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RTC Slovenia, Italy and the Dolomites Steam Express

Discussion in 'International Heritage Railways/Tramways' started by Paul42, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 2 Slovenia

    After a flight the previous day to Ljubljana and the first of two nights in Kranjska Gora (a place when I last visited was part of Yugoslavia) a coach took us to Jesenice to join our steam hauled train through the Julian Alps to Nova Gorica. 33037 a class 33 2-10-0 and 8nr 4 wheeled coaches (all different types) awaited us. Our group had a whole coach to ourselves which was at the rear of the time for the mostly downhill run on a single-track line to Nova Orica. We left on time at 8.58 and stopped at many stations to pass service trains including a half hour stop of Most an Soci, where there was the opportunity to photograph the loco and/or visit the station café/bar for refreshments (there was bar car on board but with limited refreshments), while we awaited the car transporter train to arrive from the other direction and pass us. After a journey through the lovely Julian Alps and following the Soda river at times we arrived at Nova Gorica on time just before 12pm.

    After the other groups had left we departed southwards including some rare track to a station closed to passengers called Vrtojba which is just before the line crosses into Italy. Note Only freight uses the later part of this route, and this was an extra to what had been planned and advertised. Our loco ran round and we had three run pasts, before heading back to Nova Gorica and on to our restaurant for lunch.

    Our coach had been removed from the train because an axle was running hot, so we moved to the next carriage which had been used by a party travelling one way for the return. We were now the coach next to the loco for the mostly uphill climb back to Jesenice and left on time at 16.45pm. It was far more noticeable for the return that the coaches had only 4 wheels! The Gricers on board had the windows down or were standing on the balconies to fully appreciate the loco. We stopped at Bohinjska Bistricia on the return, where refreshments were available even though it was nearly half past six. The last hour was in the dark and we arrived on time just before 8pm.

    Footplate rides were available between stations.

    Day 3 Slovenia

    After a morning and lunch in Bled we headed by coach to Slovenian Railway Museum Ljubljana.

    We had the unusual experience of travelling in a standard gauge open coach hauled by a narrow-gauge loco on the short section of dual gauged track the museum has. At the same time locos from were pulled out the semi roundhouse by a tractor and turned 360 degrees to enable us to more easily photograph them and the manager told us about them. We then visited then rest of the museum before heading for our hotel in Ljubljana.

    Day 4 Slovenia

    Today we departed Ljubljana behind 06-018 (on its last run before withdrawal), hauling a 4-coach train entirely for our group, by along a single-track branch line to Trebnje. Footplate rides were again available between stations. While the countryside is not as attractive as the Julian Alp, there was less lineside vegetation. We made a couple of short stops to pass service trains and could get off our train and take photographs. On arrival at Trebnje we had a couple of run pasts, after two service trains had passed. After lunch we headed towards Sevnica where we joined the Ljubljana to Zagreb mainline. Our loco ran route and we headed tender first back to Ljubljana along the mainline. Just prior to the next station we were entered a loop and our loco was turned on the nearby triangle. Shortly afterwards we were looped to let numerous service trains pass us and arrived about 45 minutes late at Ljubljana and departed by coach to Trieste where we managed to arrive on time due to cutting out a stop on route.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  2. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 5 Italy

    The original plan was for a vintage tram ride from Trieste Piazza Oberland to the Villa Optician tram deport but the line has not yet reopened after a head on collision, but we still visited the tram depot as planned. There was an optional visit at no additional charge to Miramere Castle in the afternoon, to make up for there being no tram ride, although some people chose to track bash instead,

    Day 6 Italy

    We departed Trieste behind an Austrian built 2-8-0 728-022 tender first of a train consisting of 2 carriages and van, of what turned out to be very noisy hour and half non-stop run to Udine via Palma nova. I am surprised we ran non stop since the maximum speed was only 40mph. The original plan was via Gorizia but a suitable path could not be found, but those who wanted to could travel along this section of track could do so via service trains at no additional cost, after our arrival at Udine.

    Day 7 Italy We departed Udine behind Austrian built 2-8-0 728-022 this time smokebox first with the same 2 carriages and van, heading for Treviso. We had 2 or 3 stops in stations for pathing and/or water on route, all in stations. At one pathing stop we had a couple of run pasts, while at the water stop a about half our group headed for the station bar/café. We arrived about an hour late at Treviso. A member of our group said there was no allowance for the run pasts in the timings and the water stop took longer than allowed.

    Day 8 We departed Treviso behind an Italian built 740 Class 2-8-0 No. 740-293 steam locomotive again hauling 2 carriages but with a different van towards Conegliano where we stopped for a pathing stop and an opportunity to photograph the loco, Once the service train arrived wee left and joined the single-track line which the climbs up to Ponte nelle Alpi-Polpet in the Piave valley on the eastern edge of the Dolomites. We stopped at two stations (one of which is closed) for run pasts and arrived about half an hour late (Apparently there was no allowance in the timings for the run pasts). We were then expecting the loco to run around and head tender first to Collazo but a diesel was attached to the train and pulled us the rest of the way to Collazo where we arrived on time. We later learned that the crews were not prepared to go tender first for the climb to Collazo due to the gradient. The upper part of the Piave valley is very scenic.

    After nearly a 4-hour break (which we tried to get shortened, but an earlier path was not available) we departed steam hauled smoke box first with the diesel switched off. At Ponte Nelle Alpi-Polpet we departed from the outwood route and headed towards Belluno and back to Treviso. Due to the number of services on this section we had to wait at a couple of stations , where service trains would path us in both directions. At one station our train was invaded by a class of school children, who we had difficulty getting out. Apparently one of the class was told of the train by his father a railway worker, he told the rest of the class. Steam hauled trains are rare on this line.

    On the final leg of the journey we came to a stand at a red signal on a single-track section, and learned that a lorry had hit a level crossing barrier in Treviso and they were waiting for the police to arrive. We arrived back at Treviso about 40 minutes late, which was a lot better than we were expecting.

    Day 9 Free Day - We could either go to Venice or the option of a Paddle Steamer ride on Lake Garda at additional cost.

    Day 10 We departed Treviso behind an Italian built 740 Class 2-8-0 No. 740-293 steam locomotive heading to Castelfranco Veneto before taking a single-track line inland towards Trento. A truck had been added to our train and it contained the unused coal being taken back to Verona where the loco is based. We seemed to lose our path early on and were running about 30 minutes late by the time we reached Bassano.

    On the approach to Primolana I spotted a steam loco in an engine shed, and on arrival there the group restoring her was on the platform had a small stand. After photographing the loco taking water from the water column between the running lines. We asked if we could visit the shed and headed off behind a member of the group to it. See http://www.national-preservation.com/threads/società-veneta-ferrovie.960815/ Note Our visit is detailed on page 2.

    By the time we left we were over an hour late, the line continued to climb (we eventually climbed 1400ft since Treviso) and despite the light rain we had a very enjoyable ride to Trento. A revised departure time us required, unfortunately, the earliest departure time on this very busy section of railway was 15.15 which would 155 minutes late. We came to a stand outside Verona, where we were further delayed by about half an hour (We later discovered that all services in and out of Verona were subject to a delay of 15 – 20 minutes).

    We arrived in Verona just over three hours late, which was very frustrating since we hoped to have some time for sighting seeing before the meal, but there was only an hour and a half once we had checked in before our meal. I needed a thorough wash before the meal, since I had acquired a grey complexion. Note: We were partly responsible for part of the delay, approx. 30 minutes, due to the shed visit at Primolana .

    The delays were quickly forgotten at an enjoyable farewell dinner.

    Day 11 Lovely sunny morning for sightseeing in Verona before our early afternoon flight home.


    Summary : -

    A very enjoyable trip with the right mix of travelling behind and/or photographing steam and sightseeing. It was nice that all but 2 of the stops for water and/ or pathing were in stations that usually had a Bar/Café.

    Photos to follow.
     
  3. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 2
    2017-09-23 020a (1024x683).jpg Day 1
    Most na Soci


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    Vrtojb
     
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  4. RayMason

    RayMason Member

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    Travelling on the Italian part of the tour was very enjoyed and the above report is excellent- I’ve added part of it to my notes!good to meet Paul o the trip.
    Using a tour to add track bashing etc was especially useful
    The service Udine to Villach needs its own article whilst a return trip to Innsbruck from Verona was memorable.
    Italian p s can be elusive and none more than Italia but we managed a half day trip on the Italia.
    Nigel was with us and the tour managers were excellent as were the Italian crews.
    A young guard was hyper keen and provided much needed updates to steam loco disposition and use— valuable in planning further Italian steam trips!
    Many lines in Italy have only had a RTC special hauled by steam in the last 20 yrs and there is no tradition of multi day trips— normally there are day outs from near the loco base( frequently diesel hauled or assisted)
    The coaches used were wooden seated high density and in good external condition
    Ray Mason
     
  5. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    Glad you enjoyed it and the photos are great, many thanks for posting them. Steam tours are becoming more popular in Italy and frequently sell out well in advance. The plus points are that they are aimed at families and groups which makes taking the wife along less stressful... Usually there is a good long break for lunch, we are in Italy after all!
    The traditional preserved steam railway operated by volunteers is still a bit away yet but there are high hopes. There is no real shortage of locos to restore but local interests can be quite complex to overcome.
     
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  6. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 3 Slovenian Railway Museum Ljubljana. The first picture is in the works section of the roundhouse not normally open to the public. We were escorted by the manager.
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  7. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    He was very helpful and friendly. While we were outside Verona, and one of the women was getting agitated by the delay, he called control to find out when we would be moving. He was told after the next train had left, which was indeed the case.
    He also provided the timings each day to at least one of our party. A number of us shook his hand and thanked him on the platform at Verona.
     
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  8. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 4 Ljubljana
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    Sevnica
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  9. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 5
    2017-09-26 017 (1024x759).jpg 2017-09-26 025 (683x1024).jpg
     
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  10. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 6 Trieste Centrale - prior to our non-stop run to Udine
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  11. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 7
    Casarsa - Pathing stop with run pasts.
    2017-09-28 033 (1024x683).jpg 2017-09-28 008 (1024x683).jpg

    Sacile - I went to the station bar/cafe for a beer after taking this shot.
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  12. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 8 Part 1 Janez one of our tour managers speaking to the crews at Vittori0 Veneto, run past at closed station called Nove and Lago di Santa Croce ( taken fron the train).
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  13. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 8 Part 2 Calalzo[
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  14. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 8 Part 3
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  15. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Day 10 Bassano de Grappa
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    Primolana
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  16. Fenway

    Fenway New Member

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  17. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    These European tours that RTC either organise themselves or take space on those run by other companies are well worth trying. The atmosphere on board is great, no one gets to bothered about late running and plenty of alcohol is consumed.
    Thanks for your excellent write up and photos Paul and also your additional comments Ray.
     

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