Romania May & June 2017 – Cluj Napoca to Bucharest via Brasov
A week away at half term, where we hoped there’d be a lack of other people doing the same thing. It was more a trip based on where we could go from Doncaster Airport, that was cheap, had reasonable flights and fitted with our plans. A with most Wizz Air flights from Doncaster they don’t operate every day so we eventually settled for Romania; out to Cluj Napoca and back from Bucharest. Even though it was only a week away our plans changed quite a bit but we settled on spending most of our time in Brasov, from where we could explore the surrounding area quite easily. Even the 4 nights we had planned there didn’t seem to be enough to do everything in the area either!
Booked through Wizz Air direct
W6-3314 1300 Doncaster – Cluj Napoca
W6-3015 0625 Bucharest – Doncaster
Cluj Napoca – Grand Hotel Napoca – its 2km from Cluj Napoca to the Grand Hotel Napoca. It’s a simple walk, out of the station, straight down the main road where the trams go, until you reach the river, then turn right and follow the river until the rather imposing Grand Hotel Napoca comes into view. T looks imposing in its surroundings, which is mainly a residential area, and was very busy outside when we approached; it looked like a wedding party. The receptionist was on the phone when we got to the front desk but calmly passed me the arrival form to fill out and by the time I’d finished she’d presented us with our room key, having finished he call. It was all very polite, in fluent English, and quick. Our room was on the 6th floor and while not a big room, it was well appointed, clean, had air-conditioning, lots of toiletries, a small flat-screen TV and even a bathrobe & slippers. WiFi was free, a decent strength and needed no faffing about with passwords either. Food selection in the large breakfast hall is ok but typically Romanian.
Brasov – Hotel Citrin – 2km from Brasov station and pretty much a straight line from the station front, straight up the main road opposite, under a couple of underpasses to negotiate the main roads and straight up the side street that the Hotel Citrin is located on. It took about 20 minutes to get there and we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the place, its quiet side street location and the pleasant-ish English speaking guy at reception. Check in took as long as it took to fill out the registration forms and we immediately got the impression that there were very few people staying in the hotel; even as we walked to our room there wasn’t a sound in the building and we saw nobody else in the hotel building, other than at breakfast, during our whole stay. Our comfort double room was just that, spacious, with a large bed covered by a duvet that unfortunately didn’t cover it all (common in these parts), bath robes, slippers and toiletries were provided. There was AC but we never used it and decent WiFi was provided throughout the hotel and free of charge. Breakfast was included in the room rate and while on a small scale and with not much choice, there was plenty that suited us.
Bucharest – Bucharest Comfort Suites Hotel – just outside the Universitate Metro station, the Bucharest Comfort Suites has a money changing facility at its entrance and check-in was quick, although we did end up changing our room immediately due to the balcony door not locking and it being quite noisy in the room with the seal not sealing properly as a result. The second room was ok though but there was still road noise from the main road right below us. The rooms had originally been apartments and part of the block had been converted to the hotel. The bedroom was big and the living room bigger, with the bathroom being quite sizeable too; complete with a massive bath. Randomly the AC was only in the living area and not the bedroom, WiFi was free and quite strong, loads of toiletries were provided in the bathroom and all-in-all it was a decent sized apartment type room to relax in. Breakfast was included in the room rate and served in the tiniest of rooms on the ground floor.
One Country (Romania) Interrail Pass – 4 days in 1 month 1st Class
Booked online through the Interrail Website
Reservations were made for a couple of train while in Romania – these cost 4 Lei each and were done at any general ticket window.
Saturday 27th May 2017 (A journey to Cluj)
Straight off a week of nights shifts, I got home at 0830 Saturday morning and had to finish packing, get my crap in order and take my car to the garage before we set off at 1030 for the airport. It was a bit of a rush after the night I’d had at work, coupled with the wedged train home from Peterborough that morning, I was more than ready for some sleep when we set off!
Doncaster Airport wasn’t busy and in my opinion, is one of the more stringent when it comes to getting through security anyway so the “heightened” security after the Manchester bombing wasn’t noticed. There was hardly anyone about either as our flight was the only one until later that afternoon, so nothing was busy; and breakfast at Wetherspoons was delivered minutes after it was ordered.
Priority boarding on Wizz Air, especially if you have yearly membership, is only £3.50 per person and is cheaper than paying £11 each for the bigger sized cabin bag each as well. It allows you to take a 2nd cabin bag on board as well; and the fact that you’re priority boarded at the same time always means there’s room for your crap when you get on. It’s a win, win situation really. As I was tired I was sock on before departure and don’t remember much about the flight at all. What I do recall though is that it was noisy every time I woke up and some kid kept running up and down the aisle. It paid to be tired on that flight and I was so glad my earplugs kept most of the noise out.
Arrival into Cluj Napoca was a few minutes ahead of the scheduled 1800 arrival time but as our plane stabled at the furthest point on the runway from the terminal building, it took a while for everyone to get off and then it was wacky races time as the three buses hammered down the runway to drop us at the terminal building.
Luckily, we were in the first batch into the immigration queue, where there was a full set of 8 staff on just to deal with one flight! You don’t get that many at international airports dealing with constant arrivals! The result of the efficient transfer from the plane, the quick breeze through immigration and the fact there wasn’t much going on airside, meant I had cash in my pocket from an ATM and we were ready to go by 1820, less than 25 minutes after landing. Buses run regularly from outside the airport, out of the exit, across the car park, turn right and the bus stop is about 100m. However, I was aware that there was an 1849 train from Cluj Napoca Est into Cluj Napoca and with almost 30 minutes to walk the 1.2km that ME Maps said it was, off we set.
It’s an easy walk, out of the airport, across the car park, turn right and along the road, past the bus stops. After about ½ km there a left turn into a dead end, which ME Maps routed us into, and there’s a well-trodden footpath that takes you straight over the tracks. Once on the other side of the railway it’s a simple case of following the road, in the same direction we were walking, until you get to Cluj Napoca Est station. We didn’t rush and made it there with 5 minutes to spare. I’d say it can be done in 10 minutes at a fast pace but as Danielle’s new shoes were conducive to walking in full, stop, let alone walking long distance, the pace was more of an amble than anything else. Her shoes were left behind in the hotel the following morning after her feet ended up in tatters and blistered!
CFR Marfa Sulzer 60-1151 was sat in the station yard, with a crew in but shut down. There was nothing else going on at all and nobody else about. The station building is a CFR Marfa depot and no tickets can be bought at the station. When departure time came and went, with no sign of a train in the distance, my mind began to wonder if the bus option might have been the sensible one after all; especially with the fact it was a walk back to the airport and the fact Danielle’s feet were broken! I was grateful when I spotted the sun glinting off a red-fronted train in the distance, although I was quite wary when I realised it was a loco and not a unit like I’d been expecting. CFR 40-0278 was soon upon us though, with R2039 1425 Diva – Cluj Napoca; with two coaches in tow. We were the only people that got on at Cluj Napoca Est but quite a few got off. En-route to Cluj Napoca the conductor in the coach we’d got into came down eventually, but only seemed to be intrigued why we’d got on at Cluj Napoca Est. He was satisfied when we told him we’d just landed but had no interest in asking for tickets or even selling us one! Needless to say, our short journey into Cluj Napoca was FOC; that’s free of charge for those not being able to work it out!
In the station area at Cluj Napoca CFR Sulzer 80-0537 was just being started to shunt some stock and an ex DB Regio DMU arrived from somewhere while we were in the booking office. Steam loco 150-139 is plinthed on the main platform and looked in decent condition. As it was a Sunday the following day, I didn’t want to risk a reservation riot on our 7-hour journey from Cluj Napoca to Brasov so as IR1746 Satu Mare – Bucharest is a compulsory reservation train I got us a couple of reservations in 1st class anyway; the cost of each being 4 Lei. Then, while I was at it, I turned my attention to trying to get a couple of tickets for trains during my June trip; namely Chisinau to Roman and Roman to Chisinau. Having spent 20 minutes after International Ticket Window No.6, I was eventually told that trains 401/402 Chisinau – Bucharest – Chisinau only run MFSSuO; which is drivel as the trains are daily in both directions. She tried to justify the claim by showing me the page in the CFR timetable, which indicates at the bottom that the trains only run MFSSuO. When I pointed out that what she was showing me referred only to the Chisinau – Iasi trains, as indicated, she was adamant that the international train didn’t run on the day I wanted it to and she couldn’t issue me a ticket from Chisinau to Roman on the 29th June; and that was the end of that.
30 minutes later, we’d walked the 2km from Cluj Napoca to the Grand Hotel Napoca. It’s a simple walk, out of the station, straight down the main road where the trams go, until you reach the river, then turn right and follow the river until the rather imposing Grand Hotel Napoca comes into view. T looks imposing in its surroundings, which is mainly a residential area, and was very busy outside when we approached; it looked like a wedding party. The receptionist was on the phone when we got to the front desk but calmly passed me the arrival form to fill out and by the time I’d finished she’d presented us with our room key, having finished he call. It was all very polite, in fluent English, and quick. Our room was on the 6th floor and while not a big room, it was well appointed, clean, had air-conditioning, lots of toiletries, a small flat-screen TV and even a bathrobe & slippers. WiFi was free, a decent strength and needed no faffing about with passwords either.
As it had been a while, food was at the forefront of our mind and we used Lonely Planet, which was no help at all, Trip Advisor and ME Maps to find some Italian places nearby. The closest, Pizza Pratta, turned out to be hosting a private party and the place was carnage. We did manage to get through the semi-closed gate and into the restaurant before we realised this; and yet nobody challenged us. We then walked through the busy central park, on the opposite side of the river to the hotel, , turned left and found the Club Italia Restaurant on the right; just after Colin’s Gastropub and adjacent to the Euphoria Biergarten. The way into the Club Italia is through a very bizarre entrance arch in the front garden, which leads you down a path, through the overgrown garden, and to the side door. It’s a big enough place and it was busy but with plenty of space too. Our waitress spoke half decent English, the pizzas we ordered we good and our bill for two pizzas, a Staropramen and a Sprite was RON49; and we were given two complimentary Limonchello for our trouble! Of note is the fact the 500ml draught Staropramen was only 1 RON more than the 330ml bottle of Sprite; so more for less basically!
As with the flight earlier, I remember very little about getting into bed at the hotel as I was so tired. It had been a pleasant day though, despite the travelling; and we’d have another day of it the following day.
Gen for Saturday 27th May 2017
400278 R2039 1425 Deva – Cluj Napoca
60-1115 R4134 1550 Sighetu Marmatiei – Cluj Napoca
Photos for Saturday 27th May 2017
Sunday 28th May 2017 (Travelling from Cluj Napoca to Brasov)
I was still away with the fairies when I noticed a face inches from mine, telling me it was time to get up. I’d clearly not heard anything and my brand-new earplugs were doing their job. Breakfast at the Grand Hotel Napoca had plenty on offer, but not, if that makes sense? There were two sets of scrambled eggs, one with ham mixed in and the other was plain but had eggshell mixed in; as I found out when dishing some onto my plate. The bread selection had a fine selection of rolls that had probably been fresh, at some point in their existence. The meat and cheese selection was ok but the cereal was apparently stale! The small sliced bread that I toasted was ok and I managed to get some scrambled egg onto it that didn’t have eggshell in it. Strangely, the cake on offer was far from dry and was quite nice. The orange juice wasn’t freshly squeezed but was ok, even if the lid of the vat did come off and make a bid for it while I was trying to pour some. Tea was the simplest affair, get teabag, add water and pour in milk; simples! Despite its setbacks we did manage to make some sarnies for later and get them into our bags without one of the many breakfast-room gestapo spotting us.
Checkout at the hotel was simple enough and it was a pleasant 20-minute walk to the station, through the deserted streets of Cluj Napoca on a Sunday morning. Snacks for our day’s journey, to complement what we’d accumulated at breakfast, were sought from a minimarket opposite Cluj Napoca station and once in the station building I attempted to get a ticket for the Bucharest – Chisinau on 30th June from Roman to Chisinau; having failed the night before, I thought the issue might have been when trying to get the outbound from Moldova. However, 20 minutes later, after the woman at the counter had made two phone calls, she told me there was no availability. And again, that was that; which left me wondering what the advance booking period for the trains to Moldova were?
CFR Sulzer 80-0537 was shunting a set of stock in the station when 40-0782 arrived with IR1746 0347 Satu Mare – Bucuresti Nord. By the time we’d got ourselves sorted in what turned out to be a 1st class compo, something had shunted three more 2nd class coaches onto the opposite end of the train. That turned out to be 477798. Even though IR1746 was 10’ late arriving at 0928 it was only 2’ late departing at 0932 and that was after detaching 40-0782 and backing the three coaches on with 477798. Once the brake test was done, the whistle was blown, 477798 blew its “clown” horn and we were on the move; and passing through Cluj Napoca Est, where it all began the previous evening, moments later.
We had the pleasure of a bert & ada in our compo for a while, until they seemingly got fed up with the window being open. Whether it was the noise or the draught it made no odds, and we had a compo to ourselves to Teius. On the depot as we arrived, looking very demic, were Sulzers 80-0314, 80-0553 & 81-xxxx. Unfortunately, my little brain could only remember two of the three by the time I’d faffed with my phone to type them into it; it happens as you get older apparently! The stock for R2311 1200 Teius – Simeria was in the adjacent platform to that which we arrived on and it wasn’t long before 40-0024, stabled at the end of the station, backed on. This then took us the short distance to Vintu de Jos and as we were a little late IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord was already sat in, having arrived early. I was very surprised to find Sulzer 60-0813 at the head of the train and not so surprised when it was replaced by GM 64-1179 at Sibiu. It was a rather efficient engine change to say the least and had I read my diagrams I’d only have had the one surprise that afternoon as IR1622 is booked a loco change at Sibiu anyway.
While waiting at Bartolomeu, the shack outside Brasov, to cross IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu, I was happily minding my own when Sulzer 60-0718 came bounding into the adjacent platform with IR1527. So that was two 60’s out on Sibiu GM turns! It was one to note for the following day though, just in case. At Brasov, the GM was removed and, just as efficiently as the Sibiu loco change, 477689 was dropped onto IR1622 to work the last leg through to Bucuresti Nord. 41-0860 arrived with R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov, 40-0527 departed shortly after we arrived with R3012 1815 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord and 40-0839 was sat with the MAV stock to form EN406 1850 Brasov – Budapest Keleti. Two Sulzer 80 Class were employed in the station on shunting duties with 80-0598 shunting a few coaches out, off the rear of IR1622, the train we’d just arrived off, and 80-0022 shunted the two coaches out off R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov.
Brasov station is a way from the old town and as we’d be using the train to get around the locality I’d picked a hotel that wasn’t far from the station, albeit about 2km! Thankfully it was pretty much a straight line from the station front, straight up the main road opposite, under a couple of underpasses to negotiate the main roads and straight up the side street that the Hotel Citrin is located on. It took about 20 minutes to get there and we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the place, its quiet side street location and the pleasant-ish English speaking guy at reception. Check in took as long as it took to fill out the registration forms and we immediately got the impression that there were very few people staying in the hotel; even as we walked to our room there wasn’t a sound in the building and we saw nobody else in the hotel building, other than at breakfast, during our whole stay. Our comfort double room was just that, spacious, with a large bed covered by a duvet that unfortunately didn’t cover it all (common in these parts), bath robes, slippers and toiletries were provided. There was AC but we never used it and decent WiFi was provided throughout the hotel and free of charge. Breakfast was included in the room rate.
After an initial unpacking session, as we were staying for 4 nights, I headed back to the station to see what was going off and to attempt to get the reservations I needed for my Chisinau moves at the end of June. All I found at the station was 477821 arriving with IR1633 1645 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov. I change my tactics when I attempted to get my tickets this time and only tried to get the Roman to Chisinau ticket. This didn’t work either and it only took the woman at the International ticket counter 30 seconds to tell me this; not 20 minutes as it had done in Cluj Napoca, twice!
Danielle is always in charge of finding decent places to eat and by the time I’d got back she’d found a decent Italian not far from the hotel so off to L’Altra Idea Pizza & Bistro we went. It was wedged outside and everything inside was reserved but for a small table by the doors; which we declined due to the fact we could smell the smoke from those stood at the door smoking. We didn’t have a plan B so we resorted to frantically looking at our apps for ideas. We ended up at Restaurant Pizzeria 4 Amici, the opposite direction from the hotel, which was nice and empty and served up a decent Rigatoni Al Forno; which actually turned out to be Penne Al Forno.
It had been a long day of travelling and by the time we went to be, we were prepared for our jaunt by bus to Rasnov and Bran the following day.
Gen for Sunday 28th May 2017
400782 IR1746 0347 Satu Mare – Bucuresti Nord (to Cluj)
477798 IR1746 0515 Baia Mare – Bucuresti Nord (from Cluj)
80-0314, 80-0553, 81-???? @ Teius Depot
400024 R2311 1200 Teius – Simeria
60-0813 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (Simeria to Sibiu)
64-1179 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (Sibiu to Brasov)
477689 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (from Brasov)
60-xxxx IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (from Brasov)
41-0905 R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
40-0527 R3012 1815 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
40-0839 EN406 1850 Brasov – Budapest Keleti
477821 IR1633 1645 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
80-0598 shunt stock ex IR1622
80-0022 shunt stock ex R3005
Photos for Sunday 28th May 2017
Monday 29th May 2017 (Brasov)
The morning was spent visiting Rasnov Fortress & Bran Castle.
The 3.5km walk back from Autogare No.2 seemed to go quicker than the walk to it had done that morning and we were back with plenty of time to spare for me to head out and do a few trains of an afternoon. By the time I got to Brasov station there was plenty doing with both Sulzers 80-0022 & 80-0598 shunting in the station and the following all in the station area: Regiotrans 425517 with R14038 1550 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord, 41-0105 with R3533 1610 Brasov – Sighisoara, 41-0008 with R4513 1617 Brasov – Toplita & 40-0839 with R3010 1625 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord. 64-0927 also ran through the station and sat in the north headshunt in readiness to work forward with EN346 1400 Bucuresti Nord – Wien Hbf.
Having never had a Regiotrans ex SNCF 425 I decided to have a go. There are plenty of Regiotrans ticket windows downstairs so it wasn’t an issue getting a ticket for the short journey to Darste, even if I did have to write my destination down as my Yorkshire isn’t widely understood in Brasov. Gripping on board ex Brasov was pretty severe as well so it was probably a good job I did buy one. My grand plan for the afternoon was to be back at Brasov to view IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu, which we’d passed the previous evening, at Bartolomeu, with Sulzer 60-0718. The simple way to cover it was to be on it arriving at Brasov so I did R3010 1625 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord forward from Darste to Predeal with 40-0839 and got on IR1527 there; which was headed by 40-0028 at that point. It was a bit of a battered old grey thing too and I noticed that it was devoid of all its cast numbers. This seemed to be a thing as they were all having stickers put on with the full UIC numbers.
As soon as the doors opened on IR1527 at Brasov I was out and could immediately see a Sulzer waiting to drop onto the train north of the station and as soon as 40-0028 was efficiently removed, 60-0718 dropped on for the run to Sibiu. I only did it out the short distance to Bartolomeu and had I been paying attention on the right side of the train I might well have made GM 64-0957 with IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord, which had been sat in the adjacent platform waiting our arrival. By the time I’d realised what was going off though I’d never have made it out of the off-side of the train and clambered aboard. So, it was back to my original plan of a taxi back to Brasov station. There were plenty waiting outside the Autogare No.2, where of course I’d been earlier and had clocked them, and I was dropped at Brasov station with 5 minutes to spare before 477345 would get IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord, having replaced the GM by the time I got onto the platform. Another trip to Predeal followed and 41-0240 brought me back with EN472 1745 Bucuresti Nord – Budapest Keleti.
Food that evening was at a place called The Bank, which was a short walk from the Hotel Citrin and as it was a nice evening we even sat outside. The food was decent enough and quite cheap but for me not quite as good as the food the previous night. One thing I did realise at this point was that every restaurant we’d been in had charged extra for side dishes; even chips. So, if for example you order chicken schnitzel, that is all you will get on your plate, so be sure to order something on the side if you want something with it. In all my travels, I’ve not come across this anywhere else.
It was back to the hotel afterwards for a spot of frustrating internet ticket booking for an upcoming trip involving Armenia & Georgia; or not as the case turned out! Despite both having online ticket booking facilities both failed on the payment page and that was that. Which probably explains why online payment for train tickets in Armenia & Georgia isn’t mentioned anywhere else on’t tinterweb?
Gen for Monday 29th May 2017
41-0105 R3533 1610 Brasov – Sighisoara
425517 R14038 1550 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
41-0008 R4513 1617 Brasov – Toplita
40-0839 R3010 1625 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
64-0927 IR346 1400 Bucuresti Nord – Wien Hbf (from Brasov – in position)
40-0028 IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (to Brasov)
60-0718 IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (from Brasov)
41-0860 R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
41-0840 R3012 1815 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
64-0957 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (Sibiu to Brasov)
477345 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (from Brasov)
40-0369 IC406 1850 Brasov – Budapest Keleti
41-0240 EN472 1745 Bucuresti Nord – Budapest Keleti
Photos for Monday 29th May 2017
Tuesday 30th May 2017 (A day trip to Sinaia)
There were more folk at breakfast on this morning but only half a dozen or so. We were at the station for IR1632 0735 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord with 41-0860. The idea being to head to Sinaia for a day there, taking in Peles Castle & Pelisor Castle. The first matter at hand was to get one of Astra Trans Carpatic’s locos in on their new trains that run overnight from Arad to Bucuresti & vice versa, with the Arad – Bucuresti being the more conveniently timed at Brasov. Tickets can be bought online and are priced based on distance, with the whole pricing structure available on the Astra Trans Carpatic website along with the train schedules and a whole host of other useful stuff. At the lower end of the km scale the fares aren’t good value for money but at the longer distances they are; for example, its 7 Lei for up to 10km but multiply that by 10 and its only 24 Lei for 90-100km and multiply that by 10 again and its only 121 Lei for 900-1000km.
To minimalise the ching, not that it really was ching mind, we did IR1632 to Predeal for Astra’s IR15534 2145 (P) Arad – Bucuresti Nord the 7km to Azuga. 44-0124 and the three coaches it had in tow were spotless and look quite good in the company yellow & green livery. They’re quite plush inside too but our 7km journey barely gave us enough time to sit down let alone enjoy the plushness. There wasn’t much time to wait at Azuga for IR1631 0700 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov to arrive with 40-0740, which we did back to Predeal for 477821 to Sinaia on IR1526 0500 Sibiu – Bucuresti Nord.
The morning was then spent looking round Sinaia, including Peles Castle & Pelisor Castle.
It was a hot afternoon and we were grateful of the shade as we walked back to the station through the tree shaded pathways and as we passed back through the gardens, in front of the casino, the sun had gone around far enough to be shining on the front of the bright white building. We didn’t have to too long to wait for 41-0815 to arrive with IR1645 1215 Bucuresti Nord – Targu Mures and while waiting I got a few shots of Vest Trans Rail’s 40-0006 running through with a tank train; the driver of which was apparently knocking on his cab window at me as he passed through. Quite what he was expecting to achieve by that, I don’t know!
At Predeal, my plan was to cover the Regiotrans 425 diagrams, 4 of which can be covered in an afternoon period at Brasov but I could only cover 3 as one had already arrived into Brasov by the time we were at Sinaia station. 425523 was first up with R14036 1355 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord and I’m well aware of the fact that Interrail’s aren’t valid on Regiotrans and luckily, we didn’t get gripped on the short journey from Predeal to Azuga but did on R14033 1140 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov. The language barrier worked in my favour here though and despite the desperate grip, the gripper got bored of the argument before I did. At Brasov shunt loco 860122 dropped onto the set that 425572 had just brought us in on, having seemingly dumped 425576 into the adjacent platform to form R14038 1550 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord. The irony being that I bought a ticket back to Predeal on R14038 anyway, only to end up getting off at Darste; the first shack out of Brasov.
I planned to cover IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu again to see if was a Sulzer again and was heading to Predeal with 425576 until that plan didn’t get me beyond Darste; where R14038 was still sitting when I departed back towards Brasov on EN346 1400 Bucuresti Nord – Wien Hbf. It was brought to a stand in the station for someone to get off the loco. So, whether there was some pilot working of some description or some other farce I couldn’t tell but EN346 was only a few minutes late into Brasov, so trains towards Bucuresti were affected more than those heading towards Brasov. What this little farce did though, was me a massive favour.
While GM 64-0927 was replacing 477689 on EN346, I’d been keeping an eye on the two Sulzer shunters at Brasov and trying to gauge how easy it might be to manage to get myself onto “the wrong train”, so to speak. When 40-0623 arrived with R4508 1313 Gheorghieni – Brasov I seized my opportunity as the set sat, unattended in one of the far platforms. I could see one of the shunt locos poised to drop on and there was no interest at all as I walked into the vestibule of a coach, probably as people just seemed to clamber through the stock in the station as a means of getting from one platform to the other without using the subway. I bogged it, like you do, and felt the bump when the shunt loco attached to the Bucuresti end. Movement towards the carriage sidings soon followed and after we’d cleared the platform I came out of the toilet and found a shunter at the end of the coach; to play the dumb tourist with. Obviously, he spoke no English but we both got the gist of our conversation. As it wasn’t far to walk back to the station I was always going to walk back but when we stopped for the shunter to set the points, 80-0598 was just coming out of the carriage sidings, with what turned out to be a double set of empties for IR1635 1720 Brasov – Constanta & IR1731 1740 Brasov – Galati, and he waved it to a stand, jabbered at the shunter in the doorway and then ushered me on as he gestured towards the station. Moments later I was back in the platform as though nothing had happened; thanking the shunter profusely, which of course he didn’t understand what for…..
By the fact I’d had 80-0598 back from the sidings I assumed, after I watched it return from the sidings, that I’d had 80-0022 down. 80-0598 was only stationary long enough for me to get off and in that time another shunter had split the two sets and the second set was then shunted to another platform. As I sat in the nice evening sunshine, it wasn’t long before I spied a Sulzer approaching the station and was pleased to watch Brasov’s 60-0749 run through and sit at the Sibiu end of the station. 477268 arrived a little late with IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu and 60-0749 was soon backing down, with only a couple of minutes for booked departure time. Departure was prompt and this time I was well on the ball as we approached Bartolomeu. GM 64-0925 was sat in the back platform with IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord and the moment the doors opened I was off on the off-side of the train. It was tight but easily made in the end and I was back into Brasov 15 minutes after departing with the 60. 477689, off EN346, replaced the GM and worked IR1622 forward to Bucuresti. 40-0623 departed the moment we arrived, with R3012 1815 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord, 40-0078 was sat in with EN406 1805 Brasov – Budapest Keleti and 41-0438 arrived with R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov. At this point I called it a day and attempted to get my tickets for the Chisinau train that I needed for the end of June. It took the woman at the international window at Brasov 30 seconds to tell me she couldn’t do it and to come back “next month”.
For a second night food was sought at The Bank and it was a better meal than the previous night; and a bit more relaxed too. A bit like the rest of the evening. I spent some of it trying to book my online tickets for Armenia & Georgia but to no avail again so I kicked the computer into touch and drop kicked it out of the window; in my mind anyway! In the meantime, we tried to figure out what to do the following day as there was so much we’d not done in the surrounding area of Brasov, that we even toyed with staying an extra night and only having one night in Bucharest instead. The choices were Ialomitei Monastery & Cave, which involved riding up to it on the Busteni cable car, Libearty Bear Sanctuary, near Zarnesti, and a look round Brasov itself once we realised there was an old part of town to have a walk round. The weather swayed us in the end and as thunderstorms were forecast the following day we didn’t want to be caught in the woods and muddy surroundings or riding on cable cars in the middle of a storm either. We decided on a very down to earth, leisurely walk around Brasov itself and then an afternoon in Fagaras to see what the fortress was all about.
Gen for Tuesday 30th May 2017
41-0860 IR1632 0735 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
44-0124 IR15534 2145 (P) Arad – Bucuresti Nord
40-0740 IR1631 0700 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
477821 IR1526 0500 Sibiu – Bucuresti Nord
40-0639 R3001 0623 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
477753 IR1636 0530 Constanta – Brasov
40-0815 IR1645 1215 Bucuresti Nord – Targu Mures (to Brasov) 4 coaches split off to form IR1539 1505 Brasov – Cluj Napoca
41-0839 IR1645 1215 Bucuresti Nord – Targu Mures (from Brasov)
40-0527 R3006 1303 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
425523 R14036 1355 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
425572 R14033 1140 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
477345 R1634 1415 Brasov- Bucuresti Nord
41-0815 IR1645 1215 Bucuresti Nord – Targu Mures (from Brasov)
425576 R14038 1550 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
40-0770 R3533 1610 Brasov – Sighisoara
41-0008 R4513 1617 Brasov – Toplita
41-0402 R3010 1625 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
477689 IR346 1400 Bucuresti Nord – Wien Hbf (to Brasov)
64-0927 IR346 1400 Bucuresti Nord – Wien Hbf (from Brasov)
Desiro 2013 R2503 1620 Brasov – Fagaras
477268 IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (to Brasov)
60-0749 IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (from Brasov)
41-0860 R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
40-0623 R4508 1313 Gheorghieni – Brasov, R3012 1815 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
800022 ecs ex R4508 1313 Gheorghieni – Brasov
477753 IR1746 0517 Baia Mare – Bucuresti Nord
800598 ecs for IR1731 1740 Brasov – Galati / IR1635 1720 Brasov – Constanta
41-0741 IR1731 1740 Brasov – Galati
41-0240 IR1635 1720 Brasov – Constanta
41-0438 R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
64-0925 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (Sibiu to Brasov)
477689 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (from Brasov)
40-0078 EN406 1850 Brasov – Budapest Keleti
Photos for Tuesday 30th May 2017
Wednesday 31st May 2017 (A morning in Brasov & afternoon at Fagaras Fortress)
With a leisurely day planned I nipped out first thing to cover the other turn on the Astra Trans Carpati link, before having a morning in Brasov old town. CFR 41-0145 was sat waiting with IR1632 0735 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord so I did that to Predeal for Astra’s 43-0069 forward to Azuga on IR15534 2145 (P) Arad – Bucuresti Nord and CFR’s 41-0030 back to Brasov on IR1631 0700 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov and was back at the Hotel Citrin just in time to grab a quick bite before we headed out for the day.
From the Hotel Citrin it was a 2.5km walk to the old town in Brasov, which is almost another 2km from Brasov station itself; which is right on the outskirts of town. We initially headed towards the Brasov Citadel, with a view to walking up to it, but when we realised how high up the hill it was we settled for admiring it from a distance as we continued towards the old town.
As we turned into the old town it was like walking into a different world and was very pleasant to look at. Our stroll took us by the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter & Paul and into Council Square, the centre of which is dominated by the History Museum and the Black Church stands out behind the square. As we headed through the old town and towards the opposite side we passed through Strada Sforii, which is a very narrow old passage that was originally a street made for the firemen to access the old town; back in the day. It’s a decent walk from Council Square to St Nicholas Church but it’s worth the walk. Once we’d made it that far though we’d covered the old town and had no intention of going for a ride on the Brasov cable car so we had a leisurely lunch at one of the restaurants in Council Square, before it got busy. Pizza Roma wasn’t busy at all and the food was good, for a main strip tourist hot-spot type restaurant.
We were at Brasov station with plenty of time to spare for out train to Fagaras that afternoon and around while we were there was CFR 40-0908 with R3006 1303 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord, 41-0199 was waiting with R4583 1335 Brasov – Sfantu Gheorghe and two Regiotrans sets were in, both with a DMU attached to the rear of the train off the Pitesti – Urziceni service; obviously it was swap-over day? 425576 was sat waiting to go with R14036 1355 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord and 425572 had arrived with R14031 0850 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov and was eventually shunted out by 860122. Our IR12621 1000 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu was worked into Brasov by 477268/40-0623, which were replaced by GM 640957 for the run to Sibiu. The train was nice and empty in 1st class and at Codlea we waited for a late running EN347 1939 Wien Hbf – Bucuresti Nord to run through with GM 64-0976, before we could continue on our journey.
It was still a nice sunny day when we got to Fagaras and the predicted storms hadn’t materialized, thankfully. It only took us 20 minutes to walk from Fagaras station to the Fortress and the golden dome of the St John the Baptist Cathedral is clearly visible the whole way down the main road. If you’re lost in Fagaras, just head towards it and you’ll find the Fortress next to it, or behind it if you’re walking from the station. There is only one entry point to Fagaras Fortress due to the full moat that surrounds it. Entry fees were 15 Lei for adults and 7 Lei for students and other than a school party right at the start, we had almost free reign of the place for the 45 minutes it took us to amble round. Inside the Fortress itself you have to wear nice blue shoe condoms to protect the surfaces and carpets from muddy shoes; and as most people spent most of their time inside the fortress we spent most of ours outside, keeping away from the groups. While we weren’t there for long, the trip out to Fagaras was well worth the effort and I was glad we went. Not bad for something that wasn’t even on our radar until late the previous night.
Back at Fagaras station people began gathering for the two trains that were due, one was R2103 1435 Brasov – Sibiu which turned up with a nicely graffiti’d Desiro DMU, the other was our train back to Brasov, IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord, which was bang on time with GM 64-0927. Again, there was plenty of space in the 1st class back to Brasov and at Bartolomeu we sat waiting for IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu to arrive before we could continue round to Brasov. On this occasion, our IR1622 was given the tip by the station master before 60-0718 had cleared the points with IR1527; and we were on the move before IR1527 came to a stand so there was no chance of making IR1622 off IR1527 at Bartolomeu on this particular day. The minus off IR1622 did make onto R3012 1815 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord though and we were soon Predeal bound with 41-0199, only to get back onto IR1622 there to do 477753 forward to Busteni for 477498 back to Brasov with EN472 1745 Bucuresti Nord – Budapest Keleti. And that, as they say, was that; the end of our time in Brasov almost. Before heading back to the hotel, I attempted to get a couple of 1st class reservations to Bucuresti the following morning on the opposing working of the train we’d just got off, EN473 1910 Budapest Keleti – Bucuresti Nord. It was a public holiday on the Friday in Romania and we didn’t want to take any chances with not getting a seat. I was quite surprised when the woman at the ticket window told us she couldn’t do any reservations as the train was full and we’d need to come back at 0900 the following morning! This left me pondering our move to Bucuresti for the following day, to the point that we might have to do one of the stoppers, which are unreserved but at least some have 1st class.
For our last night in Brasov we returned to the Italian restaurant we’d tried on our first night there. This time the L’Altra Idea wasn’t wedged and there was plenty of space inside, away from those smoking outside. The service and food was good but the fact children were allowed to run around as they saw fit inside wasn’t. My request for Tiramisu, yet again in an Italian restaurant, returned a blank look, followed by the waited explaining what they did have in an attempt to put my mind off the fact that it wanted Tiramisu. I was beginning to think that there was some sort of conspiracy or even a world shortage of Tiramisu makers, based on the amount of times I’d been denied this iconic Italian desert over the course of the year thus far! It was beginning to concern me greatly and we had a lengthy discussion about how I was going to start a petition to save the great tiramisu from extinction, on the way back to the hotel. Where, unfortunately, we had to pack for our following morning departure to Bucuresti. We’d enjoyed our time in Brasov and the surrounding area but equally, we were looking forward to heading to the Romanian capital for our brief stay.
Gen for Wednesday 31st May 2017
41-0145 IR1632 0735 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
43-0069 IR15534 2145 (P) Arad – Bucuresti Nord
41-0030 IR1631 0700 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
40-0908 R3006 1303 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
425576 R14036 1355 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord (DMU for Ploiesti – Urziceni services attached to rear)
425572 R14031 0850 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov (DMU off Ploiesti – Urziceni services attached to rear)
477268/40-0623 IR12621 1000 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (to Brasov)
64-0957 IR12621 1000 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (from Brasov)
41-0199 R4583 1335 Brasov – Sfantu Gheorghe, R4584 1446 Sfantu Gheorghe – Brasov, R3012 1815 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
64-0976 EN347 1939 (P) Wien Hbf – Bucuresti Nord (to Brasov, EN346 1400 Bucuresti Nord – Wien Hbf (from Brasov)
Desiro 2021 R2102 1155 Sibiu – Brasov, R2503 1620 Brasov – Fagaras
Desiro 2530/2527 R2103 1435 Brasov – Sibiu
64-0927 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (Sibiu to Brasov)
477753 IR1622 0745 Timisoara Nord – Bucuresti Nord (from Brasov)
60-0718 IR1527 1510 Bucuresti Nord – Sibiu (from Brasov
40-0756 IC406 1850 Brasov – Budapest Keleti
45-0397 R3005 1420 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
477498 EC472 1745 Bucuresti Nord – Budapest Keleti
Photos for Wednesday 31st May 2017
Thursday 1st June 2017 (Brasov to Bucharest)
It wasn’t an early start but the fact we’d not been able to get a reservation for our planned train to Bucuresti the previous night, was playing on my mind. So much so, that before breakfast I decided to take a brisk walk to the station to attempt to get some and if we couldn’t we’d just stay in Brasov for the morning and do a later, unreserved local train, to Bucuresti instead. Surprisingly the booking office at Brasov was almost empty and I was straight in, without any queuing at all. Unfortunately for me though, the computer still said no and the woman behind the counter told me to come back an hour later; which I wasn’t willing to do. When she saw the look of disbelief on my face though, she beckoned me to pass our Interrail tickets to her and moments later I was in possession of two 1st class reservations for EN473 0941 ex Brasov to Bucuresti. She clearly knew what she was doing as she looked at the back of the Interrail tickets for their ticket numbers, which she then added to the reservations before issuing our tickets. I’ve no idea what the fuss is about as regards making reservations and I headed back to the hotel suspecting that it might possibly be an unwritten rule to only issue reservations for some trains shortly before departure, so they can sell as many tickets as possible? Other than that, I’m at a loss as there was clearly no issue making the reservations in the end.
After a brisk walk in the morning sunshine, I was ready for a leisurely breakfast when I got back. Our stay in Brasov was soon coming to an end though and we were waiting for a late EN473 1910 (P) Budapest Keleti – Bucuresti Nord at Brasov station; on a very busy platform, thankful of the fact we’d managed to get some reservations. 41-0008 arrived with R4504 0419 Toplita – Brasov, the ecs off which was taken out by Sulzer 80-0598, and 477268 arrived with IR1631 0700 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov, the ecs off which was taken out by Sulzer 80-0022. Steam loco 150-1114 was basking in the morning sunshine so I passed the time by getting a shot, it would have been rude not to having been there for 4 days.
It was a little busy on the platform when 477247 arrived with EN473 but not so much getting into 1st class. There were a few seats free but with people getting on and off throughout the journey to Bucuresti I couldn’t have been sure there would have been seats available throughout had I left it until shortly before departure to get our reservations. The air-con in the coach was a bit crap and with the sun glaring through the windows it was soon quite warm and the AC was then nothing more than a token gesture. It didn’t help that the vestibule ends were full and standing and people kept opening the doors at the ends of the coach. The journey to Ploiesti is quite a nice one and I took in more of the scenery than I had when we’d visited Sinaia. The one surprising moment on the journey was when the old woman sat opposite pulled a CFR timetable out of her bag and started thumbing through it to work her move out! Mine was already out on the table at that point, so I wonder what she was thinking in return?
EN473 never recovered time to Bucuresti and was about 30’ late arriving. GM 64-1395 was just departing with R9437 1230 Bucuresti Gara Nord A – Targoviste and in the far-right hand platform, as you stand on the concourse looking towards the platforms, was steam loco 230-516. It wasn’t in steam and had an exhibition type train behind it, the advertisement for which I couldn’t read as it was only in Romanian. We didn’t hang around and were straight down to the Metro to head to our Bucharest Comfort Suites Hotel, which wasn’t far from the Universitate stop on line M2. Tickets were very simple to buy from an automated machine, which accepted cash and cards. A 1-day ticket costs 8 Lei and a 2-trips one costs 5 Lei as an example of prices. Entry to platforms is by using the automated ticket gates and the relevant lines are well signed and colour-coded, so as long as you know which direction you’re heading it’s simple to get about. Our journey from Bucuresti Gara Nord to Universitate involved a change from line M1 to M2 at Plata Victoriei, which was straightforward and the metro trains were about every 6 minutes on each line; with screens advertising when the next one will be along. At Universitate we got to the Comfort Suites more by luck than judgement, having been at the right end of the metro for the exit we used. There was then a choice of exits but as we knew our hotel was next to the Intercontinental Hotel, which was signposted in a fashion, we followed that. When we basically picked a set of stairs at random, we magically emerged right in front of the Bucharest Comfort Suites Hotel and on the right side of the main road. Of note is the fact that there is another Comfort Suites Hotel further along the main road, call Relax Comfort Suites, so don’t confuse the two.
The Bucharest Comfort Suites Hotel has a money changing facility at its entrance and check-in was quick, although we did end up changing our room immediately due to the balcony door not locking and it being quite noisy in the room with the seal not sealing properly as a result. The second room was ok though but there was still road noise from the main road right below us. The rooms had originally been apartments and part of the block had been converted to the hotel. The bedroom was big and the living room bigger, with the bathroom being quite sizeable too; complete with a massive bath. Randomly the AC was only in the living area and not the bedroom, WiFi was free and quite strong, loads of toiletries were provided in the bathroom and all-in-all it was a decent sized apartment type room to relax in. Breakfast was included in the room rate as well.
Quite pleased with the hotel, we were soon heading out for a bit to eat. Not wanting to walk too far in the afternoon scorching sunshine, and to give our legs a rest after the walking they’d done over the previous few days, we stopped at the first half decent place we found on the way towards the old town. It was InFusion Bistro & Sports Bar and had a nice sized outside area, on a quiet street. The staff spoke good English, the menu was in English and the food was good. The Tiramisu conspiracy continued though and for the third time, on this trip alone I was denied it, despite it being on the menu. While that was becoming more of a comical issue by this point, the fact that waiters thought they needed to tell me that the receipt didn’t include service was becoming a bit of a pain. If only they realised that was my cue not to leave a tip! It hadn’t put me off returning to places that had done it in Brasov but it did seem to be a thing in Romania, whereby saying it would possibly guilt trip people into tipping?
After a late lunch, it was an afternoon/evening of spinning about in the Bucharest suburbs for me and having used the Metro to get back to Bucuresti Nord I was raring to go by 1530 and was instantly amazed at all the Desiro’s in the station. Both R9347 1523 Bucuresti Nord – Giurgiu & IR1985 1530 Bucuresti Nord – Craiova were waiting to go as I walked by the buffer stops. With there being a lot of departure from Bucuresti in a short space of time, from both Gara A & Gara B I was keen to get to Gara B and see what R9025 1553 Bucuresti Nord – Pitesti was, as it was the only diesel hauled train to depart in the first hour. After the 1km walk from the buffer stops of Gara A to the platforms of Gara B, I was pleased to find GM 65-1384 with R9025 and even more pleased when a farce had it departing after 41-0403 with R9305 1605 Bucuresti Nord B – Rosiori Nord. This minor farce, whatever it may have been, was the first of a couple and having done 64-1395 to Carpati on R9106 1455 Targoviste – Bucuresti Nord B, I was almost caught in two minds with which train to do when both Sulzer 60-1126 with R8123 1640 Bucuresti Nord A – Slobozia Veche and GM 66-1060 with R9105 1650 Bucuresti Nord B – Targoviste approached at the same time. I chose wisely in the end, and would have always done the Sulzer over the GM if push came to shove, but as the Sulzer had the edge on the GM the former managed to just make it to Pajura before the latter made it to Depoul Bucuresti Triaj. These shacks are for all intent and purpose the same place, separated by two main lines, which I legged it across in the pouring rain, having jumped off the Sulzer to make the GM. I’d been a little worried at Carpati, when the skies turned dark, that I’d get caught out in the middle of nowhere when the inevitable storm hit. Thankfully I didn’t but I got soaked just legging it from one train to the other and again then legging it to the cover of the shelter to the underpass at Chitila. It had threatened to rain for a couple of days, and rain it bloody did!
Despite the rain, it didn’t put too much of a dampener on things but there was a bit of late running. I still managed to cover both inbound evening GM turns though, which produced 65-1101 on R9108 1650 Targoviste – Bucuresti Nord and 65-0902 on R9028 1610 Pitesti – Bucuresti Nord. The evening revealed Sulzer 62-1149, dead inside 41-0905, on R9308 1635 Rosiori Nord – Bucuresti Nord, 60-1120 on R7037 1900 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni, 82-0443 on R7039 1950 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni and GM’s 63-1143 with R9107 1942 Bucuresti Nord – Targoviste and 64-1395 with R9027 2000 Bucuresti Nord – Pitesti. I was caught by surprise at Chitila at the end of the evening when Sulzer 60-0667 rolled in with R8124 1655 Slobozia Veche – Bucuresti Nord. I hadn’t even realised the train hadn’t gone when I got to Chitila and I’d been expecting it to be a Desiro anyway. I ended the evening on 41-0251, arriving into Bucuresti Nord on R3010 1625 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord, and headed back to the Comfort Suites via the Metro. Thankfully the rains had passed and it had brightened up a bit. It was a lot fresher than it had been but the pollen count hadn’t got any less as my eyes were itching and my nose was running quite nicely, even though I’d taken tablets and squirted nasal spray up a couple of times during the day!
We did food that night at the Restaurant Bellini, which is next door to the InFusion Bistro that we’d eaten at earlier. The pizzas we had were good, as was the service but they too thought it was a good idea to tell me that service wasn’t included in the bill. On the plus side, they did have Tiramisu; at fucking last! The withdrawal symptoms were starting to get to me. Despite a good meal I’d say the Bistro would get my vote for a return visit as the outer area had a nicer feel and the main difference between the two places was the cost, with Bellini trying to be more up market and its price tag reflecting it.
Thankfully my earplugs kept the road noise and pedestrian crossing beeping out of my ears when I put them in and sleep was soon upon me when I got into my single bed that night.
Gen for Thursday 1st June 2017
44-0124 IR15534 2145 (P) Arad – Bucuresti Nord
41-0008 R4504 0419 Toplita – Brasov (80-0598 ecs)
477268 IR1631 0700 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov (80-0022 ecs)
477247 EC473 1910 (P) Budapest Keleti – Bucuresti Nord
64-1395 R9437 1230 Bucuresti Nord – Targoviste
Desiro IR1095 1245 Bucuresti Nord – Ruse
Desiro IR1773 1300 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni
Desiro IR1784 1100 Pitesti – Bucuresti Nord
Malaxa IR15071 1518 Bucuresti Nord – Galati
41-0147 IR1582 1300 Constanta – Bucuresti Nord,
Desiro R9347 1523 Bucuresti Nord – Giurgiu
Desiro IR1895 1530 Bucuresti Nord – Craiova
40-0482 R5023 1553 Bucuresti Nord – Ploiesti Sud
41-0145 IR1693 1545 Bucuresti Nord – Timisoara Nord
461-058 IR1587 1600 Bucuresti Nord – Constanta
477538 IR1665 1610 Bucuresti Nord – Iasi
480001 IR1589 1700 Bucuresti Nord – Constanta
41-0148 R9003 1710 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Craiova
41-0170 IR1652 0845 Suceava Nord – Bucuresti Nord
65-1384 R9025 1553 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Pitesti
41-0403 R9305 1605 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Rosiori Nord
41-0823 R3007 1637 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
45-0321 IR1824 0715 Deva – Bucuresti Nord
41-0093 IR1835 1625 Bucuresti Nord – Cluj Napoca
Desirox2 IR1788 1400 Pitesti – Bucuresti Nord
41-0030 IR1633 1645 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
473004 IR1584 1400 Constanta – Bucuresti Nord
41-0053 R3006 1303 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
64-1395 R9106 1455 Targoviste – Bucuresti Nord Basarab, R9027 2000 Bucuresti Nord – Pitesti
60-1126 R8123 1640 Bucuresti Nord – Slobozia Veche
Desirox3 R2787 1630 Bucuresti Nord – Pitesti
66-1060 R9105 1650 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Targoviste
41-0121 R5008 1405 Buzau – Bucuresti Nord
477583 IR1634 1415 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
41-0717 IR10659 1700 Bucuresti Nord – Suceava
41-0892 R5007 1707 Bucuresti Nord – Buzau
425523 R14036 1355 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord, R14035 1808 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
40-0734 R5010 1510 Buzau – Bucuresti Nord
Desiro IR1775 1737 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni
45-0379 R3008 1447 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
65-1101 R9108 1650 Targoviste – Bucuresti Nord
477053 EN472 1745 Bucuresti Nord – Budapest Keleti
40-0896 IR1551 1752 Bucuresti Nord – Ploiesti Sud
477268 EN347 1939 (P) Wien Hbf – Bucuresti Nord (2 hours late)
477-821/477-247 IR1643 1800 Bucuresti Nord – Beclean Pe Somes
41-0438 R3009 1810 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Brasov
41-0806 402 1915 Bucuresti Nord – Chisinau
41-0617 R5025 1952 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Ploiesti Sud
44-0124 IR15533 1937 Bucuresti Nord – Arad
60-1120 R7037 1900 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni
41-0780 IR1553 1855 Bucuresti Nord – Ploiesti Sud
425517 R14038 1550 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
63-1143 R9107 1942 Bucuresti Nord – Targoviste
40-0905/(62-1149) R9306 1635 Rosiori Nord – Bucuresti Nord Basarab
65-0902 R9028 1610 Pitesti – Bucuresti Nord Basarab
40-0295 R5025 1952 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Ploiesti Sud
82-0443 R7039 1950 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni
60-0667 R8124 1655 Slobozia Veche – Bucuresti Nord
41-0251 R3010 1625 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
Photos for Thursday 1st June 2017
Friday 2nd June 2017 (A day in Bucharest)
Breakfast was interesting at the Comfort Suites and not for the food selection; that was a bit boring really. The breakfast room was down on the ground floor and was no bigger than the bedroom wed slept in overnight. Thus, there wasn’t much room to maneuver with the tables and chairs crammed in and there wasn’t much space for people to sit and eat either. We’d obviously picked the busy period to have ours and we left the room empty as we exited. It was ok for tea and toast but that was about it
A morning of roaming around Bucharest, which I have to say surprised me!
It was a very hot afternoon but the skies were crystal clear and there wasn’t a hint of a storm that afternoon. As I couldn’t be arsed to walk down from Gara A to Gara B to see what was in the platforms there I did a dud 65-1101 out of Gara A with R9103 1502 Bucuresti Nord – Targoviste to see what was in the platforms and/or carriage sidings as I passed by. The bonus being was that it dropped me straight into 41-0823/41-0617 coming back in with R5026 1423 Ploiesti Sud – Bucuresti Nord. What wasn’t a bonus was that I was none the wiser loco spotting wise, for my trip out and back and I had to walk down to Gara B anyway to find 64-1395 with R9025 1553 Bucuresti Nord B – Pitesti and 40-0209 with R9305 1605 Bucuresti Nord B – Rosiori Nord.
Having watched Sulzer 60-1126 back the stock into Gara A for R8123 1640 Bucuresti Nord – Slobozia Veche, I did 40-0209 out to Carpati on R9305 for it forward to Chitila and watched GM 65-1384 arrived shortly afterwards with R9105 1650 Bucuresti Nord B – Targoviste. After electric moves to Buftea and back to Chitila the afternoon kicked into life diesel wise and it turned out to be a decent evening for me with 3 GM’s and 3 Sulzer’s finishing off the trip nicely. The two inbound GM’s from Chitila both turned out to be new with 66-1133 dropping by with R9028 1651 Pitesti – Bucuresti Nord B and 63-1326 following close behind with R9108 1455 Targoviste – Bucuresti Nord. I wasn’t the only person to cross the main lines from Pajura to Bucuresti Triaj to do the latter into Bucuresti; and even the normals seem to understand that by doing so they not only get a second loco in but they get delivered to the blocks at Gara A instead of out on a limb at Gara B, some 8 minutes later!
I was struggling to find R7037 1900 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni but it was tucked behind the Astra set, R15533 1937 Bucuresti Nord – Arad with 43-0069 at its helm. I was well pleased with Sulzer 62-1196 on the load 2 set forming R7037 and quite pleased to see GM 65-0944 backing in as we departed, with the set for R9107 1942 Bucuresti Nord – Targoviste; which I waited in the nice evening sunshine at Carpati for. Not wanting to tempt fate, as I hadn’t seen anything in the carriage sidings for R7039 1950 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni, I was pleased I got off at Bucuresti Triaj for it when Sulzer 60-1038 appeared in the distance with it. I was of course expecting something orange to roll in with it. At Chitila the last move of the bash was well accepted when the final Sulzer of the day, 62-0891, rolled in with R8124 1655 Slobozia Veche – Bucuresti Nord.
A very successful evening out wasn’t reflected in my metro journey back to the hotel and I managed to just miss metros both times I got towards the platforms and the journey back took 30 minutes, 20 of which was waiting for trains on platforms! It would probably have been as quick to walk. Not wanting to mess about food that evening was at the InFusion Bistro and was good too. The staff still took it upon themselves to remind me that the bill didn’t have service charge included but I wouldn’t hold it against them. The service was good, the staff were friendly and the menu’s had plenty of choice and were in English.
As our flight home the following morning was at 0625 we were packed and ready by 2200 and enjoying a relaxing evening in the coolness of the main room in our apartment. The hot day had resulted in a stuffy evening and it was quite noisy in the street when we headed off to bed. Even my earplugs didn’t keep noise made by the boy-racing antics out of my ears.
Gen for Friday 2nd June 2017
65-1101 R9103 1502 Bucuresti Nord – Targoviste
Desiro IR1895 1530 Bucuresti Nord – Craiova
40-0734 R5026 1553 Bucuresti Nord – Ploiesti Sud
DMU IR15071 1518 Bucuresti Nord – Galati
477613 IR1582 1300 Constanta – Bucuresti Nord
Desirox2 IR1788 1400 Pitesti – Bucuresti Nord
41-0251 IR1693 1545 Bucuresti Nord – Timisoara Nord
477538 IR1587 1600 Bucuresti Nord – Constanta
461-058 IR1665 1610 Bucuresti Nord – Iasi
41-0823/41-0617 R5026 1423 Ploiesti Sud – Bucuresti Nord
64-1395 R9025 1553 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Pitesti
41-0209 R9305 1605 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Rosiori Nord
40-0482 R9003 1710 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Craiova
41-0093 IR1824 0715 Deva – Bucuresti Nord
65-1384 R9105 1650 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Targoviste
40-0666 IR1652 0845 Suceava Nord – Bucuresti Nord
41-0810 IR1835 1625 Bucuresti Nord – Cluj Napoca
40-0908 IR1633 1645 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
Desirox3 IR1787 1630 Bucuresti Nord – Pitesti
40-0589 R3006 1303 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
40-0295 R3007 1637 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
60-1126 R8123 1640 Bucuresti Nord – Slobozia Veche
40-0873 R5007 1707 Bucuresti Nord – Buzau
41-0717 IR10659 1700 Bucuresti Nord – Suceava
41-0892 R5008 1405 Buzau – Bucuresti Nord
477895 EN347 1939 (P) Wien Hbf – Bucuresti Nord
63-1143 R9106 1455 Targoviste – Bucuresti Nord Basarab
477888 IR1589 1700 Bucuresti Nord – Constanta
425517 R14036 1355 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord, R14035 1808 Bucuresti Nord – Brasov
41-0147 R5010 1510 Buzau – Bucuresti Nord
Desiro IR1775 1737 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni
41-0004 R3008 1447 Brasov – Bucuresti Nord
63-1326 R9108 1650 Targoviste – Bucuresti Nord
477703 EN472 1745 Bucuresti Nord – Budapest Keleti
41-0896 IR1551 1752 Bucuresti Nord – Ploiesti Sud
477895/40-0639 IR1643 1800 Bucuresti Nord – Beclean Pe Somes
66-1133 R9028 1651 Pitesti – Bucuresti Nord Basarab
41-0823/(60-0733) R9306 1635 Rosiori Nord – Bucuresti Nord Basarab
41-xxxx R3009 1810 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Brasov
41-0892 IR1555 1922 Bucuresti Nord – Ploiesti Sud
41-0617 R5025 1952 Bucuresti Nord Basarab – Ploiesti Sud
43-0069 IR15533 1937 Bucuresti Nord – Arad
62-1196 R7037 1900 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni
41-0304 IR1553 1855 Bucuresti Nord – Ploiesti Sud
41-0876 IR1576 1430 Galati – Bucuresti Nord
65-0944 R9107 1942 Bucuresti Nord – Targoviste
60-1038 R7039 1950 Bucuresti Nord – Urziceni
62-0891 R8123 1655 Slobozia Veche – Bucuresti Nord
Photos for Friday 2nd June 2017
Saturday 3rd June 2017 (Home to Doncaster)
We had an 0330-alarm call and were down in the hotel reception by 0400. The staff ordered us a taxi while our room was checked and it was sat waiting by the time I’d had my receipt printed. Beware that all rooms have an inventory on each wall, listing the rooms contents, so you won’t get away with stealing anything; even the 1 x carpet!
The taxi was on the meter and cost just under 30 Lei for the 15-minute journey down the empty main roads of Bucharest. I had to pay by cash as the driver didn’t have a card-reader; which I thought was standard in taxis the world over nowadays? Once airside at Bucharest Airport there isn’t much in the way of food and it was quite busy. The food on offer is limited to sarnies and pastries but be sure to find the cheapest place for whatever you want as prices differ by a couple of Lei for even pastries.
Boarding the plane was prompt enough and those with Priority Boarding had their own place cordoned off at the front of the bus and once priority had finished the bus driver closed the doors and directed everyone else to the back of the bus. After holding on the runway for a while the priority section of the bus was allowed to decant and board the plane first, before the other doors were opened. I had been wondering how priority boarding would work when I figured it was buses onto the tarmac; and now I know of course.
I don’t remember much about the flight home, other than the fact I had to pay for a cup of tea and yet Danielle managed to get a cup of hot water for free and had her own cup of tea! One to remember that. For those that may decide to order duty free before they head out and collect it after they get back, the collection point is the small desk after you walk out of the baggage hall. This isn’t advertised at all and the security girl sat at the desk initially looked a little confused!
Our lift home had been waiting in the lay-by down the road and they were just coming into the car park by the time we walked over. Of note is the fact that inside Doncaster Airport’s terminal there is next to no phone reception so I recommend ringing when you’re still on the tarmac, before you get into it, if you have someone waiting! We were back home by 0830, having landed 20 minutes early into Doncaster at 0740! It was going to be a very long day for us with the time difference. It had been a very enjoyable short trip away too and I would like to go back to Romania, on a normal trip, again in the future.