a little to be desired and most were out of shape and lumpy. Thankfully I got in first and managed to get one that was, for the most part, flat! It can’t have been that bad as I was asleep within minutes of departing Kremenchuk.


Gen for Tuesday 26th June 2018

2M62-0077b/a 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (to Hrechany)
ChS4-211 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (Hrechany to Zhmerynka)
ChS8-025 770 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas (Zhmerynka to Kyiv)
ChME3T-6393, ChME3T-7341, ChME3T-7320 plus others shunting at Kyiv Pas
ChS4-106/ChS4-047 792 1748 Kyiv Pas – Kremenchuk
TEP150-003 6667 2023 Khorol – Kremenchuk
VL80K-091 arr Kremenchuk 2300 with 1 coach – nothing on posted timetable to identify it


Moves for Tuesday 26th June 2018 

2M62U-0077b Kamianets Podilskyi Hrechany 770K 0054 Kamianets Podilskyi – Kyiv Pas.
ChS4-211 Hrechany Zhmerynka
ChS8-025(2) Zhmerynka Kyiv Pas.
ChS4-106 Kyiv Pas. Kremenchuk 792K 1748 Kyiv Pas. – Kremenchuk


Photos for Tuesday 26th June 2018  


Wednesday 27th June 2018 (Bakhmach to Kyiv and then the journey home to a sweltering Doncaster)

When I called it a day on the sleep, I was very pleased to find that we were bang on time departing whichever shack it was at 0639. I was only on a plus 27’ at Bakhmach for train 779 0530 Sumy – Kyiv into Kyiv and if I missed that, there was potential to miss my flight home as the next express to Kyiv wasn’t until the afternoon! All was well though and I even had time for a few photos on arrival, before walking the length of Bakhmach station to use the footbridge to get over to platform 3; where train 779 would depart from.

ChS4-190 was the nag on 779, which was almost full on arrival into Bakhmach and there were no seats free in my coach when it departed for Kyiv. It was roasting on board but thanks to a bit of AC, things soon cooled down once we got on the move. I don’t know why but UZ don’t seem to like using the AC too much and it was only intermittently turned on, so the coach kept warming up and cooling down; which can’t be good on a long-distance journey? I wasn’t complaining in either respect though as the AC was blowing right above my seat, and it was quite brutal!

With nothing else left for me to do on arrival into Kyiv, I headed out of the east side of the station, where there were two #322 “Skybus” services waiting to head to Kyiv’s Borispol airport. Payment is made on board the bus and collected by the driver prior to departure. Tickets have gone up from UAH 80 to UAH 100 since I’d last used the service about 12 months ago. The journey takes about 45 minutes and the buses do stop at a couple of places en-route.

Once at the airport I breezed through security and spent most of my waiting time having a beer and a very good dish of pasta at an Italian restaurant near the low-numbered D-gates. My flight was showing on time and should have been considering the plane for it had been in Kyiv since 0935; according to Flightradar24. When we boarded the crew told us that we’d be a few minutes late off stand as they had paperwork to do after the plane had been for a mechanical fault fixing during its time in Kyiv; which explained why it wasn’t on the stand in the first place. There was a party of children on board, who thankfully were a good 12-rows away from me but the group of Ukrainians a few rows in front made up for them while gibbering to each other across the aisle the whole way; and they’d polished off their duty free before they touched down, so their gibbering got louder as the flight went on.

I’d landed into weather that was much the same as I’d left behind in Kyiv, which makes a change. Unfortunately, thanks to us landing 25 minutes early we couldn’t get onto our stand and it was 29 minutes after touching down that I eventually stepped through the plane doors. 4 in the afternoon is never a good time to land at Heathrow and the tube journey to Kings Cross was hot, stuffy and wedged solid through the central London belt. Still, I made the train I wanted and 91107 was sat waiting to whisk me to Doncaster on the 1803 Kings Cross – Skipton; this being the first LNER service I’d done since Stagecoach/Virgin had handed back the franchise the previous Saturday night. And there were plenty of new window labels to start collecting……


Gen for Wednesday 27th June 2018

TEP70-0077 670O 0015 Kremenchuk – Bakhmach Pas, 670K 1007 Bakhmach Pas – Kremenchuk
2TE116-1396a/1305b freight at Bakhmach
ChS4-190 779 0530 Sumy – Vinnytsia


Moves for Wednesday 27th June 2018 

TEP70-0077 Kremenchuk Bakhmach Pas. 670O 0015 Kremenchuk – Bakhmach Pas.
ChS4-190 Bakhmach Pas. Kyiv Pas. 779O 0530 Sumy – Vinnytsia
G-EUYO Kiev Boryspol Heathrow Terminal 5 BA883 1425 Kiev – Heathrow
91107 Kings Cross Doncaster 1D26 1803 Kings Cross – Skipton


Photos for Wednesday 27th June 2018 

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