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Proud Earthling

To the first trip report part:
Weather in May East of Vienna 1/2 (50 p.)

We continue our travelogue on Sun, May 26 2013, ÖGEG 2050.05 hauled another special of Club Pro Kaltenleutgebenerbahn, this time from Vienna across Wechsel Pass to Oberwart. The GM-Henschel diesel was just negotiating the grade behind Aspang, from our viewpoint next to a farmhouse we could watch it passing three spots, Aspang station and two bridges, large Murtal-Viaduct in the foreground.

Soon, after climbing the first loops of Wechsel Railway, the train reached our position. Some deforestation had taken place along parts of Wechsel line, telegraph poles were left standing only here.

We chased the train to Oberwart, seen on the long straight just before reaching its destination. Some mountain tops showed a cap of snow most of which would melt until the afternoon.

What to do on lunch break at Oberwart? - The answer was obvious: visit the GySEV "Ludmilla" diesel in Hungary! At that time the first one was in service, now three have been delivered to GySEV.
In only 45 minutes we made it to the Csorna - Szombathely line near Porpác, upon arrival we spotted a Metrans-Eurorunner with the container train I was already familiar with from the line around Pápa. Next a GySEV ex ÖBB class 5047 DMU showed up, afterwards it was time for the express. We heard a train, and around the curve came... 628 (M62) 307 as single loco - soon another one was approaching - and there it finally was, the Ludmilla (for some on fourth try, for me it was the first ;-)), hauling IC 922 "Savaria" Budapest - Szombathely! A curve with some may flowers could already be declared as top spot on this "highly scenic" line...

The express into the opposite direction departed Szombathely earlier than the Ludmilla's arrival, so IC 915 "Répce" to Budapest was pulled by 418 (M41) 301 that day. We caught it at the single other viable spot in the vicinity, Porpác station, which only could be reached on road via many corners. That way we had seen the major portion of important large diesels in this region within two hours - class 2050 GM and Ludmilla reminded of good old times on the diesel line from Vienna to Slovakia via Marchegg...

We drove back to Szombathely, on this stretch the motorway to Csorna was just being constructed. Enduring a rainshower we waited for another train on the electric line near Szombathely, express 904 from Budapest-Déli approached just as the sun came out again.

In this modern industrial district the obligatory Tesco-visit followed, then we caught Traxx-electric-hauled 9003 to Budapest.

Subsequently it was time to return to Oberwart, the class 2050 obviously had undertaken another commute to Friedberg in the meantime, but we definitely had had a more varied lunch break. At the western exit of the station you still could find two working semaphore signals, we were standing on the line to Oberschützen, now abandoned but formerly leading to a railway museum. We caught the train several more times, once on a viaduct in the forest on Wechsel Pass, timber work was going on there, maybe more spots will be cleared again in the near future.

My next excursion started on Tue, May 28 2013, I had the remainder of the week around a holiday off and wanted to use the final nice days before the disastrous rain front was approaching. On the spur of the moment I bought an Interrail-ticket for Slovakia to visit a few classics in the vicinity which to my disgrace I had not photographed before. From Vienna city centre I took tram line D to its new terminal at the recently constructed main station. I conveniently changed to REX 2522 towards Bratislava. There I came across another "REX", however, still consisting of good old GDR-built rolling stock. REX 735 with the sounding name "Karpaty" took me to Nové Mesto nad Váhom, a place I already knew from the steam tour this winter. Shortly behind me followed R 611 "Povazan" which I originally had planned to take. But that way one or two more photos could be taken, the train met 10 minutes delayed R 608 "Spisan" from Kosice at the heavily modernised station of Nové Mesto.

I changed to Os 3319 towards Zilina and immediately became a "CityElephant"(-even-if-it-is-not-called-that-way-in-Slovakia)-fan - what luxury, otherwhere you have to cope with measly Talent class EMUs!

At Zlatovce, one station from Trencín still on the western shore of Váh river, I exited the train. There are several variations how to take pictures of the railway with castle and old town here. At first I waited on the road bridge and caught this car transporting train. Not much freight traffic can be witnessed here, only on the transit routes to the Czech Republic and Hungary a lot of freight is being conveyed. Next I caught a double railbus on the branch line from Chynorany along the shore, another beautiful motif with castle can be found there. At about 7 o'clock I heard a freight on this line towards Trencín, but only saw it through the trees from the other side of the river.

Next I took shots from this classic spot, bombastic thunder clouds had formed above the castle. Within two weeks - after which I visited the same place again - bulldozers had appeared and started tearing down the small houses to the left. The line is being rerouted here, a new bridge will be constructed making this view obsolete - but perhaps with chances for new ones.

Sadly there is a gap between westbound trains from 18:40 till 20:40, only on Sundays two additional express trains would be running to Bratislava. I weathered a short but heavy shower protected by a pedestrian subway, then walked to the main station. "Laminatka" 240.076 in old livery arrived at 20:15 with REX 741 "Koliba" from Bratislava - only a few days later after the summer timetable change it was shortened to terminate at Nové Mesto, maybe because of the construction work.

I comfortably spent the following wait inside Elephant-Os 3322, being overtaken here by five minutes late R 612 "Ruzin" from Kosice which was about to take me to Bratislava. I used this train several times during the following weeks, it was always full but no problem to get a seat on this section of line.

The ride to Bratislava only served the purpose of killing time, as usual there were no convenient places to rest at the main station - not anymore, as you can now take a seat and comfortably load your batteries inside the Elephants due to depart, often standing on the platform an hour earlier. Half an hour after my arrival 45 minutes delayed EuroCity 177 from Berlin showed up.

Around 11 o'clock my overnight express R 615 "Zemplin" to Humenné was ready to board, a friendly young sleeping coach attendant showed me into compartment 1 of coach WLAB 70-40 016, which I would keep to myself despite a possible three passenger occupancy and my reservation just the day before. I had booked up to Kosice yet I already planned to get off at Ruzemberok, so 4 hours of sleep remained to be well used. Kosice would not have been much more appealing with an arrival at 5:17 in the morning. The conductor returned my ticket on Wed, May 29 2013, half an hour before the express reached my stop. We had accumulated 20 minutes of delay during the night, but on this short distance you were thankful for every additional minute of sleep. I was the only passenger leaving the train at Ruzemberok, the attendant said goodbye. After the overnight train departure I noticed another green starter signal and quickly took up position on the other side of the station. So, I caught my first class 183 with westbound freight on this tour lit by the station builiding. Reason for my choice of destination was Os 7830 back towards Zilina starting here, its rake already was stabled on the outermost track. Thanks to the delay I did not even have to wait an hour for departure, I spent the time inside a well-equipped waiting room together with some other tired characters. My breakfast consisting of coffee and Margot-candybar from the food dispensers would have woken up any Slovakian lumberjack with ease. About 15 minutes before departure the crew of the local showed up, unlocking the coaches and starting up 163.113. The moon shone prominently from the sky also lighting a steaming industrial complex in the background.

I rested some more inside the coach, but the mood outside got better and better with wafts of mist at dawn providing images such as this with workhorses waiting shortly before reaching Vrútky.

My destination was Strecno, after my arrival Os 7505 picked up a few commuters towards Zvolen.

At first I explored the area and followed the tracks towards Vrútky, soon a ZSSK-Cargo-diving-glass double header with freight rushed past into the same direction. I ascertained that the photo spot from below was not too shabby either but decided to visit the classic view from the hilltop first. I walked steeply uphill on a cart track between small houses of the little village. However, I found the panoramic spot on private property where construction work had just started and did not want to stay there. But I also detected an equally nice viewing point a little further towards the rails, only a power line had to be removed from the images. So, I stood and waited for the things to come, and they absolutely were not bad. The sun battled its way towards the tracks, the minute they were fully lit at 6:10 a.m. a class 131 double loco to Zilina came by.

A fantastic mood emerged, fog was always getting through from the valley on the other side of the River Váh bend, yet was kept back from my position the whole time I spent there. Above it sat enthroned Strecno fortress with the setting moon. I stayed until 6:57 a.m., as Zr 1840 "Turiec" Zvolen - Zilina went past me, here in a panorama with Czech overnight sleeper train R 441 "Excelsior" Cheb - Prague - Kosice.

Now I quickly had to walk downhill, as at 7:05 a.m. it was time for Zr 1843 "Sturec" which had taken over the through sleeper to Banská Bystrica at Zilina from express "Excelsior".

The railway line in front of the castle was perfectly clear of vegetation, so I first took pictures of a nice old class 183 from a bit further away.

While R 600 "Váh" Kosice - Bratislava was captured from a more dynamic perspective.

Moonset above castle ruin Strecno.

After 8 o'clock I decided to move on as I would be stuck here otherwise. I only caught the InterCities meeting here out of a window of Os 7839 to Vrútky. As suspected it became cloudy around the next river bend, so I relaxed inside Vrútky waiting room. Zr 1845 "Strecno" took me to Horná Stubna obec, the halt on the line to Banská Bystrica, around Horná Stubna you can find three stations and two railway junctions. A flower photographer (really! ;-)) also got off and chatted with me for a little bit before marching away along the railway embankment. A lovely sunny spell could be found here which was soon used by Ex 220 "Detvan" Zvolen - Praha while I was waiting in wonderful nature.

A short intermediate sprint and I caught it again at the halt and one more time from a highway bridge with view at the double track line towards Vrútky in front of marvelous landscape backdrop.

I walked through the little village Horná Stubna past the stop on the other line to Dolná Stubna junction where I was soon met by a class 736 double header hauling its freight uphill to Horná Stubna station. Later following Zr 1847 to Zvolen was once more pulled by ruby-liveried 754.054, Os 7526 to Vrútky approaching via the other branch by 754.034. Subsequently I waited for my local to Horná Stubna station, but nothing came... until now almost everything had been punctual to the minute, would it be a train cancellation? Finally Os 7507 appeared 12 minutes delayed.

Two minutes changeover time to Os 5606 towards Prievidza did not turn out to be a problem, as in Slovakia connections still are waited for and a large crowd was pouring out of one local train into the other. I spotted a Bardotka with mixed freight out of the railbus filling with schoolchildren, but since the weather in the mountains was not supposed to be that good and I wanted to move on I did not get out again. In slight rainfall we arrived at Prievidza after a nice but bumpy ride inside the well-used railbus, again connecting Os 5530 was waiting. It departed still nine minutes delayed, at Nováky we crossed R 723 "Vtacnik". I quickly jumped out and took three photos, a single Bardotka also was stabled here. I made it back into the train but finally left it at Zemianske Kostoľany as suddenly a coal train to Nováky power station was met here with Bardotka at the Prievidza end. At first I looked around, ER 20-009 also stood on a siding. But I did not have to wait long for freight action, the level crossing and all switches as everywhere on this line had to be operated manually. Soon afterwards 751.196 thundered away, on the main line, not the power station feeder track.

At half past three I continued by Diesel-"Miniphant" - interior similar to its electric CityElephant brothers, but single decker and no electric sockets at the seats - as Os 5002 Prievidza - Nitra - Nové Zámky, on the way I noted down Oslany as possible spot for the future. I got out in sunlight again, full house at Chynorany, as Os 5405 was departing on the branch line to Trencín at the same time. Also, I had never ever seen a station that overgrown by poppies, here Os 5535 Topolcany - Prievidza viewed through an A-shaped telegraph pole.

The icing on the cake was the still abundantly existing nostalgic infrastructure, here to be seen with Os 5404 arriving from Trencín at 15:50. The branchline is leading away to the left in the background, also with home semaphore signal, straight ahead the home signal of the next station towards Prievidza, Zabokreky nad Nitrou, can be spotted.

The train from Trencín was stabled on its line past the level crossing, nothing would run there for now anyway. My Os 5068 from Prievidza crossed 736.104-hauled Os 5063 from Nitra. I travelled only one station to Bosany and first caught R 725 "Remata" Bratislava - Prievidza, in the background Topolcany plattenbau highrises.

As next treat I captured R 726 "Zobor" with the lovely blue-liveried 750.183 in front of the hill country.

It became completely sunny again in the evening, but as no proper trains were on the menu I turned into my hotel at Topolcany. After taking some provisions from a neighbouring Tesco I made myself comfortable in my large room, the bed was located directly under a skylight. I had planned to put in a 4 a.m.-sunrise-session at Bosany if the weather would allow, but the bad weather front arrived overnight. Yet I still was woken up at 4 a.m. by one of the heaviest thunderstorms I have ever experienced, especially spectacular directly under the roof. Very glad not to have gone outside on Thu, May 30 2013 I conveniently took R 722 "Vtacnik" towards Bratislava shortly after nine. 736.103 had arrived at Topolcany station with Os 5013 from Surany before.

At the next station, Zbehy, part of the section entitled by me "Nitra Diesel Triangle" consisting of the track triangle Zbehy - Luzianky - Jelsovce, I got off, and really, it did not rain anymore. I took Os 5106 towards Leopoldov (after Zbehy only colour light signals could be found, but still telegraph poles) and chose Risnovce as spot for the following hours. I found many nice motifs here, later it started to rain again but still was pleasant outside with an umbrella. In vain I waited for the coal train scheduled on Thursday mornings. However, I was not too sure if on that Thursday - in Austria a religious holiday, in Slovakia at least for passenger operations a normal working day - actually regular freight traffic was running. The rainy mood still provided nice pictures, but I want to limit images to this slow one as...

... "Weather in May" is extended to June! :)

In the early morning of Thu, June 13 2013, I took a trolley bus of line 201 at Bratislava main station.

After a few stops I changed at Racianske Mýto to a tram towards Vinohrady station.

My interest at first was not focussed on the main lines there but on the line across the Danube leading from Petrzalka via Bratislava-Nové Mesto through Predmestie station to the large railway junction near Vinohrady. Intensive Laminatka traffic dominated, within five minutes I caught six locomotives - five in old livery - among them 240.027 pulling EuroNight "Kálmán Imre" Munich - Vienna - Budapest being rerouted due to floodings on the Hungarian mainline near Komárno.

Into the opposite direction came overnight express "Dacia" Bucarest - Budapest - Vienna hauled classically by MÁV V43 014. The line on the bridge is the one from Hungary and Nové Zamky, further back the east-west mainline from Trnava. In the walled complex to the left a rail vacuum cleaner was stabled.

Just back at Vinohrady 770.602 of Prvá Slovenská zeleznicná thundered by with a freight, you could not have arranged it better.

After 10 a.m. with some delay 350.020 pulling EuroCity "Avala" Prague - Belgrade rushed past me in front of Bratislava vineyards (= "vinohrady"), "Dacia" and "Avala" probably have not passed each other that closely since the change of route from Vienna to Prague for "Avala".

Next R 723 "Vtacnik" took me directly to the diesel triangle, originally I had planned to get here already in the morning, but due to the rerouted trains plans changed and definitely not to my disappointment. Before my arrival I enjoyed the ride behind the diving glass diesel from Leopoldov inside the only coach with windows to open - and behold: the coal train was running on Thursday mornings at exactly the time I had expected (10:35 from Zemianske Kostoľany on Tuesdays and Thursdays)!

Next I had to change to a local towards Nitra, the passengers were collecting in front of waiting Bardotka double header. From Luzianky, where colour light signals can already be found, I took Os 5061 to Jelsovce, a lovely old station and third corner of the triangle. The lines to Luzianky and Zbehy are running parallel to each other for a short bit, the left track is only used by express trains Bratislava - Prievidza - Bratislava in passenger operations, here R 724 "Remata" to Bratislava.

Next I walked four kilometres towards Zbehy obec halt on the opposite leg of the triangle. I had not checked timetables previously, but I was overtaken by at least half a dozen public busses, even on small side streets. Yet the station was soon reached, the signal showed clear and soon 742.246 with its freight towards Leopoldov wanted to be captured on chip just like the local schoolchildren.

I spent the evening at Trencín, still wanted to visit some spots. IC 504 "Rysy" to Bratislava passed with nice blue 350.004, this place should be visited again on a Sunday evening when two additional express trains are running in the best light. Almost all trains from Kosice were delayed 15 minutes that day, but R 612 took me in time to Bratislava for the last train towards Vienna, which itself departed 25 minutes delayed obviously waiting for some connection.
Due to a current track renewal program this S-curve will be history very soon.

On Sun, June 16 2013, I was up for a small evening excursion, where was I about to go? ;-)

Without any previous planning I was met at Bratislava Lamac by a parade of nostalgic specials from that day's steam shed festival. Out of the window of my connecting R 611 "Povazan" I managed to capture the returning steam train with 464.102 and 475.179 top & tail, as well as a photo freight hauled by T678.0012 and pushed by T458.1142, the first sadly was hidden behind a coal train with MÁV class V43, but a shot of the rear loco succeeded.

From the train I spotted the specials again near Raca steam shed museum, but I rather wanted to spend the time at the diesel triangle. It is really easily accessible from Vienna, practically the closest diesel line in Slovakia (apart from the dull one to Komárno), and one of the prettiest at that. The only drawback is the proximity of Leopoldov and Bohunice nuclear power plant, whoever is comfortable with that.

Until an hour before my arrival thunder clouds were forecast at Zbehy on WeatherPro which should dissolve instantly - and they did, my favourite app usually is right, everywhere in the world! :)
The Zbehy station master already knew me from the changing trains with Bardotkas-action three days earlier when I of course did take a few pics. I marched along the abandoned branch line to Radosina past the car of a couple of lovers who had been disturbed by the arrival of my railbus and now had given up all activities due to increase of passers-by. Then I followed the edge of a corn field up the embankment next to the line to Leopoldov where you could stand on the foundation of a torn-down road bridge. R 726 "Zobor" Prievidza - Bratislava was approaching and - Yeah! - chugged up the grade hauled again by blue 750.183! The backdrop is formed by the nice hill range next to Nitra.

Now 1 1/2 hours without trains were scheduled... but what was that? I heard typical Bardotka-like rumbling in the distance, it could not be, on a Sunday evening?

... but there it was, a long brown snake in the distance on the track triangle, shortly later the train rushed through the station without stop and 751.035 & .084 notched up under my nose following the express train!
To the left you can find the home signal on the abandoned line.

I waited on the hill for the next local from Leopoldov, then changed position for the Sunday evening meet of express trains shortly after 8 o'clock. Yet the home signal had been cleared too early for my taste - and really, another coal train, now from Leopoldov, rolled by. I used the opportunity for a semaphore signal silhouette panorama... what can you say - Go, Sunday evening! ;-)

Next R 727 "Zobor" from Bratislava was expected - however, the station was full of trains and the points operators could not keep up - so, I was rewarded with a closed home signal and a wonderful "photo" departure of 750.183 (livery probably does not matter at this point)! :)

Shortly afterwards 750.131 with its Sunday only R 1520 "Tribec" accelerated into the last evening light...
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