Tue Sep 27th, 2011 at 03:29:23 PM EST
MÁV-TRAKCIÓ, the semi-independent company that inherited the Hungarian State Railways MÁV's locomotives, is taking delivery of 25 modern electric locomotives, which belong to international rail giant Bombardier's TRAXX product platform (see From Universal to Modular (2/2)). In Hungary, while locomotives have proper class numbers (480 in this case), all of them have nicknames, too, which railwaymen prefer in daily use. The new machines got a nickname quickly: Blue Brick, for their shape and livery. While my job took me to the plains of eastern Hungary, I took the occasion to portray the machines while new and clean. Here is a short photo diary with some side-stories.
480 003 passes Törökszentmiklós with IC 367 HARGITA to Brașov in Transylvania (German: Kronstadt, Hungarian: Brassó), which is mostly made up of coaches of Romania's CFR
The "Blue Bricks" are meant to replace the main workhorse in the past decades, the class V43 (nickname "Szili" for its silicon diode rectifiers), which was a technology import from a West German-French-Belgian-Swiss-British consortium in the sixties. However, that's a distant dream, considering that just 25 class 480 are ordered vs. over 300 V43 in service. (I even heard unverifiable rumours that there are delays in payment for the first 25.)
V43 1091 with domestic IC 612 SZABOLCS to Nyíregyháza races across Kisújszállás
Most colleagues I asked over the past year took a dim view of the purchase of the new locos: not because the Bombardier locos are bad, but because they would have preferred the higher quality and higher power locos of rival maker Siemens, of which MÁV already has ten. However, to replace the V43 in their current job, the TRAXX are just fine. For example, they are used in the so-called "loop IC" service, which are delay-threatened long runs in a loop from Budapest to eastern Hungary and back to Budapest along a different line (540 km in six hours at Vmax = 120 km/h), and improved on-time stats.
480 010 with IC 657 DÁLIA, a 'loop IC' service, passes with a c. 5 minute delay, which it can easily eliminate on the final 120 km back to Budapest
On the last few cars in the previous photo, you may notice the heat haze (though it's less obvious than in original resolution). Yes: in the last third of September, it was still summer there, with temperatures reaching 28°C that day. There were just two autumn-like half-days this month, but one was during my stay there. Locals did a typical rural autumn task then which is not allowed in hot dry summer: cutting and burning leaves.
Workers at station Fegyvernek cut and burn a younger tree that grew too close to a high-voltage line
The newest Blue Brick to be delivered, the eleventh, also came before my camera.
480 011 with IC 560 HAJDÚ from Miskolc-Tiszai races towards Budapest in the morning. This one had a manageable 5-minute delay, too
Back to the unending summer: there was some summer cloud formation, too, and the Sun threw rays around them:
Approaching from the Sun's direction but under one of these clouds, the Blue Bricks are most blue brick-like:
480 010 again, with IC 365 ADY ENDRE to Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, Romania (German: Klausenburg, Hungarian: Kolozsvár)
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