Saturday, October 31, 2009

CFR 20.064 at Sibiu Steam Locomotive Museum

CFR 20.064 is a special locomotive built in 1924 by Henschel & Sohn (Kassel). It is one of the two fireless locomotives imported by CFR. Instead of using coal, wood or crude oil as fuel, the locomotive can be filled directly with steam and water through the hole located at the front of the boiler. Once filled with steam, the loco could run for as long as 8-9 hours. It was built for special use in places with high risk of explosion (such as ammunition depots, refineries and distilleries).

Its "sister" locomotive is said to be abandoned on a hill near the Constanta train station. The two steamers were used at Chimimpex Constanta and Mararsesti Chemical Factory until 1976 when they were retired from service. CFR 20.064 was donated in 1995 by the Marasesti Chemical Factory to the Sibiu steam locomotive museum and it's on display there ever since.

ID: CFR 20.064
Wheel arrangement: 0-4-0F
Built: 1924
Builder: Henschel & Sohn (Kassel)
Gauge: Standard (1435 mm)
Location: Sibiu, Romania (steam locomotive museum)

This interesting steam locomotive is in a fairly good shape, but it is not used anymore, it's simply being displayed in the Sibiu steam locomotive museum. Unfortunately it too is crowded between other steamers. There is no information panel next to it to inform visitors about the special design of the locomotive (as a matter of fact there is no information displayed about any of the locomotives in the museum).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CFR 131.040 at Sibiu Steam Locomotive Museum

The locomotives of the 131.000 series, of type 1C1t-h2, are considered a great achievment of the Romanian railway industry. They have been designed and built entirely by Romanian engineers and technicians. The prototype, 131.001, built by the Uzinele Domeniilor Resita factories, was finished in 1939. Its designers were hoping to create a locomotive that could replace the the 375.000, 376.000 and 377.000 series locos that were servicing the secondary lines of CFR at the time because these were too old, technically outdated, inefficient and not powerful enough.
So was the first 131.000 series steam locomotive born, which had an empty weight of 48.5 t and 61.6 t service weight. It could produce a power of 632 HP and 81 kN pulling power. The optimal speed was 50 km/h but it could reach up to 65 km/h. The main wheels' diameter was 1.2 m and the whole locomotive was 11.87 m long.
The tests proved that the 131.001 locomotive was strong enough and suitable for its purpose, so the Uzinele Domeniilor Resita factories started building more of them. 66 more locomotives of this type were assembled between 1940 and 1942. The total of 67 steamers of this kind got the numbers 131.001 - 131.067. Beginning with 1953 some of them were transformed so that they could also use crude oil as fuel. They were used in the Banat region until 1975 - 1976 when CFR retired them. After 1980 most of them were scrapped, only a few survived.
CFR 131.040 was saved in the last moment by railway enthusiasts. In 1992 it was taken to Arad depot in order to be dismantled, but they rescued it and thanks to them since 1994 it is on display in the Sibiu steam locomotive museum.

ID: CFR 131.040
Wheel arrangement: 2-6-2T
Built: 1941
Builder: Uzinele Domeniilor Resita
Top speed: 65 km/h
Gauge: Standard (1435 mm)
Location: Sibiu, Romania (steam locomotive museum)

The locomotive is in a good shape, displayed among others in the steam locomotive museum in Sibiu. Unfortunately it is crowded between other locos and homeless dogs live under it, so it's pretty difficult to even take a good photo of it.


Friday, October 23, 2009

CFR 130.503 at Sibiu Steam Locomotive Museum

Originally numbered 130.569, this is a steam locomotive of type 1C-h2, which was pretty wide spread in the past among the CFR locomotives. The first 40 locos of this type were bought by CFR between 1911 and 1916. Due to the good results of these locomotives in service, in 1920 CFR ordered another 80 from the Škoda factories in Plzen. They were delivered between 1921 and 1922 and numbered 130.501 - 130.580. Used mainly for pulling passenger trains on lines with low grades, these steam locomotives functioned mostly until the 70s, when they were retired. Rarely they pulled freight trains too because they were powerful enough.

130.569 was first exposed in 1972 when the north station of Bucharest, Romania (Gara de Nord Bucuresti) was 100 years old. Two years later the original 130.503 was dismembered and 130.569 received its number plates. Since 1994 it is being displayed in the steam locomotive museum of Sibiu, Romania.

ID: CFR 130.503
Wheel arrangement: 2-6-0
Built: 1921
Builder: Škoda (Plzen)
Gauge: standard (1435 mm)
Location: Sibiu, Romania (steam locomotive museum)

The locomotive is in a good shape, on display in the steam locomotive museum in Sibiu (not being used anymore).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CFR 764.055 Behind Cluj-Napoca Train Station

In the town of Cluj-Napoca, Romania there is a railway park. Well, at least that's what it used to be years ago. A nice, big, quiet, green space inside the city. Today the park is abandoned, visited mostly only by homeless gypsies. According to rumors the city council has promised to rehabilitate the park starting in fall 2009, but that's likely to remain just that, a promise. Currently it's just wasted space. The park is located here:

A narrow gauge (760 mm) line still runs around the park, but the little train which used to transport children is gone. So is the CFR 764.055 steam locomotive, which was on display inside the park. They have both been taken inside a yard behind the Cluj-Napoca train station, here:

They claim that the purpose was to restore them, but as you can see from the pictures, they are in a pretty bad shape.

In the beginning of the year 2006 CFR 764.055 was still in the railway park. You can see some pictures of it here. Today it is abandoned behind a fence near the train station.

ID: CFR 764.055
Wheel arrangement: 0-8-0
Built: 1948
Builder: Chrzanów (Poland)
Top speed: 35 km/h
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania (behind train station)

The locomotive was built in 1948 by Chrzanów factories in Poland and it belongs to the Satu Mare train depot. I'm curious about it's history but unfortunately all I know is that it was in the Cluj-Napoca railway park for a long time. Unfortunately it's not in a good shape, it is damaged and the rust is beginning to show its first signs. Painting is definitely needed.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mocanita din Viseu - Part 4

Around 12:30 the CFF Viseu 764.421 "Elvetia" locomotive, coupled to the back of the train and announced us with the whistle that it was time to leave for Viseu de Sus. So we all got back into the passenger cars and we slowly started rowling down the Vaser Valley.

The journey back seemed to be shorter. We stopped less and we traveled somewhat faster. Maybe it was because downstream the locomotive did not have to make a big effort, the train was rolling down mostly only using the brakes.

So, we arrived to Viseu de Sus. We took some last photos of the train and the mocanita trip was over.

It was truly a unique experience, one that I recommend to everybody who likes trains and nature. My only regret was that we only went to Paltin, we did not go further upstream, where there are tunnels and the nature is even wilder. But who knows, maybe they'll repair the line and will allow tourists to travel further next year. Hopefully the last real steam powered forest railway has a future and with the money gathered from tourists and with the help of the Swiss foundation we will see the little steam trains traveling up and down the Vaser Valley many years from now...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mocanita din Viseu - Part 3

Mocanita of the Vaser Valley at Paltin

The mocanita has arrived to Paltin around 11:30 AM. The train chief told us, tourists, that we will have a one hour long brake before returning to Viseu de Sus. So we all got down from the train and started looking around. The landscape was beautiful, with many trees, rocks and the river of course. There was a merchant selling hot drinks and snacks. the prices were pretty high, but negotiable. There were a few wooden tables and benches, so we could sit down and eat our sandwiches in peace.
After a few minutes the mocanita went ahead a few hundred meters uphill and shortly after it pushed the passenger cars back onto a secondary line.

The locomotive went uphill again and started maneuvering with some train cars loaded with logs. I found it really interesting that it did not push the logs all the way down to the secondary line where they were meant to remain until a second locomotive came to pick them up, it just gave them a push and let them roll down freely. We didn't get a chance to see what finally happened to the logs but probably a Diesel loco picked them up later to be processed at Viseu de Sus. These days the steam locomotives are mostly used for tourist trains in order to keep them active as long as possible. The wood is transported mainly by Diesels.

When the maneuvers were complete, the CFF 764.421 "Elvetia" locomotive positioned itself near a small bridge over a little stream. The train chief took its long rubber hose and put it in the water in order to refill the locomotive.

Mocanita of the Vaser Valley refilled with water at Paltin

Finally, after another few minutes, the locomotive coupled to the opposite end of the passenger cars and we were announced that we should prepare ourselves to return to Viseu de Sus...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mocanita din Viseu - Part 2

Last weekend I took a trip to the Vaser Valley to visit the mocanita train. Saturday morning at a few minutes before 8:30 we arrived to the CFF station in Viseu de Sus (the address is str. Cerbului nr. 5, for the map location see part 1). From a few hundred meters away we could already see a small steam locomotive getting ready for the trip.

Mocanita at Viseu de Sus station

While we walked that distance, it arrived to the station and coupled to the passenger cars, so by the time we got there, the CFF 764.421 "Elvetia" steam locomotive was already waiting for us, ready to take us into the valley of the river, into the land of forests and rocks.

Mocanita at Viseu de Sus station

We quickly purchased our tickets (a ticket for an adult costs 35 RON (8-9 Euro) and there are lower cost tickets for students and children). The train left at 8:30 sharp.
First we traveled through the village, close to the peoples' houses and gardens. We stopped more than once for a short brake. The little narrow gauge train's speed must have been betwen 10 and 20 km/h.

After leaving the village, we followed the river's course uphill deep into the valley. Sometimes the trees were so close to the windows that you could touch them, other times you had to pull your had inside in order not to be hit by the rocks. The river was also very close, sometimes the water was no more then half a meter away from the train tracks.

Mocanita heading up the Vaser Valley

After about two and a half hours of traveling uphill we reached our end station, Paltin, where tea, hot chocolate and other goodies wre awaiting us at a merchant's table.

Mocanita at Paltin

The line goes much further into even wilder places, but since the flood in 2008, when the water washed away large sections of track, the company does not feel that it's safe for tourists to travel further. It's a pitty because shortly after Paltin a tunnel follows and the land is said to be even more beautiful.