Provisional programme for April, or early May, 2023
In Jugoslavia we would concentrate upon Slovenia, if – and it is a big “if” – the Golsdorf 2-8-0 of Class 25, and the “06” 2-8-2, are still operational together with a “Kreiglok”. (In 2019 only the “25” was working, and it too will soon need attention to its boiler; the other two locos. were reportedly under repair, so hopefully 2022 will see them all back in action).
The scenic Bohinj railway, and the line starting from Celje, will claim our attention before we move on to Bosnia, hopefully to catch up with the “Kreigloks” working the Kreka Mine complex, with the 0-8-2 “83” narrow gauge engines at Banowice. On to Serbia, where we will visit some of the last remaining mine locations where Class “62” 0-6-0T’s (“USA Tanks”) still work, and the mountainous Mokra Gora tourist line, also worked by Class “83’s” -we just hope the weather will be kind for photography, as Mokra Gora means “wet mountain!”
In Bulgaria, One highlight of the trip will be the use of the narrow gauge 2-10-2 tank, 609.76, on the mountainous Septemvri system. (For modern traction adherents there are also the 1975 Henschel n.g. diesels still operating on that n.g. system, not to mention the ex-BR Class 87 electric locos. assuming that they remain at work in Bulgaria at the time of our visit.)
Another highlight will be 2-12-4 46.03 nicknamed “mother bear” because of its size, on the route Pernik – Guesevo. And the third of our special steam trains will be hauled by 4-8-2 03.12 on the route from Dimitrovgrad to Podkova.
If the Jugoslav portion is viable, we are planning to start the tour by flying into Trieste, Italy, before crossing the border into Slovenia. Our homeward flight will probably leave from Plovdiv. However, if it becomes a “Bulgaria-only” tour, we would fly into Plovdiv, and out of Sofia.
The tour price is likely to be around £1995, including return flights from London Stansted; and half-board (dinner, bed and breakfast) en-suite accommodation superior hotels in the hotels on a twin share basis. Single room supplement £200. The tour will be fully escorted throughout. These prices should reduce, and the tour become a few days shorter, if we go only to Bulgaria.
Please keep an eye on these pages which will be updated as news comes in. We are aware that a German group is hoping to visit Bulgaria in October 2022 and we wish them well, and will no doubt learn from their experiences.
All images except the diesel which is courtesy James Waite, are still frames from video material shot on the 2011 tour (Bulgaria) and Jugoslavia (2007).