The International Steam Pages

Serbian Steam Tour 1998

Keith Chester has now sent a report of this tour which he helped to organise:

The first organised tour of steam locations in Serbia took place from May 20th to May 23rd. Apart from a few teething troubles, recognised on all sides, the tour was a great success and bodes well for the future.  Some pictures from the tour appear on the main Serbian Page.

May 20th

KOSTOLAC : The situation here was the same as in February, with no. 12 working, one loco in steam and being used for heating purposes and two cold. No. 10 is still away at Zrenjanin for repair.
POZAREVAC : 83-029 is plinthed here in poor condition.
"ZELVOZ"; SMEDEREVO : This wagon repair works has three class 62: 62-365 in steam; 62-073 & 62-107 OOU; the former is serviceable. The former works shunter, ex JZ 2-4-2T no. 16-018, is plinthed near the works entrance.

May 21st

The group was to have ridden a steam special from Belgrade to Novi Sad worked by 2-6-2 no. 01-088, but due to time (and other) considerations, this was not done. The special was, however, photographed en route.
INDUSTRIJA KABLOVA, JAGODINA : Again, basically the same situation as in February, with 62-364 working trains and 62-377 & 62-642 cold inside the depot. For the group, the loco ran chimney first (normally it is bunker first), and pushed the train from the cable works to Jagodina and hauled it back (the reverse of the normal procedure). On the outward journey, three runpasts were organised.
CUPRIJA SUGAR FACTORY : Here can be found 62-321 and an O&K 0-4-0T numbered 48-85, which might be O&K 4885/1912. Both were used in the previous sugar campaign and will presumably be used again this coming autumn. The locos were hauled out of the shed for photography.
RESAVICA COALMINE : The two ex Hungarian 0-6-0s, nos. 120-019 and 126-014, remain here. Sadly it did not prove possible to have one in steam for this tour, but unlike previous visits (in February we were thrown off the site!!) there was full freedom to photograph these venerable machines, both of which were individually put onto the turntable for photography.

May 22nd

KOLUBARA (VREOCI) : 62-635 & 62-643 were shunting the standard gauge sidings; at one point it proved possible to organise a double-headed working with them both. Unfortunately it had not proved possible to steam one of the two 900mm Decauville 0-6-0Ts, nos. "53-017" & 53-029. An examination of "53-017" revealed that this loco consisted of the boiler and cab of 53-017 on the frames of 53-023; the remains of 53-017 were also to be seen. This new "hybrid" is the serviceable loco and is due to be used in June on pw duties.
CACAK : 61-023 was in steam and performed runpasts at the station.
LUCANI : A special train consisting of fireless 0-6-0F no. LBV-001 and two four wheel coaches was organised along the short branch connecting the works at Lucani with Dragecevo on the JZ Cacak to Uzice mainline. Several runpasts were also organised.
POZEGA RAILWAY MUSEUM : Our visit revealed no changes since February.

May 23rd

MOKRA GORA - SARGAN : The final day of our visit was devoted to looking at the work in progress on this preservation scheme, which promises to be one of the most ambitious and spectacular in Europe. There is clearly a great deal of government support for the project and work on the restoration of Mokra Gora staion was well advanced. It is being done professionally. Most of the trackbed has already been cleared and, apart from one bridge and a small section of one tunnel, there is little work to be done on the engineering side; sufficient rail has already been obtained and it is hoped to lay track over a short section to allow some running this year, possibly using 82-007 from Pozega. Locos and rolling stock are being collected from all over Serbia. It is planned to commence running over the full 15km section within two years, a not entirely unrealistic ambition.

This tour needs to be put into context. For those of you not familiar with the Jugoslavia of old, it needs to be said that this was the most difficult country in Europe for photography; often just being near a factory was sufficient to attract the attention of the authorities. Now, for the first time in well over twenty years it is possible to arrange organised tours to both the state system and industrial railways with the full co-operation of the authorities and with full photographic freedom. There is a great willingness to make this happen. BUT turning up at these locations and waving a camera around with any prior permission is still likely to invite trouble and may well put an end to any kind of future visits; getting the permission for my February visit and for this tour involved a great deal of hard work and negotiation by a small number of dedicated enthusiasts in Serbia. This is not a sales pitch, but the reality. However, tours can be arranged for individuals, for small and large groups, to all the industrial locations mentioned above. Additionally, steam specials using the JZ's three museum locos (2-6-2 no. 01-088, 2-10-0 no. 33-087 & 2-6-2T no. 51-052) can also be arranged.
If interested, then please contact:
Keith Chester
Kornhäuselgasse 9/8/22
A-1200 WIEN

Rob Dickinson