Slovakia July 2014
This is an extract from a multi-country report to read the full report use the following link:
A trip that started out a lot more simplistic than it actually ended up but did have two purposes, the main one being to have a day doing the BLS “brownies” on the car trains at Kandersteg, with a bike, and the second one being to cover the weekend Summer diesel turns at Prague, which had been dropping 749’s vice 754’s every weekend since the timetable change. While I was bumming around Europe I decided that doing Luxembourg, Holland and Strasbourg in France all seemed like a good idea at the planning stages; in essence only one of those three went anywhere near as planned and to be honest Strasbourg was a complete disaster and I nearly got fined by the police in Holland for ducking under a level crossing barrier; that was going up!
The trip was in two parts, the first bit being solid cranking and the second bit being a relaxing week, with a bit of cranking, drifting from Zurich to Budapest via Prague & Bratislava with my girlfriend and a cracking week it was too; with weather that couldn’t have been better but was verging on too hot.
Booked direct through Norwegian Airlines
DY2497 1535 Budapest 2B – Gatwick – £78.80 each
Bratislava – Mecrure Bratislava Centrum, Zabotova Street 2, Stare Mesto, Bratislava 81104 – €74.50 for a double room for 1 night – just at the bottom of the main station’s approach road on the left; only a few minutes from the front door and about 15 minutes away from Bratislava Old Town. The room was massive and very quiet as well as clean. All the mod-cons were provided and overall it was a great room. Breakfast at the Mercure is extra on top of the room rate and we didn’t bother as we were departing early.
Eurostar 9022 1131 St Pancras – Paris £73 booked online at Eurostar
Thello Train 221 1959 Paris – Milan (4 berth couchette) €77 booked online at Thello
Inter Rail Global Pass 15 Days – £369 booked through EU Rail
Reservations booked through Deutsche Bahn UK (all reservation only with Inter Rail Pass)
CNL40478 Basel – Koln €42.50 (4 berth couchette)
CNL40478 Basel – Arnhem €65 (3 berth sleeper)
CNL40419 Amsterdam – Basel €65 (3 berth sleeper)
CNL459 Zurich – Prague €180 (for two) (2 berth sleeper)
Switzerland BLS Car Train
0919 Iselle di Trasquera – Kandersteg CHF91 – booked through BLS online
Monday 28th July 2014 (The rains had arrived)
We made sure we were down for breakfast early and checked out with enough time to be on the platform at Praha HN before the stock was in to form EC275 0739 Praha HN – Budapest Keleti. When it did drop into the station, with ZSSK 350001, there was a bit of a scramble but we were ahead of the crowd when it came to boarding with minimal luggage and Danielle spotted two unreserved seats straight away and that was us for the 4 hour journey. Unfortunately we did suffer a little bit with a family sat around us that had two young boys who just wouldn’t sit still, or shut up, for virtually the whole journey; hoorah for IPods!
Arrival into Bratislava HS was almost to time and nothing short of s scrum to get off the train and then off the narrow platform that is platform 1. Once out though we found our Hotel Mercure at the bottom of the station approach road, just off to the left at the opposite side of the now disused tram lines that once ran up to the station; the turning circle for which looks like it had been left as was as if the world had ended some years previous, just desolate and with vegetation growing out of the concrete all around.
Having checked into our third hotel in a row before 12 midday we were quite pleased at the size of the room and the facilities it offered. Every we needed was provided including the AC and the bathroom and toilet were separate. The staff spoke good English and were helpful; providing us with maps and directions to the nearby old town. Breakfast wasn’t included in the room rate and we didn’t pay the extra for it due to our early departure the following morning.
While my girlfriend relaxed in the afternoon I went out for a couple of hours to do a bit of spinning about, locally around Bratislava. Without having much of a clue what was what I managed to pinpoint a couple of 240 turns to cover; just to get some old engines in and yet in the end they were scattered about all over the place on all sorts of trains, vice other classes. The first train I came across, Os3024 1716 Bratislava HS – Malacky, was 240013 so I was pleased with the initial start and thanks to a bit of late running 381002, returning on the 1638 Kuty – Bratislava HS, made a minus back at Hlavna Stanica onto R741 1741 Bratislava HS – Leopoldov with 263004; which I did out to Bratislava Vinorhady. It was here I thought things were going to take a turn for the worst when I clapped eyes on the departure screen to find trains 30 & 45 late going back into Bratislava HS.
The late running actually did me a massive favour and it was almost non-stop up and down to Vinorhady for about 90 minutes before a final move out to Bratislava Lamac and back on Kuty services; the last 5 consecutive moves being 240’s, 134, 022, 051, 122 & 030 respectively. The evening had gone way better than I could have planned on paper and I returned to the hotel very pleased with my smash and grab bash.
Unfortunately the rain didn’t seem to want to disappear for the evening and it ultimately resulted in us not walking too far that evening for food and no sooner had we walked into the Old Town did we settle on eating at a place called Primi Italian; where the food was as good as we’d had earlier in the day if not a little pricier.
Unfortunately, again, the rain put pay to any ideas we may have had of walking round the old town after dark and we headed straight back to the hotel and even though we’d only been in Bratislava for 9 hours we’d had a great day. It was a day we hadn’t originally planned as we’d been going to go direct from Prague to Budapest overnight originally but it was worth making the change for.
|350001||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Kuty||0739 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Budapest Keleti||EC275||ZSSK 350|
|350001||Kuty||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||0739 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Budapest Keleti||EC275||ZSSK 350|
|240013||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Zelezna-Studienka||1556 Leopoldov – Malaky||Os3024||ZSSK 240|
|381002||Bratislava Zelezna-Studienka||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1638 Kuty – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os2031||ZSSK 381|
|263004||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1741 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Leopoldov||R739||ZSSK 263|
|263012||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1622 Nove Zamky – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os4632||ZSSK 263|
|363145||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1755 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Poprad-Tatry||R613||ZSSK 363|
|362001||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1208 Kosice – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||R608||ZSSK 362|
|363137||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1841 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Nove Mesto nad Vahom||R741||ZSSK 363|
|240134||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1722 Nove Zamky – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os4634||ZSSK 240|
|240022||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1900 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Leopoldov||Os3031||ZSSK 240|
|240051||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1502 Zvolen O.S. – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||R834||ZSSK 240|
|240122||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Lamec||1916 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Kuty||Os2030||ZSSK 240|
|240030||Bratislava Lamec||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1838 Kuty – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os2035||ZSSK 240|
Gen for Monday 28th July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
240129 R837 1801 Bratislava HS – Banska Bystrica
263012 Os4629 1807 Bratislava HS – Nove Zamky
362011 EC131 0947 Warsaw – Budapest
381002 Os3029 1800 Bratislava HS – Leopoldov