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Real Working Steam, Steam Charters and Industrial Heritage in Bosnia and Serbia
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Linesiding with John
Bosnia Real Steam Tours 2016
Click for 2015 tour report
All details have been discussed and agreed with local guides Majda and Dario but are subject to adjustment should this be necessary. I reserve the right to change the details on this page before the tour but will let all those signed up for the tour know of any changes and discuss the reasons and the implications.
Autumn Real & Charter Steam Tour now open for bookings
Autumn tour 22 September - 2 October (main tour) or 4 October (with post-tour extension)

There is still real working steam in Bosnia (the last in Europe) but this is now limited to three separate shunting operations (two standard gauge and one narrow gauge). In order to see things as they used to be and to create good photographic and video opportunities, a number of charters are included. This should make for an interesting Bosnian steam tour. As the majority of the Bosnian charters are on the Banovici railway system, we have cast our net slightly wider to include two charters at the famous Mokra Gora tourist operation including the Sargan Eight (where the track does a figure of eight to gain/lose height)

This line was once part of the narrow gauge East Bosnian Railway linking Sarajevo to Belgrade which closed in the late 1970s.
One of the former stations can be seen at Bistrik in Sarajevo. Some of the diesels at Banovici are from this line.

Charters – especially for a relatively small group – are more expensive than permission to access and photograph real, working operations. This is reflected (unfortunately) in the tour price.

In Bosnia, we will spend most of our time in the greater Tuzla – Banovici area. With limited shunting only with WWII kriegsloks on the standard gauge Kreka Mines railways, most of our time will be spend on the Banovici system which is a narrow gauge 760mm line linking an open cast mine to a washery via the workshops but with a standard gauge shunt below the washery (normally diesel) to make up trains for the Tuzla Power Station.

The third operation at Djurdjevik may still have a Duro Dakovic version of the WWII USA tank available for charter. We have asked for wagons for it to shunt and access to the branch towards Zevince but all of this is subject to ongoing negotiations.

Day 1 (Saturday 24 September) arrive Sarajevo Airport by 15:00 – transfer to Mokra Gora Overnight Mokra Gora. Subject to availability, we plan to stay at the hotel Konačište Osmica.

(Options before the tour include flying into Sarajevo one or more days early – hotel arrangements can be made for you – or flying into Zagreb and taking the day train to Sarajevo on Friday.)

Day 2 (Sunday 25 September) Mokra Gora - Charter 1 - a steam charter on part of the rebuilt (but not normally used) section from Mokra Gora towards Visegrad with class 83 loco 83-052 (the train should consist of 2 passenger carriages + 1 freight G wagon). Of this section, James Waite says, 'It's probably just as spectacular as the Sargan Eight stretch although quite different in character'  (James Waite in http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/trains/serbia14.htm)
This line crosses the border into the Republik Srpska section of Bosnia and Visegrad is well over the border. I don't know if our train will be able to cross the border (but I suspect not). (If this is not available, the group will ride the regular tourist train (diesel) and then visit two preserved steam sites slightly further into Serbia instead.

Day 3 (Monday 26 September) Mokra Gora - visit to the loco depot followed by Charter 2 - steam charter on the Sargan Eight track to Sargan Vitasi and return (Mokra Gora – Sargan Vitasi – Mokra Gora) This charter would include 7-10 photostops in total some on the way up and some on the way back. The locomotive will be turned on a triangle so it will be chimney first in both directions. Lunch at Jatare station during the charter. The train should consist of 83-052 + 2 passenger carriages + 1 freight G carriage. Whole day charter 2-3 hours each way - late afternoon transfer to Tuzla area* – Hotel Zlaca in the forest near Oskova (5 nights) – dinner at Hotel Zlaca

There is currently only 1 working steam loco at Mokra Gora 83-052.

*If there is any further reduction in the use of steam by Kreka Mining (Tuzla) before the tour starts, we may decide to remain in Mokra Grora on Monday night (to maximise our time with the steam charter there) and then transfer to Tuzla on Tuesday morning.

Day 4 (Tuesday 27 September) Bukinje works – Dubrave coal loader - Sikulje coal loader – aerial ropeway across Lake Modrac – (Bukinje mine monorail?) - Tuzla walking tour (including plinthed narrow gauge loco and the old town), dinner at the Tuzla Brewery restaurant

Day 5 (Wednesday 28 September) Oskova narrow gauge washery shunt (real steam) – lunch in Banovici - Charter 3 – Narrow Gauge charter to cover the full length of the Banovici system and return with class 83 loco and a consist of coal wagons plus a flat wagon adapted for passengers without raised sides (from 1pm to 6pm) – dinner at Hotel Zlaca

Day 6 (Thursday 29 September) Charter 4 – Standard Gauge charter at Oskova – standard gauge shunt returned to steam for the morning with class 19 (from 9 - 12) – packed lunch - Oskova narrow gauge shunting (real steam) – Dinner in Banovici - Night shoot Oskova washery and stabling point

Day 7 (Friday 30 September)   Banovici Workshop/Oskova shunt – lunch in Banovici - Charter 5 - Narrow Gauge charter over the full length of the Banovici system (without a passenger wagon and with extra coal wagons) – chasing by road (2 to 6 pm) – dinner at the Etno Restaurant (an old water mill on the way to Hotel Zlaca)

Day 8 (Saturday 1 October) Charter 6? - Djurdjevik USA tank shunting (wagons and access to branch line requested) – transfer to Sarajevo - Hotel within walking distance of old town – dinner at the Sarajevo Brewery restaurant. Note as this is not definite, the cost of this is not included in the tour price below.
or if Djurdjevik steam loco is no longer active:
Day 8 (Saturday) Banovici narrow gauge tourist train loco preparation (at Oskova or Banovici?) and washery shunt - packed lunch - tourist train at Banovici for riding or chasing - transfer to Sarajevo - Hotel within walking distance of old town – dinner at the Sarajevo Brewery restaurant

Day 9 (Sunday 2 October) departure for home
or continue for 2 more days of esorted and unescorted activities:
Day 9 (Sunday 22 May) - Guided tour ofthe Sarajevo trams (depot visit requested), trolley buses and the old town

Day 10 (Monday 3 October) – guided day trip to Kakanj for approved visit to see the diesel narrow gauge line and the stored steam locos (including genuine USA tank next to Duro Dakovic copy).

Day 11 (Tuesday 4 October) departure for home

(Additional nights if requested can be reserved for you by our guides. There is also the day train from Sarajevo to Zagreb and then fly home from Zagreb. From Zagreb, you can also get trains to the rest of Europe.)

The provisional tour price* includes full board (3 meals a day but lunches may be 'packed lunches' on some days) including tour minibus Sarajevo airport to Sarajevo, permissions for access and photography, the first 5 charters listed above, the services of 2 local guides and a British tour leader as well as a first drink on the evenings we 'dine out' (Tuzla Brewery, Etno Restaurant, Sarajevo Brewery), airport transfer at the end of the main tour

* The tour has been costed using 2015 charter prices. Should charter prices increase significantly for 2016, this will need to be reflected in the final tour price and we will let you know as soon as possible if that is the case. The tour price includes access to the Kreka Mines' coal loading areas to see kriegsloks shunting but does not include any charters on the Kreka system. If these are possible, I will discuss with those who have signed up for the tour whether we wish to pay an additional charge for these. The same comment applies to the possible Djurdjevik charter.

* The price is based on 8 people participating for the complete main tour. With fewer than 8, the tour can still run but a surcharge will be required to cover the fixed tour costs (transport, charters, etc.) which will need to be split between fewer people. We can also discuss possible cost saving measures to minimize any increase.

For the main tour Day 1 – Day 9 - (based on 8 participants) Total price €2,285 (currently £1,685).

For the main tour plus the post tour - Day 1 – 11 (based on 8 participants) Total price per person: €2,516 (Currently £1,855)

You can reserve a place on this tour with a deposit of €550 (currently £433) payable either to Majda (tour guide) or John Raby (me, tour leader). If booking from the UK or if you have a UK bank account, I recommend booking with me as this can be achieved with a free bank transfer and the deposit will remain fully refundable until we start to incur tour costs. Please ask me for bank transfer details if you are ready to book.

The tour is limited to 10 people. The deadline for declaring this tour go is the end of July. Ideally 8 people, possibly fewer, need to express a firm interest by this date. If the tour is declared go, later booking can be accepted after end July .

The sooner that 7 people (in addition to our UK tour leader) book, the sooner I will be able to declare this tour go and participants will be able to book flights (and time off work) with certainty.
Information about Sargan Eight
Information about East Bosnia Railway
James Waite's report on Mokra Gora
Mokra Gora Railway Hotel
This tour is now closed to any further bookings*. A group of 3 of us will make an exploratory tour to see what other industrial heritage attractions we can find in Bosnia. Some of the ideas we have for this trip are detailed below. I'll report on this trip and some of the items may find their way into future Bosnia tours including the 'all steam with charters' tour planned for September and early October (see below).

Escorted visits to some or all of the following in Sarajevo:

- Tram depot (this would be the No. 1 priority)
- ZFBH locomotive depot (and workshops) Sarajevo
- Former station at Bistek on the narrow gauge East Bosnia Railway
- Plinthed locos at several locations in Sarajevo
- Riding and photographing the trams and trolley buses
- Guided walking tour of the old town

Day trip to see the narrow gauge coal line at Haljinici near Kakanj (Italian diesels) as well as out of use locos (USA tanks, class 62 both original US and Yugoslavian version) at Catici and Kakanj with possible visit to Breza en route (more stored steam locos).
Return to Sarajevo

In the Tuzla area:

Real working steam
Oskova washery shunt (narrow gauge) including a night photo shoot
Sekulje loader shunting (class 33 kriegslok)
Dubrave loader shunting (class 33 kriegslok)
Bukinje workshop (class 33 kriegslok in the works and class 62 USA tanks stored)
Banovici workshop (narrow gauge)

Steam charters
Banovici narrow gauge – class 83 and 'works train charter'
Oskova washery standard gauge shunt returned to steam with their class 62 (requested) or class 19 steam loco

All the ideas listed above are practical and have been achieved in the past. The following ideas are new:

Other industrial heritage
(All have been suggested – we wait to hear from our guides how many will welcome us)
Washery tour (Oskova washery requested)
Open Cast Pit (although access into the pit may be difficult we hope at least to view one or more pits from the pit rim)
Bukinje Mine Monorail (although the mine is closed and the YouTube clip is 5 years old, we hope to view this and if possible see it in action – see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u006F7KayQ)
Lukavac Soda Works and Lukavac Coke Works – access to see the internal rail systems and diesel locos at these plants
Soda Works Aerial Ropeway which crosses a lake on its way to the works
Tuzla Brewery Tour
Tuzla salt extraction and processing factory
Tuzla power station rail systems

* When I say closed, I mean that the tour finances work for our small group but any additional participants would mean renting a minibus and driver. This is probably only practical if a group of 3-4 people all want to join us. I'm afraid we can't take just one or two more people without increasing the price for everyone and reducing the profit for our guides.

Bosnia Tour 2 - Real & Charter Steam
September - October 2016
Bosnia Tour 1 - Real Steam & Industrial Heritage
May 2016
Updated 29 March 2016
This page is no longer being updated and will disappear in September 2016 - please click here for my new website www.rabylee.uk
Banovici Charters 2015
Bukinje Works 2015
Oskova Standard Gauge Shunt 2015
Oskova Nights Shots 2015
Bosnia Miscellany 2015
Sikulje 2015
Bosnia Oskova 2015
Dubrave 2015