Delayed because of Covid, and also because of rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia, this tour of two neighbouring countries is designed to appeal to those wishing to travel by vintage “modern traction” to visit as many depots as possible in a short space of time.
In Romania our transport will be by a “78” Class diesel railcar unit – built by Malaxa between 1939 and 1954; and in the Ukraine, by a “D1” Class diesel unit, built in Hungary by Ganz-MAVAG between 1960 and 1980.
Our provisional itinerary has been drafted on the principle that airline and international rail schedules will be similar in 2023 to those which operated prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic – indeed it assumes that the Budget Airlines remain in business, which is by no means a certainty! It uses Wizzair flights from and to Luton, but doubtless flights from other UK airports will be possible, and in any case the tour can be purchased “land-only” i.e. without the flights from and to the UK; and indeed a “Romania-only” and a “Ukraine-only” package will also be made available.
To look after the interests of steam enthusiasts, an extension is offered in the Ukraine – there will be a visit to the Children’s Railway in Kiev, and a tram charter in Lwow, but the main objective is to travel on the narrow-gauge steam railway based on Haivoron; followed by a charter with a “Su” 2-6-2 on the very scenic Racov branch. Afterwards we will cross the border into Romania again, for trips on the n.g. steam forestry railways at Moldovita and Viseu de Sus, before returning overnight to Bucharest and our Wizzair flight back to Luton.
Precise dates have not yet been fixed, but we will be aiming for April/May – perhaps over a public holiday, to reduce the number of days’ leave needed by working folks. The following day-by-day programme is therefore definitely to be regarded as “work in progress”.
Day 1 Evening departure from Luton to Constanta, and overnight Hotel Ibis or similar.
Day 2 Touring Romania with “78” diesel railcar, with depot visits.
Day 3 As above
Day 4 As above, ending up in Bucharest, for evening flight to Luton. Or, for those continuing to Ukraine, overnight Hotel Ibis, Bucharest.
Day 5 Participants taking “Ukraine-only” tour depart Luton by morning flight to Kiev, arriving lunchtime, and overnight in Kiev. Those already in Romania take a morning train – Tr. 380/118 – with sleeping cars – takes us from Bucharest across Romania and the Ukraine to Kiev, arriving……
Day 6 …..08.08. Touring Ukraine with “D1” railcar unit based kin Korolevo, one of the D1’s home depots, with depot visits.
Day 7 As above…
Day 8 ….end up in Khrystinivka, another of the D1’s home depots. To Kiev, for lunchtime flight to Luton; or continue (Days 8 & 9) for visit to Kiev Children’s Railway, and some “Classic Traction” and continue by service train to Lwow for a tram charter, and overnight.
Day 10 Transfer to airport for late morning flight to Luton.
Day 9 Transfer to Haivoron for day on n.g. steam (GR-280) and return to Kiev for overnight.
Day 10 by service train to Lwow, and on to Ivano Frankovsk for overnight.
Day 11 Charter with “Su” 2-6-2 Ivano Frankovsk – Rachov with photo run-pasts. Transfer across border to Viseu de Sus, Romania, for dinner and overnight Hotel Gabriela or similar.
Day 12 Day on the Viseu de Sus n.g. steam forestry railway. In the evening, transfer to Moldovita for dinner and overnight.
Day 13 Day on the Moldovita n.g. steam forestry railway. In evening, transfer to Suceava for dinner, then board overnight couchette train to Bucuresti Nord…..
Day 14 …..arriving early morning, and transfer to airport for mid-morning flight to Luton arriving early afternoon.