Steam in Bosnia 2010 - 6: Banovici I - Narrow Gauge Mainline (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the trip report:
Steam in Bosnia 2010 - 5: Zenica II - Volcano on Wheels (50 p.)

The video for this part:

We are returning to April 4 2010, on a busride from Zenica to Banovici in the north east of Bosnia near Tuzla. Behind Zepce we encountered an obstacle after turning east from the main road: without obvious reason we were stuck in a traffic jam, nothing moved for half an hour apart from the occasional queue-jumpers. But then traffic slowly started to flow again and we rolled through the town of Zavidovici.

Somewhere in Bosnia...

Shortly after passing Zavidovici we came across this former narrow gauge railway bridge which had been recycled for road use. While driving through Bosnia it is often possible to follow abandoned narrow gauge lines.

We reached Banovici with a slight delay, at the narrow gauge terminal Oskova a local film crew was waiting for us, and our Serbian guide Dragan had to immediately give an interview. In the meantime we could spot this scene on the counter slope of the station which was situated halfway up a hill:

Overall, Banovici presented itself as the most touristy of all destinations. The boss of the narrow gauge railway, an engaged railfan, was already planning ahead for the future, probably also to secure his own job. A few years from now the narrow gauge line is supposed to be replaced by conveyor belts from the surrounding open cast brown coal pits. However, an old forestry line is being rebuilt for visitors, the corresponding steam loco and passenger coaches had already been finished at the workshop.
We were awaited by a luncheon special, consisting of diesel 740-107 (Duro Dakovic #892/1971) and a nice buffet car, also self-built.

The short excursion took us to the town of Banovici, halfway up the double track narrow gauge line into the mountains. On the way back we just rolled downhill coach in front. During the ride cold, but quite tasty Cevapi were served.
More or less enthusiastic spectators had gathered lineside...

After returning to Oskova finally the first photo session could start, 83-158 (Duro Dakovic #53/1948) - coupled to tender of 83-159 - was already waiting for us with a photo freight, which was about to take the same line and a little further. But first the class 83 had to quench its thirst.

Off we go!

Entering Oskova coming from the unloading facility, more about it in future trip report parts.

Steam mood in Oskova.

We were interrupted by regular steam, 0-6-0 25-30 (CKD #2530/1949) came along. The shunting operation Oskova - standard gauge interchange was the last remaining steam service in the Banovici area, as the class 720 diesel tractors had proven to be unreliable.

A loaded coal train, hauled to Oskova by a class 740 diesel, was taken over by steam. Above it all: the maestro.

The rakes are quite mighty for 760mm narrow gauge.

A view along our photo freight train.

10 minutes after departure of the class 25 another loaded train arrived from uphill, pulled by 740-113 (Duro Dakovic #898/1971).

Afterwards there was time for one more photo movement in front of Oskova station, the flatcar at the rear had been reserved for us.

Then we boarded the car, across it lay unfixed boards to sit upon, which we put into the wagon at every photo stop.

The first spot, right out of the chapter "through Balkanese gorges".

Panning shot:

A second photo run, just a few metres further. This had been the location of a station, junction of another now abandoned narrow gauge line leading across Oskova river valley. The pillars of the bridge still could be spotted (not in the photo).

The next spot was this beautiful s-curve in the forest, where our class 83 again did its best twice.

View across the flatcar.

Before the second run 720-002 (MIN Nis/rebuild Banovici 1987) rolled downhill past us.

This innovative cooling method provided insights into the engine compartment.

Crossing the s for a second time.

Only faint spring green could be spotted here in the mountains. The sun had disappeared now for the rest of the day, but that didn't do harm to the photographic fun.

As we were ready to depart, 740-113 overtook us with an uphill empty on the left track.

The busy railway crossing of Banovici town, even if the real centre with several taller buildings was located out of sight behind a hill.

At the edge of town you could find this loading plant - to the right - , as well as the workshops, entrance to the left. We were about to explore the latter in detail next morning.

One of the best known spots of the line exiting Banovici, even the small ones had an interest in the railway.

Some pedestrians also crossed our path.

The driver of our class 83, I would get to know him better next day. For this smile I had to use all my art of persuasion.

At the mosque view 720-002 chugged back uphill first.

Soon followed by the steam train.

Residents gathered curiously.

The next run on the same spot, with a proper Bosnian shed in the foreground.

Soon afterwards we reached Grivice station, another loading plant could be found here and double tracking stopped. At the level crossing we met one of these nowadays in Bosnia widespread rural vehicles.

The class 720 was used to shunt in the station.

Another photo arrival followed.

View towards Grivice and loading facility.

One more photo run was planned, but first a class 740 with empties arrived. As the only one of the group I climbed the hill with garden-, village- and mountain view.

Also, you could find the typical Bosnian haystacks, I would still be able to catch them more often during the trip. Then I had to get back to the train, as the line didn't end here.

The group revolted at the next spot suggested by Bernd and we rolled a little downhill to this nice view of Grivice. Simply an invitation for this virtual double decker sandwich of steam train and old tractor!

The light fought its way back through the clouds a little, at least for backlit moods.

On the second run I could spot Banovici town with mosque and chimney in the background.

The composition with haystack.

Now we boarded the train again and rolled towards Banovici flatcar first.

We used the outer track for another try of the mosque view. At the shed we met some "countryside girls" of more mature age, but in all friendliness they didn't want to be photographed, at least not while working.

Back at Oskova 740-107 was just reversing.

That was it for the day, by bus we went to our nearby forest hotel. Through the bus window I managed this photo with the narrow gauge part above and the standard gauge below. However, the standard gauge state railway station was not called Oskova but simply Banovici. It should be the last photo of 25-30 in operation, it had some technical difficulties soon afterwards. Which of course meant for us that 83-158 was about to be used for regular shunting next day!

See you then! The next part will deal with the fascinating Banovici workshops... is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.