The 76cm gauge railways of Yugoslavia

Uskotracne (76-centimetarske) pruge bivse Jugoslavije

Dubrovnik to Sarajevo in 1965 by Charlie Lewis - Page 2

On the stretch above the dam, another Class 83 is on a mixed train.

As plans for the replacement line were already in place, the trackbed on the diverted stretch used some bridges built to carry the later standard gauge line.

The class 97s, built by Floridsdorf in Vienna at the turn of the nineteenth century, surely deserve to rank as one of the all-time great steam designs. Imagine a 76cm gauge, four-cylinder rack engine in the most punishing service, handling main-line freight and passenger trains for more than sixty years!  Like all the narrow gauge locomotives in those days they were beautifully maintained. They had to be!  Most of their working territory was inclined at 1 in 17.  During two days spent along the lineside between Konjic and Bradina there was hardly a moment when the loud exhausts of the 97s could not be heard. Uphill trains sounded as if they had double headers front and back, as the rack and the adhesion cylinders worked in and out of phase.  Downhill trains were accompanied by the muffled explosions of the counter-pressure brake. In this scene at Brdani pod Ivanom, No. 97-034 was waiting on the main line, while a freight, bound for the coast, took the loop with 97-015 doubling with another unidentified 97 class running tender first, this was common practice at this time.

With her left-hand cylinder hovering over an airy precipice, No. 97-013 emerges from a short tunnel at all of 15 km/h on the six kilometre-long rack worked gradient from Konjic to Bradina. Another Class 97 was assisting at the rear. 

With less than two kilometres to go to the summit of the Ivan Pass, trains crossed this famous fish-belly truss bridge over the Luka ravine.  This mixed train had just emerged from a tunnel and was about to plunge into another with its banker (only its smoke visible) pushing at the rear.  On the opposite side of the valley you can see the line clinging to the hillside.  The bridge was guarded by gun towers at each end, probably dating from the nineteenth century.  Just beyond the summit, at Bradina station, the line entered a 3.8 kilometre-long tunnel (now used by the standard gauge) through the watershed between the Adriatic and Black seas.  The original alignment, which was replaced in the 1930's, went over the mountain with only a short tunnel at the top and the rack extended to Rastelica on the Sarajevo side of the ridge.

Class 85 2-8-2 No. 85-021 crossing the girder bridge over the River Zeljeznica at Ilidza near Sarajevo with the overnight sleeping car express from Dubrovnik.  The Class 85's were built to haul the faster long distance passenger trains and a total of 35 were built in Budapest in 1930 and a further 10 in 1940 by Djuro Djakovic of Slavonski Brod.  85-045 is preserved and is being restored to work on the Sargan Mountain Railway. 

At Alipasin Most, four kilometres west of Sarajevo Novo station, there was an exchange yard between the standard gauge, which at this point swung away to the north for Belgrade and Zagreb, and the narrow-gauge main line to the ports of Ploce and Dubrovnik. Some of the yard tracks were extraordinarily long, as were some of the freight trains heading towards the coast. Many were banked as far as Bradina, where long consists were broken into shorter lengths for the descent of the rack section. The converse was also true. Very long consists would be assembled in Bradina and despatched to Sarajevo with class 83s fore and aft for the shorter but sharp gradients encountered in that direction.

With barely a kilometre to go to the reception yards one of these banked trains is shown here entering the station at Ilidza with No. 83-088 leading, there was another 83-class at the rear.   The train has just crossed over the River Zeljeznica and Mount Igman can be seen in the background.

Sarajevo lies in a hollow, drained by the insignificant Miljacka River.  The narrow-gauge main line to Visegrad, Titovo Uzice and Belgrade climbed steeply through minaret-dotted suburbs to the south of the city, passing through a succession of tunnels before entering the valley of the River Drina.   0-8-2 No. 83-037 is seen here on the 14:20 local train to Renovica approaching the suburban station of Bistrik in August 1965.

Looking in the other direction, 85-008 pulls out of Bistrik station on the 00.01 Belgrade to Sarajevo, nearing the end of its 15 hour journey.  The smoke of 83-037, which was passed at Bistrik, can be seen in the distance.

The Steinbeis railway in 1965 by Charlie Lewis

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