Mines & More: Industrial Steam in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina: 09.11. – 18./22.11.2007

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

Baureihe 52, jetzt Reihe 33 in Dubrave

The late autumn and early winter is the peak season for steam operation in the former Yugoslavia. About two dozen steam locomotives of different types are in steam in collieries, power plants, steelworks and other factories. Most of the engines are used in shunting yards and on short connecting lines to the state railway stations. Many of them have been in use in factories for over 50 years. The most common class is the American 0-6-0 tank locomotive, type 62. This type was introduced by the US Army Transportation Corps. Today only a very few are the original ones, most are the later Yugoslavian built ones. Beside these class 62 locomotives, the visitor will find a variety of different, very rare locomotives from France, Czechoslovakia or Belgium. Last but not least, Bosnia-Herzegovina is the last stand of German Kriegslok class 52, the Yugoslavian class 33.

Steam at War

In several places we’ll make a financial contribution to get some of the most interesting locomotives back in service. Around Tuzla we’ve planned something very special. During the time of the civil war, as diesel fuel was not available, the narrow gauge line of Banovici returned to steam and we will use two locomotives of the class 83 (0-8-2) in front of a regular coal train. Additionally, on the state railway we’ll use a class 33 (Deutsche Reichsbahn Kriegslok class 52) to haul a regular coal train. For both specials we have arranged several photo and video stops. We’ll take a focus on lineside shots.

We have chosen November as it is likely there will be the first snow of the year, but the weather is still not too cold. The low sun at this time of the year gives you perfect light conditions for moody shots.






Intended Itinerary



In the afternoon we will meet at the airport of Beograd (Belgrade), free time to explore the trams in Belgrade, hotel Belgrade



Visit to the coal mine Vreoci (KOLUBARA). We arranged a locomotive class 53 (0-6-0) to be under steam. In the standard gauge part of the coal mine you’ll usually find two active class 62 locomotives. Hotel in Pozarevac



Visit to the coal mine at Kostolac and its wonderful steam narrow gauge system, visit to the depot and the open cast mine, brief visit to the electric narrow gauge line. Hotel in Pozarevac



Continue to Resavica. One of their two jewels, 126-014 or 120-019, will be under steam. Shunting duties in the mine area. Visit to the fascinating stationary steam lift of the mine. Hotel in Cacak



On the way to Sarajevo we’ll visit the railway museums in Pozega and Mokra Gora. Hotel in Sarajevo



Visit to the coal mines at Breza and Kakanj. Both use locomotives class 62. Hotel in Zenica



Visit to the Zenica steelworks and the nearby coal mine (both locomotives class 62). In the evening we’ll continue to Tuzla, for two nights we will be at the lovely and peaceful Forest hotel near Banovici



Visit to the coal mine Banovici with regular use of class 25 (0-6-0). In the afternoon two locomotives of the famous class 83 will haul a scheduled coal train. Forest hotel Banovici



Visit to the last Kriegsloks class 33 (DR class 52, 2-10-0) in regular use. Best chances to see them are  in Dubrave and Sikulje. In Bukinje we expect to see a class 62. Brief visit to the depot in Bukinje (usually not working on Saturdays). If you need to leave us today: transfer to Doboj, continue by train to Sarajevo (18.28 – 21.39 hrs) and hotel in Sarajevo, otherwise hotel in Lukavac



Optional: return flight from Sarajevo



Visit to the Soda factory in Lukavac (class 62), after this visit we’ll take shots of the shunting duties and especially the line service to the state railway stations with the Kreigslok class 33 in Sikulje and Dubrave. Hotel in Lukavac



Visit to the depot Bukinje, where locomotives of class 33 and 62 get heavy overhauls. In the afternoon visit to the depot of Banovici and visit the standard gauge part of the Oskovo station (class 62 and with a bit luck class 19) as well as a visit to the narrow gauge station (class 25 and/or 83). Hotel in Lukavac



As was usual during the civil war we’ll use a class 33 locomotive to bring a loaded coal train from the mines to the power plant. Photo stops and runpasts inclusive. Hotel in Lukavac



Morning visit to the coal mine in Durdevik (class 62). We try to postpone the early morning line service to the state railway to get shot of this beautiful line after sunrise. Shunting duties in the coal mine. At noon we’ll continue to Serbia, where we’ll make a brief visit to the two fireless LaMeuse (Belgium) locomotives in the viscose factory of Loznica. Hotel in Novi Sad



Morning visit to the workshop Zrenjanin, late morning continue to Belgrade’s airport


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. Normally, two of the five engines are serviceable. Especially in the depot we can make some nice shots with the turntable and the classic large roundhouse. In addition, the banked train allow some good shots with the excavator in the pit. All trains are banked. The locomotives need to work hard to bring the trains up the gradient to the mine. The open cast pit will be closed in the future because it is running out of coal. Anyhow, in the winter season 2007/2008 we'll find the mine active.

Vreoci - Reihe 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. In case of emergency they still have one of their Dacauville-built class 53 (0-6-0 Tank) locomotives on stand by. One of the normally two serviceable locos of this class 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 uses two class 62 locomotives in regular service. We will also take pictures of these switch engines 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. Resavica would be worth a visit even without the steam locos: in the mine a century old steam lift is still in daily use.

Museum Pozega

The museum in Pozega offers a collection of nine narrow gauge steam locomotives once used on both 760 and 600 mm gauge. The collection shows a wide variety of the glorious Serbian narrow gauge system and gives an idea what was lost after these lines closed.

On our long drive to Sarajevo we’ll drop by the narrow gauge museum railway of Mokra Gora. In recent years they have rebuilt 15 km of the fantastic mountain line. For tourism they have Skoda-built 25 27 (0-6-0T) from Banovici, 83 173 (0-8-2) from the former Yugoslavian State Railway JZ, locomotive Elza (0-6-0T) from the sugar mill at Zrenjanin and the diesel loco L45H 077 from Romania (Borsec). The short 600 mm track is home to a 0-6-0T from the former forest railway at Visnjicevo. We did not order one of the expensive charter trains here. This is reserved for future trips, when regular steam service in ex Yugoslavia is almost over.

The length of our journey to Sarajevo is about 150 kilometres, due to the topographic situation (mountains) and the border control we have to allow about three hours.


The coal mine at Breza uses the well known class 62. The locomotive is only active on a very short track. However, an 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.

Personenzug im Stahlwerk Zenica

The coal mine and the steel works at Zenica is another location for the class 62. We will probably be allowed to enter the steelworks (in 2003 and 2005 we got the permission, but it's not for sure this year because the management has been changed recently). If they not allow us to enter the steelworks, they will bring a locomotive out for us to photograph. This means we will get at least a shot of one of their locos. In the steelworks we'll probably see the last real standard gauge steam passenger service in Europe, besides the quasi museum service of Wolsztyn in Poland. They use 1930-style, green passenger coaches The passenger trains can be photographed in front of an impressive steel works backdrop. The nearby coal mine with, it's very photogenic, wooden loading facilities, is open to foreign visitors. For several years now there have been discussions over closing the coal mine of Zenica. Until now plans of closure haven't materialized and we hope to find the mine in operation.

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. Mramor was closed in 2004. 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 where semaphores are still in place. Anyhow, 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. Bukinje and Sikulie normally each use one Kriegslok class 33.

Steam at War!

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. Because there are not many trains running over the state railway in this part of the network, we'll have sufficient time for our photo special. We have hired the class 33 steam loco (2-10-0) for six hours.

Reihe 83 in Banovici

One on the top! On the very scenic, double tracked narrow gauge line of Banovici we'll experience another authentic, steam hauled train that was a daily "sight" during the civil war. Because there was no diesel fuel available during the war, the coal mine used to run the coal trains hauled by two steam locomotives. For this service we have chosen two of the probably most classic Bosnian narrow gauge traction: 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 maker.

Skoda-Lok 19-12 in Banovici

Beside their narrow gauge steam locomotives, the coal mine administration of Banovici uses standard gauge steam locomotives in Oskova, their interchange yard with the state railway. Mainly the class 62 is active in the washery, but with a 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 shunt operation in the narrow gauge part of the station is usually done by a class 25 (Skoda built 0-6-0) or 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). To maximise our chance for observing the rare class 19 in use we'll drop by in Oskova more than once.


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 five kms 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.

Sodafabrik Lucani

Near Zvornik, just beyond the border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia we'll pass by the viscose factory of Loznica. This factory owns two fireless locos, built by La Meuse in 1956. Because the factory is not running very well it is not certain that one of the locos will be in service, nor that we will be allowed to visit the locos of this factory. The ownership of the factory changed recently, and he assured us that we can see one of these locomotives in use in November 2007. But we don't know whether the new owners will be successful in their attempt to reopen the factory. Too many others failed before, but we wish them luck. So this visit has to be marked with a question mark.

Ausbesserungswerk Zrenjianin

Our last destination is the repair shop for all steam locomotives in Serbia at Zrenjanin. Factories in Bosnia-Herzegovina send their locomotives there as well. How many locos and which types we will see there is impossible to determine in advance. We hope for the best.


Small Print

Four years after the regime came down, Serbia is a secure and hassle-free place for organised tours. However, regulations for visitors are changing frequently, so it is possible that Serbia will demand a special “Entrance Fee” at the border.

There are still some objections against westerners in the population, caused by the NATO bombing. Our group will be lead by a local Serbian travel agent, so we have nothing to fear.

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 outside the forbidden areas.


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 mine 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.

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.

We are travelling in the fall time. Please expect some days with rain or snow falls. The range could be from plus ten degrees Centigrade with deep blue sky up to minus 10 degrees and a dark grey sky. The time of our travels was especially chosen because the mines and power plants work at their highest level during this period. The chances of seeing steam in regular service are significantly higher in October - December than in the summer time. At several locations we need a tripod for pictures in the dusk or by night. It is a good idea to take along some faster film for low light photography.


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 few 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 or damage. We suggest you take out a comprehensive overseas accident and health insurance policy.

Registration period expires: 01.09.2007



As flight prices vary by more than 100 %, depending on port of disembarkation and date of booking we didn’t include the flight price in the tour price. Please indicate which flights we should book for you (airport and preferred airlines), we’ll list the best connections for you.

Mines & More: Steam in ex Yugoslavia + Tuzla

15 to 22 participants


09.11. - 22.11.2007

10 to 14 participants



Single Room Surcharge


Part-Time Prices

Mines & More: Steam in ex Yugoslavia

15 to 22 participants


09.11. - 18.11.2007

10 to 14 participants



Single Room Surcharge


Tuzla Steam Extension

15 to 22 participants


18.11. - 22.11.2007

From 10 to 14 participants



Single Room Surcharge


Minimum number of participants: 10
Maximum number of participants: 22

The price includes:

Not included are:

33 064 in Sikulje


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