A Wet Weekend in Ceska Trebova

08 - 11 July 2005

Report by Duncan Cotterill


To say it rained from the moment I got off the plane to the moment I left would be an exaggeration, but not a big one. There were a couple of very short breaks in the cloud but the sky remained resolutely overcast virtually the whole time and the rain fell continuously for hours on end. Every TV weather forecast started with several minutes of flood warnings before moving on to a gloomy prediction for the day ahead. In short, it wasn't a good weekend to try to take photos.

The weather was so bad that it wasn't worth even thinking of photograhy, so the idle hours were filled exploring parts of the system that hadn't been visited before.

Details of locos and workings observed can be seen on the sightings page.

London - Brno - Ceska Trebova

Friday 08 July 2005

The day after the London Underground bombings. Travelling through London to Stansted Airport wasn't a lot of fun but at least SWT and LU were making the effort to run as normal service as possible. Stansted Express didn't appear to be making any effort at all with each service being cancelled minutes before the booked departure time. Eventually an all stations slug to Bishop's Stortford was extended to Stansted but took well over an hour to reach the airport instead of 45 minutes. I was not impressed.

Ryanair were 20 minutes late arriving at Brno so by the time our bags came through, the connecting bus to the city centre had gone and it was almost 30 minutes wait in the drizzle until the next one. The 76 bus from the airport runs half hourly to Hlavni Nadrazi throughout the day with an extra service designed to meet the Ryanair flight but too tight a connection unless the plane is spot on time. Journey time is around 25 minutes. The first stop at Ripska is 50 yards from Brno-Slatina station but there aren't any useful trains at the right time of day unless you make the early bus.

My planned departure from Brno wasn't until 19:15 so missing the bus wasn't a great problem. While waiting at Brno hl n, 230 100 was noted on Os4007 to Vyskov nad Morave. EC 74, with 350 017 in charge, took me on the final stage of the journey to Ceska Trebova and the Hotel Korado. It had been a very long day.

Ceska Trebova to Jesenik and Back

Saturday 09 July 2005

The forecast was for a dull, wet day and that's how it turned out. With no prospect of any worthwhile photography, I decided to do some leisurely exploring to find locations for future trips. The day was spent travelling from Ceska Trebova to Jesenik via Letohrad and returning via Zabreh nad Morave.

The first surprise of the day came before leaving Ceska Trebova. 750 259 piloted 163 087 on Os3743 to Olomouc with both locos working. The reason for this would become clear later but was puzzling at the time especially as IC121 left in the same direction without assistance a few minutes earlier.

The first short hop to Usti nad Orlici was on R600 behind 151 011. The usual suspects were working the service to Letohrad. 111 032 took Os15061 while 111 031 waited with Os15063. A 130 crossed at Lansperk on the late running Pn49004. At Letohrad, Pn44256 was seen arriving behind a pair of 751s which were replaced by another 130. The remainder of the outward journey was on R757 hauled by 749 240. The second surprise of the day was finding most of the locals on the Hanusovice - Jesenik line still worked by class 831 railcars.

After filling in a couple of hours with a return trip back over Ramzova summit to Branna, I took R904 to Zabreh nad Morave behind 749 248, changing there to Praha bound R708 with 162 019.

The section from Zabreh to Ceska Trebova is in the middle of a major rebuild at the moment with the line reduced to single track for much of its length. New tunnels are being bored and, in many locations, realignment is also taking place. Work was underway at the west end of the Hostejn gorge when I travelled through last July and the new alignment, including two new tunnels, is now in use from just east of Tatenice to Krasikov. Work has now started to straighten out the alignment at the east end of the gorge and a largely new double track line is being built between Rudoltice and Trebovice, replacing the previous grade separated alignment on this stretch.

This came as a bit of a blow as I was hoping to get some photographs of eastbound trains coming out of the tunnel east of Trebovice and passing under the westbound line. There is no eastbound line anymore. The track has been lifted, all trains use the westbound line and the old tunnel has been filled in. The sighting the 750 piloting the 163 on Os3743 earlier in the day may have been to save a path by avoiding a light engine movement on this busy section. The day's final surprise was at Rudoltice v Chechach where 771 105 was found banking a westbound coal train. Again, this may have been intended to avoid delaying other trains by getting it over the line as fast as possible.

To Breclav and back, by a very indirect route

Sunday 11 July 2005

Another dull wet day was forecast with flood warnings in force over much of the country. As I left the hotel it didn't look too bad with the sun trying to break through thin cloud over Ceska Trebova. Conditions soon deteriorated and before long it was raining heavily. The sun did appear very briefly later in the day but it was basically another write off photographically.

My travels took me to Zabreh, Sumperk, Olomouc, Prerov, Breclav, Brno, Olomouc again and finally back to Ceska Trebova. Passing Rudoltice v C on the way to Zabreh, 771 105 was waiting to bank another westbound freight. The day's first objective was to have a look at the Sumperk - Olomouc line, a route that hosts a number of loco hauled services during the week but only a handful at weekends. The west end of the line runs through some attractive country but is very overgrown. By Unicov the landscape had become very flat and boring and remained like that all the way to Olomouc. As luck would have it, this is the section that sees most loco haulage.

On to Prerov and then to Breclav. After Prerov was new track for me and was ridden more out of idle curiosity than to look for photspots. Much to my surprise, there were a few reasonable locations between Otrokovice and Breclav, particularly in the wooded area south of Moravsky Pisek. At Otrokovice 754 068 and 754 078 awaited their next duties on the line to Zlin. The former was in all over red livery, similar to Brno's 754 066. A scruffy grey/green 754 080 was preparing to leave Stare Mesto u U H on R722 as we passed. At Breclav 742 402 arrived unexpectedly on Os4513 from Znojmo vice unit.

The Breclav - Brno line was as featureless as expected and Brno - Nezamyslice - Olomouc was nothing special either. Olomouc depot is still home to an interesting collection of power including class 831 and 851 diesel railcars and (as far as I know) the only class 451 EMUs outside the Praha area. At least one class 140 electric still appears to be in working order and last, but not least, there are the attractively painted class 749 diesel locos. Returning through Zabreh n M, 749 248 was seen after arriving from Jesenik on R904.

To Praha, Brno and Home

Monday 11 July 2005

Another dull start that quickly turned to rain. Again there was little to do except travel. Inspiration was lacking so I just travelled to Praha and then back to Brno for the flight home. Both trains IC504 and EC75 were busy and it wasn't easy finding seats even in first class. If I hadn't made a conscious effort to be among the first few on to EC75 when it pulled into the platform at Praha, I'd have been standing all the way.

Little of interest was seen on the way to Praha, just 750 061 waiting at Kolin with R812 to Ceska Lipa. At Praha ex DB 371 201 was seen on EC176 to Berlin in DB red with hastily applied CD logos and numbers. Later, at Pardubice, 750 333 in Plzenesque Blue, yellow and white livery was stabled with the breakdown train while 750 235 was running round the stock of what I presumed was R685 from Liberec. By Ceska Trebova, the first chinks were appearing in the cloud and by Brno it was getting quite sunny. The only sunlit shot of the trip was a grab of 350 011 leaving Brno on EC75 before the cloud closed back in again. There was nothing more to do other than head for the airport for the flight home. Flying west, we were well over Germany before there were any significant breaks in the cloud.


Sometimes you just can't win.

On the Letohrad to Hanusovice line, there are a number of potential locations around Vermerovice, Jablonne n O and Lichov, then very little to Hanusovice. There appears to be a 3 star hotel close to the station at Jablonne that could handy for doing the 751 hauled freights on this line.

North of Hanusovice opportunities are limited. Apart from the obvious locations on the first roadside section, Branna station looks OK in the afternoon and there are positions on both sides further up the climb after the level crossing on the main road. Ostruzna station is pleasant but the light angles look difficult for the current service. At Ramzova, there are the obvious shots approaching/passing the station then nothing much all the way to Jesenik. The only possibilities are in the horseshoes either side of Horni Lipova but they look tight.

South of Hanusovice on the line to Zabreh there are a number of potential spots between Raskov and Bohdikov, mostly obvious from the parallel roads.

The rebuilding between Zabreh and Ceska Trebova has wiped out a number of good photographic locations but once completed the new line will have a number of excellent new positions, particularly between Zabreh and Krasikov and on the climb to Trebovice. Meanwhile it's worth concentrating on the section through the Orlice Gorge between Usti nad Orlici and Brandys nad Orlici which will undoubtably be rebuilt when the necessary funds are found.