September in the Sumava

14 - 15 September 2011

Report by Duncan Cotterill


The iconic Czech class 749 diesels are due to lose all their booked work from the end of 2011. Their last daily duties are on the scenic Ceske Budejovice - Nove Udoli line where they are booked to work three pairs of trains until the beginning of October. I’d visited this line twice before, in August 2009 and August 2011 but still wanted about half a dozen shots. A visit to southern Germany (report here) provided the opportunity to spend a couple of days on the line, on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 September 2011 .

For details of the line and service patterns, see my August 2011 report .

This section of the report summarises what was seen. For train by train details with loco numbers etc, go to the Day by Day pages.

Passenger Services

The main difference from my August trip was the revertion of the early morning workings, Os 8105/8104 and Os8111/8110, to railbus operation. This left three loco hauled out and back turns, leaving Ceske Budejovice at 08:07, 10:07 and 14:07. Although the diagrams published earlier in the year indicated that the 08:07 and 14:07 trains should be worked by the same loco, they had different locos on both days. The 14:07 from Ceske Budejovice was hauled by borrowed Praha based class 749 on the Wednesday and the 10:07 was worked by a class 814 DMU on the Thursday. Locos seen were 749.051/253/254/260.

Freight Traffic

The thrice weekly Volary - Kajov pick-up goods was seen on the Wednesday, heading back to Volary over an hour earlier than I’ve seen it before and a 742 was at Kajov, presumably waiting to work the connecting train back to Ceske Budejovice. The Viamont class 720 that had been shunting the grain sidings at Kajov had disappeared, together with all the grain hoppers that occupied much of the yard. The preserved 720 and 0-6-0T that had been at Stozec had also gone.

The pick-up goods from Cicenice, on the Ceske Budejovice - Plzen main line, to Volary was also seen on the Thursday, heading south near Blanice behind 751.316. Again, this was about an hour earlier than it used to run in Summer 2009.

Comments and Conclusions

In the event I only got three of the six shots I wanted. The other three proved impossible, two depended on the early morning trains running and the third was at a location that was in shadow by the time the right train passed. The first day was largely cloudy but the sun came out in the late afternoon and remained out for most of the second day, when I got the shots I needed.

Compared with August, the whole area was a lot quieter with far fewer people around, particularly the walkers and cyclists that tend to use the trains. In previous years the loco hauled trains had stopped running in early September and it was easy to see why. None of the trains I saw had anywhere near enough passengers to fill a class 810 railbus, let alone a brake second and a couple of double deckers. It was difficult not to think that the whole operation was running down in preparation for winter. The 749s were also looking pretty tired and run down, apart from the sparkling 749.051. It’s not clear whether there will be any loco hauled trains next year or what will work them but I would be happy to go back if there was anything worth photographing.