Spring in Europe’s Last Steam Empire

Galleries about steam in the former Yugoslavia you'll find here.

Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina: 18.4. – 26.4.2009

When meadows turn green and fruit threes are in blossom we’ll return to the fascinating regularly used steam in Serbia and Bosnia. Our visit is short but has a dense schedule to capture all remaining steam activities and beyond.

More that a dozen steam locomotives are still in regular use in this south-eastern corner of Europe. Their duties are shunting movements in front of impressive industrial mine backdrops and trains from the mines via short but sometimes scenic lines to state railway stations. These trains to the state railway stations offer especially good potential for pictures. Sometimes we’ll arrange some extra movements to capture more shots.

Unfortunately this steam paradise in the middle of Europe is close to extinct. Kostolac, Vreoci and the steelworks at Zenica, all will have dropped the fire in their locomotives by the end of 2008. Banovici is the next candidate to be dieselised.

Steam is fading out quickly, and the last surviving saturated 0-6-0 steamers will become history rather earlier than later.

Despite the inevitable price explosion, we have chartered several steam locomotives which would have not been under steam or would not be go on a scenic line otherwise. This will enable us to see many more different types of steam locomotives. For instance we’ll fire one of the French narrow gauge locomotives in Vreoci and the standard gauge gem in Resavica. Here is not only the ancient locomotive, the whole situation including the station staff seems to call back the times shortly after Word War I. In addition we’ll bring back to life one of the almost unemployed UNRRA locomotives in the open cast mine Kostolac. In April 2009 we expect a last lonely locomotive to be serviceable. For all friends of Serbian and Bosnian narrow gauge steam we’ll charter a train with the famous 0-8-2 class 83. The last regular used locomotive of it’s class can be seen in Banovici.

Several thousand Kriegsloks class 33 (Deutsche Reichsbahn class 52) have been produced. More than 60 years later a very few are still in regular use in Bosnia! On the last days of our tour we’ll focus on these 2-10-0’s.

If everything will work out a planned we’ll be able to see these types of locomotives under steam:

Wheel Arrangement


760 mm



1.435 mm



900 mm



1.435 mm



1.435 mm


900 mm


If we are lucky we may see the Skoda-built standard gauge 0-6-0T 19-12. You’ll not be bored by only one type of locomotive!





Planned Itinerary


Meeting at the airport of Belgrade (Beograd) in the afternoon. By charter bus we’ll continue to Kostolac where we want to take some dusk and night shots in the depot. Hotel in Pozarevac


In the morning one of the 0-8-0 UNRRA locomotives will push a train to the open cast mine. In the late morning we’ll continue to the coal mine Vreoci (KOLUBARA). They still have three serviceable locomotives but don’t use them in regular service. For our group we’ll use one narrow gauge class 53 and one standard gauge class 62 and let them shunt in the yard and the mine area. Hotel on the way to Resavica


In Resavica we’ll fire one of the real gems, either 126-014 or 120-019 (both 0-6-0). We’ll execute several shunting movements inside the large station area. Around noon we set off for Sarajevo where we’ll arrive in the evening. Hotel in Sarjevo


In the morning we’ll visit Breza and Kakanj coal mine which are still using a locomotive class 62 (one each mine). In the afternoon we’ll continue to Zenica, where the small mine is using a class 62 as well. We have planned night pictures there, because the wooden loading facility is especially scenic in the night where you can set your own light arrangement. Hotel in Zenica


In the morning we’ll start with some daylight shots at the mine of Zenica before we continue to Banovici. There we expect to see a class 62 or class 19 (Skoda) in the standard gauge yard. In the afternoon we’ll charter a narrow gauge steam freight train, probably hauled by the famous class 83 (0-8-2). Forest hotel in Banovici.


In the morning we’ll visit the mine of Durdevik, where another locomotive class 62 can be found. The line to the state railway is about 3 miles long and offers several good photo spots. We try to postpone the departure time of the regular train to a photographically interesting time. In the afternoon we’ll visit the locomotive (class 62) in the soda factory Lukavac, and hereafter we’ll go to see the class 33 in regular service in Sikulje or Dubrave. Hotel in Lukavac


We’ll take time to see the class 33 hauled trains in Dubrave and Sikulje, as well we’ll go to Bukinje where we’ll see the class 62 working in the mine’s yard and visit to the Depot in Bukinje, where heavy overhauls are carried out.. Hotel in Lukavac


A scheduled coal freight train will be hauled by a class 33 Kriegslok. We’ll travel in the last wagon, a box car. Along the line we’ll make several runpasts. In the evening we’ll return to Belgrade, Hotel in Belgrade


Return flight home


Line description


The open cast pit in Kostolac has a railway system with a gauge of 900 mm. Only during the winter season does the railway keeps its 1946-built UNRRA steam locomotives in regular service. Now that the open cast pit has been almost exhausted, they rarely use one of their locomotives. One should be still serviceable and run a train for our group. In the depot we can make some nice shots with the turntable and the classic large roundhouse. In addition, the banked train allows some good shots with the excavator in the pit. All trains are banked. The locomotive need to work hard to bring the train up the gradient to the mine.

Vreoci - class 53

The coal mine at Vreoci belongs to a huge electric power enterprise. They have an eight kilometres long 900 mm overhead electric catenerary railway. They’ll stop the use of their steam locomotives by the end of 2008. However, one of their 900 mm Dacauville-built class 53 (0-6-0 Tank) locomotives is planned to be in steam on the day of our arrival. Due to track conditions it might be possible that we can only run a few hundred yards from the depot.

Beside the narrow gauge railway, the Vreoci coal mine used to use two class 62 locomotives in regular service until end of 2008. We will get one of their stand-by locomotives back to steam and take pictures of this switch engine in front of an interesting mine backdrop.

On the electrified sections you can find the oldest electric locomotive of Serbia, which is still in use. We planned a brief visit to the depot of the narrow gauge electric locos as well.


The coal mine of Resavica owns two beautiful steam locomotives from the Austrian/Hungarian “k&k” time: 126-014 and 120-019. We’ll fire one of these classic beauties for some shunting duties in the mine’s station. In Resavica almost everything still looks like many decades ago.


The coal mine at Breza uses the well known class 62. The locomotive is only active on a very short track. However, a typical industrial mine back drop and a pedestrian bridge over the yard offer some nice photographically opportunities. The light is a bit tricky. In the morning you can take some interesting back light shots.

Catici (Kakanj)

The coal mine at Catici belongs to Rudnika Mrkog Uglia Kakanj. It was one of the most important coal suppliers of the former Yugoslavia. The remaining 62 class locomotives are also used on the three kilometres long connection to the state railway. The line passes over a river on a photogenic concrete bridge. The mine and the coal washery are still busy. There are more than four trains each day to the state railway station. In Catici we have the chance to see one of the original American-built locomotives of the class 62.

The coal mine at Zenica is another location for the class 62. For several years now there have been discussions over has been talk about closing the coal mine of Zenica. Until now plans of closure haven’t materialized and we hope to find the mine in operation.

The coal mine with its wooden loading facilities is very photogenic and a good place for night photography. Therefore we have planned some night shots here.

Sikulje im letzten Licht

Tuzla is host to the administration of the Kreka power plant and their coal mines in the region. The loco depot is in Bukinje. Here we’ll meet the last 2-10-0 German “Kriegsloks” class 33 (DR 52) and some class 62 locos. The depot repairs all locos for the coal mines in Bukinje, Dubrave and Sikulje. These mines are close together, and we will visit all of them. Our special interest here is the class 33, of course. In Sikulje the class 33 locomotives returned to serve the state railway station after several years of shunting in the mine area only. This will give us special opportunities for interesting pictures. Of special interest is the departure at Lukavac with its 1930s style signal cabin. The departure order will be given by a green flag from an employee at the signal box.

All three sites can be served either by a class 33 or a class 62 locomotive. Dubrave and Sikulie normally each use one “Kriegslok” class 33. The link form the mine in Dubrave to the state railway has some good potential, although trains run chimney first downhill and return tender first uphill.

We have chartered a class 33 “Kriegslok“ for a real coal freight train on the state railway. Several photo stops and runpasts will give you good opportunities for line shots. The lines around Tuzla are all photogenic, running through valleys and alongside small rivers. The area is densely populated and typical Bosnian houses can be found alongside the tracks. Anyhow, road access is limited and some photo locations require a bit of an extra effort to get to. We have hired the class 33 steam loco (2-10-0) for seven hours.

On the very scenic, double tracked narrow gauge line of Banovici we’ll experience another authentic, steam hauled train. We have chosen one of what is probably the most classic type Bosnian narrow gauge locomotives: the famous class 83 (0-8-2). The line is steep and offers plenty of photogenic spots. It is also a highlight for video film makers.

Beside their narrow gauge steam locomotives, the coal mine administration of Banovici uses standard gauge steam locomo-tives in Oskova, their interchange yard with the state railway. Mainly the class 62 is active in the washery, but with a of bit luck we’ll see the Skoda built class 19 (0-6-0T). They own a French class 144R (0-8-0T, Fives, Lille) as well, but this loco is out of use. The daily shunting operation in the narrow gauge part of the station is usually done by a class 25 (Skoda built 0-6-0) or the last remaining 83 (Slavonski Brod) while the line service on the 760 mm narrow gauge line is exclusively diesel (class 720 (0-4-0) and 740 (4-4).


Durdevik uses only one loco of the common class 62 – but the line as well as the mine are extraordinary beautiful for photography. The line leads about three miles to the state railway station. A daily service will bring the locomotive down with loaded wagons and back with empties. We’ll try to change the departure times slightly, so that the shuttle to the state railway station will start after sunrise. They do it often in the morning just before sunrise. The mine is in best light in the morning, when the loco is usually very busy.


Small Print

Serbia is a secure and hassle-free place for organised tours. Taking photographs of railways still causes some sceptical views from railway workers and local people. We have organised (and paid for) a permit for every site we want to go to. To avoid any difficulties we shall not take pictures at places where we have no permission. At most locations (which aren’t on our permission list) it’s possible to obtain a permit from the local staff. Please be patient if this procedure takes a few minutes of our precious time. At some locations the officials do not issue permits to foreigners. Please consider that any unauthorised pictures can cost the whole group a lot of time. It’s much better to follow the restrictions. The factories have agreed to show us their locomotives. Several times we found as soon as you can show an official permit they’ll open all doors for you and even arrange an extra movement with their locomotives.

Sodafabrik Lucani


For ethnic reasons, Bosnia-Herzegovina is still separated into two parts. We will pass through the Republic Srpska only. We’ve not planned any stops for taking pictures there.

The standard of the selected middle class hotels cannot be compared with central European standards. After two wars in recent years, the tourist infrastructure has not recovered completely. Investment for tourist purposes in remote and coal mining areas is not on the priority list. Please accept that not everything will be perfect. However, the supply of food is sure, quality and quantity are quite good. Vegetarian food is not common and might be difficult to get.

For the journey you need a passport. Your passport has to be valid for at least one year (not just six months) after the expected date of leaving the country. Please check the expiry date of your passport.

Reihe 83 in Banovici

We are travelling in the Spring time. The weather can be anything from snow showers to deep blue sky and 25 degrees Centigrade. Please carry appropriate cloths with you to be prepared.

At several locations we need a tripod for pictures in the dusk or by night.

We will mainly visit regular steam sites. Sometimes we will hire a special train or pay for a special duty. At the sites with regular steam it might happen that we have to wait a bit longer to get our pictures. At several locations there are one or two serviceable locomotives only. So it may happen that we won't see the described locomotive or train. In this case we will try to find an adequate alternative site with interesting operations. However, we are at the edge of a steam-free age, and no one can guarantee that we’ll see what we have planned and paid for. Be assured we will do everything possible to make things work, We haven’t included money in the tour price to cover such things as refunds. In such a case we can only pay you back if the railway administrations returns some money to us. This is as unlikely as a total failure of a locomotive or a charter train.


The tour is planned with the dedicated photo- and videographer in mind. Therefore we decided to use hotels close by the railways rather than first class resorts far away from any railway. In addition, we will use the daylight hours for photography rather than for substantial meals. It never hurts to carry a few snack foods along, just in case meals are delayed a little.

Please bear in mind that accommodation and transportation in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia may fall short of EU and North American safety standards. Always use common sense when crossing roads and railway tracks. FarRail Tours cannot be held responsible and will not accept any liability whatsoever in the case of any accident, damage or delay. We suggest you take out a comprehensive overseas accident and health insurance policy.

Registration period expires: 27/12/2008

Baureihe 52, jetzt Reihe 33 in Dubrave



As flight prices vary by more than 200 %, depending on port of disembarkation and date of booking so we didn’t include the flight price in the tour price. Please indicate which flights we should book for you (airport and preferred airlines), and we’ll list the best connections for you.

Bookings made until December 28th, 2008, midnight (24hrs):

Spring in Europe’s Last Steam Empire

15 to 22 participants


18.04. – 26.04.2009

10 bis 14 participant



Single room supplement


For bookings from December 29th, 2008:

Spring in Europe’s Last Steam Empire

15 to 22 participants


18.04. – 26.04.2009

10 bis 14 participant



Single room supplement


Minimale Teilnehmerzahl: 10
Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 22

The price includes:

Not included are:

As a service to our UK-based clients FarRail Tours accepts and will continue to accept payments made out in Pound Sterling until further notice. However, please note that from January 28, 2009, all prices quoted in Pound Sterling are indicative only and are subject to change without prior notice. This measure was taken by FarRail Tours due to the unprecedented volatility in the international foreign exchange markets and its impact on the valuation of the Pound Sterling versus other major currencies, namely the Euro as FarRail Tours' accounting currency.

33 064 in Sikulje


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