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Occasional Train Blogging: Springtime Romantic Roundtrip

by DoDo Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 04:05:50 AM EST

Last Saturday, I had to dismount a satellite dish on a relative's house – great fun when you have near-zero technician's knowledge, especially when you have strong wind and rain up on the roof (sorry no photo).

But Sunday, that was the first day of the real spring (we already had flowers in freak January). Perfect weather for repeating a short round-trip on rail and foot my late grandfather took me on when I was small...

Refurbished Czechoslovak-built railbus Bzmot 243 arrives in Szokolya station

More great train-blogging from DoDo - afew


The first leg of the trip is on the mainline to the village Kismaros. There, the single-car train of a narrow-gauge railway (schedule) was stopped extra for our late mainline train. With a maximum speed of 25 km/h yet violently shaking right and left, we travelled on it until Szokolya-Mányoki station.

Standard narrow-gauge diesel Mk 48 2031 leaves Szokolya-Mányoki, continuing its journey to end station and tourist centre Királyrét

The fast-moving clouds produced fantastic lights. On we walked across the village Szokolya...

...and then on the half-hour walk across the hill to a standard-gauge branch-line...

The grass just began to grow again, and the cows already graze on the hillside. On the horizon to the right, the Csóványos (938 m), highest peak of the Börzsöny mountains, part of what was the crater rim of a Vesuve-sized volcano 14 million years ago

The branch-line station, far from the village in a narrow valley covered by forests, is kept alive & busy by a military fuel depot. Surprisingly, the train arrived  on-time by the minute.

On a line that barely saw track renewal since construction a century ago, we rumbled onward with a maximum speed of 40 km/h, at places even less, until Magyarkút-Verőce station. The station itself with its old infrastructure is picturesque, but I could only catch the end of the departing train on the road crossing, around which no pole stands straight:

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I hope I can show flowers in the next diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 7th, 2007 at 02:33:27 PM EST
Thanks again, I really enjoy these pictures.  The one you posted earlier with the two boys waving to the train is my desktop background picture.  Everyone asks if one of the kids was me, back in the day of coal fired locomotives.  I tell them those are my kids.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Wed Mar 7th, 2007 at 03:12:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean the photo of the UP M-10005 I 'stole' from Wikipedia?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 11:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that is it!

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Fri Mar 9th, 2007 at 03:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonderful stuff, as usual!  Great for a night of insomnia :)
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 7th, 2007 at 11:50:26 PM EST
How do the narrow gauge railways survive? If they never have more than one or two carriages, I would have thought that it would be cheaper to replace them with buses.
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Mar 11th, 2007 at 09:22:38 AM EST
They survive as carriers of tourists. On this line, single-carriage traffic is in the winter season, in the summer, trains have three cars and are more frequent. (Then again, trains are about half as frequent even in summer than in my childhood, and the line lost its freight transports.)

Regarding buses as cheaper alternatzive, don't make me cry... just two weeks ago, 14 lines were switched to bus traffic in the course of the government's austerity measures, and like during line closures during the preceding three decades, the buses-are-cheaper 'argument' has been used. But the truth is, traffic is low not because demand would be low, but because the offer is degraded -- how should a line with four-five decades of lack of investment compete in time or comfort with private cars? --, and consciously so. Properly upgraded branchlines can 'miraculously' increase passenger numbers tenfold. Meanwhile, a bus (at least a typical one running on a typical country road here) is still a lower comfort class and less convenient for the last passengers of decrepit branchlines (mostly retired old people) than that 40-km/h-max railbus.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 11th, 2007 at 11:31:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, welcome to ET!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 11th, 2007 at 11:32:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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