The International Steam Pages

Case Notes - Steam in Turkey 1984, Part 6
Ulukisla - Kayseri - Sivas

Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.

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As with the previous tale, there are pictures of this section from 1984 and 1989 tours. 

On 8th October 1984, there were distractions on hand at Ulukisla station in the form a beer garden, but I had decided to clamber through the crowded yard to photograph the pilot on its service point; what I found was two ex-works steam locomotives returning to their home depots. 4-8-0 46011 (below) for Mersin and Krieg 2-10-0 56516 for Balikesir. More surprising, was that they had double headed in on a freight from Sivas, wouldn’t that have been a sight!

Skyliner 56360 was the locomotive for the next sector to Kayseri. 

The first photo-stop was not far out from the station, in a rush I did not check to see I had my spare film and was caught short possibly missing THE shot of the tour with the Skyliner leaning on a curb with mountains looking grey and pink in the background, to add salt to the wound they immediately backed up the train and did a second run past. …ah well the two that got away! 

Skyliner 56360 performs the early part of the first run-past out of Ulukisla.

By way of variation, 5th September 1989 saw 46052 departing Ulukisla taking the line to Kayseri. The line in the foreground leads to Konya.

We had several other photo stops with 56360, before getting down to the serious business of the night run.

Skyliners are incredibly dirty throwing up a lot of semi burnt coal that showers back on the carriages, so windows are only cracked open and even then corridors have a layer of ash. The fireworks display from the chimney against the night sky was impressive and the train rocketed along behind this stoker fed brute. Going to dinner we crunched down the corridor over coal particles. The dining car was stifling, the crew insisting windows stay closed for a change and who could blame them!

Night runs behind steam were a wonderful experience, especially on the footplate. In 1989 World Steam ran a railfan/tourist tour called the “Anatolia Express” which 56359 is seen heading between Yerkoy and Kayseri on 28th August..

Kayseri was reached predictably late the haulage fans had been promised a shunt with one of the S160 pilots. I watched 45172 shunting a rake of wagons in the yard, billowing white steam in the cold night air.

On 9th October 1984 we travelled on the Sivas – Samsun section. I woke to find us stood at Kalin (the junction for the Samsun line) where 56360 waits for to cross the passenger train to Ankara.

Evidently we had stood at a loop for hours late in the night forgotten by the operating people. Tour organizer Dave Thornhill was further put out when told the expected G8.2 was being held at Sivas and the train would have to run in there and then return via Kalin. Our planned 01.00 departure from Kalin to reach Samsun for 14.00 (to enable fans to ride the 15.00 to Carsamba) was well out of reach, but the photographers had an excellent day.

Not far out of Kalin we met the Sivas - Samsun pass at Yapi; it shot out of the long loop behind G8.2 45041 as our tour train braked to a stop. 

Sivas yard pilot was G8 44058, I wondered at the time if it was a visiting locomotive, but it had recently been transferred, replacing one of the 8Fs. Our tour locomotive 45058 was a freshly painted G8.2, it looked resplendent compared with its drab brethren. The photography opened up with a double run past on the mainline prior to Kalin over a river bridge. From Kalin the line runs through a beautiful river valley, with a series of cliff faces alongside, supposedly early Christians had cloistered themselves away in caves. 

After leaving the river valley the line began a rapid descent twisting down the valley through a series of tunnels.I was able to ride the locomotive several times during the day and appreciated the welcome from the enthusiastic crew who were to have a long day working through to Samsun. A train guard watches proceedings during a water stop as the locomotive crew pose for me.

The train is pushed back prior to a photo runpast.

Heading towards one of the tunnels that are a feature of the line.

Zile servicing point.

All freight on the Sivas to Zile sector was rostered for diesel, steam worked the passenger trains through to Samsun. We were therefore surprised to find 56134 a Standard 2-10-0 on the small shed. The locomotive was allocated to Erzurum and was possibly doing a running in turn ex-works. Zile also had a couple of G8.2s being prepared for an evening freight turn and a steam coal grab was also in steam. 

I had another cab ride out from Zile, departure was at 17.00. The line begins to climb once more, as darkness fell we were running alongside rocky outcrops with a surging river visible below the line. There was some terrific upgrade work with the locomotive working hard.

We finally reached Samsun around 1 am. This was one of the few towns where we had a hotel booked, my room was up several flights of stairs well away from the road noise below, excellent sleep at last. A few hours later I was rudely woken by the call to prayer, opening the curtains I found my room was opposite the Mosque’s minaret and loud speaker!

Rob Dickinson