Time for the annual pilgrimage to Bulgaria. In addition to the 87s which went over in the late 2000’s for private operator BZK, 3 Class 92’s went over in 2012/2013 and can now be found working freights for DB Schenker and finally and most recently, 4 more 87’s went over to work for private operator Bulmarket with the last two, 87009 and 87025 only entering traffic in early 2014.
A day later, and it was the turn of 87012, 87013 and 87003 on the Razdelna-Ruse trip which only had 1 wagon in the consist. That’s 15,000hp for just 1 wagon – almost DRS standards. 13/05/14
As the light starts to die, 87025 (the most recently returned to traffic) stands at Sindel on the rear of a tank train heading for – we assume – Ruse. This one, along with the other three operated by Bulmarket are notable in the fact they are fitted with two pantographs which has necessitated the removal of the fire supression system. Hopefully this doesn’t mean if one catches fire, it is game over! 13/05/14
92027 stands at Razdelna having brought in a train of empty box wagons for loading at Varna docks. Seems this was the first visit of a 92 here as it was attracting quite a bit of interest from the BZK and BDZ staff based here. This one hasn’t had the snowploughs fitted that the other two have had. 14/05/14
87023 was one of the two Europhoenix liveried locos exported which have retained their livery, albeit with Bulmarket branding added. Velocity stands at Varna Spirka next to an ex-Danish ‘EA’ (also operated by Bulmarket) which are numbered in the 860xx series – so there’s a Class 86 and 87 sat together. 14/05/14
On to Pirdop now, on paper at least, the base for the BZK 87 fleet. Still carrying its pseudo-LNWR black livery which is looking a little worn now, 87019 stands in a brief burst of sunshine with an ex-DB 232 diesel for company. 87019, along with 87012, was one of the first two to be exported from the UK, being accepted into traffic in June 2007. The others soon followed. 16/05/14
Also at Pirdop was 92034, doing a bit of shunting prior to heading down the line towards Sofia to pick up a rake of box wagons loaded with quarried product. 92034 was the first of the three 92’s exported to Bulgaria and unlike the other two that were exported to Romania which were quickly repainted in DB livery, these three are all in near to ex UK condition. Only the top headlight, snowploughs an DB sticker on the front end gives it away. 16/05/14
92034 stands at Zlatitsa. A track machine (that can just be seen in the picture of 87019 at Pirdop) had failed in the section between Pirdop and here necessitating a rescue mission by 92034 87034 and 87004. The 87s had come light engine from the Sofia direction. Not sure if this is the first time that an 87 and 92 have worked together in Bulgaria, but I certainly haven’t seen any pictures of it! 16/05/14
Early morning sortie before the flight home sees 61012 and 61007 (which had powered also) on arrival at Sofia Central with the 0505 Kulata-Sofia. 17/05/14.