Slovenia August 2014
This is an extract from a multi-country report to read the full report use the following link:
Multi Trip Switzerland – Slovenia – Croatia – Hungary – Germany August 2014
This trip was a week specifically to do Slovenia & Hungary:
Having been bowled for doing Slovenia earlier in the year when the storms hit and damaged the wires, which resulted in the Citadella not running, the opportunity to go arose and with even more on offer than usual it would have been rude not to take it while it was there. A nice move fell into place, which involved overnights into Slovenia from Germany, after flying into Switzerland, and out of Slovenia to Hungary, and from there to Berlin where I flew home from. With all the strange things happening in Hungary over the summer timetable it seemed like a safe bet to do something different and there was still plenty on offer and having kept an eye on things leading up to the trip I was even changing my plans/hotels only a few days before heading out.
Booked through British Airways
BA8763 0700 LondonCity – Zurich £78.69
BA0985 1710 Berlin Tegel – Heathrow £43.69
Ljubljana – Hotel Center, Slovenska Cesta 51, Ljubljana 1000 (£112 for a single room for 2 nights) – A 5-10 minute walk from the station it had a large room with one double bed, with no AC but there was a fan, which did the trick overnight. Breakfast wasn’t included and costs 4.50 Euro’s. The hotel reception closes from midnight to 0730 and the hotel only take cash as payment, no cards are accepted. The girl ln the front desk when I arrived was very helpful and had been willing to wait until after midnight to let me in if my train had been late into Ljubljana.
Booked through EU Rail
5 in 10 Day Global Inter Rail – £234
3 Day Slovenia One Country Inter Rail – £68
Reservations booked thorough Deutsche Bahn UK
EN499 2340 Munich HB – Ljubljana – €33 for a single bed in a two berth sleeper
IC1604 2128 Pivka – Zalaegerszeg – €30 for a single bed in a two berth sleeper
EN476 2005 Budapest Keleti – Berlin HB – €39 for a single bed in a two berth cabin
Wednesday 13h August 2014 (From Voralpen roulette to Borovnica drag roulette)
The loco changes in the night would keep me awake far more than I wanted to be that night and when I went to the toilet at about 0130 that killed one bird when I spotted 1116199 through the front doors. This had been the second time I’d done EN499 and the second time it had been an SBB loco out of Munich, which had gone through from Salzburg.
When my alarm woke me at 0320 I was completely away with the fairies. Thankfully the guy in the bottom berth was already awake and sat up in his berth; I hadn’t heard a peep from him sine going to bed! As I’d already spotted the 1116 on the front though I decided there was no need to get out of bed t Villach to view the SZ541 going on as I’d see it at Jesenice when I checked what the 2016 was that had dragged us from Klagenfurt; so I dozed for a bit. Upon arrival into Villach we were immediately shunted to a different platform, splitting from the Venice portion, I can only assume by 1116199 as there wasn’t really enough time to have shunted it off and shunted another engine on.
As we skirted Jesenice I could see two locos at the head of the train as we rounded corners but I wasn’t expecting to find SBB’s 2016045/044 in multi, with no SZ541 on the train; the latter being shunted on as soon as the 2016’s had come off, 541002. At that point the only assumption I could make was that 1116199 had worked to Klagenfurt and the 2016’s had gone on there as booked and if there had been a different engine involved from Villach to Klagenfurt I certainly wasn’t ever going to find out!
Up again at Ljubljana, I was spotting what shunted us across from EN499 to MV481 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka. It was 481’s train engine 342025, train 481 having to wait for EN499 for that very shunt move to take place so it can’t miss. The shunt was done very quickly and the brake test on 481 even quicker and we were away from Ljubljana at 0715, only 40 late on 481’s booked times.
Rather than go back to my cabin and potentially disturb bert again I hung around at the front of the train for the 20 minute run to Borovnica to spot what would drag us to Prestranek; the whole point of the trip to Slovenia was to cover the Borovnica drags anyway. Upon arrival the doors were opened and a quick glance into the distance soon had my eyes cast of the green hulk of a 664 that was backing down onto our train, it turned out to be 664111; my first 664 ever and I have to say, for GM’s, it wasn’t a bad loco. It was loud, I’ll give it that, and definitely better than the alternative traction on offer in the area! I spent about 20 minutes bellowing from the 3rd coach, which was where the first opening windows were once our sleeper coaches had been shunted onto the train, and then went back to bed; where I could hear the noise from 664111 coming into the compartment through the air-con vents!
I did manage more sleep thankfully even though bert was up when I got back from bellowing. Passport grips put pay to much more rest after the Slovenian one at Ilirska Bistrica and then the Croatian one at Sapjane. During the latter SZ 342025 was replaced by HZ 1141303 for the run into Rijeka. Upon arrival I was pondering the photo when I noticed a couple of guys high-tail straight across the tracks in front of the loco so I followed suit; the pair turned out to be cranks from Ireland and I had the pleasure of their company back to Borovnica where I was treated to some firsthand education on the Koper line, the drags, restaurants, rail replacement buses and much more and by the time I’d left the guys to it I couldn’t be any more genned up if I’d done three days on the bash and tried to figure things out myself.
I used the first bit of gen the Irish pair had given me to get myself into town in Rijeka, where I decided on a McDonalds breakfast, more to abuse the WiFi and ring my girlfriend using the very handy BT Smart Talk app. Objectives achieved I was sat on the stock an hour before the booked 1155 departure time of MV482 to Ljubljana, which 1141303 was shunted onto about 30 minutes before departure and at the same time 1141380 was shunted from the same siding onto the stock for 4602 1203 Rijeka – Ogulin leaving 1141310 in the siding on its own.
The run back towards Ljubljana was a good one and we weren’t really late at all other than once the drag loco went on. It was interesting to watch the loco change at Sapjane as SZ’s 342025 shunted HZ’s 1141303 off the train then hump shunted it back through the station to get it back to the right side of the voltage change point, marked by a yellow electricity stanchion in the middle of the station area. Once clear of the yellow stanchion the pantograph was up and normal service resumed.
While the passport grips on the return weren’t anything serious the grips on the train were with the gripper checking that I’d filled out my global Inter Rail pass correctly with all the relevant train details and my personal details. If his desperation wasn’t enough there was a second grip later on with a couple of inspectors. There wasn’t much of an issue with my Inter Rail but as the two Irish guys were on staff passes their tickets were scrutinized a little more than they really needed to be, the guard telling them afterwards that it was because they’d used the one box on two consecutive days and the inspectors were making sure it was a valid thing to do.
The moment of truth came as we piled into Prestranek Yard to find a line of three locos beside us, 2016903 heading it with 645003 and 664111 behind it. Thankfully though our loco was already in the shunt position and was backing down before I’d realised what was going on; 664108 in all its glory and for a downhill run the driver absolutely caned it to try and pull back the lost minutes. It sounded a lot better than 664111 and delivered us to Borovnica some 15 late, where I got off not wanting to risk any fiascos going into Ljubljana and miss MV482 coming out at 1510 as a result. The Irish guys continued into Ljubljana as they were heading to Zurich that night and as there didn’t seem to be anything enticing immediately evident on the station area for MV482 they called it a day.
An OBB 2016 was first up for going back north at Borovnica but was thankfully shunted onto a freight not long after we arrived, as was the 664 that was next up; the 664 leaving first in the end and the 2016 not leaving until after MV482 had.
Borovnca wasn’t all go but it was busy. 664108 was the only engine in the shunt line after MV482 had departed and it was followed closely behind by 2016903 which arrived with a southbound freight about 20 minutes behind MV482; it was replaced by 363027 from the line in the station, leaving 363016, 002 and another to be used when required.
Luckily there weren’t any other freight trains thrown into the mix during my short fester at Borovnica and 664108 was duly attached to the front of MV483 when 342022 arrived with it and gave a spirited run up the hill. Unfortunately rain stopped play on the bellowing front for a while so it wasn’t the best bellowing session at all and I’d decided to get off at Rakek too so not as long as it could have been.
The Pizzerija Furman, right by the level crossing at the Koper end of the station, had been brought to my attention by the two Irish guys and I’d decided to give it a go and with the weather being hit and miss it didn’t really matter where I spent the afternoon festering really. The guy serving spoke English, the menu was in English, the food was piping hot and there was plenty of it as well. What more could you want, food, beer and trains only meters away.
I only saw 4 freights in my time at Rakek, which was until the 1749 bus for Sezana departed about 10 late at 1800ish. Three of the trains were 2016’s (083, 085 & 903) and the other 664110, unfortunately heading south and down the hill.
I’d heard from the Irish guys that the SZ rail replacement buses had been seen as much as 15 minutes early and had decided to make sure I was at the statin front for the 1842 departure to Divaca with plenty of time to spare. I ended up on the 1749 departure towards Divaca instead, which was about 10 minutes late with only half a dozen folk on board. The 45 minutes on board the bus went in no time and I was deposited at Divaca to find the station a building site with 664105 on shed and 363001 shut down in one of the platforms. From what I can make out the old platforms have been completely dismissed and new ones are in the process of being built, along with a new underpass and other general improvements to the statin area; the station buildings being untouched.
With 2 hours to kill I used the time to get a bit of shopping from a supermarket and then have a beer at the Orient Express restaurant before thankfully timing it right to get back to the station before the heavens opened and a very noisy thunder storm passed overhead; giving quite a lightening show as it did.
There were quite a few freights on/off the Koper line, most being pairs of SZ Cargo 541’s but one was 2016921 on its own. Although it was only a little late I was directed from the confines of the station canopy, where I’d been keeping dry, towards the correct platform by the station master. I was the only person that boarded RG1604 2017 Koper – Maribor when it arrived with 363021.
Bowled by 645003 at Prestranek I actually breathed a sigh of relief as the next engine in line, for probably MV480 approx 50 minutes behind, was SBB 2016084 and behind that, the only other loco in line, 664108. So with no chance of a winning 664 I headed straight into Ljubljana and got a shift on getting to the HotelCenter when we got there. I didn’t arrive until 2315 as it was and the hotel reception closed at midnight. They were aware I was coming off MV480 arriving at 2330, which was bit tight anyway, but you never know with these places. Still the girl at the reception desk had been the one who’d replied to my mail earlier in the day and confirmed she would have waited for me even if my train had been late.
The hotel is only about 7 minutes from Ljubljana station, the room I was showed to was large and with two single beds (pushed together to make a double but with separate quilts), there wasn’t any air-con but a fan was provided. Free WiFi was included but breakfast wasn’t; the latter coming at a cost of Euro4.50 per day if you want it. Bills at the hotel are also settled in cash with no cards accepted at all and the bill is asked for up front on arrival! Luckily I had enough money to pay for the first night so would settle up the following night.
There wasn’t much messing about when I got to the room, clean clothes out, small bag packed for the following, derance kit out for the stupid o’clock morning shower and alarm set for 0525!
|2016045||Klagenfurt||Jesenice||2340 (12/08) Munich HB – Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor||EN499||OBB 2016’s 2016045/044 in multi|
|541002||Jesenice||Ljubljana||2340 (12/08) Munich HB – Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor||EN499||SZ 541|
|342025||Ljubljana||Borovnica||0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka||MV481||SZ 342, 342025 train engine in SZ, dragged Borovnica – Prestranek by SZ 664, 664111, for 342025 to Sapjane and HZ 1141, 1141303 forward in HZ|
|1141303||Rijeka||Sapjane||1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana||MV482||HZ 1141, 1141303 in HZ, SZ 342, 342025 train engine in SZ, dragged Prestranek – Borovnica by SZ 664, 664108|
|664108||Borovnica||Rakek||1505 Ljubljana – Rijeka||MV483||SZ 664 dragging SZ 342022 dit|
|Bus||Rakek||Divaca||1653 Ljubljana – Sezana||2610||Rail replacement service|
|363021||Divaca||Prestranek||2017 Koper – Maribor||R1604||SZ 363, 363021 train engine, dragged Prestranek – Borovnica by LTE Logistik hired 2016, 2016903|
Gen for Wednesday 13th August
1604 0340 Maribor – Koper – 363021 train engine, 2016903 Borovnica – Prestranek
481 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka (2h30m late) – 342025 train engine in Slovenia, 664111 Borovnica – Prestranek, 1141303 train engine in Croatia
482 1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana (25 late start due late inward) – 1141303 train engine in Croatia, 664108 Prestranek – Borovnica, 342025 train engine in Slovenia
483 1510 Ljubljana – Rijeka – 342022 train engine, 664108 Borovnica – Prestranek
1605 2017 Koper – Maribor – 363021 train engine, 2016903 Prestranek – Borovnica
480 2040 Rijeka – Ljubljana – Not viewed
Borovnica drag engines – 664104, 108, 110 & 111 2016083, 084, 085 & 903, 645003
Thursday 14th August 2014
The early start wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it might be with 5 and a half hours solid doss doing the trick. I let myself out of the hotel, with reception not opening until 0730, and was on the platform at Ljubljana by 0600 having stopped for croissants on the way.
342022 was sat on the stock for 481 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka, obviously having round on arrival the previous night off 480. There wasn’t much else going on at all and as EN499 Munich – Zagreb was being diverted in Austria all week it was nowhere to be seen when 363021 left Ljubljana with 1605 0340 Maribor – Koper; running a few minutes late.
The front coach was almost empty on departure as most folk occupying it got off at Ljubljana, including some idiot who tried to rush past me as I boarded. The result of that being a cracking coffee stain down the clean t-shirt that I’d had on for less than half an hour and would have to wear for the next 18 hours! I looked like a right tramp once it had dried; thankfully the crap weather saved me looking like a vagrant all day and the stain was covered up by my jacket.
The moment of truth at Borovnica came around quickly and in the station area were 664108 being fuelled and 645003 which was next up in the line; a line of one that at the time! In the distance I could see the correct headlight orientation on the loco waiting to back down and 664118 revealed itself moments later. A good start to the day it was; although it was about to take a turn for the worst.
After a good run up the hill I got off at Postojna to wait for 481 behind. I wasn’t even quick enough to get a photo of 664118 before it departed; the station stop being literally 30 seconds so it was a good job I was prepared and at the door ready to get off.
The departure screens at Postonja showed 481 as being 30 late on one side and 80 late on the opposite side of the display. It was to be expected with the diversion and I was thine lower figure was the correct one; however this started to creep up gradually to 45 initially, then 80, then 100 and then the train ultimately disappeared off the screen completely! It was tipping with rain, quite cold and I was stood in the middle of nowhere with shorts and a t-shirt with not really anything else to do other than fester. It wasn’t as though I could even take photos as the cloud cover was keeping it quite dark! Still having watched 664110 head towards Borovnica and then 645003 head through Postonja northbound, shortly after I’d got there, the prospects were looking good for a 664 on 481; assuming there weren’t enough freights to take up the hill before 2016084 came into play…..
It had been relatively warm in Ljubljana when I left but I was so glad of the fact I’d chosen to put my jacket in my bag before I left the hotel and within 30 minutes of being at Postojna I was attaching the bottom bits of my trousers and zipping the jacket right up; not that it made that much difference as I was still cold! I didn’t appear to be the only person waiting for the train to Rijeka and the couple who were just kept looking at the screen in disbelief every time the delay got bigger.
While festering around I was treated to a right load of rubbish to spot on freights; after 664110 had gone through southbound it was wall to wall silence with 645003 and 2016084 heading north and 2016903, 2016085 and 2016083 heading south. At least 2016084 had been taken out of the equation at Borovnica and probably thankfully due to 481 being late and 664108 being fuelled.
481 ultimately turned up 2h33m late; I could hear it coming in the distance so knew it was a 664. Unfortunately for me 664108 turned up, obviously having finished being fuelled before 664110 got in on the game. Still the short run to Prestranek was good and out of the 664’s I’d had up to this point ‘108 seemed to be the better of the bunch.
Once 664108 was detached at Prestranek, and 342022 took over proceedings, I pretty much sank into a corner and tried to get some sleep all the way to Rijeka. The double passport grip at Ilirska Bastrica & Sapjane not helping the cause so much. I we just coming round as we approached Rijeka, the docks being the giveaway sign that we were there, where we arrived at 1150, 2h30m late and only 5 minutes before 482 was due to depart heading back to Ljubljana. I discovered HZ 1141303 on the front after arrival; which duly worked back to Sapjane on 482.
With any chance of getting breakfast being well and truly in the bin I made a bee line straight for the booking office to get a Sapjane – Rijeka return for the following day; this saved any form of riot when being gripped in Croatia as I was only on a one country inter rail while in Slovenia. I’d got one the day before for this trip and it cost Kn 37.20; the return being valid for 4 days.
Luckily there was still room in the front coach when I got back onto the platform and again I skulked into a corner and attempted a bit more doss on the back into Slovenia. It was very strange that the sun was shining in Rijeka and even still shining just north of Pivka but once it was required to be, where all the action was, there was a wall of coldness and cloud stopping play!
A strange sight greeted us at Prestranek, the yard was completely devoid of any freight at all, going in either direction. 2016085 was stabled in the yard, at the Postojna end, and the line waiting their next southbound workings was as follows: 664110, 2016903, 664104 and they were joined by 664105, which arrived on a freight just before we departed. That was a whole line of new 664s and it seemed 664108 was going to be the one that followed me about as it dropped onto the front of 482 while I was spotting engines. It also seemed it was dead set on preventing me from having 664110, which had been immediately in line twice already on this day.
After a good run down the hill 342022 pottered off to Ljubljana about 25 late; this due to the obvious late start from Rijeka after the late inward arrival. The fester wasn’t long and it soon became apparent that I wasn’t going to be in luck for 483 back up the hill as 664118, first up, was started just as we arrived and shunted onto the waiting freight. This left 2016084 on its own in the line and 645003 stabled as though it had just been fuelled, but without a crew.
Shortly before 483 arrived so did 2016085 with a freight. The crew from which got off and straight into 645003; it was started up as 483 arrived, shunted out and straight onto the train. This actually kept the loco sequence I’d written down in order for the day and a fresh crew came out of the mess room to get on 2016085 which then departed towards Ljubljana with the train it had brought in.
645003 silently delivered me to Rakek, where I decided to do lunch again; the weather still being crap and I was starving after missing breakfast at Rijeka. There wasn’t anywhere near as much through Rakek as during the same period the previous day, I only saw 2016084 head north and 664105 hammer through going south while I was waiting for the bus to Divaca.
While waiting for the bus I got talking to an English girl who’d been waiting for over an hour for a bus towards Ljubljana, she’d ridden over 100km to Rakek and had expected there to be trains to get her back towards Ljubljana. She was very concerned that the bus driver wouldn’t take her bike and with it being poor weather and getting darker she was concerned about the roads. The prospect of a 100km ride in the rain and while it was dark wouldn’t be tempting me too much either. The relief on her face when a bus pulled into the car park was soon wiped away when it turned out to be my bus to Divaca, about 15 minutes late; the same as the previous day. Her bus should have gone 25 minutes before mine turned up, bless her. I didn’t pass any Ljubljana bound buses en-route to Divaca, I was wondering if they were all messed up due to whatever fiasco had occurred on the motorway, which I’d spotted from the train heading towards Borovnica earlier. Whatever it was there were emergency services involved and the Ljubljana bound carriageway was completely closed!
As the skies were clearing at Divaca I managed to get a photo of 363001 in glorious sunshine, which was stabled in exactly the same place as it had been the previous day. I heard a freight approaching in the distance too and did a bit of trespassing to get a decent photo of 541013 as it headed through towards Koper with a container train. Then it was off to the Orient Express for a beer to pass the time before waiting patiently back at the station for 363021 to arrive from Koper with 1604.
1604 wasn’t as empty as the previous night but it wasn’t full and there was space in compo’s in the front coach. My anticipation at Prestranek was short lived as the incorrect lighting arrangement approached the front of the train, the headlights from 363021 revealing the blue of 2016903. The good news was that I couldn’t seem to fail if I got off at Postojna as in the line were 664110 and 664103 and stabled in the yard, at the Postojna end, was 664105. The only other engine there turned out to be 664118, which was waiting to depart when we arrived. The three in line were all new so if I got off for 480 at Postojna I surely couldn’t fail?
We had a delayed departure from Prestranek due to smoke coming from one of the electrical cubicles underneath the bike coach, right behind the engines. The drivers from 645003 and 664105 seemed to sort it out before departure and we were away about 15 late; the crew on 664118 in the yard clearly getting impatient while waiting as they kept blowing the horn as if to ask to go first while the crews dealt with our problem. It was right on our tail at Postojna, where thankfully I only had a 35 minute fester, as opposed to the 3 hours I’d been treated to that morning.
What did concern me a little was the fact that 664105 came hammering through about 10 minutes behind 664118 and at about departure time for 480, 664110 came bounding into platform 3 and was stopped at the end. Literally moments later 664103 came rolling in with 480 about 60 seconds behind so whether there’d been some wrong direction running from Prestranek I don’t know but it went into platform 4 vice 3. It just shows though that you never know what might happen with the freights as when I departed Prestranek 35 minutes earlier there were no other freights there and here I was with the 3rd in line loco on 480 only 35 minutes later. 2016085 would have been next in line after that having gone towards Prestranek shortly after I’d got off 1604 at Postojna.
Pleased with the days bash I was looking forward to getting back to the hotel and was wary that I had to go via a bank to get some money and pay for my second night’s stay. Any hopes of being there before reception closed at midnight went out of the window at Borovnica after we sat outside the statin for 10 minutes. It became evident why when we rolled in when I spotted a shunter at the points. When we got into the station a shunter came out to take 664103 off but was accosted by the station master, who took him down to the points at the Ljubljana end of the station with him. 10 minutes later we set off with 664103 still attached and working the train through to Ljubljana; I can only assume this was to prevent further delay to the train as the portion at the rear had to be shunted onto EN498 Zagreb – Munich at Ljubljana and 541019 was waiting to do the honours when we arrived at 0005, 35 late!
I did stop at a bank on my way back to the hotel but the reception was well and truly closed when I got there. I was half expecting to find a note in the room, or an envelope of some sort to leave the money in, but there was nothing and I was buggered if I was leaving 70 Euro’s lying about for just anyone to pick up; especially without any form of receipt, so that was something to sort on another day; or actually later on, on this day as it was. All I was concerned with was getting my shit together, ready for the next morning, and getting into bed.
|363021||Ljubljana||Borovnica||0340 Maribor – Koper||R1605||SZ 363, 363021 train engine, dragged from Borovnica by SZ 664, 664118|
|664108||Postojna||Prestranek||0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka||MV481||SZ 342, 342022 train engine in SZ, dragged to Prestranek by SZ 664, 664108, HZ 1141, 1141303 train engine in HZ|
|1141303||Rijeka||Sapjane||1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana||MV482||HZ 1141, 1141303 in HZ, SZ 342, 342022 train engine in SZ, dragged Prestranek – Borovnica by SZ 664, 664108|
|223003||Borovnica||Rakek||1505 Ljubljana – Rijeka||MV483||Hired MRCE Dispolok ER20-003, 223003 (numbered 645003 by SZ), dragging SZ 342, 342005 dit|
|Bus||Rakek||Divaca||1653 Ljubljana – Sezana||2610||Rail replacement service|
|363021||Divaca||Prestranek||2017 Koper – Maribor||R1604||SZ 363, 363021 train engine, dragged from Borovnica by LTE Logistik hired 2016903|
|664103||Postojna||Ljubljana||2040 Rijeka – Ljubljana||MV480||SZ 664 dragging SZ 342005 dit throughout|
Gen for Thursday 14th August 2014
1604 0340 Maribor – Koper – 363021 train engine, 664118 Borovnica – Prestranek
481 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka (2h30m late) – 342022 train engine in Slovenia, 664108 Borovnica – Prestranek, 1141303 train engine in Croatia
482 1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana (25 late start due late inward) – 1141303 train engine in Croatia, 664108 Prestranek – Borovnica, 342022 train engine in Slovenia
483 1510 Ljubljana – Rijeka – 342005 train engine, 645003 Borovnica – Prestranek
1605 2017 Koper – Maribor – 363021 train engine, 2016903 Prestranek – Borovnica
480 2040 Rijeka – Ljubljana – 342022 train engine, 664103 Prestranek – Ljubljana (went through to save time due to points issues at Borovnica)
Borovnica drag engines – 664103, 104, 105, 108, 110 & 118, 2016083, 084, 085 & 903, 645003
Friday 15th August 2014 (A day of dilemmas; and a Bank Holiday in Slovenia)
At 0545 my first dilemma of the day came along, in fact it was really two rolled into one; what to do about paying for the hotel and where to leave the keys, which I needed to get out of the door with. From inside the hotel there was no access out of hours at all to the reception and no way of posting the keys through a letter box or anything like that and outside was the same. In the end, while holding the door open with my foot as it closed on a catch, I left the keys on the floor outside the door that led to reception. No money was left at all and the hotel would have to contact me if they needed to get it; leaving 70 Euros just lying around wasn’t the done thing so we’d see how that one went.
On the way to the station dilemma number two came my way when I couldn’t find anywhere open to grab some breakfast; luckily there was one place right over the road from the station but could I hell as like find anywhere open to sell me a coffee.
By 0634 dilemma number three was thrown at me; my brain could hardly cope with all the dilemmas after not much doss; continually! Still this one was brought about by the fact that 1605 0340 Maribor – Koper was 30 late and as a result wouldn’t arrive until after the booked departure time of 481 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka. Ironically this morning was the first that EN499 hadn’t been diverted coming into Slovenia, which was delivered to Ljubljana on time by 541019, and 481 would have been bang on time for a change but after a bit of platform toing and froing some guy confirmed that 1605 would depart first, as it rolled into the platform at 0640 with 363021 for a change. I’d been joined that morning by another crank, who I found asking the guard on 481 exactly the same question I’d asked him 2 minutes previous; which train would depart first, Koper or Rijeka. Kieran was his name and he was only in the country for the day and was doing the return Koper through to Hungary that night, just like I was.
Once we’d managed to count the 11 coaches on 1605 correctly we got into an empty compartment at the front of the train and hoped for the best at Borovnica. The weather in Ljubljana, for the second day running, was absolutely dismal and it was pouring with rain. Still, through the rain at a desolate Borovnica we could see the correct headlight formation on the 664 that was about to back down onto 1605 and other than that the cupboard was bare on the green front with 645003 next up and odds on to do 481, which would be immediately behind, and 2016903 was behind that.
664105 was efficiently attached, by a shunter with an umbrella, and the climb began with the biggest load of the three days while I’d been there. The rain wasn’t helping bellowing matters but the windows were open all the way. The 664 certainly struggled a bit more than with the lighter loads but it didn’t make too much of a meal of things, even with the rain. There was no slipping at all.
Even though I knew what was coming behind I got off at Postojna while Kieran went through to Pivka to do buses to get 644020 in on the Autovlak. I only had to wait 10 minutes for 481, which was 645003 with 342005 dead inside, not 3 hours as I had done the previous day; the weather was pretty much the same though yet strangely, again just like the previous day, just the other side of Pivka the skies began to clear and the closer we got to Croatia the warmer it became and by Rijeka it was a scorching morning; the coat had to be packed back into the bag before I walked up to McDonalds to abuse the WiFi. The line-up t Prestranek when we passed through had been as follows: 664103, 2016084, 664105 and 664118 in the yard at the Postojna end.
HZ’s 1141303 had done the honours on 481 from Sapjane and like 363021 on 1605/4 it seemed to be glued to 481/2/3/0 from the Rijeka end. Thankfully I’d decided to get a seat on 482 quite early, the train was full and standing by the time it departed Rijeka and I was guessing it was due to the bank holiday? I’d been joined in my compartment by a different crank for the day, Nigel Hughes from North Yorkshire, who I recognized as a Yorkshire crank but didn’t really know.
Of course the weather slowly deteriorated as we headed towards Slovenia and it was quite miserable and cold by the time the moment of truth came around for 482 and it looked set to get even more miserable when we rounded the corner into an empty Prestranek to find the line consisting of no less than 5 664’s, 104, 110, 108, 103, 105 with 645003 bringing up the rear. This would undoubtedly mean that whatever was sat outside the station waiting to drop on had to be silent; or would it……
30 seconds went by and nothing appeared from behind the trees then all of sudden 664104 burst into life and shunted forward in the line, bringing 664110 with it; both of which were crewed and running at that point. I wasn’t quite believing what I was seeing, was I about to get the remaining two 664’s out that I needed, in one go? Unfortunately not! The two were split after shunting forward and 664104 was attached to 482 to work it down the hill.
Unlike the other 664’s I’d had on the drags 664104 had a different noise to offer as it had a very high pitched screaming from its turbos which became more audible when power was shut off and there wasn’t the thrash to drown it out. It must have been strange s even a normal in the compartment in front of us stuck her head out of the window and commented to us that it didn’t sound like the normal locos! Putting pay to the fact that normal don’t pay attention to the locos on their trains. I was withered by her comments anyway.
Unlike most downhill runs this one was quite as fast or as thrash-tastic due to there being single line working from Postojna with a possession on the opposite rod for track works. Within the possession were diggers and a few other machines at work, all of which had their wheels in the 4ft and 6ft, not 4th and cess so you can imagine how close they were s we passed by. There was a 30kmph cover speed on to protect the workers and machines though; these being the same machines that I’d spotted that morning on the embankment out of the way. One machine had actually slipped down the embankment a short way and a machine operator was trying to drag it back up with the bucket on his digger; in full view of the 11 coaches of 1605 as we passed by slowly!
As there had been five 664’s at Prestranek we were expecting a wall of silence at Borovnica to work back on 483. Kieran, who’s move to the Autovlak had been scuppered by the bank holiday and now had to go vi Ljubljana and Jesenice to get to it, had got on 482 at Rakek and had seen 664118 head south and bugger me if it wasn’t at the head of the line waiting to work the next train north as we rolled into Borovnica. What was even stranger was the fact that the only other loco there was 645003. We’d overtaken 2016083 coming down the hill at Postojna and it arrived before 483 departed but 2016084 & 085 were no nowhere to be seen so maybe the bank holiday, possession and lack of freight traffic had allowed them to be removed from the circuit for exams? Who knows? There weren’t any complaints from us though; 664118 just had to wait 30 minutes and we were home dry, but not in the literal sense and it was pissing it down!
Our short wait in the pouring was rewarded with 664118 shunting out 10 minutes before 483 arrived and sitting at the signal poised to back down; and it backed down onto the next train to arrive which was thankfully 483, with 342022 at its helm. While it was pleasing that a 664 was on the train the run up to Postojna wasn’t the best thanks to the 30kmph restriction due to the possession between the two points.
Nigel had got off at Logatek to check in to his hotel so I’d been on my own to Postojna. The weather simply didn’t know what to do when I got there; it was pouring with rain yet the station buildings were lit up by glorious sunshine. The cold air had turned instantly to warm in the sun and eventually it did stop raining to give way to a promising afternoon as the clouds parted for the first time in two days!
My plan was simple, bus to Koper for 1604 throughout to Zalaegerszeg. The 1649 bus was about 15 late away from Postojna, mainly due to there being a toilet stop there, but by Koper we were 15 minutes early. I can’t be sure as I was dozing the whole way with music on but I think we might have missed the stops out between Divaca and Koper and run direct?
It was a nice afternoon in Koper, 363021 was sat in the platform with the stock for 1604 and there were plenty of people around; there just didn’t seem to be much near the station though and I was in need of food. The nearest place I found being McDonalds, which would have done at a push, but thankfully there was a restaurant a little further along the same road, away from the station, which served up a decent bowl of pasta with Bolognese sauce. It was a fish restaurant which thankfully served something other than fish.
363021 was prepared for the off at about 1930. I had a reservation for 1604 in a two berth sleeper cabin, booked through DB in the UK. It was only from Pivka though but there was no problem getting into my berth at Koper and the bonus being I had it all to myself. Thankfully it was in one of the MAV coaches and not the Russian one next to it as there’d been bad reports regarding the Russian one and a lack of con; bizarrely my coach was completely devoid of air-con and was about as real as they come with opening windows throughout. This allowed for a nice chilled evening meander down the hill from Koper to Divaca with the windows open, admiring the scenery and sunset.
The sleeper attendant was very helpful and once I’d found him, playing cards in the empty 1st class coach with the attendants from the Russian coach, he was more than willing to lock my compartment up while I went to the front of the train at Divaca; 10 coaches away!
Nigel was on the platform waiting so at least I had some company for my last journey in Slovenia. The line-up at Prestranek upon arrival was 2016083, 664xxx (too dark to see from wrong side of coach), 2016903 & 645003; that was everything that was silent and out that day in the one place. The question being; would it be 2016083 off the front of the line, where the loco had come from for 483 earlier? Thankfully not and I could hear the 664 dropping on before I could see it appear from behind the trees. I had to get out to see which one it was and the guard didn’t seem to have an issue with it, despite us being in the yard. 664104, with its random turbos, did the honours down to Borovnica and it was a good run too, the possession having been handed back so we ran correct road. As Nigel was getting off at Logatek I retired to my berth after Rakek, alarm set for 0100 to see what went off at Maribor when we arrived.
|363021||Ljubljana||Borovnica||0340 Maribor – Koper||R1605||SZ 363, 363021 train engine, dragged from Borovnica by SZ 664, 664105|
|223003||Postojna||Prestranek||0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka||MV481||SZ 342, 342005 train engine in SZ, dragged to Prestranek by Hired MRCE Dispolok ER20-003, 223003 (numbered 645003 in SZ), HZ 1141303 train engine in HZ|
|1141303||Rijeka||Sapjane||1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana||MV482||HZ 1141, 1141303 in HZ, SZ 342, 342005 train engine in SZ, dragged Prestranek – Borovnica by SZ 664, 664104|
|664118||Borovnica||Postojna||1505 Ljubljana – Rijeka||MV483||SZ 664 dragging SZ 342022 dit|
|Bus||Postojna||Koper||1540 Ljubljana – Koper||2752||Rail replacement service|
|363021||Divaca||Prestranek||2017 Koper – Maribor||R1604||SZ 363, 363021 train engine, dragged Prestranek – Borovnica by SZ 664, 664104|
Gen for Friday 15th August 2014
1604 0340 Maribor – Koper – 363021 train engine, 664105 Borovnica – Prestranek on load 11
481 0635 Ljubljana – Rijeka – 342005 train engine in Slovenia, 645003 Borovnica – Prestranek, 1141303 train engine in Croatia
482 1155 Rijeka – Ljubljana – 1141303 train engine in Croatia, 664104 Prestranek – Borovnica, 342005 train engine in Slovenia
483 1510 Ljubljana – Rijeka – 342022 train engine, 664118 Borovnica – Prestranek
1605 2017 Koper – Maribor – 363021 train engine, 664104 Prestranek – Borovnica
480 2040 Rijeka – Ljubljana – Not viewed
IC1247 0200 Maribor – Zalaegerszeg (16/08) – 664109 Maribor – Hodos, MAV 433187 Hodos – Zalaegerszeg
Train then shunted into IC959 0524 Zalaegerszeg – Budapest Deli (16/08) and worked forward by 431078
Borovnica drag engines – 664103, 104, 105, 108, 110 & 118, 2016083 & 903, 645003 (No sign of 2016084 & 085 all day)
Saturday 16th August 2014 (Yo-yoing at Tapolca)
Having not had a great deal of doss on this trip at all I was less than impressed that we were about 40 late into Maribor; which lost me more doss while I only dare doze to make sure I got the 664 that back on when we arrived. Thankfully it was sat in the adjacent platform waiting when we pulled in and 664109 then shunted us from one platform to the other before departing. Luckily the earplugs kept the noise from 664109 out, as we were second from the engine upon departure from Maribor, where we departed about 15 late.