Railfanning the Posazavsky Pacifik


22 - 23 September 2007

Report by Duncan Cotterill

Introduction


Yes, this is about the Czech Republic. The Posazavsky Pacifik is the nickname given to the line from Praha to Cercany and on to Svetla nad Sazavou. For much of its length the line follows the scenic Sazava river valley, hence the Posazavsky name. The area is a popular retreat for Praha residents and the weekends see additional passenger services, longer trains and more loco haulage. I spent Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September 2007 on the line.

The Line


Once free of the Praha suburbs, the railway winds its way south along the wooded east bank of the Vltava River. At Skochovice the branch to Dobris diverges to the west, crosses the river and climbs into the hills. Further south at Davle, the line turns east into the Sazava valley. The 9 km section to Jilove u Prahy is spectacular with the line climbing along the steep hillsides, past rocky outcrops and offering dramatic views of the river way below. From Jilove the scenery mellows and the railway winds its way through rolling farming country to Cercany. The Cercany - Svetla section is also scenic but wasn't visited on this occasion.

Passenger Services


Most weekday trains on the line from Praha to Cercany are worked by class 714 diesels hauling class 010 4-wheel trailers. The 714s also work a few trains on the branch to Dobris. Class 810 4-wheel railbuses work the remaining services to Cercany and most of those on the Dobris branch. At weekends when the trains are much busier, class 749 hauled rakes of double deck stock take over many of the Cercany line trains and the 714s work most trains to Dobris, leaving only a handful of workings for the class 810s. New class 814/914 units were seen on a couple of workings but they shouldn't be too much of a threat to loco haulage in the short term as they don't have the seating capacity to cope with number of passengers that use the loco hauled trains.

Engineering work between Jilove u Prahy and Tynec nad Sazavou meant changes to the usual diagrams. Overall, there was no reduction in the volume of loco hauled working on the Praha side of the blockade. The Tynec nad Sazavou to Cercany section was being worked by a class 810 railbus that shuttled back and forth.

Train   Sat 22/09 Sun 23/09
Os9003 07:20 Praha - Cercany (1) 714 020 714 020
Os9006 08:37 Cercany - Praha (2) 714 020 714 020
Os9031 08:41 Praha - Cercany 749 181 749 180
Os9005 09:31 Praha - Cercany 749 146 749 146
Os9033 10:39 Praha - Cercany 749 180  
Os9007 11:20 Praha - Cercany 714 020 714 020
Os9008 11:37 Cercany - Praha 749 146,
749 180(3)
749 146
Os9010 14:06 Cercany - Praha 714 020 714 020
Os9009 14:05 Praha - Cercany 749 146 749 146
Os9011 15:26 Praha - Cercany   714 208
Os9030 15:12 Cercany - Praha   749 146
Os19012 14:57 Dobris - Praha   714 012
Os19033 16:37 Praha - Cercany   714 020
       
(1) booked for class 749
(2) booked for class 810
(3) 749 180 on the rear


Freight


On weekdays there is a class 751 worked pick-up goods to Dobris but at weekends no freight runs.

Photography


The main aim of my visit to Praha was to get some pictures of class 749 hauled trains on the climb out of the Sazava valley between Davle and Jilove u Prahy. I travelled from Praha each morning on the 07:20 train and walked to the positions. Stations are spaced every 2 to 3 km so there was never far to walk. The engineering work didn't really affect my plans and actually resulted in one more loco hauled train each day than I had expected. The weather was gloriously sunny each day after the early morning mist had cleared.

Accommodation


In Praha I stayed at the 4* Plaza Alta hotel, less than 10 minutes walk from Holesovice station and only a few yards from Ortenovo Namesti tram stop. From the hotel front door to the main platforms at Hlanvi Nadrazi consistently took less than 15 minutes by tram and metro. The hotel was very comfortable and conveniently located but poor service in the restaurant let it down. Breakfast was always late, almost scuppering my plans to get the 07:20 train from Praha hl.n. each morning. On one evening I entered the restaurant to be told that it was closed to normal guests so a large party could be catered for. No prior warning was given and no alternatives were provided. Not what I’d expect from a 4 star hotel.

Conclusions


A successful start to the trip that achieved most of the pictures I'd hoped for. The Posazavsky Pacifik doesn't have the number of locations or the volume of traffic to push it to the top of the photographic league but it does make a good weekend destination with a few excellent locations and extra loco hauled trains at a time when many lines operate reduced services.

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A New Life For Old Motors