Brno to Jihlava


27 - 31 July 2005

Report by Duncan Cotterill

Introduction


The secondary main line from Brno to Jihlava has long been one of my favourite Czech lines and a return visit was becoming overdue. The combination of reasonably frequent loco hauled passengers, a bit of freight, a variety of traction and pleasant scenery make this one of the country’s most attractive lines for photography. Previous trips had been dogged by poor or indifferent weather but this time the sun shone solidly for 3 days in a row, going some way to make up for the disappointment of my recent visit to a soggy Ceska Trebova.

I flew from Heathrow to Praha and back with CSA and travelled around by rail using a first class Sitove Jizdenky ticket. My base for the trip was the excellent Hotel Winkler in Trebic (see below for details).

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



Praha to Jihlava

Wednesday 27 July 2005

In spite of the usual 30 minute delay to the flight and poor bus and metro connections on the way to Praha Holesovice, there were still a few minutes to wait before EC171's arrival at 12:23. Just before the EuroCity arrived with 371 201 on the front, 752 001 rolled through on a westbound goods. The 371, still in Cesky Bundesbahn livery, was replaced by 350 012 and we were off.

After Kolin, the cloud started to break and before long it looked like an afternoon photo session might be on. From Havlickuv Brod, 230 040 hauled Os8309 towards Jihlava but only as far as Dobronin where everyone transferred to a very slow autobusova doprava for the last part of the journey. Fortunately the connecting Os4875 to Trebic was held until we arrived and finally departed 20 minutes late behind 742 321.



Brno - Jihlava Line

Wednesday 27 July 2005



The rest of the afternoon and early evening were spent photting at Bitovcice where there are excellent photo positions either side of the station. Although cloud ruined some of the early shots, the sky gradually cleared and was completely blue by the time I left for Trebic on Os4819 formed of 850 032 and trailer. The 850s are far less common on the line than they were a few years ago but their demise doesn't appear as imminent as some have predicted. A number of the class, including 850 032, appear to have visited PARS at Sumperk for refurbishment recently, and a very nice job they've made of them. Fortunately the work hasn't included fitting silencers. These are still wonderfully noisy railcars.

The passenger trains seen at Bitovcice produced no surprises. The expresses and some stoppers were hauled by Brno’s colourful fleet of 754s and 750s with the remainder of the stoppers worked by 742s and the occasional 850 railcar. Freight traffic was much heavier than expected with no less than three freights seen in four hours by the lineside. As well as the booked Moravske Budejovice to Jihlava pick up goods with its pair of 742s, the Brno to Okrisky pick up was extended to Jihlava with 750 143 piloting the 742. The 750 returned later with a long southbound freight.

Thursday 28 July 2005



Thursday started clear and sunny and stayed that way all day. My first move was to catch Os4874 to Okrisky at 07:35 then walk a couple of km north to photograph at a couple of locations near Pribyslavice.

By 10:30, the sun was getting too high for photography so it was time to look at some potential spots along the line. I travelled to Namest nad Oslavou on R669 hauled by 754 063, returning to Jihlava on R664 with a gleaming red and yellow 754 062 on the front. From Jihlava it was back to Bitovcice on Os4813 behind 754 041.

Once again, passenger workings were much as expected. This time, the 742 worked the Brno pick up through to Jihlava unassisted but 750 143 reappeared later on the additional southbound goods. Finally 850 031 took me back to Trebic on Os4819.

Friday 29 July 2005



Another glorious cloudless day. The morning started with a trip to Strelice on Os4839 behind 754 045. At Studenec 830 224 was crossed on Os4824 to Trebic, booked for the prototype class 835 unit. Waiting at Strelice was 750 224 with a motley collection of ancient rolling stock, an M131 railcar and a class 310 tank loco, all heading for the weekend’s celebrations at Telc. A couple of hours were spent photographing trains, including the returning 830, on the “Great Wall” south of Strelice station. My visit wasn’t particularly well timed as the line to Hrusovany was temporarily closed for engineering work.

The middle of the day was taken up travelling to Luka nad Jihlavou via Brno and Jihlava using Os4407 (850 050), R664 (754 043) and Os4813 (754 046). From Luka station, it was a long hot walk to Petrovice to investigate a couple of spots noted from the train last year (I think Chris also mentioned the location in a recent report). The 4 km hike seemed a lot further as the temperature rose to a sweltering 36ºC.

The photspots turned out to be excellent although the insect life in the area was vicious. The traffic pattern was similar to the previous two afternoons although the southbound goods ran (much too) early behind passenger engine 754 062. The day’s biggest surprise was R1519, the Friday’s only Praha – Znojmo, which was worked by 830 107! I had wondered how the engineering work between Jihlava and Dobronin would affect the train but never expected it to be worked by an ancient railcar.

After a long walk back to Luka, 850 028 did the honours on Os4819 back to Trebic.

Saturday 30 July 2005



An unprecedented third sunny day in a row. This time 850 029 on Os 4839 took me to Kralice nad Oslavou, while 850 030 substituted for 835 001 on Os4874. The morning’s target was the viaduct a couple of km east of Kralice where several eastbounds were photographed before the sun got too high. At lunchtime I returned to Luka on Os4810 behind 754 043 before braving the carnivorous wildlife and walking to Petrovice for the afternoon. This time no southbound freight was seen but the Brno – Okrisky pick up continued to Jihlava as on previous days.

The good weather came to an abrupt end in the evening as cloud and thunderstorms swept in from the west. Something even more unpleasant had swept in from the east shortly earlier and returned during the evening, 835 001! For once “Putin’s Revenge” actually appeared on a working it was diagrammed for and I had the (dis)pleasure of travelling back to Trebic on it on Os4819. My first impression was that it wasn’t that bad but after a few seconds I realised it was worse than that bad. This really is a horrible unit, it rides more roughly than an 810, the seats are uncomfortable and the standard of finish is appalling. It’s also very noisy but not in the same way as an 850. The air conditioning is deafening but ineffective and the horn appears to be directed inside the passenger compartment. Braking seemed to be very imprecise and on several occasions the engines revved right up without any corresponding acceleration. Compared to the refurbished 850s, not to mention the 854s or 471s, the 835 looks, sounds and feels really cheap and nasty. Hopefully CD will soon get fed up with it and send it back to the toyshop.

Sunday 31 July 2005



A cloudy start but a few breaks soon developed to the east. I travelled to Kralice on Os4841 with 742 321 but didn’t manage any shots before the sun disappeared altogether.



Brno - Praha

Sunday 31 July 2005

On to Brno on Os4809 behind 742 427 then to Kolin on R674 with 362 123. It had been my intention to ride back into Praha on a 471 to check out the potential photspots from the top deck but my chosen train turned up with a decrepit 451 unit. At the same time, 151 001 rolled in with IC140 from Zvolen, providing a much more acceptable alternative. While waiting under cloudy skies at Praha hl n until it was time to go home, 751 333 appeared on Sp1847 from Turnov but it left before I could attempt a shot. From Praha, it was back to the airport and home.



Locomotive Workings (Brno – Jihlava)


Although all the trains booked for class 754s turned up with 754s, or the 750s that often work alongside them in the diagram, locos often swapped between diagrams overnight. For example, 754 062 worked TS701 Day 4 on Wednesday and Day 1 on Thursday. On Friday, it worked the afternoon freight from Jihlava while 750 243 turned up on TS701 Day 2. By Sunday, 754 062 was working TS702 Day 1. The 742 turns were a little more predictable. Power for the scheduled freights was also fairly constant with the same pair of 731s working from Brno to Studenec and back each day, the same pair of 742s working from Jihlava to Moravske Budejovice and back most days and two 742s taking turns at working between Okrisky and Studenec. The table below summarises the locos and the diagrams they worked. More details can be found in the sightings table at the foot of the page. A dash "-" indicates that the loco wouldn't have been seen if it worked the booked diagram. An "x" indicates that the loco definitely didn't work the booked diagram.



Conclusions


This was my most successful trip so far this year with lots of trains, good weather and excellent scenery. I can heartily recommend the Brno – Jihlava line to anybody wanting to photograph Czech diesels. You do have to be prepared to walk to get to the best spots if you’re travelling by train. A car will get you closer but it only helps if you know where to go. Most of the good photspots are some distance from the roadside.

The weekday passenger service is almost entirely loco hauled with the class 850 railcars only appearing in force at the weekends. Apart from the scenically poor Ostrava - Frydlant nad Ostravici route, the frequency of diesel hauled trains on Brno - Jihlava beats any other line in the Czech Rebublic. The variety of liveries carried by Brno's 754s, the regular appearance of 750s and the use of 742s on a number of services add to the variety and hence the attraction.

Few enthusiasts seem to get excited about railcars but the 850s do have a certain charm and make a lovely noise. The appearance of the occasional 830 is also noteworthy. Of the surviving units of this type, most were refurbished in the 1980s and reclassified 831. To see two unrebuilt class 830s, both at least 45 years old, in action on the same day must be unusual. The 835 is in a different class altogether. It seems to embody everything that's bad in modern train design and is as much of an advance in the field of rail traction as the introduction of class 141s was in Britain.

Hotel Details


Hotel Winkler ***, V. Nezvala 8, 674 01 Trebic, Tel/Fax 00420 568 840 514, e-mail recepce@hotel-winkler.cz, web http://www.hotel-winkler.cz/en/.

From Trebic station, turn left down the approach road then right at the end. Follow this road downhill to the main road (you can cut the corner off). Turn left down the main road towards the town centre, then right at the main traffic lights just before the bus station (again, you can cut the corner). At the bottom of the hill turn left at the lights. The hotel is on the right after about 100 m. Walking time 10-15 minutes, allow longer to walk back to the station because it's uphill all the way.