A Perfect Winter (Steam) Day (50 p.)

Railroadforums.com is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


Proud Earthling

A week ago I did a tour with friends through Slovenia up to Istria. This fall steamer 06-018 had been put into service again and was about to haul a special for the brass band of Slovenian Railways (SZ) from Maribor along the old Südbahn line via Divaca to Koper. A beautiful day had been forecast, several people joined us, more than enough reasons to pack up the jeep for a 1080 kilometers long day trip.

Already on the weekend before, Saturday, December 8 2012, the northern Austrian region of Waldviertel provided great winter conditions, so we could enjoy a pretaste of the following tour - here a small selection of pictures. A couple of photographers were provided with a wonderful show by the crew of Martinsberg Local Railway club manning steam loco 92.2271 (Krauss Linz #7327 / built 1919, former WLB 72, never has been an ÖBB engine as other locos of the same class), here at the classic spot exiting Schwarzenau towards Zwettl.

Magnificent winter midday contre-jour at Hörmanns.

During the afternoon run we were waiting alone at the grade behind Zwettl.

Evening mood near Hörmanns.

On 12/12/12 we left Vienna early just after 4 a.m., on the way we picked up two friends in Styria, and our car was full.
Our first desired spot was the River Drava bridge at Maribor, we arrived with some spare time ahead of the steam departure scheduled for 8 o'clock. We could use the time as there were no parking possibilities nearby, and the neighbouring shopping mall would only open at 9. This way we trudged a while through deep snow, and it paid off! What more beautiful surprise could you have than encountering a GM-EMD diesel departing at first morning light? 664-113 hauled a rolling road Wels - Maribor Tezno from Spielfeld and accelerated nicely on the bridge.

Class 664 "Reagan" (those GMs were procured during the Reagan era) passing "McDonald's".

ICS 35 to Koper also departed - we would see this Pendolino unit again later on.

We were in contact with Tono and Rudi of the steam loco crew, and so 15 minutes after sunrise a great spectacle could commence.

A vertical reflection version, in the background the prominent Calvary of Maribor.

On the bridge the crew opened up magnificently, so we could enjoy 06-018 (Borsig (Berlin Tegel) #12207 / built 1930) for the first time that day. The 2-8-2-engine had been delivered to JDZ with 29 of its sister locos and two more classes also based on Deutsche Reichsbahn "Einheits-" (standard-) locos. In the 1970s class 06s still operated regularly around Maribor.
The wonderful rake was covered in rime due to the icy morning.

The Drava bridge panoramic version.

Next we had two pick up two of the colleagues and find our way back to the motorway. My friend Misko was travelling on the train to do a report on the SZ brass band. Originally we had planned for him to join us between Pragersko and Celje, but soon it became clear that we would not make it. Towards Pragersko we would have had to take a small road five kilometers against the travelling direction of the train.

We only caught it again by leaving the motorway at the second exit of Slovenska Bistrica and returning to the railroad line. The train was supposed to pass here 10 minutes after leaving Pragersko, so we managed to get ahead. We did not know the spot, but saw an open plane in the background. In the small village of Zabljek we turned onto a farm road and went - just a few yards too far, as we noticed later. But at the moment everything was excellent, the train was supposed to emerge out of a valley, Tono had been informed about our spot for steam production purposes - and how much steam it would be!

The first shot viewing into the cutting between Zabljek and Krizni Vrh - many power lines removed.

Quickly changed to super wide angle, the train only travelled at a top speed of 50 kph, maximum 60 anyway...

My favorite shot, the complete panorama, the steam cloud stayed exactly that way for minutes, following the curvature of the tracks!

And finally a wonderful view into the countryside.

Well, great, we thought, on we chase! But sadly nothing became of it, as we had driven those couple of inches too far. The snow between the tire tracks turned out to be too high, it had compressed under the floor of the jeep, additionally the ice below the warm tires had melted lowering it more into the ground. So we had to dig ourselves out of the snow for approximately 15 minutes, but at last broke free by pushing and putting mats on the ground for better grip. All in all it was no drama, the steam train had a scheduled stop at Celje for 30 minutes. After a quick motorway rush we passed the train at Celje station 10 minutes ahead of departure.

The next desired spot was Marija Gradec, a church on a hill right south of Lasko. From this summer I remembered a construction site which was still there, but luckily most of it covered in snow. The sun did not reach behind the church, so we spread out creatively. With my 10mm lens I took up the closest position, as it offered the most opportunities. Only in a small window it was possible to also have a view of the Savinja bridge in Lasko.

Behind a "Desastro" (Siemens Desiro EMU) followed a class 363 "Brigitte" with ore train from Koper.

Panorama with church, the building site provided a Lego-like landscape.

I had to be vigilant, as the steam train approached in my back, and I still had to change lens - and really, just after the class 363 had passed, 06-018 crossed the second Savinja River bridge at Lasko. To the right it will momentarily pass Slovenia's best known brewery, to the left on a hill top sits St. Michael church.

The ore train, on the left track as usual, slowed down - oh no! But it was just perfect, the class 06 passed the back of the freight in time and I got the first shot of it across the construction site, then on this small bridge.

Behind the church the sun had slightly made it lighting the loco again, my favourite shot of the series with panorama of the valley will be shown here in a couple of days... ;-)

Now we returned to Celje to get back onto the motorway. The train had been delayed 15 minutes, if it would keep the scheduled 30 minutes break at Zidani Most, we did not know. So, we just could not make it to Litija viaduct in time. Shortly before reaching Sava River valley near Ljubljana a car was pulling up in front of us - motorway patrol! We were asked to follow via a display in German in the rear window, on a side road we asked ourselves: where were they taking us? But they turned around right away on the next gravel parking space. As it turned out they probably were just bored, after a short ID check they sent us on our way in a friendly manner.

Behind Laze we found the probably last rural spot before reaching Ljubljana Zalog, fog was dominating and consequently rime on the trees - also very nice.

Soon 06-018 passed the rustic settlement, the loco crow saw us last minute.

For once an edited pan shot...

Afterwards we fought our way through to Ljubljana main station, the train still stood at the platform, the passengers on it.

Great multi-door coaches.




This meal was greatly earned!

Another view at the fabulous rake.


Soon the loco disappeared for two hours into the museum shed.

Green train at the end of the platform.


Desiro-ice block and real ice blocks.

Meeting of generations.

Suddenly the last yellow 363-005 appeared - by sprinting I just caught it somehow, sadly we would not see it in Koper as it came from that direction.

The steam train was scheduled to run just one more hour in daylight after the break, so we decided to change to Koper ramp - and would not regret it!
A fantastic picture of a late-fall landscape unfolded in front of us, and there even seemed to have been significant amounts of snowfall lately, rare at the seaside.

On the way to Podpec we quickly stopped to catch this roaring class 711 "Mercedes" DMU in blue-graffiti livery as local 4421 to Divaca.

Through the steep and narrow village Podpec, where one serpentine cannot be taken going uphill, we drove on gravel roads and partly meadows - due to snowdrifts - to a panoramic view next to a radio mast. Only once we had to clear a spot of snow and grit the road, but all in all the ice was already too soft to cause troubles.

Immediately the first uphill freight came by, sadly we only saw SZ 541s and Adria 1216s operating, no class 363s. View towards Crni Kal and Trieste port, in the background, about 100 kilometers away, you can spot the Alps.

Koper bay to the left.

From Koper the already known Pendolino wound itself uphill as ICS 34 back to Maribor.

The great dam of Hrastovlje is not touched by sun in mid-winter, the tracks above it are.

Through the forest below us.

And the tele-panorama with port of Trieste (arriving ship of Minoan Lines), Alpine range and cliffs to the right.

An auto train without helper loco turned up next, so we moved on to another spot.

We spotted another freight and a single Adria-loco, here the headlights of the after next uphill train shining out of the valley from Koper.


The panorama at the spot shortly before reaching Podpec, you can see the steep grade very well.

At Podpec village we were passed by 541-104 in "Mammut" (mammoth) ad livery sporting a snowy trunk, sadly also without banker.

Just as we wanted to move on, a single class 541 rolled downhill, so I caught Podpec village view at the last possible second.

Next we drove to Divaca and took our positions on the narrow bridge across the lit cutting at the station entrance awaiting the steamer, which was supposed to get a Brigitte electric heading the train to Koper from here. An ÖBB class 2016 "Hercules" diesel loco was parked on a siding. Luckily I called Misko and learned that the special was 45 minutes late. Due to the icy cold and 450 kilometers return home we decided to skip the tripod session in the darkness and left for Vienna. Like that the day had already brought an amazing collection of shots.


Thank You for the "as always" great pictures. Our family has some relatives in Slovenia. My grandfather and grandmother came to the US in 1916 or so. And my aunt married a Slovenian. Hope to get there one of these days. The world didn't end, so I still have a chance.

RailroadForums.com 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 amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - 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.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - 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.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)