Bosnia Industrial Heritage Research Tour - Tour Report
Email me if you are interested in the Autumn tour.
Linesiding with John
Bosnia Real Steam Tours 2016
Autumn Real & Charter Steam Tour now open for bookings
The trip is over. Here is a quick summary of where we went and what we saw. See below this for the day-by-day reports and links to my photos on Flickr.

We visited:

Banovici Works
Oskova Separation Plant
Full line charter
Standard gauge steam shunt charter

Breza Coal Mine

Kakanj Coal Mines
Haljinici narrow gauge coal railway
Catici standard gauge USA tanks

Kreka Mining & Sarajevo Thermo-Electric Power Company
Bukinje Workshop
Dubrave Coal Loader
Mramor Coal Mine Monorail
Sikulje Coal Loader
Tuzla Power Station

Lukavac Soda Works

Sarajevo Tram Depot

Tuzla Salt Works

Real Working Industrial Steam
On the steam front, the bad news was that the Oskova narrow gauge shunt was all diesel. Better news was that the Kreka shunts survive with class 33 kreigsloks at 2 locations and these locos are allowed to travel light engine over ZFBH tracks. With 2 locos under active repair, Kreka should have 5 kriegsloks available soon. Currently they have 3 in working order. The class 19 at Oskova (and maybe the 62 at Breza) is used as a replacement loco when the diesel shunter needs a service. At Banovici, the steam loco pool appears to be 2 class 83 and 1 class 25. The class 55 is now displayed along with another 25 in the open air museum at Banovici. The only other potentially useable locos in Bosnia that we are aware of at the class 62 at Djurdjevik and Breza. Neither is in daily use and the railway at Djurdjevik is not currently active.

Read the report below for more details. I still plan a charter steam tour in September 2016 although the exact itinerary and the price have not been finalised yet. Please let me know if you are interested and I will put you on the tour mailing list for updates when available.

Bosnia 2016 Tour 1 - Real Steam & Industrial Heritage - May 2016
Started 10 May 2016
Updated 25 May
Saturday 14 May
We arrived in Sarajevo and met Dario at the airport. After checking into the Hotel Grand Sarajevo, Dario, Majda and I discussed the September Bosnia tour which sounds like it should work out OK. The whole group (3 visitors plus M&D) then had sundowners in the Brew Pub close to the hotel (they brew their own beers which were OK but not special - a wheat beer, Indian IPA and American IPA) prior to dinner and bed.

Sunday 15 May
This was a transfer day and while John K and Nigel rode the international train (Sarajevo dep 10:21 - Zagreb) to Doboj, Dario and I drove there via Kakanj to check out the 600mm line at Haljinici for our final day 23 May. The line is used with a section of around 4 km from the mine to a 1 km tunnel with good public access in the main. The loco depot (locked up on Sunday) is partway along the line. The tunnel leads down to Catici where coal is tipped onto a conveyor to serve the power station. Near the tunnel is another building which could be wagon repair and there were several rakes of mine tubs parked. Near these a disused above ground route was apparently the return empties line from Catici necessary when the line served another mine as well and was busier. The concrete poles for the former electrification are a feature of the whole line.

After meeting up and lunch in Doboj, the three of us rode the Doboj - Tuzla train while Dario drove there in his car. En route, the class 33 503 steam loco at Sikulje was on its stabling point. In addition, a 4-wheel centre cab diesel was seen at the power station along with at least 4 of the standard American diesels including 661-272 used on all of the coal and freight trains at a depot at the east end of Kreka station. Being a Sunday (we speculated), the train was loco hauled by 643-023 with one Republik Srbska carriage. In fact, loco haulage lasted several days. After check in at Pansion Kipovi, we went to our favourite bar to meet Dario and then it was dinner, bar again and bed.

For a selection of photos from 14-15 May click on the photos below.
16 May

Our first real day of the Bosnian Industrial Heritage Tour - we visited Bukinje Works, Mramor Coal Mine (deep mine) and the Dubrave Coal Loader. At Bukinje, there were 3 kriegsloks which will all be back at work soon. 33-064 which had had a slipped tyre was repaired and waiting for coal to be delivered. It will then be steamed, tested and exchanged with the loco currently at Sikulje. If we get really lucky, this could happen on Friday when we are due to go to Sikuje. 33-504 was in for minor repairs and the workshop staff were very active working on 33-248 and were about to attach the left side con rods with the right side also being prepared. The line of USA tanks and dumped kriegslok was unchanged. The Metalna diesel stored beside the shed was originally bought to shunt the coal wagons at Dubrave throught the loader. The intention was that this would be radio controlled but that didn't work so it operated with a driver in the cab. However, it wasn't a success and has now been replace by a combination of cable haulage and kriegslok shunting.

We drove the short distance to Mramor and were taken to the second adit where materials are taken in and out of the mine using a Ferrit mine monorail. This amazing machine - of which the mine has 3 - generally spends up to 5 hours underground at a time and has advanges over narrow gauge rails in that the floor of the pit is rough and the gradients are severe. Materials can be brought in above worker's heads, lowered to the ground or raised hydraulically so doesn't require excessive manpower for lifting things off and on nor additional width beside a wagon to unload. The main adit to the mine which we also got close uses conveyor belts to bring out the coal and spoil. The miners can ride one of the conveyors part way in to the mine but have to walk the rest. However, due to the arrangement of conveyors, they are able to ride the whole distance out. There is evidence of former narrow gauge lines but conveyors and the monorail have totally replaced the narrow gauge. Equally, for the last 10 years or so, all coal goes out by road truck and the standard gauge connection is disused.

We were keen to see a Ferrit mine monorail after seeing YouTube video of the same but we now think this was shot at Bukinje mine rather than Mramor. The one we were shown looked much more modern. We weren't able to wait for one of the two working examples to emerge from the mine. The one on the surface had some technical issues and although they started it for us, they were not able to move it. The majority of the 'train' was in the open including the driving car I sat in for my photo (see Flickr photos) but protected inside a shed (with room for another beside) was the other driving car and the power unit. We hope to find the similar operation at Haljinici (near Kakanj) working when we visit next Monday.

Our final visit of the day was to Dubrave coal loader. We arrived just after shift change at 15:00 (and with a bit of a wait as the loco crew assisted a dog rescue team that was catching the adult feral dogs to be neutered prior to returning them to the site), 33-236 took some empty wagons to position them on the cable to the loader and then smartly (too smartly for us to keep up with on foot) went to the other end to shunt some full wagons. After fly shunting them into a new line - fly shunting is something we hadn't seen previously here - it returned to the stabling point and parked up with no further work for the next 90 minutes at least. We called it a day at that point.

For a selection of photos from 16 May click on the photo below.
Click here for the You Tube video by Andy and Dandan Fisher
Click here for the You Tube video of the other side of the tunnel at Kakanj by Andy and Dandan Fisher
Tuesday 17 May

We spent today on the Banovici system. We had a charter booked for 11:00 but arrived by 09:00 hoping to move it a bit earlier. After finding the charter train train crew at Oskova, we took him to Banovici and with the paperwork coming together there, we were allowed in to the works to see our train being prepared. The consist was agreed as 3 bogie coal wagons and one brown wooden bogie crew car making a reasonable freight or mixed train. We had green 83 (83 159) for our train as 83 158 which had been working the day before needed a repair.

The situation at Banovici seems to be that steam is not required for the shunt now until at least July. It's probably not all over for real working steam on the Oskova shunt just yet but we now know that it can be seasonal. One reason given is that the diesels can't take the excessive heat of high summer. That sounds a bit odd but may be true. It could also be July when demand for air conditioning increases the demand for power. There are currently 3 720 diesel shunters in action which may also reduce the need for steam. The Saturday tourist train is not due to run this month either which means that a casual visitor without a charter booked might find everything diesel.

They took a while to get 83 159 ready for us which meant that an early start didn't happen but we had fun in the workshop yard until they were ready. We took our train down to Oskova and then had a chimney first uphill run with 6 photo runpasts. The weather was perfect as you will see from the photos although the 12:00 - 14:00 charter was when the sun was at its highest which probably took a bit out of the best shots.

We arrived back at Banovici later than expected which meant that we missed the power station railway visit which has been rescheduled for Wednesday. On our way back into Tuzla we had a quick look at the ZFBH diesel shed near Kreka station. These are noted in the loco list below.

Up the line, the loader at Grivice is in action which means that they are not loading coal at the end of the single track section - Turija is the name of that place, I believe. It seems that they operate the two open cast mines alternately and its Grivice's turn. As a result, we had the single track section to ourselves.

All in all, a lovely little charter for just 3 gricers with one chaser - Terry Wallace - (the person who introduced me to our guides Majda and Dario) also there to enjoy it.

John King has provided the loco list for today:

Banovici works

83 158 83 159 working
83 181 withdrawn
25 30 in works serviceable
25 31, 25 32, 25 29 cond.

Banovici diesel depot
720 003 yard shunter
740 113 bogie repair

740 107, 740 108 working
720 001 washers shunter

720 002 tipple shunter

Oskava standard gauge
19 12 serviceable
141 03 fives Lille conditions
USA copy no identity

55 99
25 33

Freight near Tuzla
661 307

Tuzla depot
661 267
661 308
661 272
661 268

In all not a bad haul for a day!

Click on the photo below to see today's photos of Banovici in the sunshine.
Wednesday 18 May

Our first visit today was to the Soda Factory where we were welcomed by the boss. The factory is owned by the Turkish Sisecam group which specializes in glass making. He arranged for us to see their diesel loco and go for a ride on it. We were taken under the aerial ropeway and towards the main line connection and we stopped the loco with a mosque in the background. On our return, the aerial ropeway had stopped as it was 'breakfast time' and so we were not able to ask to see inside the terminus of the ropeway - something for another trip?

We then drove over to the Tuzla Power Plant and were allowed in to photograph the railway operation from the footbridge across the yard. Another diesel of the same Czech class as the Soda Factory was shunting two of the coal tipplers. We saw two coal train arrivals but also - and this was the good bit - the class 33 (33-064) which we had been told at Bukinje was waiting for a coal delivery so it could be tested and sent to Sikulje arrived from Bukinje under its own steam and was placed 3 wagons into a consist of empty coal wagons to be dragged by diesel to Sikulje. The positioning must have been to add some separation between it and the diesel because of weak bridges, etc. We expect to see that loco in use at Sikulje on Friday. The loco currently there 33-503 is due to be returned to Bukinje Works but we probably won't see that move. As 33-064 was being dragged, we saw it leave but didn't chase. Instead, we went to have lunch by Lake Modrac - the one crossed by the aerial ropeway.

The lake is actually artificial but is large and very attractive. We stopped by the ropeway across the lake and then had lunch nearby. This has to be the nicest place to stay or eat in the Tuzla area but I'm not sure how it would fit into a future charter tour for which the Hotel Zlaca still seems the best option.

After lunch, we drove over the hills to Banovici passing the mine where the 17 km ropeway starts. We checked to make sure that no steam was operating the Oskova shunt and then caught two diesel coal trains at the first and then the second level crossing above Banovici Works. The second crossing is just before Grivice and we saw the diesel shunting moving empties under the loader there.

We called it a day and headed back to Tuzla. The local team Tuzla Sloboda were playing in the Bosnian cup final but lost 2-0. They will however be playing in the Europa Cup next season starting in the group stage. Watch out Europe! Actually, despite the loss, the fans watching on the big TV in the main square took it well and we didn't see any riots or fuss.

Loco numbers are provided today by Nigel:

Soda factory 797.821
Tuzla Power station 797.820
ZFBH diesels on coal trains @ power station: 661.307 (hauled train conveying 33.064); 661.272. light engine on main line.
Kreka mines: 33.064 at Power Station transferring to Sikulje.
RMU Banovici narrow gauge: 740.108 (line work); 720.002 (loader).

John King noted that the 200 series 661 had steam heating fitted while the 300 series had rejenerative braking in the same nose space at the cab end of the loco. I suppose the logic is that 661.272 was built as a passenger loco and 661.307 was built as a freight loco.

The photos are now in an album so by clicking right and left on the photo, you should be able to see the other photos in the album.
New: Click for the Flickr album of this trip
Thursday 19 May

We spent all day at Oskova. In the morning, we arrived around 09:00 to find the class 19 making up a train of fulls. Once we had our paperwork sorted, we found 19.12 parked on some trucks in front of the loaders waiting for the ZFBH loco to arrive with empties. One of the loaders was out of action as they were replacing the weighbridge, the others were all working.

The Railway had taken our charter as the opportunity to put the diesel through it's half-day service (I believe this happens ever 11 days or so) so there was some element of regular working steam. Eso the normal charter train organiser, offered to move 19.12 down to the end of the yard to await the ZFBH train. After arrival, 661.268 parked the empties on the mine sidings and 19.12 positioned the empties under the loaders in 3 shunts. Work was then over for a while and so it was lunchtime for us but 19.12 was still on duty until the diesel service was complete and we saw it make at least one more (unexpected) shunt move as we headed for lunch. 19.12 was replaced by 732.195 after its service was complete and returned to the shed for shift change. The fire was dropped and the loco was left outside the shed when the crew went off shift.

Timing (and knowledge) is everything, and had we known and had we got there earlier we might have seen the steam loco making up the full train as well as positioning the empties under the loaders. As it was, we turned up at 09:00 for an 11:00 charter!

After lunch, we saw the Oskova narrow gauge shunt with diesel and saw two moves either side of shift change which cleared all of the full trains. 740.107 removed a set of empties from the loader but then sat at the stabling point and we were told that there was no coal to move from the Grivice loader. We called it a day and went to make sure that the Tuzla black beer at the Brewery Restaurant was still up to scratch.

This was the last visit to Oskova on this trip and we can conclude that with low demand for coal and with the lower (Grivice) loader in use, only 2 diesel shunters and 1 mainline diesel are required. Another mainline diesel is standby and steam is on holiday until demand increase (for aircon?) or the diesels can't cope with the summer heat. Our assumption is that one steam loco will be back on the Oskova shunt later in the year (for the planned September trip) but this could be another aspect of the trip that requires a charter. The washery (separation plant is probably the correct term and closer to the local expression) was mainly being services and not working in the mornings (as in 2015).

Nigel has provided the loco numbers again:

Oskova standard gauge:
19.12 charter / stand-in for diesel being serviced.
732.195 being serviced am, back in use in the afternoon.
62.125 stored in shed
62.677 dumped outside shed
144R-03 dumped
661.268 (ZFBH) brought empties in and took out fulls.

Oskova narrow gauge:
720.003 washery shunter
740.107 on line work
740.108 standby loco parked up at stabling point
Friday 20 May

Just a brief report on today as we have an early start tomorrow.

We paid a visit to the Tuzla salt factory and had a guided tour of the museum which includes the old salt building which used the evaporation process. This building was damaged in the independence war and the money isn't available to restore it. The modern process uses vacuum to remove water from the salt. There is a siding from near the loco shed at Kreka Station and we just missed a shunt move with a class 661. This is the only rail now used in the factory and they don't have their own diesel shunter. Salt is in the name Tuzla and the salt factory is a key element of the town of Tuzla. A restored, traditional salt factory for visiting tourist to see and producing a high quality table salt 'Handmade in the Tuzla Salt Factory' is one of the few potential tourist attractions that Tuzla can aspire to - along with Lake Modrac of course. Unfortunately, the will doesn't seem to be there at higher levels in the company and the town government to bid for UNESCO or other funding to achieve this.

We had a tip off that the spare kreigslok would be travelling under its own steam from Dubrave to Sikulje to replace the loco there which would then travel light to Bukinje works. And that's what happened. Clearly the kriegsloks can travel over the ZFBH under their own steam. Perhaps the move in a train consist was to save a path or because the loco didn't have sufficient coal for the trip. The handover happened before the 15:00 shift change but we waited to see the fulls pulled out from the loader after the shift change. The crews here have lost none of their greediness and the new crew pretty much refused to do anything without being paid once they knew we were there. We left to enjoy some black beer at the Tuzla Brewery. Loco 33-064 replaced 33-503 at Sikulje.
Saturday 21 May - back to Sarajevo

We checked out at 07:30 and drove past Sikulje to the next station Dobosnica where the station building is a shipping container. We saw the Doboj - Tuzla train there at 08:28 - it's now reverted to diesel multiple unit. We then drove to Sarajevo via a back route so we could explore the railway from Vares to Breza. Our route was via Lake Modrac, Banovici, Vares and Breza and we arrived at Sarajevo around 16:00 after an excellent trout lunch at Breza. Part of the route from Banovici to Vares was a dirt road up a river valley and over a pass with very good views. At Vares we found the derelict steel works and the class 62 in the yard and at Breza colliery, we went round the back and climbed the hill to photograph the 1 active diesel and 3 stored/dumped locos (2 class 62, 1 diesel shunter). I'm not sure if one of the class 62s is a standby loco for when the diesel is serviced but it wasn't in steam today. We drove the old main road into Sarajevo and caught a glimpse of the ZFBH workshop at Rajlovac before returning to the Hotel Grand Sarajevo.

John King has provided the loco list for today:

813 039, 814 039 Fiat railcar

Vares closed steelworks
62 370 green USA tank / copy withdrawn

Breza mine
797 829 7 Czech Loco 0-4-0 diesel working, green livery.
62 672 green USA tank / copy withdrawn
62 363 black USA tank / copy withdrawn.
DL - 50 (green) 0-4-0 diesel stored by conical silo.

Sarajevo works (from road)
661 327, 661 313, 733 031, 733 032. Cannibalised for spares.
Also unidentified in addition: 2 × 661, 1 × 732, 1 × 733, 3 × 212 DR?. 4 x 441 electrics status unknown but appear complete. 1 x small, green, narrow gauge steam engine. It has a spark arresting chimney and is stored off rails at right angles to other standard gauge locos. Appears in good condition.

That's all! The steam engine was a surprise!

To see photos of today, click on the photo below and then click left and right to see the other photos. All of the photos from today have a brief caption.
Sunday 22 May
A day off and we explored Sarajevo old town and had a bizarre lunch at the Sarajevo Brewery restaurant consisting of a large plate of French fries with 2 sausages, a side plate of salted potatoes and a basket of bread - talk about carbs! It was supposed to be sausage, baked beans and cabbage with salted potatoes on the side but the restaurant had changed the menu without updating the printed menu. When asked why he hadn't explained about the surfeit of potatoes we had unknowning ordered, the waiter wasn't in the least concerned that we might have something we didn't order and didn't want! Odd really as Nigel who ordered the chicken wings with cornflakes (I know that sounds weird but it used to be good) was told that the substitute version was picante chicken wings instead and 'would that be all right?' before his order came.
Monday 23 May

We started off at the Sarajevo tram depot where we were given a guided tour with limited photo permission. Tram numbers are provided by Nigel Hodges:

Gras - Sarajevo trams.
Seen in service on the following weekend dates (* = limited observations):
14/5/2016*; 15/5/2016* ; 21/5/2016*; 22/5/2016. 21 trams were seen in service on 22/5 = #. List in numerical order.
201. 209#. 210#. 211. 212#. 217#. 237#. 240. 255#. 257#. 258. 261#. 275#. 277#. 289#. 291#. 502#. 503#. 504#. 505#. 506#. 507. 508. 509#. 510#. 602#. 603#.

Trams seen on depot from passing trams (22/5/2016).
128. 238. 501. 802. 911. 917.

Trams seen at the depot on official guided visit on 23/5/16.

1. This is not a complete list as we weren't taken to every part of the depot and I wasn't able to write down all the numbers either. (It wasn't always clear either which trams were withdrawn. )
2. Photography was highly restricted to the preserved tram, replicas of the horse drawn and electric trams plus one of the ex Konya trams.
3. We were told the ex Amsterdam trams are not entirely suited to the winter climate in Sarajevo (rubber pipes perishing) and that there are three ex Vienna trams used only from (ZFBH) station on route 4 to Ilidza services of which two were in use on the day of our visit.
4. The tram depot is larger than appears apparent if seen from a passing tram. It is adjacent to a bus depot and there is also a depot for mini/midi buses on Halida Kaitaza near the station.
71. 207. 231. 248. 258. 261. 271. 266 (for scrap). 268. 275. 283 (dumped). 291. 292. 302. 304. 503. 507. 511. 601. 713. 801 (?withdrawn). 802. 901. 908. 909 plus three others that I can't decipher my own writing!!
5. Additional trams not previously seen in service were noted whilst ensuring route to the airport on 24/5/2016: 300. 713.
6. Single fare is now 2KM.

Trams seen in service on 23/5/2016 - NB limited observations:
209. 217. 255. 275. 277. 291. 303. 811. 505. 507. 602. 603. 709. 906. 907.

Three axle trolleybus 4422 was also seen in service.

We then drove to Kakanj where we hadn't been able to secure permission in advance. Our approach to the Haljinci mine didn't result in permission to enter and they also pointed out that we didn't have permission to photograph in public areas either. A further phone call to Kakanj headquarters also resulted in another rejection and the news that the line wasn't working because bridge repairs were going on. Everything looked a bit bleak but we turned up at the depot midway along the line and asked if we could look round - and Bingo! we struck lucky with a manager was paying a visit who saw no problem with us being there and taking photos. We saw all 3 of the Italian locos - one outside and 2 under repair inside. One of the ones inside has had a short guardsvan built to travel behind the loco as there is not enough space in the loco cab for 2 men. We also learned that a 4th loco, a new Polish arrival, was working a coal train and would pass by shortly. The bridge repair turned out to be an attempt to remove a steep incline which had developed either side of the bridge which had been causing problems for the locos. Coal traffic had not been affected. We waited for the train and thus saw the entire loco fleet at the depot or passing it.

Kananj area numbers by John King:

The Narrow gauge engines were 1, 2, 3 for the Italian ones and no number visible on the Polish one.
The Italian ones are built by Valente Spa. Works H1003 1020 for number 1 and H1003 1019 for number 2

On our way back to the motorway, we stopped to see the 2 class 62 tanks stored outside the loco shed at Catici. This was a good chance to see an original US version next to a Duro Dakovic Yugoslavian copy. The major difference is bar frames on the US version and plate frames on the Yugoslavian version.

The steam locos at Kakanj were 62-020 genuine S100, 62-366 S100 copy.

And with that the industrial and railway heritage part of the trip was over. A farewell dinner in the old town of Sarajevo with Majda and Dario, packing and then, next day, a flight back to the UK via Munich. Trip over.

My conclusion on the trip will follow shortly.
This is how I described the trip before we set of. It will give an idea of how much of our plan we were able to achieve. A remarkable amount, in fact!

A group of 3 of us will make an exploratory tour to see what other industrial heritage attractions we can find in Bosnia. Some of the ideas we have for this trip are detailed below. Some of the items may find their way into future Bosnia tours including the 'all steam with charters' tour planned for September and early October.

Escorted visits to some or all of the following in Sarajevo:

- Tram depot (this would be the No. 1 priority)
- ZFBH locomotive depot (and workshops) Sarajevo
- Former station at Bistek on the narrow gauge East Bosnia Railway
- Plinthed locos at several locations in Sarajevo
- Riding and photographing the trams and trolley buses
- Guided walking tour of the old town

Day trip to see the narrow gauge coal line at Haljinici near Kakanj (Italian diesels) as well as out-of-use locos (USA tanks, class 62 both original US and Yugoslavian version) at Catici and Kakanj with possible visit to Breza en route (more stored steam locos).

In the Tuzla area:

Real working steam
Oskova washery shunt (narrow gauge) including a night photo shoot
Sekulje loader shunting (class 33 kriegslok)
Dubrave loader shunting (class 33 kriegslok)
Bukinje workshop (class 33 kriegslok in the works and class 62 USA tanks stored)
Banovici workshop (narrow gauge)

Steam charters
Banovici narrow gauge – class 83 mixed train charter'
Oskova washery standard gauge shunt returned to steam with their class 62 (requested) or class 19 steam loco

All the ideas listed above are practical and have been achieved in the past. The following ideas are new:

Other industrial heritage
(All have been suggested – we wait to see how many will welcome us)
Washery tour (Oskova washery requested)
Open Cast Pit (although access into the pit may be difficult we hope at least to view one or more pits from the pit rim)
Bukinje Mine Monorail (although the mine is closed and the YouTube clip is 5 years old, we hope to view this and if possible see it in action – see
Lukavac Soda Works and Lukavac Coke Works – access to see the internal rail systems and diesel locos at these plants
Soda Works Aerial Ropeway which crosses a lake on its way to the works
Tuzla Brewery Tour
Tuzla salt extraction and processing factory
Tuzla power station rail systems