The International Steam Pages

Steam in Bosnia, 2011

Keith Chambers reports:

I managed a few days in the Tuzla area of Bosnia recently:

26th July - went to the headquarters of the Tuzla area Kreka mines. I was told by an employee there that permits were no longer issued centrally to photograph steam locomotives at mines and that I should ask for a permit at each mine from the mine manager. I then went to Dubrave mine where I was just in time to see an unidentified class 33 2-10-0 leave with a loaded train for Ljubace. This was at 12.15. (By a process of elimination this loco was probably 33-236.)

Then to Banovici where I went straight to the works for a permit (still 15 euros or 30 marks) which covers both entry to the works and to Oskova Washery. In the works 83-159 still undergoing an overhaul and the only loco in the works. Outside in the works yard were 83-158 and 55-99 clearly in working order although judging by the amount of vegetation growing around the wheels of the latter it had not moved for some weeks. Other steam locos dumped in the works yard were another 83 and some 25s.

Then to a small cafe called Pionirjs next to the level crossing and close to where 25-31 is stored at the end of a siding. (I recommend this friendly establishment - the best cevapi I tasted in Bosnia and only about 1). A 740 class diesel passed with empties from Oskova which is where I went next after a quick look in the signal box nearby. To get into the higher level at Oskava I did need the permit to get past security at the gate. There 25-30 was shunting loaded wagons through the washery. Then went to lower level but standard gauge shed was locked with 19-12 and 62-677 inside in working order but dead while OOU outside was 62-125. All shunting on s.g was performed by diesel 732-195. Another loaded train arrived behind a 740 on the n.g. and 25-30 took over and made a lot of noise pulling it into the washery.

27th July - went to Sikulje mine near Lukavac. To get there took the Tuzla - Lukavac road and at Lukavac drove through town and across level crossing then turned left at the end and followed the line on the north side. Kept following this road evetually passing exchange sidings (named Lukavac) and shortly afterwards mine signposted. Asked security at gate to see mine manager. I was told (I think) that I had to get a permit from Tuzla. A 33 class was visible in steam behind some wagons. After some time I crossed the line away from the mine and waited. Eventually 33-064 shunted past and one of the crew asked if I had a permit. I said no and offered him a beer. He replied that he would prefer money for beer so I obliged. He then shunted past a couple of times for me to photograph. He told me that there were four working locos and that two were in use each day. (This must be for all the Kreka mines.) He also said that his loco would be swapped later in the week. 33-064 then left for the exchange sidings with a loaded train at 13.15. It then left the exchange sidings at 13.40 with empties and on arrival shunted at the far end of the mine for about five minutes before disappearing from view. A view over this part of the mine is possible by following the road on the south side of the line after passing under the line. After some distance there is a track running between a fence and a field of maize which gives access to a fairly close view of proceedings.

After an unsuccessful wait at Dubrave went to Bukinje. The works and mine here can be found by taking the road out of Tuzla to the north of the railway line. Just before the large power station there is a level crossing where a branch runs northwards. This leads to Bukinje and by taking a road on the east side of this branch I soon arrived at the closed mine. The entrance to the works was locked and nobody seemed to be about but some locos were visible from the road.

28th July - To Bukinje again and this time the works was open so I parked and walked in. I asked for the manager and was taken into the works yard and asked to wait while they looked for him. Locos in the yard were 33-248, 62-123/368/76/637 and an unidentified 33. Then taken into workshops where I met the very friendly manager. He phoned Tuzla about a permit but said they could not issue one because they were busy and it involved a lot of paperwork. He said I was welcome to look around but could not take any photographs. Fortunately I had already taken some outside but was unable to photograph inside the workshops where he accompanied me. Under repair inside the works were 33-503 and 33-504. The 62 class are all in working order but the manager said there is no longer any work for them and he is hoping to find buyers for them.

Then to Sikulje again. As I crossed the level crossing in the centre of Lukavac at about midday a loaded coal train passed from the exchange sidings behind a Bosnian Railways diesel so I thought that I might have missed the working from the mine to the exchange sidings. However on arrival at the mine 33-064 waited at the head of a loaded train and at 13.15 left for the exchange sidings, handed its load over to another diesel and returned to the mine with empties at 13.35. possibly there had been two workings in quick succession.

Finally to Oskova where 25-30 was again the only working steam loco.

Conclusion - Three steam locos seem to be in use daily in the Tuzla area, at Oskova, Dubrave and Sikulje. Dubrave seems the least predictable. I waited a few times and only caught a brief view once. Situation regarding permits confused but they are not really needed at Sukilje or Dubrave. There does seem to be a working at Sikulje at just about 13.00 when looking at recent reports. Like others I would like to comment on how friendly and helpful staff were. I stayed at Pansion Kipova in Tuzla which was inexpensive, friendly and clean.

Inside the signal boz at Banovici town.

83.158 in the works yard at Banovici

25.30 shunting at Oskova washery.

33.064 at Sikulje colliery.

Redundnat 62s at Bukinje workshops

Rob Dickinson