The International Steam Pages

Case Notes - Steam in Turkey Part 11 (1986/1989)

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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September 1986, 45049 and 45017 in steam at Eregli. 45001 was outside the shed and waiting overhaul at the rear was 45009.

I visited Turkey again in 1986 and 1989 joining David Thornhillís Skyliner tours, the perfect way for a solo traveller to enjoy Turkish steam and avoid driving, thanks David! In 1986 there were still pockets of steam in regular use and the tour used such locomotives. By 1989 tours were using a few locomotives that had a temporary reprieve for such duties, there was almost no regular steam duties. Eregli remained one of the few locations still using steam. The line ran alongside the Black Sea coast to Armutcuk. As the line was isolated from the rest of the system locomotives were taken in and out by ferry, when there was a King Tide. 

G8.2 45017 works the afternoon mixed from Eregli, which was composed of 4 wheel carriages together with empty bogie hoppers. I had imagined that because the line ran besides the Black Sea, it would be flat, instead there were some gradients to test the locomotive.

At Armutcuk I watched the locomotive shunt a few wagons at the mine and stage a false arrival out of the tunnel, the crew attempting to suffocate themselves in a cloud of clag. I was the only fan using video although a French fan was using a 16mm film camera. We re-visited the line in 1989, as steam remained in use, a few more fans were using video whilst Nick Lera who joined us for a few days had the use of his BBC camera.

Departure back to Eregli, mine workers gaze at the fans. September 1986.

G8 44059 dumped at Catalgazi depot (Zonguldak) 18th August 1989 

Cab riding Middle Eastern 46223 out of Zonguldak, 19th August 1989 

In 1989 the tour started out from Zonguldak, my first ride on the locomotive was on the coastal stretch from Zonguldak to Hisaronu. The line was built along the Black Sea coast and featured a series of short tunnels, making great video action!

Kirikkale located on the mainline to Sivas was where in 1986 the last operational S160 (Lima 1943) was waiting for us. The locomotive had been sold to the MKE munitions plant, and re numbered 45001. It took us on a tour of the plant, shunting a motley collection of carriages around the factory line. 

A number of Skyliner 2-10-0 were still in regular service in 1986 and we used a couple for the Ankara to Sivas section. By 1989 only one was in working order and reserved for tour work. I had the opportunity on both tours for lengthy cab rides, especially when running at night when most other fans were drinking warm Turkish beer. Instead I enjoyed the hospitality of the crews sipping hot black tea as we thundered through the night. It was claimed by fans that Skyliners were the loudest locomotives in Turkey, I donít dispute this. Riding a hardworking steam locomotive at night is special, in a Skyliner the cab noise was added to by the mechanical stoker. It could be nerve wracking when red hot fire irons were extracted after fire cleaning on the run to be swung back onto the tender, glowing red-hot and radiating heat!

En route to Kayseri, 20th August 1989 

This is a flashback to a previous tour 56358 on rail tour duty heading out of Irmak, 12th October 1984.  

By 1989 the only operational Skyliner was 56359, seen en route from Karabuk to Irmak, 19th August 1989 

Rob Dickinson