The 76cm gauge railways of Yugoslavia

Uskotracne (76-centimetarske) pruge bivse Jugoslavije


Slavonski Brod to Doboj in 1965 by Charlie Lewis
A "Klose" arrest

A portrait of No.185-003 with its truly peculiar motion, taken at Derventa just prior to arrest and interrogation.


By 1965 the isolated track from Slavonski Brod (on the Zagreb -Belgrade  main  line)  to  Doboj (where a branch extended to Teslic) was the last remaining segment of the original  narrow gauge main  line to Sarajevo which the Austrians had started building as a military railway in 1879. It was this stretch of line that had drawn me to Yugoslavia in the first place.

We spotted the 10:30 local from Bosanski Brod (across the Sava River from Slavonski Brod) at a level crossing near Sjekovac and the amazing sight of No. 185-003, Klose mechanism intact and hauling the return working of the morning commuter run from Derventa.

In spite of the complexity of its motion with its dozens of pins and bushes, the engine seemed to be in excellent good health. When drifting or working lightly no knocks or rattling of the motion could be heard, only a kind of gentle ticking as one would expect from a sewing machine, or a well-oiled clock.

We hedge-hopped with the local along the parallel road, taking several photographs between stations. As we approached Derventa the engine's crew repeatedly made handcuff signs, pointing ahead and then to us.  We assumed this meant trouble and so it proved when shortly after arriving at Derventa (but not before getting a portrait of No. 185-003), we were arrested.  After a brisk and fairly brief interrogation we were released with a grave warning never to take photographs of trains again.

There had been little time to study this marvellous machine.  No. 185-003 was a living memorial to the ingenuity of its designers and the dedication and skill of the men who had maintained her for more than sixty years. She was a two-cylinder compound with both cylinders between the frames (on 2ft 6in gauge!) and the valves and motion outside. The Klose articulation gave her a rigid wheelbase of zero(!), which was thought necessary at the time for coping with curves down to 38-metre radius.  Classification was tricky because she had a four-wheeled articulated tender that was an integral part of the radial suspension, so it could be 0-6-4T or 0-6-0+4 or just plain 0-6-0.  I have followed A.E Durrant's practice of calling it a 0-6-4T. Later, several of the class had the Klose mechanism removed (but retained the articulated tender) and we encountered several of these during the following weeks.  We only ever saw one other unmodified class 185 - at Dubrovnik shed, in steam.

To learn more about the Klose articulated locomotives, view this page.


Our first sighting of No. 185-003 on the 10.30am local from Bosanski Brod to Derventa.  Looking like anything but the original main line, the track had deteriorated badly and weeds were everywhere.


Like all the JZ narrow-gauge passenger trains, this service was crammed full of off-peak customers, no doubt quite unaware of the rarity of the machine that was taking them home.


The Ohrid line in 1965 by Charlie Lewis

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