Orient-Express 9: Esme Market Day (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Orient-Express 8: Alasehir Market Day (50 p.)

To the video of the trip:

Detailed TCDD rail map (Attention - 12.9 MB):

September 24 2013

We are leaving the market of Alasehir...

... to get a bite ourselves...

In the room I waited for the meeting time I had set with my roommate.

At the market things were packed in after dusk.

My roommate wanted to lead me and some others to a restaurant where he had discovered a nice version of his favourite dish Sac Kavurma a few years ago. However, last time he had not been able to find it again. We gave it a try and steered towards the spot he approximately remembered. After nothing could be encountered there we relatively systematically combed the surrounding streets which were laid out in a planned grid. In a side street I captured this craftsman working in his hardware shop.

After searching in vain we gave up for the evening. Still, my roommate decided to give it another try next day. On the way back we came across this confectionery, I don't think I have ever seen that many finished cakes on display! Walking to the hotel I shortly visited a supermarket.

Later that evening my roommate called Turkish Airlines to change his flight from Erzurum to Izmir. It worked surprisingly well, the nice lady at the other end promised him a change fee of just 20 Euros upon arrival at the airport - actually it would only be 20 TL. That's why I decided to call myself the following day.

September 25 2013

Next morning started early, at 6:20 a.m. we gathered at the station, supposed to depart soon. Only the sesame bread roll-man already was in business.

The happy news reached us that the departure would be delayed by two hours, a procedure we would get the know well the next days. Especially since everyone was ready at the station at this early hour...
Izmir Mavi Treni, scheduled to arrive at 6:47, was delayed, soon to be followed by Usak Express to Izmir at 8:37. It was usually punctual, but as mentioned TCDD knew no joking when it came to express trains, the line had to be kept clear. Only three years ago this line was underused, you could very well play with photo trains as you liked. Well, these times are over with a renewed TCDD, and that is no bad thing.
Another example for the tasteful keeping of old architectural station elements, coloured spotlights had been installed as well accentuating the facade.

Daily before our planned departure we heard a freight train approaching from Esme. DE33040 had performed shunting duties at Alasehir, provisions and water were being loaded.

Still all dark in the waiting room.

At least some mood with steam!


As there was enough time I decided to return to the room and call Turkish Airlines. I learnt that I had to change my ticket on the website where I had booked it, so I wrote a mail - to Finland!
Duty was fulfilled, I turned my attention to the breakfast room situated on the roof with terrace access.

At 7:30 I looked at the amazing panorama and thought: wouldn't it be great if a train arrived? And what came exactly that minute - of course Izmir Mavi Treni about 40 minutes delayed! I spotted it the only time hauled by class DE22000.


After crossing the plain the GM thundered up the grade to Alasehir station. To be safe I asked my colleagues by mobile if we still had to wait, this was confirmed. So, I enjoyed my morning cay with a view.

After 8 o'clock the crowd waiting for Usak Express already had assembled.

Come to Alasehir, only a short hop away! :)

Practically punctual to the minute eagerly anticipated Usak Express with DE24379 passed two of the four water towers at former Alasehir shed.

Shadow of the window decoration inside our carriage, today we conveyed only one, sadly the most uncomfortable of the bunch bearing a huge wheel flat. This was an authentic composition, as two-axled coaches often had been used to accompany freight trains.

In front of Tünel #1 once more the tender was overflowing.

After passing Gümüscay the line started to wind its way up the mountains, soon wineyards were left behind.


We marched on behind Tünel #1. Almost the whole terrain was crossed by small footpaths.

We would return to this lovely rocky spot in the evening.

For the second run I climbed the hillside until a nice foreground had been found. In the back you can see more of the line, sadly the train did not reverse that far.
One tour member was forgotten at that spot - and returned to us by taxi, another lost a lens...

We passed Konaklar, where we were greeted by the village youth, but continued right away to bridge #1.


It is not the Euphrates gorge, but it was our Euphrates replacement gorge! ;-)

The large quarry in the background was relatively new, from a distance it sometimes looked like an antique acropolis.

Subsequently the line turned towards the mountains, but later a viewpoint was reached where you could spot the bridge from far away, taken out of the moving train.

Next photo stop in front of Tünel 11.

The slope above the tunnel featured a wonderful last view into the plain. From here on the line followed this valley at the end of which bridge #2 was located, which we skipped that morning.

We took pictures of bridge #3 instead. For days we did not come across any significant body of water, but at this drinking through I managed a reflection shot. Somehow this motif reminded me of the Ord-Viaduct near Udaipur in India.

Many of the trees in this area were kinds of oaks.

An amazing steamer cab ride followed, see minute 11:50 of the video (or click link in the Youtube description).

At Güneykoy we had to wait for a crossing, two rail workers also held their lunch break in the shade. Along all lines you could spot these draisine passing places in regular intervals. We are dealing with a newly constructed draisine, by the way, as you can see due to the aerodynamic front.


In the second last report I had promised another culinary highlight - here you go: where else in the world could you imagine workers setting up a kitchen on the ground during lunch break and preparing their own fresh meal? Fishes - probably from the market - were grilled over a fire, while his buddy was slicing the salad. Only DE33026 shortly interrupted the procedure pulling by its freight train. To the left you can - probably - spot an archeological team looking for ancient artifacts using a metal detector. Presumably a lot of antique treasure still is buried in this area, almost every town has an according past - Alasehir lies on the spot of the old Philadelphia.


At Esme the next surprise awaited us: Usak Express had been well frequented the day before, but now we were diving into a large crowd - market day, again! :)

The tragedy of the torn vegetable bag found a happy ending thanks to our helpful loco crew. We had parked our steam train slightly in the path of many passers-by.

At the other end of the station a more elegant solution had been found: simply shunt a gap between two freight cars, a stone to secure one, put a piece of wood under the wheels of the other - done.

DIY market trackside.

This Aladin-doner-truck fitted the scene perfectly.

Usak Express was approaching, we already were taking bets when the people conveniently chatting on the tracks were about to notice it.

Only as DE24341 came to a halt a few yards away, mild panic broke out.

Yes, going walkies with your two leashed sheep is the most humane form of animal transport!

This coffee roastery could be found right behind the "DIY market".

Karabük, Dg53752 and I explored the market on a parking lot adjacent to the station. I was addressed by a policeman who had noticed me taking pictures, the conversation was very short but friendly: Him: "Turkish?" - me: "No." - him: "OK!". "Yes!" probably would have provoked a different reaction... ;-)
I also met a Turkish Tyrolean, or Tyrolean Turkish - and even worked hard to earn a dessert. For a portrait I once more received a bunch of grapes.

Subsequently we looked for lunch - more next time! :)

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