The International Steam Pages

Case Notes - Steam in Turkey 1984, Part 8

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.

Click here for the Case Notes Index.

For earlier tales in this series see:

An early visit to the shed and works was on the agenda for 11th October 1984. TCDD insisted we not walk across the lines and organized a one coach special using our tour locomotive and the dining car. Instead of a short walk some complex shunts were needed. Anyone who travelled by rail in Turkey would understand that organized shunting was not a TCDD strongpoint! Our G8.2 and its crew were harried by the shunters shouting conflicting orders. The train was pushed through the near empty shed, the only time I’ve done a shed bash that way! We had to remain on board the dining car as it was turned, resulting in another first, breakfast on a turntable!

After over protecting us we were finally free to wander around unsupervised. Steam was at a low ebb as relatively new diesels were in abundance. In steam at the front of the shed was 56120 a Standard 2-10-0. Standing alone was a tank loco which had once been a pilot, it was preserved and placed on display at Sivas station where I saw it in 1989.

Inside the shed were two locomotives in steam another Standard 2-10-0 56163 and a Stanier 8F 45170. This was the last of the 8Fs here available for work, the others were dumped. Their replacement were older G8 0-8-0s still being used for pilot and line duties.

The shed dump contained a fascinating mixture, two more 8Fs 45155 and 45166 keeping company with 2-6-0 34057 (Henschel 1933). Other locos included what was possibly the last remaining Prussian 4-6-4T in Turkey, 3706 and Turkey’s homebuilt and last Standard class 56202 “Bozkurt”. The rest of the dump consisted mostly of Skyliners and G8.2s. 

Sivas Works

Skyliner 56340 and Kriegslok 56532 were being steamed up after overhauls.

We had freedom to photograph anything outside the shops, but not the interiors. Highlights included: - Skyliner 56340 and Kriegslok 56532 being steamed up after overhauls. The Skyliner was from Kayseri depot, the Krieg was unpainted and still had chalk messages on various parts of its sojourn in the works. Another steam locomotive active in this area of the works was pilot G8 44059.

Inside the Works Krieg 56533 was nearing completion together with a Skyliner and Henschel 2-8-2 46053, yes they were still being overhauled, despite the new diesels at Konya. Unfortunately I was later to discover that many locos were returned to depots only to be dumped on arrival as surplus. We were taken through 5 shops and amongst the more interesting locomotives under overhaul were Middle East 46217 and G8 44002. It was with some reluctance that our guide permitted us to go through the boiler shops with the huge blast furnace in operation. The works had the ability to make new boilers, or conduct heavy repairs, the noise was incredible and at times the heat was extreme. Quite an experience, but I was glad I did not have to work in such conditions.

Awaiting overhaul were Standard 2-10-0s, surprises included Stephenson 46102 a 2-8-2 from Izmir and S160 45183. Prior to entering the shops locomotives were stripped and boilers and frames separated. Overhauled boilers were not necessarily matched to the locomotive they were taken from. Most locomotives were reassembled from huge kits and parts swapped as needed.

Last port of call was the works scrapyard, the guards here have towers that overlook the compound and carry guns. A guard yelled at us to halt, our Turkish Railways manager’s outraged protest did not impress the guard who phoned for instructions prior to letting us proceed.

Some locomotives had been cannibalized, or partly dismantled and rejected for overhaul. Others had been cut up as piles of scrap attested. Amidst the condemned locomotives were some marked for the museum, but what were they doing amidst lines of locomotives awaiting the blow torch?

The majority of locos here were Skyliners including:- 56339 and 56368 stripped of their outer boiler casing and ready for scrapping. Standard class included 56127 and 56156, two of the post war batch, whilst one of the last built Turkish improved Standard 56201 was also here. Locomotives marked for the museum included 0-6-0T tank 3321 and the large Henschel tank 2-10-2T 5701 built in 1951 for banking duties and Taurus veteran 3 cylinder German 44 class, 56712 (built in France).

Back at the station and our Skyliner 56356, that we had seen earlier arriving behind a diesel on a freight from Kayseri was now ready to depart although we had to wait several hours to gain a line clearance.

The first stop was in the Kalin area using the same bridge we had photographed a few days previously when we travelled to Samsun, again a double runpast was operated. Once on the mainline we had another couple of runpasts with the river in view, before we settled into the afternoon running. 

The countryside now offered large vistas where wheat farming was the norm, rather than the wild and barren areas I had grown used to. We did have a couple of other runpasts in late afternoon light but the three coach train looked lost in the vast expanse of the plains.

I had my first ride on a Skyliner, we had been warned these were dangerous locomotives with no cab grab rails and no protection between the locomotive and tender as they were stoker fired; and the fireman was using his seat for a change! It was a rough ride as the locomotive pounded along. I think this was because the locomotive was running fast and possibly would be more suited to steady slogging on a heavy load.

Back in the train I returned to the restaurant car for a drink, but it was ferociously hot as the crew refused to allow the windows to be opened as the locomotive showered the train with unburnt coal. The corridors and compartments became liberally coated in cinders, Skyliners were known as the dirtiest locomotives on TCDD! The best place to ride in these circumstances was by the open doors of the fourgon, with a cool breeze to savour as the Skyliner made it sound like it was hauling a heavy load, rather than the feather weight train it had in tow.

Kayseri was reached after dark, I was intrigued to find how many locomotives remained in use here, it certainly gave the impression of having more line work than had been reported. I joined the group walking to the shed in the dark. It turned out there were few active locomotives, the diesel foreman spoke some English and explained they used them as a second locomotive if required, only one Skyliner was in steam. Our own locomotive reached the depot and was coaled and watered for the run to Irmak. Four S160s were in steam, they were the yard pilots based here.

Back at the station a couple of S160s were busy on the shunt and sending up plumes of white steam into the night sky. It was a cold night and I settled in my bunk for an overnight journey behind steam to Irmak.

Rob Dickinson