And here we are again! 🙂

This was more of a ‘travelling holiday’ and after flying into Sofia, it took us to Kazanlak (via an afternoon at Pirdop), Varna, Ruse and then into Romania.


45182 rolls into Svoge station, through the town with its houses nestling on the sides of the gorge, working the 0535 Lom-Sofia service.


87003 – one of the last two of the fleet sporting round buffers – stands at Pirdop during one of their famous shunts. Patriot was the middle of the the line of locos and required extraction before becoming the second loco at the front of the evening departure to Razdelna.


44002 buzzed in with an afternoon Burgas-Sofia local – running (late) from Koprivshtitsa due to digging up in the middle of the day with all the passengers bussed around the block.


Tail loco for the evening departure was 87012. Still looking rather clean, the loco has just been prepped ready for departure. It was nice to be able to get a shot of it ‘pan up’ rather than just being dragged dead (as last time we came).


Another shot of 012. Cue the bemused looks from the staff as we wandered up and down the station taking photos – you’d have thought they would be used to it by now!


Skoda electric 44117 departs from Pirdop with 30116 local that was supposed to be from Koprivishtitsa however due to digging up it started somewhere short of that.


The other loco in the fleet still with round buffers was also stabled at Pirdop. 87033 is looking rather tatty of late and could do with a bit of a spruce up. An ex-GFR Class 40 can be seen behind the 87.


On to Varna now and the usual morning activity of heading out to see what was on the morning Razdelna-Ruse trip freight which is usually a good bet for having an 87 on. Before it arrived however, something completely new for us in Bulgaria was the appearance of a pair of OBB Taurus’. They arrived from the Ruse direction before running round and heading off towards Nova Zagora and Turkey thereafter.


A short rake of hoppers this morning for the Ruse wagonload freight and the ‘regular’ 87026 was at the sharp end (on its own) seen heading through Sindel.



The afternoon was spent in the pub (vice the beach as the clouds and drizzle had come in) but the evening cleared up so we went out for the evening trains. The others went off in search of winning engines, but on seeing that 87012 had arrived and was crewed up I decided to stay at Razdelna to watch it leave.


Foreign engine #2 – while waiting for the 87 to leave, 46124 came round the corner with a rake of box wagons which had originated in Varna docks. With the sun out, it seemed rude not to get a shot of it – perhaps my anti foreign trains stance is softening 😉


Not long after the 46 left and just after I lost the sun, 87012 snaked its way out of the yard with an evening departure for Pirdop. In the 3 or so years we have been coming to Varna, we haven’t seen anything leave in this time slot so can only assume it was something related to the engineering block between Kazanlak and Pirdop. Unusually, it was on its own with no tail engine!


Not seen one this far in before! 87028 stands at Ezerovo waiting for the single line section. We were on the train opposite and while the single line working tickets were being issued, took the opportunity to jump off for a quick photo. You wouldn’t get away with doing that in boring old UK…!


We were heading out to Sindel for the usual morning Razdelna-Ruse trip freight but on passing Razdelna the unwelcome sight of ex-GFR Class 40 junk on the front of the train with the 87 inside. I declined to take a photo, but settled for this one of 44066 with a train to Ruse.


Last shot of the trip, heading from Ruse to Gorna Orjahovitsa we crossed this lash up coming out of the terminal at Polski Trambesh. This was the best of a bad lot – it was raining and early morning so the light wasn’t up to much. Still, never seen 3 of the 4 Bulmarket ones on the front of a train before so worth including. With the news that Polish PKP Cargo are interested in buying Bulmarket, who knows what this will mean…

Back next year? Of course…