The International Steam Pages

Case Notes - Steam in Turkey Part 16 (1986)

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 other tales in this series see:

46105 passes the Izmir signalbox passing over the crossings before arrival at Alsancak station. I farewelled the engine crew, they had really made the loco perform well and it was a real goer, not bad for the last survivor of this famous class.

Izmir depot was dilapidated, reminiscent of the sheds I was familiar with in Britain in 1967/8. There were disused 57 class and two G8s, only two engines were in steam 34054 (Nohab 1936) which was station pilot when we arrived. There was also an ex works real Middle Eastern 46241, supposedly it was returning to Bandirma, although when we visited there 46217 was pilot.

34054 on pilot duties at Alsancak station, later it took our train to Halkapinar Works..Amazingly steam engines were under overhaul, despite the supposed steam ban. The works manager told Dave he expected to overhaul 26 engines (in 1986), of classes Middle East, Krieg and Skoda built Standard 2-10-0s.! Of course Sivas works had been doing overhauls on the day it ceased to work on steam; so Izmir might have no notice of a similar decree.

The repair bays consisted of five cramped roads, a couple of diesels were in bits a Skoda, 56 121was nearly complete after an L2 overhaul. 46206 a Middle Eastern was stripped down to its frames whilst Krieg 56514 was beginning to be reassembled, its frames in the shed whilst its boiler was outside cooling after a steam test.
It was a change to have a night drinking in an outside bar. 46105 evidently made a rousing departure taking the train to Manisa, but I was in the land of nod.

At Alasehir G10 55013 was waiting to take the train to Usak, but first the load was reduced by detaching the dining car for the steeply graded line. Initially The G10 seemed to struggle with wheel slips and steam leaks. The crew were used to this and kept it plodding along all day. A series of excellent photoruns entertained those of us who were first time visitors to the line which featured high girder bridges.

A water stop was taken on a rock ledge, just before the second stretch of viaducts begin, I had a footplate ride in this sector that included tunnels and crossing viaducts that provided a memorable experience.

Going through tunnels it was uncomfortably hot, covering our faces with damp cloths, gave some relief. When the fireman had the firehole door open in a tunnel there seemed to be an echo from the chimney, certainly the old engine had a loud exhaust beat. The driver used full regulator, when the wheels slip he quickly closed it and then reopened it gradually after first closing it again. The boiler seemed lower set than on more modern engines and there was a better forward view than on most other engines I had ridden.

At Esme a big reception was waiting for us, complete with displays of locally made carpets, handicrafts and a dance display; it was local market day raising some interesting photo opportunities. The railway had been built by the French, prior to WW1 and it was part of the Greek controlled area prior to the Turks unifying the country.

The engine had been sending up so many cinders that the carriage floors were crunchy. Coaldust was in peoplesí hair on the seats, when the engine was in a tunnel the amount of sparks gave an idea of the rockets coming out of the chimney.

Approaching Usak the weather once more changed to overcast. Usak was a disappointment with only two engines in steam, one of which (56548) was for our tour. 
Only the pilot 55043 was actually needed; it was the time of year when steam working was reduced and locos sent to non-fire risk areas and exchanged for extra diesels; compounded by steam being in decline in this area.

The afternoon turned dark and we realized how lucky we had been to have had good weather in the morning. Krieg 56548 piloted the G10 back to Alasehir. 
That night at Alasehir I checked the loco servicing point where in addition to our two tour engines G10 55034 was also in steam; presumably it had been on pilot duty. A steam coal hoist was busy refuelling the locos, it was an incredible show to watch, with few lights to assist the hoist operator he was guided by the shouts from the crews to direct his grab above the tender. The hot fire of the crane can be seen on its floor, whilst flames (not sparks) shoot out of its chimney as it starts each new move, they subside to a cascade of sparks; whilst steam from the engines hangs in the black sky.

Back at the station I waited with others to see the arrival of the local mixed from Manisa and Izmir. We had been hoping for Middle Eastern (46241) we had seen the previous day. We got that right but the pilot was a surprise, Stephenson 46105 being a most unusual choice. The servicing point now had five locos of four different classes on it! Time for a beer.

The final day of the 1986 tour started out behind a Krieg to Soma, where Middle East 46226 took over for the run to Balikesir. The class had few survivors and this was one of two locos based at Soma for pilot duties.

46226 produced good stack talk and we enjoyed some quick running. 

At Balikesir steam locos were in store. Standard 56149 had been serviced for the tour and it was in fine form. I had a cab ride and enjoyed this free steaming engine; it was as pleasant to ride as others of the class. On the steep grades to Yerkoy there were a number of runpasts, then itís all over and a brisk run to meet the ferry.

The train was shunted to the dock by the Bandirma pilot, another Middle Eastern, 46217. We are able to step from our carriages to the ferry loading ramps for the journey to Istanbul where we arrived as the sun is setting behind the minarets. 

46217 survived to be used as a tour engine based at Malatya depot. August 1989 

This one is for Rob. 1989 and Turkish narrow gauge action!

This small Borsig tank was towing a standard gauge carriage that acted as a themed dining experience, seen near Sivas. 26/8/89.

This brings to an end the Turkish section.

Rob Dickinson