The International Steam Pages

Steam in Turkey September 1999

Christoph Oboth reports on his visit.

In 1999 it is still possible to run steam specials on TCDD-lines - although it becomes more and more difficult. There are three major problems:

1. most locos are in a terrible condition
2. the water facilities are almost gone
3. due to closures of stations, it takes lots of time for crossings. Nevertheless, in September 1999 there was a photo-special organized by Dietmar Kramer running from the Black Sea coast to Egridir.

September 18th

Skyliner 56.359 did some morning- runs at the seaside close to Hisarönü. Later tender first from Hisarönü to Caycuma, in the afternoon back to Hisarönü - Catalagzi (chasing by bus) and Zonguldak. Fortunately, 56.359 is in a nearly perfect condition and had no problems with the train consisting of 10 freight cars.

September 19th

56.359 Zonguldak - Hisarönü (chasing by bus) - Caycuma towards Karabük.Unfortunately bad weather at the seaside, but clearing up later. Taking water was by local fire brigades only, which took much more time than expected. Two stations before Karabük, our train was parked on a siding for several crossings. Due to the disappearing light, the goup continued by service train to Karabük.

September 20th

Karabük shed: Only two withdrawn skyliners and one tender of a 34.0 class loco left. All others seem to by scrapped (including several US-S160 and 34.008 (!!!)). Departure was delayed due to some problems in taking coal. At Karabük - steelworks one 0-6-0T class 33.0 plinthed and two English 0-6-0T (or 0-8-0T???) dumped near the locoshed. All shunting of course now is diesel. A police patrol tried to prohibit any photo with the plant in the background, but no one understood Turkish... Unfortunately, shortly after Ismetpasa it became cloudy and rainy, but quite a lot of runpasts had been made before. Once again, no problem with 56.359 (beside it ran out of coal, so we had to leave the train somewhere between Kursunlu and Cankiri). Continued by bus to Afyon (arrival 1:00 a.m.). Dietmar Kramer and myself continued to Usak.

September 21st

44.071 and 55.043 left Usak towards Esme at 7:00 a.m.. The locos were in a terrible external condition and 55.043 had some problems with the air-brake and the cylinders. Not really a problem one cannot solve, but nobody bothered. One of our Turkish friends claimed: "Usak staff´s typical attitude preparing a special is to look a little and to polish a little. But not too much...!" The official programme started at Esme in the early afternoon, so only two of us were chasing the train up to Inay. On the uphill-scetion after Inay, 44.071 run out of water, so 55.043 had to do all work alone - and failed. After some emergency-repairs, we could continue carefully to the next station, where after only 45 minutes the fire brigade arrived... Without stops between Esme and Güneyköy, we were lucky to run down the steeply graded section to Alasehir in good light, with stops at all three viaducts and the famous tunnel at Turmentepe. After arrival in Alasehir some of us cleaned and painted the locos - a really urgent cosmetic repair! Alasehir station is used as dump for most withdrawn steam locos that survived the last 5 years. At least 20 of them are gathered there: 2 British 8F, 46.226 (whose boiler bursted on a special some years ago, thank god without anyone injured...), 46.059, several 56.0, 56.1, 56.5 and 57.0 and some steam cranes.

September 22nd

44.071 and 55.043 left Alasehir at sunrise, unfortunately only being pushed by a DE 18 or DE 24 diesel. So the diesel was put off at every runpast... Due to the banker, no water problem at all. Arrival at Usak before sunset (!). All museum locos of Izmir area are to be maintained here, but none is looking really well. 56.516 , 520 and 548 looked terrible and did not seem to be in working condition at all, neither did 57.009 or 46.105 (which in fact did not show up in Izmir at all on Sunday, so it is definitely not in running order). Stored are 55.013, 44.043, 46.228 and plinthed is 56.548.

September 23rd

Please don´t ask me what was going on in the early morning - I joined the barbecue-and-beer-evening at the loco shed the night before and did not feel too good after... The few facts I know: We left Usak with 56.508 and 44.071 towards Afyon, but not far from Usak the superheater of 56.508 started to leak. Not too many runpasts up to Banaz, but some fantastic glint shots halfway between Dumlupinar and Afyon. After arrival at Afyon, 56.009 with the official 75-years anniversary train of Turkish Republic was displayed on Platform 1. The square just out of the station is now fitted with a steam-run park railway and 55.025 (plinthed).

September 24th

Scheduled departure of 44.071 and 56.508 should have been 8:00 a.m., but due to the "famous" Afyon-staff, surely it didn't work. So we were lucky to see 56.009 departing with the "cumhuriet-tren" at 9:00, shortly after that was our own departure. All dumped steam locos are parked in the freight yard now (so several 56.5, one 57.0 and one 55.0), the shed seems to be repainted and the most interesting vehicle inside was a light blue/dark blue livered German railbus. After terribly long wait for a crossing in Tinaztepe (there are only two stations on the entire section between Afyon and Sandikli left!!!) we reached Sandikli quite late. Due to the sunlight, we dropped the section Karakuyu - Dinar and went by bus to Isparta, whilst the train was due to go empty to Egridir.

September 25th

The scheduled departure at Egridir was 8.00 a.m., but unfortunately there was no train at all. The staff had decided against their orders to go to Burdur instead of Egridir, and so we were surprised by two nearly cold locos the next morning. Complete disaster, caused by a staff not willing to do their job... At lunch time, the locos reached Gümsgün (where the train was waiting), and being pushed by a diesel, it was possible to reach Egridir in the early afternoon. After being cleaned and repainted by some members of the group, 44.071 ran with 3 freight cars up to the summit and was pulled back by a diesel. Immediately after returning to Egridir, the diesel took the whole train including 56.508 and disappeared towards Afyon - allthough it was arranged to run another train next morning....

Other steam locos to be seen:

In the carriage-workshop at Izmit was a quite well looking 56.1 to be seen out of the train. Maybe it is the loco formerly plinthed at the old station at Izmit?
55.022 is dumped on a siding at Istanbul - Sirkeci. Knows anybody the reason it had been transported there???
The old locoshed east of Ankara station doesn't exist any more. All withdrawn steam locos have been transported to the new shed west of Ankara station, including at least one 56.1 and one skyliner.All locos at the open-air museum just opposite the station seem to be in a fairly good condition. Photography was prohibited (!!!!). 57.011 is plinthed in good condition at Isparta station. An 0-6-0T (persumably a Henschel- 33.0) is plinthed in the coal mine next to Zonguldak station. The tiny little narrow gauge 0-4-0 saddletank has been removed and is to be seen now outside the mining area in the city center.
No dumped steam loco was to be seen at Catalagzi shed.

Rob Dickinson