Moravian Diesel Lines

04 - 14 September 2010

Report by Duncan Cotterill


This report covers a ten day photographic trip to the Czech Republic in September 2010. The plan was to concentrate on the 754 worked lines around Brno, Trutnov and Sumperk. I had a few specific objectives but was flexible about how to spend the time in between. This page summarises what was seen. For train by train details with loco numbers etc, go to the Day by Day pages.

Hanusovice - Jesenik

(4 - 7 & 11 - 12 September)

Passenger Trains

This line saw a significant reduction in the number of loco hauled passenger trains at the December 2009 timetable change. During the week there is now only one turn covering two return trips from Jesenik to Zabreh and back. Weekends are much better with well over double the number of loco hauled workings, requiring no less than four different locos. All the loco hauled turns are now booked for class 754s but, as I found out, class 749s can still appear.

The remaining passenger services are covered by a variety of railcars including a few ancient class 831s and slightly younger class 851s. The 851s were particularly active, covering a number of Jesenik - Zabreh semi-fasts as well as an early afternoon local to Branna. Class 843s worked the remaining semi-fasts, generally through trains to/from Olomouc. Some 810s were seen but very few.

Reliability seemed to be poor with several failures or unexpected substitutions over the six days I was on the line. Classes 749, 754 and 851 all appeared to be affected and on Tuesday 7 September the four loco hauled passengers produced four different 749s!

Freight Traffic

There are now only two regular daytime freights north of Hanusovice, running Monday to Saturday. The morning southbound that ran last year no longer runs. The remaining northbound freight runs mid-afternoon, departing Hanusovice at 14:30 and crossing Sp1704 at Ostruzna. The southbound is a late afternoon departure from Lipova Lane at 16:38. It often ran early during the week but seemed to keep to booked time on Saturdays. The freights are still worked by class 751s, many of which are unsilenced and make a very impressive noise slogging up the banks on heavy trains. The southbound freight can be very heavy and is often banked from Lipova Lazne to Ostruzna. The previous practice of detaching bankers at Ramzova seems to have ceased. Despite their regular thrashings, the 751s seemed considerably more reliable than the passenger engines and railcars and on more than one occasion came to the rescue of a failed passenger train.


Hanusovice - Jesenik has been my favourite Czech line for several years. It’s got superb scenery, plenty of excellent photo positions and a good variety of motive power. This was my first trip since the 754s took over and I was hoping to get photos of them in some of the classic positions. While all the 749s were in attractive liveries, it was pot luck with the 754s as two of the five I saw were ex Plzen and carried that depot’s photogenic blue white and yellow livery, another was red and yellow, also good, but two were in the drab grey and green that just blends into the landscape. I certainly wasn’t disappointed when a number of 749s appeared, particularly when 749.259 went north in the best light of the trip. Hopefullly I’ll get back before the 754s get repainted in CD’s uninspiring new livery.

The weather wasn’t brilliant but I did get around a day and a half of good sunshine out of six days on the line and a number of short sunny breaks on other days. Not particularly good but much better than the rest of the trip.

Brno - Veseli nad Moravou

(8 - 10 September)

Passenger Trains

The service on this line is mainly worked by class 842 railcars with a number of loco hauled trains, particularly in the peak hours. Class 754s, often in very attractive liveries and immaculately clean, work most of the loco hauleds with a couple of short workings booked for a class 714. It was also good to see an old class 850 railcar still at work.

Freight Traffic

There is very little freight traffic on the line and I didn’t see any freights at all during my visit.


The big attractions of this line, apart from the classy engines, are the fact that it’s the last diesel-worked, double-track line in the Czech Republic and the scenic section between Brankovice and Kyjov. The rest of the route is generally flat and uninspiring.

The biggest problem is the timing of the trains with very few of the loco hauleds running at the best times for the light. Loco hauled traffic flows are generally westbound in the very early morning then nothing until mid afternoon when eastbound traffic picks up, the opposite of what is required for good pictures. At least this year more of the afternoon trains run beyond Nesovice and then return, making westbound shots in the late afternoon around Brankovice and Nemotice possible. Friday afternoons are best with three additional loco hauled trains running east of Nesovice.

I only spent the afternoons on the Brno - Veseli line, going elsewhere during the mornings when there were virtually no loco hauled trains. The weather was particularly bad during my visit with no sunshine at all while I was on the lineside.

Veseli nad Moravou - Vlarsky prusmyk
& Stare Mesto - Luhacovice

(8 & 10 September)

Passenger Trains

The main interest on this group of lines is the service from Praha to Luhacovice. Class 754s take over from electrics at Stare Mesto and work the last 36km to Luhacovice. Trains run at 2-hourly intervals throughout the day with two locos diagrammed to cover all the workings. There are also a number of 754 hauled peak-hour services from Stare Mesto or Veseli to Bojkovice but the bulk of the service is worked by class 842 railcars with classes 810 or 814 on lesser workings.

Freight Traffic

Freight traffic is very sparse with no through trains, only the occasional pick-up goods.


My main objective was the Ujezdec - Luhacovice line which has a number of attractive photo positions and which I hadn’t photographed before. Unfortunately the moles had taken over and there were big holes in the ground where the railway should have been. All trains were terminating at Ujezdec with buses forward. I did find some reasonable positions at Hradkovice, between Kunovice and Ujezdec, and even got some weak sunshine on the Friday morning. Another line to return to in the future.

Brno - Jihlava

(9 September)

A brief visit during the morning of 9 September found virtually everything as expected with 754s on the Brno - Jihlava - Ceske Budejovice - Plzen fast trains and class 842 and 854 railcars on most locals. The only real surprise was the appearance of a class 850 railcar on one local. Os4811 was a class 714 as expected. The sight of a couple of 754s in the new livery was a disappointment, particularly as one was 754.037, once one of Brno’s smartest engines and now just another ugly grey lump. At least there was some unexpected sunshine on what was forecast to be a dull day.

Jaromer - Trutnov

(13 - 14 September)

Passenger Trains

These remain much as before with the fast trains to/from Praha worked by class 754s between Trutnov and Hradec Kralove. There’s less variety than in previous years as locos no longer rotate between Trutnov and Letohrad trains so the same three locos keep reappearing all day. The locals have gone the other way. A pair of class 854s used to shuttle back and forth all day but this time every train seemed to produce a different unit, mainly 854s but with the odd 810 and even a 742 on one train.

Freight Traffic

The only train seen was a 742 hauled pick-up goods that ran on the morning of 14 September.


Once again the weather failed to co-operate with some very hazy sun on the morning of 13 September being as good as it got. There are plenty of good locations on the line and the locos carry an attractive variety of liveries, several of them unique, but without good light, photography was fairly pointless.

Hradec Kralove - Jicin - Turnov

(14 September)

I had a brief look at this line on my way from the Trutnov line back to Praha. Although the scenery at the Hradec Kralove end isn’t wonderful, there were some fairly pleasant locations. Most passengers are worked by units but there are a couple of class 714 turns as well. Both were seen and both produced. No freights were seen but a pair of AWT class 753.7 were stabled in a compound at Hnevceves (Try pronouncing that when you’ve had a few!) without any obvious source of traffic for them to work.


I flew from Heathrow to Praha with Czech Airlines and travelled around in a hired car.

On the first visit to the Jesenik line I stayed at the Hotel Neubauer at Ramzova. I really like the hotel and the location is perfect but it’s often full and they rarely reply to e-mails, so it’s a bit hit and miss whether you’ll get in or not and you never really know until you actually arrive. For the second visit, I stayed at the Hotel Park at Ostruzna, equally convenient for the line and more likely to have a room if you turn up on spec.

On previous visits to the Brno - Veseli line I’d stayed at Kyjov but this time I used the Hotel Sokolsky Dum in the centre of Slavkov u Brna, an interesting town that was the site of a major punch-up between French, Austrian and Russian hooligans in 1805. After a decisive French victory, the town was renamed Austerlitz after the Paris station of the same name, or so I’m told.

For my visit to the Trutnov line, I used the Hotel u Beranka in Nachod.

Comment and Conclusions

Overall, this wasn’t a very successful trip. Brno - Veseli produced little of any value and Stare Mesto - Luhacovice, Jaromer - Trutnov and Hradec Kralove - Turnov weren’t much better. A couple of hours of sunshine on the Brno - Jihlava line resulted in as many good shots as the best of them. The Jesenik line was the only bright spot with a stack of really pleasing shots, although most of them were variations on pictures I’d taken before.

The new CD passenger livery is a disaster. It looks good on coaches and units but the version applied to locos is depressingly grey, particularly on the cabs, which is where it makes an impact. Blue and grey can look very good (just look at 749.259) but the new version doesn’t work. The Iron Paintbrush of Corporate Stalinism is obliterating the greatest outbreak of individualism and ingenuity the normally sober world of locomotive liveries has ever seen. I’m just glad I’ve spent much of the last ten years photographing Czech Railways at their most colourful, the future looks bleak indeed.