The International Steam Pages

Steam in Kosovo, 2003

Mark Blount-Stonham is working in Kosovo and has been to Obliq:

I visited Obiliq on 10 June 2003, and found that there are still 3 locomotives based here. I saw 62-670, 62-676 and 62-636, although only 62-670 was in use on this day. 62-676 was idle, and 62-636 was under repair in the shed. Talking with the guys that worked there, the engines are apparently of Croatian origin and are 51 years old. They were originally brought down carrying material for the construction of Obiliq A power station, where they are still working. They go no further than the vicinity of the 2 nearby power stations, where their duties are limited to shunting trucks full of lignite from the adjacent mine around, apparently ready for export to nearby Macedonia and elsewhere. The romance of steam is apparently lost on the people who work on these engines, as they said that they would love to replace them with diesels, as these are more modern, but they do not have the money. They say that the steam engines are cheap to run as all they have to do is put in lignite and water to make them run, both of which are effectively free to the power station! There appears to be a group of around 10 men operating and maintaining the locos, and apparently their main problem is obtaining spares. They have a fairly sparse workshop where they have to fabricate most of those that are required, and given what I saw, I would say that it's a miracle that these engines are still working. The men were all very friendly, and took us for a ride on 62-670 to the power station and back. These engines appear to be identical to the ones mentioned in reports on Bosnia to be found elsewhere on this site, and were described by the men as "very strong", each apparently being able to pull 1200 tonnes in total. There is a fourth locomotive belonging to this set-up that was sent to Belgrade for refurbishment just before the war, but this has yet to be returned. I was told that it had in fact been refurbished and that negotiations were underway to try and secure its return. If anyone wishes to secure these locomotives, I was told that they would probably accept payment of 2 working diesel locomotives!



Earlier Roland Beier reported (January 2002):

"The only location where active steam can be found in Kosovo is the coal mine of Obiliq (Serbian: Obilic) 10 km northwest of Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo. This is a big opencast mine which serves the nearby power station via conveyor belts. Adjacent to the power station there is also a coal processing plant where coal is loaded onto railway wagons for shipment within Kosovo. This is where the steam loco is used every day. The loco shunts the yard there and occasionally works into Obiliq station. The shed can be found south of the power station outside the security fence and access is easy. During a visit on 4 December staff were friendly and the shed foreman took me to the coal processing plant to see and photograph 62-676, I also got a free ride. The loco handles just 10-15 wagons a day. At 12.30 the loco returned to the shed for servicing, at 14.00 there was shift change. Inside the shed were 62-636 and 62-670 both cold but looked serviceable."

"I visited Obiliq a second time on 16th January 2002. This time 62-670 was active, in the morning the loco shunted at Kosova-B power station north of Obiliq railway station. They had some oil tankers there. At noon the loco returned to Kosova-A power station (south of Obiliq railway station) and continued to the shed for servicing. In the afternoon 62-670 shunted the coal loading point at Kosova-A. 62-676 and 62-636 where dead on shed. "


Rob Dickinson